PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                          January 10, 2014


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by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb


The Philly fight year officially opened Friday night at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall in South Philadelphia with the inaugural offering by Cool Boxing Promotions. The card felt a bit shaky leading up to fight night, with the original main event falling out and the final lineup of bouts not firmly set until the 11th hour. However, the fight card, filled with seven 4-rounders, turned out to be an entertaining show and started the boxing year on a solid note.

In the main event, Damon Allen started his second year as a professional with his fifth straight victory and second career knock-out. His opponent was the lanky and awkward Anthony Linenfelser, of Rockford, IL. Allen swept through the first three rounds, winning them all, and landing many wild potshots as he clearly went for a stoppage.

This seems to have been Allen's M.O. in his last two bouts, as he clearly has become more aggressive as his career has unfolded. Linenfelser was there to he hit, but posed a difficult target, with his hands held high and much taller frame.

However, Allen kept pressing all night long. He didn't look as smooth as he has in some of his previous bouts, but his interest in transforming himself from safety-first amateur to a more forward-moving professional, is a welcome renovation of style.

Allen continued his attack into the final round, and began landing with greater ease and frequency. Linenfelser was tough and took the shots. However, a little past the halfway mark in the round, referee Hurley McCall stepped in to shield Linenfelser from more punishment.

It felt like he could have lasted until the final bell, but he hadn't come close to winning a round and was certainly getting hit more and more as the 4th round wore on.

With the stoppage, Allen improved to 5-0 with 2 KOs, and still looks like a Grade A prospect. He was an amateur star and has tons of potential as a pro. Linenfelser slid to 3-6, 3 KOs.

In the 4-round co-feature, Philly bantamweight Emmanuel Folly won the third straight bout of his promising young career when he pounded a game Angel Carvajal of Chicago for a third round TKO.

Folly, blasted his foe with powerful shots from the opening bell, nearly landing at will and looking impressive. But Carvajal was a tough battler and seemed to relish the punishment. After every Folly flurry, the Carvajal denied any affect and walked back into the fray.

Folly was happy to keep dishing the leather and started landing some stunning shots. A potent left hook knocked Carvajal through the ropes. Tangled in the ropes, the Mexican never fully hit the floor, but referee Shawn Clark correctly called the incident a knockdown.

Moments later, Folly found the mark with a pair of swooping right uppercuts that snapped Carvajal's head back violently. After another dose of clean shots, Clark stepped in and halted the bout at 2:36 of round three. 

Carvajal was angry at the decision to stop the fight. He is a rugged warrior and would have kept fighting if given the chance. But he was a beaten fighter and the stoppage was the right move.

The win kept Folly's reputation high. Like Damon Allen, Emmanuel is one of the best young talents in the City - and one of the best. Folly improved to 3-0 with 2 KOs.

Carvajal lost his third straight fight and went home with a record of 2-3. His previous losses were to hot prospects Rau'shee Warren of Cincinnati and Philly's own Miguel Cartagena. Add Emmanuel Folly to his list of possible future champions that have beaten him. 

Welterweight Rami Ibraham thrilled his big cheering section by scoring a 4-round unanimous decision over James Gooding, of Tampa. However, the fight was a close one and Ibraham perhaps escaped with a hometown nod.

The fighters went right at each other in round one before an accidental clash of heads temporarily stalled the action. Ibraham had the edge in that first round, but Gooding battled back in the next two.

The second round was extremely close and could have gone either way. However, Gooding clearly took the third round on my card.

In the third, Gooding fell to the canvas after a shove and referee Hurley McCall called the trip to the floor  a knockdown. From my vantage point, it was certainly a slip. Still Ibraham clearly won the round, the only one that I felt he took without a doubt.

After four rounds, I scored the bout even at 38-38, or two rounds apiece with no extra credit given for the "knockdown". 

The official cards told a slightly different story. Judge George Hill gave every round to Rami, and gave him an extra point for the iffy knockdown. His score was 40-35. Lynn Carter gave the fight to Ibraham, 39-36. Pierre Benoist saw it the closest, but still favored Rami 38-37.

The win  made Ibraham 4-8-1, 1 KO. He enjoyed the win and revved up his ticket buyers after the verdict was announced. Gooding made a nice showing, but left 1-4, 1 KO.

Philly's Eric Gonzalez made a successful pro debut, beating William Harris, Darby, PA, by unanimous decision in their featherweight bout. I had Gonzalez winning every round, as did official judges Lynn Carter and Pierre Benoist with their 40-36 scores. George Hill saw it a notch closer at 39-37.

Nelson Acevedo won his professional debut with a brutal beat down of Floridian Luis Claudio in a scheduled 4-round bantamweight bout. Southpaw Acevedo started landing his heavy shots early in the bout, and made it clear that he was out for the KO.

Claudio was hurt in the first round and saw no relief in the second. Acevedo shifted to a body attack in the second, and everyone could see the end of the bout coming. After a series of Acevedo lead lefts thumped their way home on Claudio's chin, referee Hurley McCall called it a night. The time was 2:43 of round two.

It was a strong opening night for Acevedo (above left). Claudio, 1-2, 1 KO, lost his second straight (both by TKO).

In the most entertaining war of the evening, Johnson Jajoute won his debut on points over Howard Reece of Belleview, FL, in a junior middleweight contest. Jajoute jumped out in round one, landing strong rights and a good left hook before the session ended.

He continued his work in round two, landing more good right hands that stunned Reece, and threatened to put him down. However, he remained on his feet. In the third, Reece lost a point for rabbit punching, which put his chances of winning a decision out of reach.

In the last round, Reece fought back hard, looking to win the only way remaining. The two rumbled evenly before Jajoute hurt him with a right. But the punch kicked Reece in gear and he began throwing and landing punches.

As the clock ticked down, Jajoute suddenly looked hurt and wobbly. Reece kept pressing and throwing, but Jajoute stayed strong. The bell finally sounded and ended the excellent fight.

The judges all had Jajoute the winner. George Hill scored it 40-35, while Lynn Carter and Pierre Benoist had it 39-36. My score also read 39-36 for Jajoute, giving him the first three rounds and Reece that last.

Reece fell to 1-3, 1 KO. Jajoute, also an MMA fighter, is now 1-0 as a boxer.

Atlantic City light heavyweight Joel De La Paz returned after a four years away from the ring, and remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over Edgar Perez of Chicago. Joel looked a little rusty at first, backing up when he should have been pressing forward on Perez. However, after a couple of rounds, he loosened up, kept his hands moving and walked Perez down. De La Paz won all four rounds on all scorecards, 40-36. De La Paz upped his record to 7-0, 4 KOs, while Perez fell to 5-8, 3 KOs.

North Philly middleweight Fred Jenkins Jr., 6-1, 2 KOs, was scheduled to fight on the card, but his opponent fell out at the last minute. Therefore, Jenkins had to settle for participating in a 3-round exhibition with fellow Philadelphian Lamont Rose.

The show drew a crowd of about 500 on a rainy and cold Friday night. Promoter Humberto Perez plans to stage more shows in Philly this year. Let's hope he does.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - January 10, 2014
Photos by Darryl Cobb