Bryant Jennings, USBA heavyweight champion, made hist 1st title defense tonight and will likely advance in the IBF ratings. But even if Jennings is America’s best hope for the heavyweight division, there’s certainly no rush to challenge the ever dominant Wladimir Klitschko anytime soon.
Temple’s McGonigle Hall proved to be a lively fight spot Saturday night as Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings defended his USBA heavyweight title against Bowie Tupou. I can’t speak for the ratings the show got, but from onsite appearances Main Events, Peltz Boxing, BAM Boxing Inc, and Goossen Tutor put together another successful installment of NBC Sports – Fight Night. Promoter Britney Rogers, founder of BAM, estimated that at least 1500 tickets were sold. But when people got knocked down / out, it definitely sounded like more. Then again this did take place in the heart of North Philadelphia, and North Philly fighters went 4-0 on a card of 9 total bouts. The last North Philadelphian to win was none other than the headliner, Bryant “By-By” Jennings.
Main Event: Bryant Jennings KO5 Bowie Tupou
After a fairly dreary opening 2 rounds (which Jennings clearly, and safely, won) the fight got interesting when Tupou landed a big overhand right that sent BY to the canvas. The general feeling ringside and in the crowd is that the knockdown was official, but I later learned it was ruled a slip by the referee. In either event Jennings was clearly dazed by the shot (which he acknowledged in his post-fight interview) and Tupou was given a brief window to finish him off. Ultimately, Tupou failed. Jennings closed the 3rd round strong and remained in control all the way up to the 5th round ending, via a terrific right uppercut.
Jennings threw a series of hooks to both sides of the body before coming up the middle with the uppercut. Tupou was laid flat out but somehow managed to almost beat the count. Fortunately the Tongan warrior quickly regained his senses and walked away shortly after losing them. And while he was doing that, Jennings remixed a few Jay Z lyrics in his post-fight interview with Chris Mannix. Mannix threw Deontay Wilder’s name out there to see if Jennings would bite, but Jennings doesn’t have him on his radar.