PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - September 24, 2018  
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Obituary by John DiSanto


Philly boxing legend Mitchell Allen, born May 11, 1928, passed away on September 24, 2018, at age 90. On June 25, while training fighters at the West Philly Gym named in his honor, Allen suffered a mild stroke. The setback interrupted a decades-long run as a trainer at the Sheppard Recreation Center’s Mitchell Allen Boxing Gym, located in the basement of the neighborhood athletic haven (5700 Haverford Ave.). Allen survived the stroke, but passed away on Monday, while still recovering. 

Before making his name as a trainer, Allen fought as a professional welterweight, fighting in 25 bouts between 1946 and 1950. Allen faced the likes of Joey Giardello, Johnny Bernardo, Speedy Lawrence, Joe Bonadies, and others. Allen’s best victory came against Joey Falco (W6) in 1949. He also defeated Jimmy DeCerio by six-round decision later that same year.

After Allen retired from the ring in 1950, with an overall record of 7-15-3, 3 KOs, he immediately began training fighters. Over the years, he trained professionals like Marvin Mack, Von Clay, Todd Unthank-May, and his great-grandson Damon Allen Jr. However, Mitch is best known as a trainer of top amateur talent.

During his career as an amateur coach, his fighters have won twenty-one National Championships, including Damon Allen in 2011, whom he also guided to the Olympic Trials.

Mitchell Allen with great-grandson Damon Allen Jr. at the 2017 Briscoe Awards

“If you know me, you know how much this man mean to me,” said Damon Allen Jr. via social media. “He taught me everything I know. Not many people can say they knew their Great Grandfather, but this man basically raised me into the man I am today. Lots of tough love! Seen this man nearly every day since I was 8! No sadness over here; we are celebrating his 90 years of a happy life!”   

Mitch Allen also coached both Dylan Price and Mark Dawson to USA Boxing #1 rankings and National titles.

On March 5, 2005, the Sheppard Rec’s boxing gym was officially renamed the “Mitchell Allen Boxing Gym” by the City of Philadelphia, in honor of Allen’s long service and record of excellence. In all, Allen spent 72 years in the sport of boxing, 69 of those years as a respected trainer. His long and meaningful career earned Allen a place in the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014 as a trainer.  

Mr. Allen was admired, respected and liked by the entire local boxing community. For as long as we can remember, he was a fixture at various local boxing events. Always a gentle and warm presence outside the ring, Allen was also known as a tough-minded taskmaster in his career as a trainer, He was one of the last of the old-school boxing minds in the city of Philadelphia, and will be greatly missed.

Services for Mitchell Allen have yet to be announced.

Mitchell Allen at the dedication ceremony for the Joey Giardello Statue




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - September 24, 2018