Thomas LaManna fight September 2016

Thomas LaManna, left, protects himself against Dusty Hernandez Harrison during their welterweight fight Thursday in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA - Millville welterweight Thomas LaManna came up short in his bid to win the United States Boxing Association title early Friday morning.

But it wasn't from a lack of effort.

The 24-year-old delivered a gutsy performance at 2300 Arena but couldn't match Dusty Hernandez Harrison's strength and power.

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Harrison (30-0-1, 16 KOs) earned the title and the top-15 ranking in the International Boxing Federation world ratings that comes with it with a 10-round, unanimous decision.

Judge Bernard Brudi scored the bout 98-92, while two others favored Harrison 97-93. The Press scored it 98-92.

A pro-LaManna crowd booed the verdict.

"I thought the (scoring) was a little wide," LaManna said. "I felt like it was closer to 6-4. A lot of the rounds were decided in the last 45 seconds, and I gave too many of them away. But I look at this fight as a learning experience. I don't treat it like a loss."

LaManna (21-2, 9 KOs), a 2011 Millville High School graduate, gave as good as he got for most of the fight, but Harrison's punches carried more power.

LaManna had a welt over his right eye early in the fight and sustained a cut over his left eye midway through the bout.

He almost pulled off the win, however, jolting Harrison with a combination in the seventh round that brought the fans to their feet.

"It was a great fight," Harrison said. "He did hurt me in the seventh, but I dug deep and thought I actually won that round. I was able to keep pushing through the fight, but Thomas did a great job, too. It was an honor to be in the ring with my friend."

The two sparred about two years ago and knew each other during their amateur careers.

Although Harrison has had more fights in his pro career, LaManna hoped his experience against tougher competition would enable him to prevail.

He had his moments, especially early in the fight and in the seventh, but wasn't able to sustain them.

"That dude is strong, man," LaManna said. "But I gained a lot from this. I went 10 rounds for the first time and thought I did pretty well in there."

On the undercard, Pleasantville welterweight Anthony Young (14-2, 6 KOs) earned a fourth-round TKO over Newark's Malik Jackson (3-10-4, 2 KOs). Young dropped Jackson with a solid left hook midway through the fourth round and hurt him again with an overhand right just before the bell. The referee stopped it at the end of the fourth.

"He was a little awkward, so I just tried to stay relaxed and stick to the game plan," Young said. "I knew if I did that, I'd wear him down and stop him. It's a little tough to stay disciplined when I'm fighting a guy who doesn't have the best record, but I was able to focus when I needed to."

Young, 28, registered his third straight victory since suffering a fifth-round TKO defeat to Skender Halili at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City last Feb. 19.

Young controlled the early rounds of that fight before Halili's power carried him to the win.

"That loss humbled me a lot," Young said. "It taught me that I can't get in the ring and expect to win on just talent. I have to put in the work."

Elsewhere on the undercard, Vineland super-middleweight Darryl Gause opened the show with an impressive, second-round TKO over Darryl Bunting (2-1-2, 0 KOs), of Asbury Park. Gause, 34, staggered Bunting late in the opening round. In the second, he connected with three overhand rights that had Bunting reeling against the ropes, prompting referee Eric Dali to stop it at 2 minutes, 14 seconds.

Vineland super-bantamweight Edgar Cortes (3-4, 0 KOs) suffered four knockdowns en route to a second-round knockout loss to New Brunswick's Leroy Davila (3-0, 2 KOs).

Brick Township heavyweight Dan Pasciolla (8-2-1, 0 KOs), who trains in Lacey Township, dropped a six-round, unanimous decision to former NFL defensive end Ray Edwards (12-0-1, 7 KOs), of Cincinnati.

In the best fight of the undercard, Chicago junior-welterweight Kenneth Sims Jr. (8-0, 2 KOs) grinded out a six-round, unanimous decision over Gilbert Venegas (14-25-5, 8 KOs) of East Moline, Illinois.

Las Vegas 17-year-old lightweight Devin Haney (10-0, 6 KOs) gained a fifth-round TKO over Milwaukee's Mike Fowler (5-3, 2 KOs).

Germantown, Pennsylvania, junior-welterweight Jaron Ennis (6-0, 5 KOs) went the distance for the first time in a four-round, unanimous decision over Eddie Diaz (2-5-2), of Compton, California.

Punchlines: Egg Harbor Township junior-middleweight DeCarlo Perez (15-5-1, 5 KOs) will try to snap a two-fight losing streak Friday night in Las Vegas in a 10-round bout against Lanell Bellows (16-1-1, 9 KOs) at The Cosmopolitan.

Mays Landing heavyweight Quian Davis (2-0-1, 1 KO), a former football and baseball standout at Buena Regional High School, takes on Johnanthan Hafely (0-0), of Newark on Oct. 1 at the Sun Bank Arena in Trenton.

Vineland super-welterweight Ismael Garcia (10-0, 4 KOs) will headline a card at 2300 Arena on Oct. 14 against Philadelphia's Tyrone Brunson (23-6-1, 22 KOs). Atlantic City lightweight Osnel Charles (10-15-1) is also on the card. He will try to snap a seven-fight losing streak against Philadelphia's Victor Vasquez (19-11-1, 9 KOs).

Boxing returns to Atlantic City at the Claridge on Nov. 12. Fighters will be announced at a later date.

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Sportswriter/columnist

Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 25th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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