Welcome to our recap of Beltway Boxing 2014. Starting today, we will take a look back at a memorable 2014. We will have the first of our six annual awards -- Rookie of the Year -- later today.
However, we now take a summary of 2014 -- a year that we've dubbed "The Year of Advancement" -- because many boxers in the Beltway Region did exactly that -- advance to a higher level of performance. Our young talent progressed to a point where they became household names not only at home but throughout the boxing world.
In 2014, Beltway Boxers appeared on national television in the United States 30 times. To put this stat another way, a Beltway Boxer appeared on national TV at least once in nine out of 12 months. In January, there were seven appearances by locals and six appeared in August.
Gary Russell, Jr., Thomas Williams, Jr. and Emanuel Taylor had the most national TV appearances with three. The Peterson Brothers, Dusty Harrison, Immanuwel Aleem, Bayan Jargal, and Antoine Douglas all had two appearances. James Stevenson, Samuel Neequaye, Daniel Attah, Alexander Johnson, Andrew Farmer, Danny Kelly, Fernando Guerrero, Dominic Wade, Cory Cummings, Cecil McCalla and Jerry Odom all had one TV appearance.
Three of our boxers appeared on TV in other locations around the world -- Tony Thompson in Germany, Tony Jeter in Denmark and Jessie Nicklow in Japan.
The Beltway was also a very busy place as we were one card away from achieving a "triple double" of sorts. There were 31 cards held in the area in 2014. Maryland led the way with 12 boxing cards. However, the major improvement was in Northern Virginia, which went from just two cards in 2013 to 10 in 2014. DC held nine cards, two of those featured nationally televised world title contests.
Speaking of world titles, Beltway champions managed to hang on to their belts. Tori Nelson made four defenses of her WIBA Welterweight championship while Lamont Peterson defended his IBF Junior Welterweight championship twice in 2014. Another local joined the ranks of world championship title holders as Tyrieshia Douglas captured the WIBA and UBF Bantamweight championships in November.
Regionally, Jeter defended his WBC Fecarbox Middleweight title and captured the NABA US title. Harrison won the WBC Youth Welterweight championship and Alex Guerrero won the NABA Cruiserweight championship.
A number of Beltway Boxers looked to make financial advancements as they signed contracts with well-known promoters and managers.
Six locals (The Peterson Brothers, David Grayton, Phil Jackson-Benson, Jarrett Hurd and Danny Kelly) signed with uber-boxing manager Al Haymon. This brings the total of locals Haymon has under contract to 11 over the past two years.
Lamont Roach, Jr. signed with Golden Boy Promotions
Alantez Fox signed with New Legend Boxing and DiBella Entertainment
Mike Reed signed with Top Rank Boxing
Cecil McCalla and Glenn Dezurn signed with GH3 Promotions
Nick Kisner signed with Greg Cohen Promotions
Dusty Hernandez Harrison signed with Roc Nation Promotions.
On the amateur side, three locals won championships at the USA Nationals -- Malik Jackson (114 pound champion), Dara Shen (178 pound female) and Tiara Brown (125 pound female). Franchon Crews (165 pound female) took silver.
Gary Antuanne Russell became the fourth member of his family to win a National Golden Gloves title and the ninth Beltway amateur to win a national title since 2010. The DC region sent nine boxers to the Nationals this year.
Five boxers (Lawrence Malcolm, Lorenzo Simpson, Kavon Robertson, Brian Avelar, Steven Clark) won gold medals at the National Silver Gloves. Four boxers (Jalil Hackett, Damari Philson, Stacy Selby and Keith Cooke) took silver.
This was a big year for Malcolm, who along with his brother, Lonzo carried a long-standing tradition of Beltway Boxers winning championships at the legendary Ohio State Fair tournament.
Iesha Kenney won a gold medal at the Junior and Open Youth Nationals.
Tyrek Irby won a berth to the United States Olympic Trials while Jackson won his first gold medal in international competition, capturing a championship in Poland.
We also honor those who left us in 2014:
Marion Barry, Former DC Mayor and Councilmember and advocate for DC boxing
Maggie B. Corley, mother of former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley
Jim Finley, owner of Finley’s Gym
David Jordan, former Potomac Valley Association Vice President and DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission member
Sahvaliel Malik, manager of WBC Middleweight champ Keith Holmes
Robert “Machine” Matney, past president of Virginia Association of USA Boxing
Zachary McIntosh, Hagerstown, MD amateur boxer
Larry Middleton, former heavyweight contender from Baltimore
Tom Quinn, 2014 DC Boxing Hall of Fame inductee and NCAA Eastern Heavyweight champ from Georgetown University
John Sneed, trainer and DC Boxing Hall of Famer
Tracy Thorpe, member of South Atlantic Association of USA Boxing
Mark “Spiritbear” Tucker, Sr., promoter and father of boxer Mark “TNT” Tucker
Michael J. Wagner, Maryland Senator and owner of Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie
Perhaps, the best way to end our review of Beltway Boxing 2014 is some prose from a representative of a group that also grew in the last 12 months -- the Beltway Boxing fan base. The fan support in this area is growing by leaps and bounds to where fans are organizing bus trips to see their favorite boxers and they are coming to cards all over the area.
One of those is a lady named Cat Taylor, who has become a very visible and vocal presence at Beltway Boxing events. Recently, Ms. Taylor wrote a delightful note on Facebook honoring our local boxing scene. She has allowed me to share it with you.
This Is DMV Boxing Talk...We are "HITTAZ" standing in the "LIMELITE" of boxing. Our "MASTER MINDS" have allowed us to become the best "HEADBANGERS!"
We "CHOP CHOP" AND turn "LIGHTS OUT" in the ring. "YES INDEED" we are "AMAZING" and THE "REAL DEAL!" With great fighters such as RECIO, BARNETT, WRIGHT AND PRYOR, it is no wonder why we sell "BIG TICKETS." We embrace "THE MONEY TEAM" and "BAND CAMP," with "HAMMERING" trainers such as "STANCIL, BOOGIE, COUNCIL, SMALL, HUNTER AND ROACH."
At some point in our careers, we have all fought on a "KEYSTONE" card. Our announcer is "DISCOMBOBULATING" and we have a "SMOOTH REF." "THE PRIDE OF ALEXANDRIA" suggests we not quarrel with "ELISE" on what to "COOK" for the weigh-ins.
We are also "PROFESSORS" and "SLY AS A FOX" in the ring. We are "SWIFT" and "CHANGE FACES". "YES INDEED" we are known across the nation as "GQ" SMOOTH! We have "NO EXCUSE" for not being "THE BEST AT IT!"
You can follow us on "BOXING ALONG THE BELTWAY." We all mutually share.
"THE PRINCESS OF HYPE BOXING" AS "DMV'S #1 FAN."
Couldn't say it any better.
That's our brief look back of Beltway Boxing 2014. Once again, we will have the announcement of the Rookie of the Year later today.