PHILLY BOXING HISTORY  -  November 14, 2014


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 Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr.


Philly heavyweight Joey Dawejko, 13-3-2, 6 KOs, made short work of Rayford Johnson of Longview, TX, 10-16, 6 KOs, in the scheduled 8-round main event at Harrah’s Casino and Racetrack in Chester, PA Friday night.  Dawejko stormed out of his corner in the opening round, dropped Johnson twice and registered his third consecutive first-round knockout victory.

Dawejko used an overhand right-left hook combination to score both knockdowns.  Johnson rose from his first trip to the canvas.  However, the second time Dawejko landed that combo, Johnson toppled sideways along the ropes and crashed to the floor.  Referee Benji Esteves Jr. halted the fight immediately.  The time was 2:28 of round one. 

Dawejko, not known as a puncher prior to this current streak, has reinvented himself as a more aggressive fighter in 2014.  The style adjustment helped to make this the most eventful year of his career thus far, going 5-0 with more people watching than ever before. 

After a shaky two years that produced just a 3-3-2 record, Dawejko appears to have refocused in the past twelve months.  He started 2014 with an upset points win over veteran Derric Rossy, and the victory gave new life to Joey’s sagging career. 

Dawejko followed that win with a solid decision over then-unbeaten Mark Rideout.  Then came his three straight quick KO victories.  Although his prey was bit easier than in his first two bouts of 2014, the sum result is a Dawejko that has fans again believing that the former junior world amateur champion is ready to reach his potential as a pro. 

“2015 is going to be the best year of my career,” Dawejko said after the fight. 

When pressed to name possible opponents that he’d like to face next year, Dawejko came up with just one name. 

“Amir Mansour,” Dawejko said.  “This is nothing against him.  He’s a great guy.  I just want to be in that position.” 

Dawejko-Mansour?  Pinch me. 

Welterweight Raymond Serrano, 19-2, 9 KOs, returned to the ring after almost two years - and two knockout losses - with a solid victory over Wilfredo Acuna, of Managua, Nicaragua, 15-16, 12 KOs.  The North Philadelphian shook off some ring rust in the first few rounds, but still managed to put them in his win column. 

The fight got feisty in round four, when Acuna tried testing Serrano.  The Nicaraguan threw his best punches of the fight, but each time he landed, Serrano fired back even harder.  As the fourth round ended, Raymond had shaken off the rust and was landing well. 

The fourth round sequence apparently convinced Acuna to call it a night.  When he returned to his corner, Acuna let his team know that he’d had enough.  Referee Shawn Clark called the fight over at 3:00 of the fourth round. 

“It felt GREAT,” Serrano said about being back in the ring for the scheduled six-rounder. 

Mt. Pocono, PA featherweight Benjamin Burgos won a questionable decision over Philly southpaw "Macho" Alex Barbosa in a four-rounder.  Barbosa, was making his first start in nearly two years, and appeared to have control of the fight.  However, two of the three official judges, Eric Dali and Michael Somma, favored Burgos by scores of 39-37.  Judge Larry Hazzard Jr. scored the bout a 38-38 draw.  I saw the fight 39-37 for Barbosa, now 4-2-1, 1 KO.  With the majority win, Burgos improved to 2-9-1.    

Middleweight Immanuwel Aleem, Richmond, VA, remained undefeated, 11-0, 7 KOs, with a one-sided destruction of Floridian Angel Antonio Martinez, 6-9-3, 1 KO.  Aleem won every moment of the fight, and rocked Martinez several times.  Finally in round five, a series of hard right hands dropped Martinez to the canvas. 

Martinez struggled to rise but stumbled back to the floor before managing to get to his feet.  Once upright, Martinez wobbled back toward the ropes.  Referee Benji Esteves caught Martinez and held him against the strands to prevent another fall.  Esteves halted the fight at 2:44 of round five with one hand, while holding Martinez up with the other. 

In another surprising decision, heavyweight Dan Bolden, Louisiana, 3-3, 1 KO, won a disputed points victory over Randy Easton of Williamsport, PA, 2-5-1, 2 KOs, in the opening bout of the evening.  Easton started quickly, using his superior size to control the early action.  However Bolden battled back and won the frame with a strong finish. 

The heavyweights went to war in round two.  Both swung for the fences, and the round was a real slugfest.  As the action heated up, Easton’s size became a factor and Bolden began to tire.  Rounds three and four were fairly close, but Easton appeared to have the edge in the sloppy but entertaining fight. 

However, when the decision was announced, judges Eric Dali and Larry Hazzard Jr. both had Bolden ahead, 39-37.  Judge Michael Somma favored Easton by the same score, but Bolden left with the victory. 

The fight was promoted by Joey Eye Boxing, XFE, and Kings Promotions.  The next edition of the Harrah’s series is scheduled for March 2015.




John DiSanto - Chester, PA - November 14, 2014
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr.