Boxing made its debut at the newly renovated Playground in Atlantic City, with Silver Spoon Promotions and the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame serving as the presenting promoters. In the feature attraction of the evening, Philadelphia heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon (34-3, 26 KOs) contended with Nick Guivas (11-3-2, 9 KOs) of Kansas.
Witherspoon came out working behind the jab in the opening round and quickly started to find a home for the follow-up overhand right. In the second frame, he began to feint and throw left hooks to the body, which created immediate openings for shots to the head.
With about a minute remaining in the second stanza, Witherspoon hurled a perfectly timed counter right hook to the temple that first froze and then dropped Guivas. The Kansas native got back to his feet, but it was quickly becoming evident how far superior the boxing pedigree of Witherspoon was.
In the third round, Witherspoon continued to do a great job of changing levels, creating huge openings and capitalizing with superb timing. Eventually, he walked Guivas into the corner in the third frame and battered him until the referee was forced to jump in and halt the action. The official time of the stoppage was at the 1:07 mark.
In the co-feature, welterweight Keenan Smith (8-0, 3 KOs) made his way through Lavelle Hadley (2-1, 2 KOs) with ease, displaying nice rhythm over less than two frames of work. He was able to jump into confrontation and get off his numbers before quickly bouncing out, repeatedly leaving Hadley swinging at air. With about a minute remaining in the second round, he unloaded a flurry onto Hadley before finishing him off with a pair of left uppercuts, and Hadley chose not to answer the 10-count. The official time of the knockout came at 1:56 of the second stanza.
In a heavyweight tilt, Dan Pasciolla (4-1) used his tall-rangy frame to outpoint John Lennox (13-3, 5 KOs) over six rounds, coming at him from some awkward angles that scored with the ringside judges. Lennox tried to use head movement and his jab to keep his opponent at bay, but the southpaw Pasciolla was able to put his reach advantage to use behind a jab of his own. Both men had their moments of success, and the scorecards were expectedly close at the conclusion of this fight.
Initially ruled a majority draw at first announcement, the scores were soon after corrected to reveal a split decision victory in favor of Pasciolla. Those final tallies were 58-56 (Pasciolla), 58-56 (Lennox) and 59-55 (Pasciolla).
Welterweight Anthony “Juice” Young (11-1, 5 KOs) ended a 10-month layoff against Jonathan Garcia (4-15, 1 KO), significantly outboxing and outmaneuvering the Puerto Rican native over six frames. Young was working very well off the bend, slipping under the advances of Garcia while getting off in heavy numbers when he went on the attack. His hand speed proved to be very problematic for Garcia, and rust did not seem to be much of a factor for the hometown favorite.
When the judges were voiced into the conversation, it was a shutout victory for Young, who scored flush 60-54 tallies on all three scorecards.
Philadelphia lightweight Scott Kelleher (1-0, 1 KO) destroyed Xzaviar Ford (0-2) in less than two minutes in his professional debut, stalking him until Ford finally balled up on the ropes while Kelleher battered him to a TKO stoppage at 1:57 of the opening stanza.
It took until the final minute of the third round for Louisiana middleweight Sam Ellsworth (3-0, 3 KOs) to catch Kasif Mohamed (0-2), but it did not take long for him to end the fight once he tracked him down. After trapping Mohamed in his own corner, Ellsworth began to unload a heavy flurry until Mohamed eventually fell to his knees and was unable to beat the 10-count. The time of the knockout was 2:32 of the third frame.
Lightweight southpaw Jerome Conquest (3-1, 1 KO) methodically set up pro debuting David Perez (0-1) in a lightweight affair, displaying elusiveness and escapability that clearly frustrated his opponent. In the fourth and final round, Perez threw his hands up and asked Conquest for more activity, and the Philadelphia native quickly obliged.
Perez threw a very lazy right hand late in the frame, and Conquest blasted him with a counter overhand right that flattened his opposition. Perez was unable to beat the 10-count, and Conquest scored his first professional knockout with just three seconds remaining in the bout.
Chinese heavyweight and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zhang Zhilei (5-0, 3 KOs), who is signed by Roc Nation Sports, was fairly unimpressive against gritty journeyman Nick Benson (2-7-1, 1 KO) over the majority of a six-round tilt until finally closing the show in the final frame. In the third stanza, Benson was able to open a cut on the left eye of Zhilei, but he ran out of gas over the second half of the fight and was unable to capitalize.
Zhilei finally got through to Benson in the sixth frame, dropping him early in the round after a heavy flurry. When action resumed, he crushed Benson with a left hook that made him crumble in his own corner. The stoppage came 56 seconds into the sixth and final stanza.
Eric Kitt (5-2, 2 KOs) was upset by Gilbert Alex Sanchez (6-6-1, 2 KOs) in super welterweight action, with Sanchez showing a better work rate and landing the cleaner shots over four rounds. The final score cards revealed a unanimous decision victory for Sanchez by counts of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
In the opening bout of the night, junior welterweight Wang Zhimin remained undefeated by stopping Puerto Rican journeyman Carlos Nieves (0-8-1), scoring a fourth frame TKO.