It might have been over a year in the making, but Jersey City school teacher Nimoy Zilla-Clarke is set to make his debut as a professional boxer Friday night, June 16.
The 36-year-old Clarke, who started boxing for real at age 29 and moved his way up the Golden Glove amateur ranks, will face Leon Johnson of Paterson in one of the fights on the card called “Throwdown in Chilltown,” Friday night at the Jersey City Armory, with the first fight of the night slated to start at 7 p.m.
The Clarke-Johnson bout is part of a card promoted by Frankie DeLaNoval, a Jersey City resident who wants to revitalize pro boxing in the area.
Clarke, whose story was first reported in the fall editions of JC Mag, the magazine produced by The Hudson Reporter newspapers, had been waiting for the right moment to make his pro debut.
“I’ve waited long enough,” said Clarke, who has been a teacher at New Jersey City University, teaching seventh and eighth graders in a special academy introduction to algebra for the last decade. “I could feel it was coming. Now that it’s here, I can’t be too excited. I have to be disciplined and go in there focused.”
Clarke said that he’s dropped 20 pounds recently to get to a fighting weight of 212.
“I’ve been real patient,” Clarke said. “It got to the point where I started to think I might train people. But I’ve put in the work and I hope the work has paid off.”
It’s an amazing story, a guy making his professional boxing debut at age 36.
DeLaNoval called himself a “boxing guy who just wants to bring boxing back to Jersey City.”
“I don’t want to be Don King,” DeLaNoval said of the famed boxing promoter with stylish hair. “I saw the dilemma. There weren’t a lot of club boxing shows going on in the area. I wanted to stir it up a little.”
DeLaNoval said that he recruited the services of famed boxing promoter Russell Peltz, who had to back away from the project after the untimely death of his son two months ago. So DeLaNoval has moved on with his organization called Garden State Promotions and is putting on the card that will also feature local up-and-coming local boxers like Tyrell Wright of Bayonne and Kevin Asmat of Union City.
Robert Terry of Jersey City, who has been training with the Bayonne PAL and famed trainer Bobby Rooney for the past year and recently earned a trip to the U.S. Golden Gloves Nationals final, will make his pro debut on the card as well.
“The whole passion behind it is my love of boxing,” said DeLaNoval, a Dickinson graduate who had his own contracting business before entering the fight game. “The whole experience has humbled me. But my wife told me that I was doing things the right way and doing everything I was supposed to do.”
Three St. Peter’s Prep football stars have been nominated to participate in the 2018 U.S. Army All-America Bowl.
The three are twin brothers Jayson and Justin Ademilola and Shayne Simon. All three were named to the Hudson Reporter All-Area team in 2016. Only 10 players from New Jersey were nominated and Prep had three of the 10. St. Peter’s was also the only school in the state to have more than one player nominated. It’s quite an honor for those three young men just to be considered…
Speaking of All-Americans, congrats to Jersey City native Eamonn Matthews, who was selected to play with the United States 20-and-under national rugby team.
Matthews, headed into his junior year at St. Bonaventure University, now heads to Edmonton, Ontario to join the team with the hope of heading to Uruguay in August…
Congrats to Hoboken resident Hannah Cavanaugh-Govea, who competes in track and field for the Loyola School in Manhattan. Cavanaugh-Govea just recently was clocked at 11:32 for the 3,000-meters at the New York State Association of Independent Schools championships, setting a new school record…
The Robeson Classic All-Star football game is in East Orange Thursday night and for the first time in over a decade, Hudson County kids will play in the game. Nolan Burns of Snyder, who recently signed a letter of intent to attend Robert Morris University, will be in the game, along with Ethan Zayas and James Burgess of Lincoln…
Condolences go out to former Secaucus athletic director and current NJIC executive director Stan Fryczynski on the passing of his father, also named Stan, the long-time Bayonne funeral director. The elder Fryczynski was 90 years old.
And to the family of Ardash Sahaghian of Union City, a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, who created the modern boxing belt.
Sahaghian, who was 95, made most of the championship belts that the major championship boxers wore and were handmade by Sahaghian and his Sartonk Industries based in Union City.
In fact, the belts are still made at Sartonk in Sahaghian’s honor. Must be something in the Hudson County water with two men living into their 90s and doing well up until their passing. Rest in peace…
Final Hudson Reporter High School Baseball Top Five: 1. Memorial (18-9). 2. Ferris (18-12). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (17-11). 4. Bayonne (19-11). 5. St. Anthony (14-9)…
Final Hudson Reporter High School Softball Top Five: 1. Hudson Catholic (19-6). 2. St. Dominic Academy (14-9). 3. North Bergen (14-8). 4. Weehawken (18-6). 5. Hoboken (16-7). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com