PHILADELPHIA, PA – When Eddie Chambers , of Philadelphia, PA, boxes Sergei Liakhovich , of Scottsdale, AZ, in the 10-round main event on Saturday evening, Jan. 21, at the Asylum Arena, he will take another step on the journey he hopes will lead him to the heavyweight championship of the world.
Chambers, 29, who moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh as a young pro in 2002, already has boxed for the IBF version of the crown. Although he was stopped in the 12th round by Wladimir Klitschko 56-3 (49) in 2010 in Germany, he now knows what he must do to get back there and win.
In the long history of Philadelphia boxing, few have challenged for boxing’s richest prize. Despite its reputation as a great boxing town, only two men, Sonny Liston 50-4 (below) and Joe Frazier, lived in Philadelphia when they won the world heavyweight title. Terrible Tim Witherspoon 55-13-1 (38) twice earned pieces (WBC, WBA) of the crown in the 1980s.
Liston lived here when he dispatched Floyd Patterson 55-8-1 (40) in one round in 1962 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park to become Philadelphia’s first world heavyweight champion.
Six years later, Frazier (below), originally from Beaufort, SC, knocked out Buster Mathis 30-4 (21) in Madison Square Garden to gain recognition as world champion. He won the undisputed belt in 1970 against Jimmy Ellis 40-12-1 (24) then cemented his heavyweight legacy by outpointing the comebacking Muhammad Ali 56-5 (37) over 15 rounds in 1971.
There have been other outstanding Philadelphia heavyweights, including Tommy Loughran 89-25 (10), considered by many to be the greatest fighter ever from Philadelphia, Al Ettore62-17-4 (20), Leroy Haynes 45-23-3 (35), Dan Bucceroni 47-6 (31), Leotis Martin 31-5 (19) and Jimmy Young 34-19-2 (11).
While Philadelphia world heavyweight champions are rare, the city has hosted two of the most important heavyweight championship fights of all-time on the same date and in the same ring, 26 years apart.
On Sept. 23, 1926, Jack Dempsey 61-6-9 (50) lost his crown to Gene Tunney 65-1-1 (48) via 10-round decision in a steady downpour in front of 120,757 fans at what was then known as Sesquicentennial Stadium in South Philadelphia. On the same date in 1952, in what many claim was the greatest heavyweight title fight ever, Rocky Marciano 49-0 (43)came from behind to knock out Jersey Joe Walcott 51-18-2 (32) in the 13th round at the same venue, then known as Municipal Stadium.
It’s a long, glorious history Chambers is following and the fight with Liakhovich is the next step.
A pro since 2000, Chambers is 36-2, 19 KO’s. Liakhovich, 35, of Scottsdale, AZ, is 25-4, 16 KO’s, and he held the WBO version of the title for seven months in 2004. The winner will have something to say in the world heavyweight picture in 2012.
ABOUT THE FIGHT
The inaugural main event of the NBC Sports Network Fight Night Series, Eddie Chambers vs. Sergei Liakhovich, a 10-round heavyweight match, tops an eight-fight card on Saturday evening, Jan. 21, at the Asylum Arena, 7 West Ritner Street, in South Philadelphia. The live television broadcast also features a 10-round junior middleweight clash between Gabriel Rosado, of Philadelphia, PA, and Jesus Soto-Karass, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. First fight is at 7 PM. The live NBC Sports Network Fight Night telecast begins at 9 p.m. The show is being promoted by Main Events, Peltz Boxing Promotions and Goossen Tutor. Tickets are priced at $45 and $65. They are on sale at Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) or online at www.peltzboxing.com.