Whitley Twins, work together like Wonder Twins
Shortly after turning professional, Derrick and Darren Whitley of
Holyoke, MA became what most fighters hope to never become: they became what
the fight game calls "opponents." Living the role of an opponent doesn't
exactly promise the accolades that would compel an amateur boxer to turn
professional. Missing from an opponent's career are typically world title
fights, monetary rewards and most of all wins. In the past several months,
Derrick and Darren have transformed from opponents to spoilers. In boxing,
being known as a spoiler ain't such a bad thing. In fact, if you fare well
enough as a spoiler you can become the fan favorites that the Whitley twins
have become in the past several months. If you're like Derrick Whitley, you
can even fight for foreign state title.
Derrick, the younger brother by three months began his role reversal
when he destroyed Baltimore's Dana Rucker in one round. Since upsetting
Rucker (11-2, 9 KO's), Derrick (13-14, 6 KO's) has followed the win with 5
more at the Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, MD. This Thursday
night, Derrick will be returning to his adopted back yard in hopes of
duplicating his win over Rucker. The rematch will also be a contest for the
Maryland State Super-middleweight title. According to the Maryland State
Athletic Commission, if a fighter from another state fights a minimum of
five times in their state, then he may fight for one of their titles.
"When I was losing, I always felt I was winning but not getting the
decision," said Derrick. "One day, my older brother Mark, who trains Darren
and I told us, 'Listen, you guys are going to be used as opponents for the
rest of your careers unless you start turning it up.' I've always felt that
I was aggressive in my fights, but now I'm trying to throw more combinations
and put more power behind my shots."
This modification in Derrick's strategy has made a whole world of
difference. After Derrick's first 21 fights, the southpaw had only scored
three knockouts. In winning his last 6 upsets, three more knockouts have
been added to his improving resume.
Derrick's good fortune seems to have reached Darren as well. For
the first time in his career, Darren (9-15-4, 3 KO's) will be going into his
bout Thursday night with two consecutive wins under his belt. Darren, who
like his brother has never been stopped or floored, will be facing Daryl
Hallowell (10-8) in an effort to even up his record.
"Darren and I work very well together. When we spar, it looks like
we're not even brothers. We both motivate each other," said Derrick, who
will not only hope to repeat a win over Rucker but avenge one of Darren's
defeats. Two months after being stopped by Derrick, Rucker won a close 6
round decision over Darren.
"(Rucker) said that fighting my brother wasn't a grudge thing," said
Derrick. "He said we're both strong but we're stronger now."
Sprowl on the Prowl
This Saturday night, Promoter Rich Cappiello, a nephew of the legendary
Rocky Marciano kicks off a 6-bout show at the Roseland Ballroom in Taunton,
Mass. Headlining the card will be a rugged, 108-pound, union member with
Local 133 of Quincy, who presently works for D.W. Construction. No, the
little scrapper you're imagining isn't someone who looks like Michael
Carbajal or a tobacco spitting pub dweller with hairy appendages. Actually,
Wendy Sprowl, a mother of two just happens to be as tough as the nails that
she drives through 2x4's at a regular work site in Plymouth (that's weah the
pilgrims landed). It is a toughness she has brought to each of her four
fights, besides her two biggest fans: her children.
Known as the "Queen of Thunder" to her bloodthirsty fans, Sprowl (4-0, 2
KO's) of Hull, MA will meet unbeaten Jay Vega (3-0, 1 KO) of Austin, TX in
an 8-round bout for the vacant Women's International Boxing Federation
America's junior flyweight title. Her bout against Vega is expected to be
her sternest test to date and the first time she is scheduled to fight over
Born and reared in Claremont, NH, Sprowl moved to Hull not too long after
being dumped by her boyfriend of 9 years at the alter. Devastated from the
shocking break-up, Sprowl took up boxing three years ago to burn off some of
her frustrations. Not only did boxing compensate for that purpose; it also
burned off some 100 pounds that has made Sprowl a rock-heard specimen.
"I always wanted to take up kick boxing," explained Sprowl. "But I had to
put it on hold because of work and taking care of my kids. Boxing has
helped relieve stress and has given me self respect."
Beating Vega will not only garner more respect from her followers but it
will also improve her WIBF ranking (which stands at #9).
"This fight is going to tell a lot about (Wendy)," said Mike Cappiello,
Sprowl's trainer and the promoter's brother. "Wendy has a good jab and
right hand. She use to just stand there and bang with her opponents but her
lateral movement has improved a lot. She's a hard worker and a fast learner
who doesn't leave what she's been taught in the gym."
Going into her biggest test Saturday night, Sprowl hopes to leave the ring
with her first championship belt.
In the co-feature, Taunton's own Hector "The Pit Bull" Sanjurjo (10-5-5, 6
KO's) will hope to control his dogged emotions when he goes into a 6-round
battle with - well John Battle (5-3) of Durham, North Carolina. It was his
hot temperament, which snatched victory from his clutches when he
disqualified himself against Derrick Harmon two years ago. Harmon, who will
challenge Roy Jones, Jr. on February 24th for Jones' unified
light-heavyweight title was well on his way to losing for the first time to
the unheralded Sanjurjo until the Pit Bull spit on Harmon's trainer Dan
Goosen. What's not to like about him? (Kidding of course)
Also featured on the card will be Jeff Frazza (7-1, 5 KO's), a lightweight
of Haverhill, MA who will be facing Rick Dinkins, of Alabama in another
6-rounder. Gil Reyes (2-0, 2 KO's), an impressive middleweight prospect
from Lawrence, MA along with Randolph heavyweight Billy Mofford and Brockton
jr. welterweight, Felisberto Fernandes are also slated to appear in separate
4 round attractions. Doors open at 6:30 and the first bout starts at 8:00
PM. For tickets, call 508-587-3370 or toll free 888-491-2900.
I'm no manager or matchmaker, but don't ask me why the management of "(Not
So) Dangerous" Dana Rosenblatt is looking for a fight with former WBA jr.
middleweight champion and U.S. Olympic Gold Medallist David "The American
Dream" Reid. The last time I checked, Reid was still a live body. Though
Reid has shown signs of utter fatigue in recent performances, it had much to
do with a relentless Felix Trinidad and a hard Mexican named, Kirino Garcia
tearing after him. Their consistent pressure nearly kept Reid from standing
at the final bell in each of their bouts with him. Against Rosenblatt, it
wouldn't appear that the Malden native's jab and move style would wear Reid
down. If anything it would probably make Reid more comfortable and give him
more time to think about throwing combinations. The bout isn't carved in
stone yet so expect Rosenblatt's team to come its senses and settle for
someone safer....According to Sal LoNano, the manager of "Irish" Micky Ward
(rated 8th at jr. welterweight by the CBZ) a deal was worked out to have the
Lowell native return to the ring on March 30th in an ESPN2 televised event
at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, CT. Ward (35-10, with 26 KO's) will be
meeting Steve Quinonez (23-5-1, with 11 KO's), a southpaw out of Desert Hot
Springs, CA in ten round main event. "We want to prepare Micky against a
southpaw in case anything comes up," said LoNano. What LoNano hopes will
come up is another title shot for Ward. With southpaw and WBA champion
Sharmba Mitchell fighting WBC champ Kostya Tszyu on February 3rd and the
winner fighting IBF titlist Zab Judah (another leftie) on May 19th LoNano's
approach makes a lot of sense.