Sunday, June 04, 2023  |


Polish heavyweight Damian Knyba remains unbeaten, stops Curtis Harper in Newark

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 07: Damian Knyba (L) and Curtis Harper (R) pose during the weigh in prior to their April 8 heavyweight fight at DoubleTree Newark Airport on April 07, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

NEWARK, N.J. — It had been years since the Polish rap track “Pamietaj” had rang out at the Prudential Center. The song, which had been the entrance theme for Polish GOAT Tomasz Adamek, had a new fan favorite to accompany when heavyweight prospect Damian Knyba walked into The House That Goral Built for his eight-round assignment against Curtis Harper on the Stevenson-Yoshino undercard.

Knyba (11-0, 7 knockouts) of Bydgoszcz, Poland gave the fans something to cheer about as he pummeled Harper to an eighth round stoppage on Saturday, April 8 to punctuate the untelevised portion of the Top Rank card.

The 27-year-old Knyba ended the bout with just 22 seconds remaining in regulation, rocking the big man from Jacksonville, Fla. with a straight right hand and then following up with an assortment of rights which compelled referee Harvey Dock to intercede.

Knyba, who signed a multi-year deal with Top Rank earlier in the year, used his 6’7” height to land long jabs from range and control the ring. Harper, who is best known for his infamous ring outing in 2018, when he was disqualified a second into the fight for walking out of the ring against Efe Ajagba, lost a point in the first round for hitting on the break.

Otherwise, the 34-year-old Harper (14-9, 9 KOs) fought valiantly, using his ring experience to circle away from danger while landing shots here and there to keep Knyba honest.

Knyba had to fight through a cut on the corner of his left eye, but it didn’t impact his accuracy too badly, as he landed repeatedly with the right hand. One of those punches caused the legs on the 34-year-old Harper to betray him in the final round, which was soon followed by the fight’s finale.

Knyba is trained by former light heavyweight contender Shaun George though former middleweight boxer Piotr Wilczewski and heavyweight Mariusz Wach were in his corner instead because George is in London with his other heavyweight standout, Zhilei Zhang.

Isley, Carrington remain unbeaten

Troy Isley, the 2020 U.S. Olympian from Washington D.C., went the distance for the third straight fight, outpointing the durable Roy Barringer (9-4, 6 KOs) over eight rounds.

The scores were 80-72 on two cards and 79-73, all for the middleweight prospect Isley, who landed everything in the arsenal but couldn’t put away the Toledo-based boxer.

Isley, who earned bronze medals at the 2017 World Championships and 2019 Pan American Games, never let up in his punch activity, grinding down Barringer and bloodying his nose.

Bruce Carrington continued to make his case as one of Top Rank’s best young prospects, battering the previously unbeaten Brandon Chambers to a second round knockout win. Carrington (7-0, 4 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. took the fight out of the Maryland-based Chambers (9-1-1, 5 KOs) with a devastating body attack, and then bludgeoned him into submission in his own corner, with the referee reaching the count of ten at the 2:46 mark.

Carrington, 25, is 11 years the junior of Chambers, who turned pro in 2019. The fight was the first scheduled eight-rounder of the featherweight prospect Carrington, who won the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials.

Kelvin Davis (8-0, 5 KOs) went the six-round distance for the second time as a pro, winning a unanimous decision over Nelson Morales (3-5) in a junior welterweight bout. Scores were 59-55 on one card and 60-54 on the other two.

Davis, 26, of Norfolk, Va. kept a busy pace throughout, bloodying the nose of Morales but was unable to score the stoppage.

In the curtain raiser, the anti-Thrilla in Manila of trilogies added another chapter as Jaylan Phillips and Antoine Cobb fought to a third straight draw, with one judge scoring it 40-36 for Cobb (1-0-3, 1 KO) and the other two having it even at 38-38.

Cobb of Chicago, Ill. is managed by James Prince, who also handles Shakur Stevenson.

The first two fights also took place on Stevenson undercards, with their first meeting in April of 2022 on the Stevenson-Oscar Valdez card in Las Vegas ending in a majority draw. The rematch, which took place last September at Prudential Center on the Stevenson-Robson Conceicao card, resulted in a split draw.

Phillips (1-2-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta, Ga. hasn’t won since his pro debut in June of 2021