PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It was a little too sterile and upscale for the Legendary Blue Horizon, as boxing venues go, but the fans that filled the Event Center at the Sugar House Casino Friday night did carry a throaty “Bucket of Blood,” energy during the first boxing show ever held at the Delaware Avenue establishment.
The 10-fight card featured some decent, young talent, though the real attractions were an Irish import and the venue itself.
Philadelphia has been seeking a place to watch fights since the Blue Horizon, a revered venue viewed as the Fenway Park of boxing, closed its doors in June 2010.
The Sugar House was packed Friday night, with a standing-room crowd in a facility that held 1,100, mostly to see main event fighter Milton Santiago, who brought a large crowd with him.
But the real interest was centered on 2012 Irish Olympic silver medalist John Joe Nevin, who has fought just eight times as a professional after recovering from two broken legs. Nevin made easy work of Jesus Lule, who entered their six-round junior lightweight fight 8-18-1. Lule actually put up a valiant effort, but Nevin was too skilled and won by a unanimous decision.
Above everything, it helped the show considerably.
“I found out what my conditioning was like, and this was another experience that I need,” said Nevin, who flies frequently back and forth between Ireland and here in Philadelphia, where he’s trained by Derek “Bozy” Ennis. “This is my eighth fight. I’ve been out. I was in a wheelchair for three months. I broke both my legs on St. Patty’s Day, 2014, and had four pounds of iron rods in my legs.
“I had the rods removed in January. You could still see the scars. I trust my legs now. I have to build up my conditioning. This was great. I like the atmosphere here, there’s a big Irish crowd here in Philly.”
And possibly more fights at the Sugar House, where another fight is planned for Friday, October 28 from promoters Will Ruiz and Manny Rivera and Hard Hitting Promotions.
“We’re excited to be here and we’ll be coming back,” Ruiz said. “We do have a second show and we can’t wait.”