At the 17th Annual Ringside Boxing World Tournament in Kansas City, MO, this year a number of Philadelphia boxers competed. This writer has been following two of them that I saw sparring together the week prior to the time they left for Kansas City.
The first was Sonny Conto of South Philadelphia who is 6:04 and 200 pounds. He is now 42-4 and trained by his father Frank and Hassaan “Candy Man” Williams. In his features Conto has a resemblance to Vladimir Klitschko and had that nickname “Baby Klitschko” for some time.
Conto was an excellent baseball pitcher in college at Rowan College at Gloucester, NJ, when his career was ended with a herniated disc in his back from an accident. He returned to boxing at the age of 19. He had started boxing going back to the age of 12. He trains at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia.
Conto won the Golden Gloves Regional this year defeating Adrian Washington and was voted the Outstanding Boxer. He went to the Nationals and lost in the finals to Cam Awesome who was the much more experienced of the two.
In this year’s Ringside tournament Conto won his first two matches first over Michael Wilson on July 26th and the following day defeated Rodolfo Ramirez in the semi-final. Then, on the 28th he lost to Lorenzo Cardona, Jr., on a controversial decision.
The other Philadelphia boxer is southpaw Atif Oberlton who at 178 pounds defeating Salih Alhemond on the 26th, Brian Cranston on the 27th then Anthony Fleming on the 28th and in the finals defeated Emilio Rodriguez on the 29th. He is trained by Chuckie Hart who happens to be the brother of the No. 1 WBO super middleweight Jesse Hart whom Conto spars with. This can be seen on www.youtube.com Both Conto and Oberlton have their eyes on the 2020 Olympic Games.