This story appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times and the Intelligencer on Sunday, August 7, 2016.
By Rick Woelfel
BRISTOL-When Chazz Witherspoon stepped through the ring ropes Saturday night at Grundy Arena it marked his first taste of live competition in more than 11 months. And if he isn’t exactly ready for a title shot he’s not ready to hang up his gloves either.
Witherspoon, of Paulsboro, New Jersey had little trouble disposing of Michael Marrone in a heavyweight bout that was originally scheduled for eight rounds but was shortened to six at the behest of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. The end came at 1:44 of the second stanza after Marrone hit the canvas for the third time.
Marrone pressed forward at the start but Witherspoon was never ion any trouble. He scored two knockdowns in the opening round before his best punch of the fight, a thunderous overhand right, landed midway through the second. Marrone beat the count but referee Hurley McCall called a halt.Witherspoon, who weighed in at 235, improved to 35-3 with 27 knockouts. Madrone, who checked in at a not-exactly-svelte 243, is now 21-6 with 15 stoppages.
“I felt real good,” Witherspoon said. “I was going to turn it up progressively. I knew he was going to try to counter with power. That was the only option he had.”
Witherspoon, who turns 35 next month, is hoping to again become a factor in the heavyweight division; he’s looking to make his next start in October in Trenton.
The co-feature saw Emanuel Taylor (Arsenal, Maryland) dispatch Mexican Carlos Aguilera at 2:07 of the third round of their scheduled eight-round welterweight bout. Taylor, who improved to 20-4 with 14 stoppages, had the better of the first two rounds but Aguilera (10-18, 4 KOs) kept busy enough to make him pay attention.
Taylor stayed patient however and ended matters when he backed Aguilera into a neutral corner and landed a right-left combination to the body. Aguilera dropped to his knees and stayed there as referee Blair Talmedge counted him out.
Welterweight Jaron Ennis gave a memorable undercard performance. Ennis, from Philadelphia, reached the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier this year, barely missing out on a trip to Rio. He’s scored five straight knockouts as a pro without defeat after stopping Matthew Murphy of St. Louis at 2:52 of the second round of a scheduled four.
Ennis says his style works well in the professional ranks. “In the amateurs I threw a lot of punches,” he said. “You had to land a lot. In the pros, I do the same thing but now I’m taking my time and picking my shots.
In other bouts: Sam Teah (Philadelphia) scored a unanimous four-round decision over Sam Amoako (Siver Spring, Maryland) in a welterweight test. Teah is 8-1 with two stoppages. His opponent slipped to 21-13 (15). The bout was delayed five minutes prior to the final round when one of the ring ropes broke. Elijah Vines (Philadelphia) and Julian Valerio (Brooklyn) engaged in a junior middleweight slugfest before Vines secured a stoppage at 2:30 of the second of a scheduled four-rounder. Vines has won all three of his professional bouts inside the distance while Valerio is 3-4. Michael Hilton (Trenton, New Jersey) stayed unbeaten at 3-0 (3 KOs) when he stopped Cortez Reed of Atlanta (1-3) with 63 seconds remaining in their scheduled four-round cruiserweight encounter.
Middleweight LeShawn Rodriguez (Shirley, New York) stayed unbeaten by stopping stoppage of Jason Wahr (Virginia Beach) at 1:55 of the first round of a scheduled four-round middleweight joust. Rodriguez is 4-0 with three knockouts.
Luis Perozo (New York) lifted his record to 2-1 with a unanimous decision over Alberto Martinez of Tifton Georgia in a four-round welterweight bout that started the show.