Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Jermaine Franklin wins but learns some hard lessons: Shields-Hammer undercard report


ATLANTIC CITY — Jermaine Franklin didn’t expect this.

His opponent, Rydell Booker, was once an amateur star who was away from the ring for over 13 years and sparred Tommy Hearns. Somewhere under Booker’s layers of flab was a great deal of muscle memory.

In the second round, Franklin learned that by way of a short right to the chin and later a counter left hook that just missed him.

Call it a lesson learned.

Franklin (18-0, 13 knockouts) outlasted Booker (25-2, 12 KOs) over 10 rounds on Saturday night on the “Showtime Boxing: Special Edition” tripleheader from the Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, on the undercard featuring the undisputed women’s middleweight title fight between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer.

Judge James Kinney saw it 99-91 for Franklin, while judges Eugene Grant and Alan Rubinstein both saw it 98-92 for Franklin.

“I think I had a decent performance,” Franklin said. “There’s some stuff I could work on. I over-crowded myself a little bit. I was a little over-anxious. He had a lot more experience than me and used it to his advantage. He could see what I was doing.

“I learned to stay more patient because I had him hurt a few times, but once I got over-anxious, my whole game plan went out the window. I started messing up and making crazy mistakes I shouldn’t have.

“Now it’s back to the drawing board to work on my mistakes and come out bigger and badder next time. I’d like to be in a bigger fight against a top guy next, but we know how the boxing business works, so I’ll just keep working and wait for my turn.”

Franklin was guilty of loading up sometimes on his punches. Booker, who was previously down once, and that came against James Toney, his only loss, showed a great chin.

At 38, Booker had only so much reserve left and he certainly had enough of a jiggling midsection to hit. By the later rounds, his work rate decreased and his jab less crisp.

“I felt he out-hustled me, but it was a lot closer than what it was,” Booker admitted. “I saw the Showtime card and it was a lot closer than that. He was missing me a lot more than it looked. I slipped a lot of shots and hit him clean.

“I knew he would bring the pressure, but he needs a lot of work. He stays too centered with his head. He’s alright. What he has on his side is youth. I’d rate my performance about a seven. I had a training camp injury I was dealing with. I’m going to stay active and come back stronger than ever.”


Otto Wallin comes away disappointed in his U.S. debut

It was apparent from the outset that “Slick Squad” Nick Kisner (21-4-1, 6 KOs) wasn’t going to test undefeated Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs).

The two did more feinting and ducking than they did punching in the first minute. Before long, “Slick Nick” had a cut on his right eyebrow. Referee David Francios had stopped the fight momentarily for the ringside doctors to take a look, and Wallin himself was cut on his right scalp.

Francios later indicated the cut on Kisner was called by an unintentional headbutt and the fight was ruled a no-contest.

“I caught a headbutt and the referee came to me,” Kisner said. “He saw me swiping at my eye and said ‘can you see?’ I said, ‘soon as I get the blood out of my eye, sure.’

“I feel horrible after training so hard. I felt good in the first round. The judges probably gave him the first round, but I always take off the first round, but I was feeling like I could get to him eventually. You saw me land my overhand right.”

Wallin obviously wanted to continue.

“To me his cut didn’t look that bad,” he said. “It’s a shame because I trained really hard for this fight and was looking to put on a show for fans in America.  I just didn’t have time to get going.

“I’d like to get back in there soon and show what I can do.  I’m going to take this as a learning experience. I’ve been out for a year and I wanted more time. At least I was in the ring, so that was something. To be honest, he knew what he was here for.

“I was looking forward to the fight.”

Joey Gamache, the former WBA super featherweight and lightweight world champion who’s Wallin’s trainer, wanted more, too.

“I knew that (Kisner) was trying to do,” Gamache said. “He was trying to get out of there. It’s disappointing. He’s a fighter, so come on and fight. It’s a learning experience for Otto and we move on.

“These are the kinds of things that happen when you’re inactive for a year. But luckily, the cut wasn’t on his face. It’s less worrisome and less dangerous.”

Off of TV, Brenda Karen Carabajal (16-4-1, 9 KOs) won the vacant IBF featherweight title over Elena Gradinar (9-1, 2 KOs). Mario Heredia (16-6-1, 13 KOs) pulled off a mild upset by winning an eight-round decision over relic Samuel Peter (37-7, 30 KOs). Isiah Seldon (13-2-1, 4 KOs) won an eight-round middleweight decision over Bryan Goldsby (5-10), and Ja’Rico O’Quinn (12-0, 8 KOs) won an eight-round junior bantamweight decision over Vicente Martinez (9-5, 3 KOs).

In an eight-round junior featherweight fight, Marcus Bates (9-1-1, 8 KOs) stopped Jesse Angel Hernandez (12-3, 7 KOs) in the third round.