The James Shuler Memorial Gym In West Philadelphia is a real working gym where those just starting out train alongside current champions of all weights and classes.
The ring always seems to have some action going on, but the fighters and trainers just keep on working, honing their skills. Sometimes a fighter or trainer may take a minute or two off to catch a glimpse at the two combatants sparring, but that‘s about all.
Not so earlier this week. Everyone, but everyone stopped what they were doing and watched as two fighters well known as gym regulars squared up to each other. It could so easily have been because climbing on to the ring apron to give instruction from one corner was the legendary trainer Nazim Richardson and the other Marshall Kauffman, but no. it’s not unusual to see them instructing their many famous charges.
It was something far rarer. None other than the current IBF cruiserweight champion of the world, Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham had climbed in to the ring, for a public sparring session.
On the spur of the moment the ever likable champion had decided to give his good friend, Julio Cesar Matthews (4-0), a serious workout to assist with Matthew’s preparation for his upcoming fight against the more experienced Chris Stallworth (9-1) from Pittsburgh, this coming Saturday at the ‘Night Of The Rising Stars’ event in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Matthew’s, and those lucky enough to be in the gym at the time, were treated to a master class in the art of pugilism tutured by the grand master himself.
At the end of the session all those in attendance applauded the pair and normal service resumed as everyone went straight back to their training.
Julio Cesar Matthews vs Chris Stalworth will be at the King’s Promotions ‘Night Of The Rising Stars’ event at the Riveredge Hotel and Restaurant Complex. Route 183 North, Reading PA on Saturday September 13th and Steve Cunningham will be there to cheer his friend on.
This event will be headlined by an eight round heavyweight bout featuring Travis ‘GW Hope” Kauffman (12-0, 9 KOs) against Josh "Griz" Gutcher (18-9)
The evening's eight round co-feature will pit Reading's Keenan Collins (12-4-1) against Joshua Onyango (14-15-1) of New Jersey.
In addittion to Julio Cesar Matthews vs Chris Stalworth the undercard features featherweight Lucian Gonzalez (6-4-1) who will face an opponent yet to be determined in a six rounder and welterweight debutee Jose Martinez will take on Esteban Rodriquez (2-1). Also making his pro debut will be Philadelphia heavyweight Joey Dawejko, who has won five national tournaments as an amateur.
Doors open at 6:45pm; fights start at 7:30pm. The Riveredge is located on Route 183 North, just south of the Reading Airport. Tickets are priced at $60.00 ringside and $30.00 general admission. A very limited number of VIP tickets are available at $100.00. Tickets are available at The Riveredge (610-376-6711), Kauffman's Interiors (610-375-4915), or at the door.