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Avery Sparrow upsets Matt Conway for IBA Super Featherweight World title

Philadelphia super featherweight Avery Sparrow (11-3, 4 KOs) upset local favorite Matt “Sweet Child” Conway (20-3, 9 KOs) this past Saturday night,  registering a 10th round technical knockout for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Super Featherweight and Pennsylvania State title, at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center in Cheswick, Pennsylvania.

“Winter Mayhem”, presented by Gionta Management, was streamed live on www.facebooklive.com.

The scheduled 12-round main event was an old-fashioned battle of cross-state rivals, Philly’s Sparrow and Pittsburgh’s Conway.

Sparrow came out taking advantage of his considerable length advantage, jabbing effectively to rack up points round by round. Sparrow caught Conway with left hooks in the second half of the fight, hurting him in the 10th round. Once Conway was sent backwards to the ropes, Sparrow blasted him with 10 unanswered punches, until referee Chris Riskus waved off the fight. Sparrow led in scoring going into the 10th by scores of 89-82, 88-83 and 87-84.

Sparrow won his first fight in more than three years, when he took a 10-round majority decision over fellow Philadelphian Hank Lundy (29-7-1), snapping Conway’s 3-fight win streak in the process.

“This was our best show yet,” promoter Derek Gionta said. “We had a great crowd at a first-class venue. The main event was a great fight and give credit to Avery and his team on a well-deserved victory. It was a contrast of styles between him and Conway. The slick counter-puncher prevailed in the end over the aggressive pressure fighter.”

“Matt had a very busy 11 months, dating back to last February, going 3-1 with this one being a 12-round title fight. He will look to regroup and resume his career possibly at 126 pounds as he has no trouble making that weight. That will be a decision he and his team will make.”

“I’m eager to see what Avery does next and who (his promoter) Russell Peltz matches him up with as I feel his best days are ahead of him. We were proud to hold such a high-level fight on a regional club show in Pittsburgh. All parties involved were true professionals. My wheels are already spinning for the next show.”  

In the co-feature, Alliance, Ohio lightweight Ryizeemmion “The Humble Beast” Ford improved to 7-1 (5 KOs) by stopping an overmatched Charles Clark (3-9-1, 1 KO) when Clark’s corner threw in a white towel late in round one. Ford controlled the fight with his long jab and sharp combination punches to the head and body over a usually game and durable Clark.  

Illinois heavyweight Anthony Hollaway (4-2-2, 3 KOs) overcame a 42-pound weight disadvantage against Thomas Hawkins (4-10-1, 1 KO) to take a 4-round unanimous decision. Holloway controlled the action from start to finish against a game Hawkins and mixed in some good power shots in spurts while eluding counters from Hawkins. Hawkins showed some spark with his left hand at times, but Hollaway was too skilled. 

Lightning quick super featherweight Alexander Castellano (6-1, 2 KOs) started strong and never took his foot off the pedal versus Shawn Rall (1-5, 1 KO) as the former pitched a shutout, winning each round on all three judges’ scorecards. There were no knockdowns and neither fighter was hurt at any point. Rall put up a game performance once again. 

Portugal super featherweight prospect Milton Jorge Andrade Jeremias (3-0, 2 KOs) remained undefeated as he used his 8” height advantage against an elusive and rugged David Boria (0-5), of Ashtabula, OH. Jeremias owned the first two rounds, but his Ohio opponent came back strong in the third round, rocking Jeremias with a solid head shot, and he carried the fight to the final bell. Jeremias won a 4-round majority decision.

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