Philadelphia, PA-Super middleweight Jesse Hart brings his boxing skills back home for the first time in 15 months when he defends his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title against Dashon Johnson, of Escondido, CA, in the scheduled 10-round main event Friday evening, March 18, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. First of seven fights is at 7 p.m.
Hart, 26, is the son of former Philly middleweight contender Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, whose legendary left hook terrorized the 160-pound division in the 1970s.
The younger Hart), a pro since 2012, is 19-0, 16 K0s. He is ranked No. 3 in the world among 168-pounders by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), No. 8 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No.10 by the World Boxing Association (WBA).
“I’m beyond excited to be fighting in my first main event in front of my home town fans,” Hart said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Hart last boxed in Philadelphia on Dec. 13, 2014, when he knocked out Colombian Samuel Miller in two rounds at the 2300 Arena.
In three subsequent fights in 2015—two in Las Vegas, NV, one in Tucson, AZ--Hart scored knockouts over Mike Jimenez, of Chicago, IL, Aaron Pryor, Jr., of Cincinnati, OH, and Andrik Saralegui, of Tijuana, Mexico.
Hart won the vacant NABO super middleweight title by beating Jimenez and he defended it against Pryor.
Johnson (right), 28, has turned his career around by winning his last four fights, including an eighth-round stoppage of one-time conqueror Mike Gavronski in Gavronski’s Tacoma, WA, backyard last November. He followed that upset with another one in his last fight Jan. 15, when he earned a 10-round decision over Izaak Cardona, of Colorado Springs, CO, also in Tacoma, WA.
“I’m ready and I’m excited,” Johnson said. “We took a different and more difficult route to get here but we’re here now. I hope the 2300 Arena in packed because somebody is going to sleep.”
A pro since 2008, Johnson is 19-18-3, 6 K0s, but his record was compiled against some of the best from 154 to 168: Aaron Martinez, Glen Tapia, Jermell Charlo, Yudell Johnson, Julian Williams, Joshua Clottey, Dominic Wade and Luis Arias. He has boxed 10 men who were undefeated when he fought them and he has only been stopped twice in 41 fights.
The preliminary card will feature popular local favorites: lightweight Victor Vasquez; junior middleweight Ismael “Tito” Garcia; lightweight Jerome Conquest; junior middleweight Fred Jenkins, Jr., junior welterweight Scott Kelleher.