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Joey Spencer (right) recorded two victories during 2020 despite the fact COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many sporting events during the year. 

By David Troppens

 Editor’s Note: Today will be the end of our look back at 2020. We have more stories remaining. Enjoy.

 Linden’s “Small-town Solider” had a pretty strong 2020.

 Linden resident and the tri-county’s most popular professional boxer had a pretty successful 2020, despite probably not boxing as much as he would’ve hoped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Joey Spencer faced Erik Spring in his 10th bout of his professional career and earned a six-round unanimous decision against the much taller and much older southpaw. He also boxed in an empty arena on Aug. 22 when he defeated Shawn West by knock out, improving to 11-0 during his young career.

 Against Spring, Spencer fought on FOX’s national network and earned the easy verdict. The two opponents kept their distance in what was a cautious bout. Spencer controlled the fight by landing 51 punches at a 29 percent clip. Spring only landed 20 at a 13 percent clip. When it came to power punches, Spencer enjoyed a 44-18 edge. Spring was 35 and held a 13-3-2 record.

 “I was in there with a cagey, long southpaw tonight,” Spencer said. “To be honest when a guy is fighting as cagey as he was, it’s really hard for a guy with my style to just pull something out of nothing.

 “I felt like he was a real defensive guy,” Spencer said. “No excuses though because at the end of the fight I really just pressed him and I said ‘I am going to finish strong and hit him with some good shots.’ I feel like if I did that the first or second round I think I probably would’ve ended it early, but I’m glad to get the six rounds in. Experience is everything. You are only as good as your next fight and I am happy to get in there, get some good experience and do my thing and get the shut out.”

 COVID created a seven-month layoff. He had one bout canceled due to it, but Spencer looked strong in his knockout victory against Shawn West during another national broadcast match. Spencer enjoyed a 17-8 punches landed advantage in the opening round and started to take over in the second round when he used a left hook, some right hands and some punches to the body to set up his first knock out. The six-round fight ended in the fourth when Spencer used another combination that ended with a right hook, resulting in the end of the fight.

 “I felt great about it. I think that everything I’ve been working on (I executed),” Spencer said after the fight. “After I got the knock down I took my time, threw a good flurry. When I realized how tough he was (and that he was) going to be able to take some shots I calmed down, picked the right shot when it came again and it presented itself. I was really proud of myself.”

 Spencer is only 20 and has an 11-0 professional record.

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