Saturday, March 5, 2011

It was a great night of BOXING at Walt Disney World!

   Boxing fans were treated to two good bouts last night and WDW fans had to feel proud as glimpses of the World were shown between bouts and between rounds.  The Wide World of Sports Complex hosted ESPN2's Friday Night Fights telecast and it was a great production.  It's the annual "ESPN: The Weekend" event at WDW, and this year Professional Boxing was part of the festivities.  What a treat to see Boxing Trainer (and analyst)- Teddy Atlas and his assistant Saul wearing Walt Disney World T-Shirts with Epcot's Spaceship Earth in the background while they demonstrated the "keys to victory" before the main event.  The Semi-Main event wasn't a barn burner as far as action goes, but it did feature a former World Champion (who is now 41 years old)- Freddie "Lil' Hagler" Norwood moving up in weight to face a top 20 contender in Ghana's Ray Nahr. It was Nahr's night all the way as he won a 10 round unanimous decision by scores of 99-89, and 100-89 twice.  The Main Event was a good action packed bout as two hot prospects put their undefeated records on the line in a very fan pleasing bout.  It was Ukraine's Ismayl Syllakh improving his record to 25-1 with an impressive victory over Cuba's Yordanis Despaigne who dropped to 8-1, 4 ko's.  Syllakh scored a knockdown on Despaigne at the end of round 2, and even though Despaigne came back strong the next few rounds, it was Syllakh who got back into rhythm to cruise to a big win while defending his North American Boxing Federation Light-Heavyweight title belt by unanimous decision on scores of 99-90 and 98-91 twice.  In my opinion Yordanis Despaigne looked good enough to still be considered a prospect, but Syllakh took a big step up into the world rankings, possibly even a top 10 ranking coming soon off of this skillful effort.  It was a great showcase for Nahr and Syllakh.  It was also a great showcase for Walt Disney World with some beautiful shots of the Giant Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot's Spaceship Earth with the Monorail cruising by, and of course the Castle at The Magic Kingdom just to name a few.  It was also a special pleasure to see my old friend - "Boxin' Bob Alexander" working as the Ring Announcer for this special event.  Many years ago (before I became a Judge, and he became a ring announcer) we used to trade boxing matches and talk boxing.  Now it's so great to see him in his Tux introducing the boxers, and giving the official decisions.  Oh, and yes... I was wrong in my pick of Despaigne to win the decision.  But I was right to expect a great sporting event, a wonderful collision of my two favorite worlds.  And another lift in my spirits from my Disney Fountain of Youth!


  1. hey disney dan!!!

    i appreciate the shout out! I have been very blessed with my career, especially the honor of going into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame with Muhammad Ali last year. its good to have found your blog. yes we do go back a long way, dont we? i still have all the tapes we traded but they have actually converted to dvd. Its great to know you are still judging, Im sure you are doing a great job. Im glad you were able to see me announce on ESPN last night. It was a great show, especially the main event. Had a great time at the weigh in the day before, was able to introduce roy jones jr to the crowd. Ill be back on ESPN on March 18th from Hollywood, Fl. Brad Solomon is the headliner. So good to hear from you! Keep in touch, check out my website when you get the chance.

    All the best

  2. Bob, It's so great to hear from you! Great Job last night! I'll be following your career in the ring very closely. I still have all of those bouts that you sent me, and like you, they are now being converted to dvd from vhs! I'm not judging any longer, I resigned in 2000, but I'm still active in the sport and we have a good Jr. Middleweight here in Las Cruces named Austin Trout, WBA Jr. Middle (Super Welter?) champ! All the best right back at ya'! - Dan