By Sensei Thad Campbell – (TSMMA Feasterville)
Hamburg Fight Night – 4/21/12
Hamburg, PA – Team Tiger Schulmann sent seven fighters out on Route 78 to Hamburg, PA for Hamburg Fight Night. The event has traditionally been a great proving ground for young fighters looking to get experience in the ring. That’s exactly what Saturday night proved to be. All seven fighters got valuable experience while putting on a great performance for the many TSMMA fans from around the area. In fact at least seven Tiger Schulmann’s schools had fans in attendance and the audience made the excitement that much better.
The night started out with Tony Mcrae entering the ring against Gabriel Crawley from Brazen Boxing. Mcrae fought gamely showing great movement and tenacity, however the lefty had trouble adjusting to fellow southpaw Crawley. Crawley was able to land a straight left early in the first round. Mcrae fought on bravely, but eventually the referee called a halt early in the second round. Mcrae will be back better than ever after learning from the experience.
Joshu Greg Fonda of Allentown was up next. He would square off with Ryan Werley of Philly Fight in a 155 pound contest. Fonda was the aggressor throughout the three round fight, constantly pressing the action and forcing Werley to back away. Werley countered with solid lateral movement and made great use of his height advantage. Fonda was undaunted though and continued to press the pace throwing combinations until the final bell. It was a tough loss as Werley took home a razor thin decision.
Roger Garcia was up next from TSMMA Bethlehem and he looked to change the momentum after a couple tough losses. Scott Copenhaven of Brazen Boxing looked like he would be a tough opponent early on as he showed a solid base and great fundamentals. Garcia didn’t let that stop as he swung power shots around Copenhaven’s guard continually landing huge punches. Copenhaven wasn’t going anywhere for the first couple rounds as Garcia continued to press while his taller opponent picked away with jabs. Eventually Garcia’s tenacity was too much though as he landed a huge shot in the 3rd round that dropped Copenhaven and brought an end to the fight. It also brought a roar from the very partisan Tiger Schulmann’s crowd who had been waiting for any excuse to erupt.
Andy Garzillo of TSMMA Allentown would follow up with a great performance of his own. The brother of Sensei Jim Garzillo would show the same toughness his brother is known for. Once again the Team Tiger Schulmann representative was giving up a few inches in height, but nothing in heart. Garzillo would go toe to toe with Namron Bibbons for all three rounds. Just like his fellow Allentown representative Fonda, Garzillo would continually press forward. Bibbons would counter with straight punches and movement. After three rounds it was again a lightning close decision as any of the three rounds could have gone to both fighters. Garzillo came up just short, but look for good things from this tough fighter in the future.
Next up was North Plainfield TSMMA teen Andrew Greenspan. He brought a group of staunch supporters bearing t-shirts dedicated to him. He would again put on a great show for the crowd as he faced off against Dillon Jordan in a 175 pound bout. Greenspan used his reach beautifully through the first couple rounds, landing a couple powerful crosses and crushing low kicks. He even scored a standing eight count early in the fight. Somehow the judges scored the fight against him after three rounds with scores that made no sense given the standing eight count. However, it was a great learning experience for the young Greenspan who was able to identify a couple key parts of his game that he can improve for his next outing.
Another group of fans came all the way from Cherry Hill TSMMA and Feasterville TSMMA to support Joshu Craig Alexander. Affectionately nicknamed “Caspar” many came bearing white t-shirts inscribed with his nickname. They would be proud to wear them after Alexander spent three rounds using Cody Millham as a heavy bag. Millham stood with his guard high throughout the whole fight, but Alexander simply worked around it with an array of knees, uppercuts, lowkicks and hooks. Millham gets a ton of credit for lasting the whole three rounds and at times throwing back bravely, but there would be no close decision as Alexander took home all three rounds on all three judges cards.
Finally the 21st overall fight brought a Championship matchup between Joshu Brandon Cuttino of TSMMA Willow Grove and Kenny Richmond of Philly Fight. Cuttino has been working tirelessly with Sensei Garzillo to improve his kickboxing and had been looking forward to the chance to show off his talents. Richmond would prove to be a perfect subject. The Philly Fight representative came out gamely matching Cuttino early on strike for strike. Cuttino’s mastery of distance and movement made all the difference though as Richmond’s attempts would continually come up short. Cuttino settled in to his pace little by little and by the end of the second round had begun to dominate Richmond. Just as the ten second warning sounded Cuttino landed a beautiful low one hook combination that floored Richmond and earned a standing eight count. Richmond would make it through the count as the bell sounded to end the round, but he wouldn’t answer the bell for Round 3. That earned Cuttino his first title belt and allowed the hundreds of TSMMA fans to leave with a smile after a great night of fights from the team.
While not everyone left victorious, all seven fighters earned the respect of the fans and their opponents. Shihan James Simpson works tirelessly to train fighters for the event and deserves great credit for the success many of them have enjoyed. Look for many to be back in the ring or MMA cage soon and a few to move to some of the bigger shows the organization participates in.