Sunday, December 03, 2023  |



Sonny Conto wins though admits he needs work after an easy decision over Mike Marshall

Fighters Network

PHILADELPHIA—Sonny Conto knows he’s still in the embryonic stages of his pro career. So, the 25-year Philadelphia heavyweight is willing to accept nights like Thursday night at Live! Casino in his hometown.

Conto beat trialhorse Mike Marshall by sixth-round unanimous decision, though Conto (9-0, 7 knockouts) went the distance for the second time and was not too pleased.

“There’s a lot to work on, but it felt good to be in there,” Conto said. “I won every round, that was the goal to win every round decisively. I got hit a little too much. There’s just a lot to work on, a lot to improve. It’s all about growing.

“I did a lot wrong. I ate shots that I shouldn’t have been hit with.”

Conto started fast by sticking a jab in the face of Marshall, whose flab jiggled each time he moved causing his high, white waistband to scream for mercy. Conto systematically attacked Marshall, patiently pecking while staying in the pocket.

Conto began banging Marshall’s soft, ample middle in the second, and stepped up his aggression. Towards the end of the round, Conto dropped a left to Marshall’s side and closed with a left to the belly.

By the third, it didn’t look like Marshall (6-3-1, 4 KOs) was ready to accept any more. Conto again plowed the body with a left to the body, and a minute later, slammed a right to the body. Marshall’s heavy feet began to get heavier. He even walked over to the wrong corner after the round. Marshall was entertaining. He did a little hip wiggle midway through the fourth, and even though he seemed to be having fun, Conto wasn’t laughing. A minute later, Conto made sure Marshall knew, by smacking him with a right.

Marshall, to his credit, was able to take a punch. At no time was the fight competitive, but Marshall didn’t just show up and fall, either.

In the sixth, a medical emergency broke out in the stands, which garnered more attention than the fight in the ring. Even Marshall’s corner turned to watch, before steering their attention back to their fighter. Marshall did make sure he closed on the same note he fought—clowning for the crowd.

In the co-feature, junior welterweights Bryce Mills and Daiyann Butt put on a great give-and-take display. There was a slight fear Mills wouldn’t get the nod, but he did take the six-round fight by unanimous decision—as he should have.

Mills (8-1, 4 KOs) had a nasty cut in the first round in the hair line over his left temple. It was actually pretty exciting. Mills, 20, from Liverpool, N.Y., kept coming at the taller Butt, attacking the body and winging effective left hooks, which caught Butt’s attention more than a few times.

Butt, 24, the hometown fighter, retreated most of the first three rounds. The succeeding rounds were not as intense, but they followed the same template as the first, with Mills coming forward and Mills backing up.

Mills went back to the body in the fifth and when he did wander into Butt’s punching range, the Temple University student missed. The times Butt (10-2, 5 KOs) did tap Mills, he hit gloves or arms.

In the opening minute of the sixth, Mills clipped Butt with a left hook, which stunned him for a moment. Mills opened a big cut on Butt’s left eyebrow, and as the final seconds wound down, his face was a red mask.

On the other undercard fights, junior welterweight Carlos Marrero (3-6-3) won by six-round unanimous decision over Christopher Burgos (3-5-1, 1 KO), featherweight D’Angelo Fuentes (7-0, 4 KOs) beat Justice Bland (5-2, 2 KOs). Junior middleweight Eslih Owusu (7-0, 4 KOs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Evincii Dixon (10-28-2, 5 KOs). Lightweight Jordon Murphy (2-0, 1 KO) won by four-round unanimous decision over Nasir Mickens (2-1, 1 KO). Quadeer Jenkins (1-2, 1 KO) won his first pro fight with a first-round knockout by Rahiem Cooke (0-2) in a scheduled four-round middleweight fight.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/ since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.