Lockport's Joe Taylor proves he's no flash in the pan
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
There were fists of fury and a couple of knees, elbows and feet thrown in for good measure throughout Saturday night’s professional kickboxing and muay thai fight card at the Kenan Center Arena.
But there just wasn’t quite the same degree of anticipation in the air as an Amer Abdallah main event. Abdallah was not on the card, but he did the next best thing, helping to organize and promote another sold-out event that brought together some of Lockport’s finest, including Mayor Michael Tucker and the best of the Lockport and local business community.
So while the crowd was thoroughly enjoying a terrific night of bouts that included a half dozen of promising young Lockportians, by 10 p.m. there still seemed to be something missing. And with just two fights to go on the 14-bout card, a lot of people were still looking up at the ring hoping to see someone emerge as the next great Lockport fighter.
Enter the dragon.
Joe Taylor’s first punch — a straight right hand — knocked Satbir Bassi to the canvass in the first few seconds of the first round. Lockport’s “Son of a Legend” went on to thoroughly dominate the Torontonian for three rounds and not only won the heavyweight fight by unanimous decision, but captured the hearts and souls of the large Lockport contingent of family and friends who attended.
Taylor, the son of the late Lock City boxing great Johnny Taylor, continues to carve out a promising career, improving to 2-0 with a dominating victory over a lanky, but tough and durable Maple Leaf fighter. Next up for Taylor is the Buffalo Golden Gloves competition in January. Taylor said he will continue to train with Corey Webster and Kendrick Huston at Western New York MMA in Buffalo.
Taylor took control of his fight from the first bell. Bassi countered the best that he could, but Taylor was simply too strong, landing a flurry of punches to the head in all three rounds, winning by the judges’ scores of 29-26, 30-27, 30-26.
“He was a lot tougher than the guy I beat earlier this year,” Taylor said, referring to his debut first-round knockout win last summer.
“Bassi was the toughest guy I ever fought — ever. He took shot after shot. I hit him with the first punch in the first round and he went down, then he got up and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe one more good shot,’ then finally I thought, ‘It’s going to be a long three rounds.’ “
Taylor thanked his family and friends in attendance for their support. They included his mother, Norma Taylor, his sisters Julie Taylor and Jennifer Sewar, brother Josh Taylor, grandmother May Davis and niece Dayla Mangine. He also thanked the Lockport Little Loop youth football team that he coaches, Abdallah and Lace Up Promotions for their continued support.
“I’ve been coaching that team three years now and we just had our banquet. I asked them if they’d like to lead me to the ring before my fight and it made me feel great that they would come out and do that,” Taylor said. “I have so many people who believe in me. Everyone at Lockport Little Loop is so supportive. They make me a better person every day.”
Taylor’s convincing win over Bassi garned the most attention, but the main event packed a meaner punch — or kick, actually.
Marc Stevens of Liverpool knocked out Buffalo’s Jay Bauman in their scheduled three round professional middleweight fight. Stevens got little support from the pro-Bauman crowd, especially after he knocked the Team Deleon fighter senseless with a powerful sweeping right foot to the chin at 2:16 of the first round.
Among other winners Saturday night were Team Andrello’s popular duo of junior middleweight Kevin VanNostrand and lightweight Luay Ashkar; and Buffalo’s middleweight bruiser Johnny Calixte.
VanNostrand knocked out Jeff “Captain Caveman” Denz of Buffalo just 12 seconds into the fifth and final round of their scheduled pro fight. Low blows by both fighters slowed the pace down significantly in the later rounds, but the KO was just a matter of time for the ring surgeon VanNostrand, who had Denz dazed and confused throughout.
Meanwhile, despite a strong start, Lockport heavyweight, Ali Kimmons was KO’d by Rochester’s Chuck Jewell in his final pro fight. A knee to the head by Jewel ended it 1:03 into the second round.
Abdallah said the event would not have been possible without his many sponsors.
“For the first time in 13 years I was able to appreciate an entire Lockport fight card from ringside, and witness first-hand the significance of sponsors like Jeff Folckemer, Dominick Ciliberto, Kyle Brent, Tim Mulvey, Scott Cain, Brian Junke, Brad Cline and Anthony Butera. Without them we wouldn’t be able to produce the sold out event we had on Saturday,” Abdallah said.
Two more locals, Lockport welterweight Matt Harrison and Starpoint lightweight Brandon Freiburger, both lost three-round bouts by unanimous decision. Harrison was defeated by Toronto’s Mark Diryas (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), while Freiburger lost to Sier Aziz of Weedsport (29-27, 29-27, 29-27).
“I’m so proud of our local warriors, Joe Taylor, Matt Harrison, Brandon Freiburger, Mike Moyer & Ali Kimmons for representing Lockport and this community,” Abdallah said.
“Win, lose or draw, it takes a lot of courage to get in there in front of your hometown and perform. I’m my biggest critic and I was able to see a lot of things that we can improve on, build, and enhance to give our crowd an even better show next June.”
FIGHT NIGHT NOTES: The ring ladies were Marissa Carcione, Cassidy Boyle and Megan Maurer … The ringside physician was Dr. Margaret Libby … Among those representing LLLF at the fight card were president Ritchie Blackburn and recently-retired head coach Gil Eaton … Others attending the fights included recently-retired city worker Tony Annalora, trainer Rob D’Angelo, former heavyweight contender Baby Joe Mesi and his father, Jack Mesi; and former Lockport High School clutch basketball and gritty soccer player Angelo DiMillo … Singing the National Anthem was Lockport businessman Pete Robinson.