This was to be the year that five Philly boxers were to go to the Olympic in Brazil! The best looking prospect to come out of Philly since 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Meldrick Taylor in this writer’s opinion is Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 8-0 (7), from the Germantown section of Philly at 19. He was 58-3 in the amateurs. His father Bozy Ennis is his trainer and possibly the best in the city. Cameron Dunkin is his manager and Victory Promotions his promoter. He could have signed with Top Rank but Dunkin chose Victory a new name on the block ran by Chris Middendorf. Top Rank Promotions were not thrilled with Dunkin’s decision and neither was this writer.
Ennis defeated Gary Antuanne Russell in his first fight in the Olympic Trials and followed it with two more wins. Then in the box-off he lost back to back matches to Russell who was one of four men to go to the Olympics in Brazil. Bozy Ennis was not happy with the two losses but said “we beat him but they stole it. I’d give Russell the third time.”
Ennis made his professional debut in April in St. George Utah and stopped Cory Muldrew in 0:42 of the first round. He defeated Luis Ramos in 0:23 in Philly in May for his second win. In June he stopped Deshawn Debose in 0:20 of the first round in Springfield, VA, for his third win. Then in July for his third win he stopped Tavorus Teague at 1:38 of the fourth round in Rio Rancho, NM, for his fourth win.
In August in his fifth win he stopped Matt Murphy at 2:52 of the second round in Bristol, PA, for his fifth win. “Murphy had just stopped a 3-0 boxer in his previous fight,” said Ennis. He won his sixth fight when he defeated Eddie Diaz at 2300 Arena in Philly on September 15th. Diaz was from Compton, CA, one of the toughest areas in the country. Ennis is 5:10 and after competing at 141 in the amateurs he’s now a welterweight but just a couple of pounds over 141.”He’s doing pretty good defeating all the opponents he’s fought so far. Even I don’t always realize when he switches from orthodox to southpaw. After seeing him in the Diaz fight I am moving he up to 147 and no more 143 fights,” said Ennis.
“Boots” won his seventh fight on November 11th at the 2300 Arena where he stopped Chris Alexander, 4-3, in 4 rounds. Then he won his eighth fight on December 10th at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, stopping Marcus Becker, 3-4-3, in the sixth and final round. “I will be back in the ring January 28th at the 2300 Arena that my promoter Chris Middendorf of Victory Promotions is running.
“Boots” two brothers have been pro’s first. Farah “Quiet Storm” won the NABF Super Middleweight while the oldest brother Derek “Pooh” Ennis won the USBA Super welterweight and the PA Super welterweight titles. “Boots” has a combination of both brothers and then some of his own. He is orthodox but fights some of his bouts southpaw. He trains at “Bozy’s Dungeon” in North Philly run by his father over top of Harrowgate’s Boxing Club on E. Venago Street off Kensington Avenue.
In 2015 “Boots” won the National Youth title in January. In May he won the National Golden Gloves title. He took lost in the Olympic Trials in December and was asked to be an alternate but his father turned it down to turn professional. At the Olympic Trial Qualifiers in Philly he won all five bouts.
Joshua Jones, 3-0-1 (2), signed with Dunkin and Victory Promotions along with Ennis. He trains at Shuler’s Gym and is trained by Hamza Muhammad. Jones is 23 and a Super lightweight. He made his debut in April in Utah along with “Boots” stopping Jason Thompson at 2:33 of the third round.
He was to fight in Philly along with “Boots” but hurt his hand. He is now scheduled to fight January 28th in Philly. In June both boxers were on the Springfield, VA, show where Jones stopped Christopher Kuhn at 1:52 of the first round. In July he fought to a majority draw with Ahmet Kayretli in Erie, PA, getting a 39-37 vote with the other two having it 38-38. “He could have done better but he certainly deserved the fight. The opponent came in at 139 and was 150 at fight time. Jones has a fight scheduled for November 11th in Philadelphia at 2300 Arena meeting Corey Edwards, 2-1. “I believe Boots, Tight and Christian are all great and I believe we will all do big things in boxing,” said Jones.
Darmani “Tight” Rock, 6-0 (4), is a super heavyweight at 6:05 and averaging just under 250. He is trained by his father Wayne “Wiz”. They go between their own Rock Solid Boxing Gym at 2840 Chatman Street in Frankford section of North Philly. His promoter is Jay Z’s Roc Nation. In 2014 he won the Youth World Title in Bulgaria and in 2015 the US Nationals. He also won the 2015 National Golden Gloves. He made it as far as the Olympic Trials semi-finals.
In May Rock turned pro in D.C. stopping Carlos Black at 1:54 in round one in D.C. In June he stopped Bobby Favors who weighed 402 lbs. at 1:46 of round one in Quincy, MASS. In July he stopped Hassan Lee at 2:21 in round one in Pittsburgh. In August he won over Mike Kyle in Oakland 40-35 and a pair of 39-37’s. He is 20. In October he stopped John Orr in Winchester, VA. On November 19th in Las Vegas, NV, he defeated Brice Ritani Coe, 4-4-1, by decision.
Rock is next scheduled January 20th at Bally’s Event Center in Atlantic City, NJ. “My dad has trained me since I started at 12 or 13. I feel that I will get better and better with each fight,” said Rock.
The final one of the Fab Four is Bantamweight Christian Carto, 6-0 (6), of South Philly was an Olympic Trials Bronze medalist and went to the training camp in Colorado to help others after the trials. He is trained by Mickey Rosati, Jr. Mickey was a PA State GG champion. His gym is over his Business Rosati’s Auto Repair Shop at 1937 S. Chadwick St., in South Philly. “He is a rare breed who comes in the gym six days a week. I’ve trained him for the past 3 years. He’s a pleasure to train because he listens. He’s up to bantamweight,” said Rosati He is managed by Jimmy Binns, Jr. of Binns Management out of Las Vegas.
Carto was the 108 National Golden Gloves Champion in 2014 defeating Leroy “Lucious” Davila who was No. 1 in the nation and 4-0 now as a pro. “I was with him when he beat Davila who was the best in the country,” said Rosati. Carto finished third in the 2015 Golden Gloves. His father Frank is always there to support his son who is 20. His brother Frank, Jr. won the Novice at 141 in the Golden Gloves this year.
Carto turned pro at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA, stopping Rahkeem Parker who wouldn’t come out after three rounds. In his second bout he stopped Christopher Nelson at the Claridge Casino in Atlantic City in the third round just 20 days later after his debut. In August in his third bout he stopped Jonathan Hernandez at 1:02 of the second round at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly. In his fourth bout on October 28th Carto stopped Angel Carvajal, 2-4, in the second round.
In his fifth fight on November 12th he stopped Leonardo Reyes, 5-10, in the second round. Carto has a big following which showed in his last fight with all the Carto shirts. He boxes well with good balance and is finding some punching power in the professionals. He won his sixth straight at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly on December 16th. He knocked out Harold Reyes, 2-6-1, in the second round. During the referee’s instructions to start the bout Reye’s trainer said “now you are in with a man.” Carto’s trainer Mickey Rosati said “I can’t believe he said that. That’s just not right.” After the first round of which Carto won big he pointed to the trainer of Reye’s in the corner saying something. After knocking Reye’s out in the second round Carto again pointed to the trainer with some choice words.
Two other Philly boxers Paul Kroll won the Olympic Trials but didn’t qualify for the Olympics while Mark Dawson fought to a draw in his debut and won his first fight in the Olympic Trials but suffered a cut and wasn’t able to go onto the next round. He is with Split-T Management under David Mc Water. He’s a former 2012 Jr. National PAL, 2013 Nation Silver Gloves, 2013 National Jr. Olympics and 2015 Youth Nationals champion with 75 amateur bouts. He is 19.