West Philly's Yusaf Mack used a bevy of uppercuts and mixed in a few right hooks to score a unanimous decision over Omar Sheika and capture the vacant USBA light heavyweight title at the Resorts Hotel Casino on Friday.
Mack dominated the later rounds, roping his opponent in as he connected with close-range head shots.
In the 12th and final round, Mack avoided Sheika's body shot in the center of the ring and connected with a left hook that sent Sheika to the mat. Sheika answered the count at three and was sent promptly into the lower ropes. He quickly regained himself as the round expired.
In his last time out, Mack (20-4-2, 17 KO) lost a shot at the IBF light heavyweight title as he was technically knocked out in June by Tavoris Cloud. Friday's win should help the 32-year-old's pursuit of another world-title shot.
The packed crowd at the casino's ballroom appeared to be split between the two local fighters. Sheika (32-12, 21 KO) is from Patterson, N.J. and entered the match with two straight wins. In the third round, Sheika worked Mack against the ropes and delivered a strong combination before he was warned by the referee for rear head shots.
In the middle of the fifth round, Mack connected on back-to-back uppercuts and followed with another later in the round. Mack looked just as strong in the sixth, as he worked Sheika's face and avoided his opponent's power punches. He avoided trouble in the seventh, as the bell rang with his back pressed against the ropes and Sheika poised to attack.
In the eighth round, he went back to work at Sheika's face with a series of upper cuts and left jabs. He seemed to avoid Sheika's body throughout the fight.
On the undercard, Glassboro super middleweight Derrick Webster got knocked down twice in the seventh round before rallying back in the eighth and final round to knock down France's Sabou Ballogou as the bell rang and capture the win by unanimous decision.
Millville light-middleweight Thomas Lamanna, 20, used his quickness to improve to 8-0 with an easy unanimous six-round decision over Sean Wilson.