By: William Holmes
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is nearing its end, but Peltz Boxing Promotions, Joe Hand Promotions, and Bam Boxing Promotions put on a six fight card in front of a packed and enthusiastic crowd at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Only standing room seats were available by the day of the fight and it was announced that 1300 tickets were sold.
The first televised bout of the evening was in the middleweight division between DeCarlo Perez (13-3-1) and Jessie Nicklow (24-5-3) in the middleweight division.
Nicklow came charging out at the opening bell and threw a haymaker right hook that Perez blocked, but it was a sign of things to come in the first round. Nicklow and Perez exchanged body shots early, but Nicklow was able to land a hard right cross to Perez’s chin that forced him to hold on. Nicklow was able to land two more hard right hands in the first round and had Perez staggered at one point.
Perez was able to turn the tide of the fight back in his favor in the second round as he outworked and out landed Nicklow while avoiding his right hand. Perez’s right uppercut began to land in the second round, and he was able to mix them in his combinations in the third round effectively.
Nicklow was able to land an early right cross to the chin of Perez in the fourth round, but Perez took the punch well and outworked Nicklow for the remainder. Perez’s activity and effectiveness of his combinations improved as the fight went on and he had a strong fifth round and had Nicklow wobbled near the end of the round.
At one point in the sixth round Perez connects with a combination that Nicklow shook his head no at, but Perez only followed that up with a straight right that landed cleanly. Nicklow, visibly frustrated, faked a touch of the gloves near the end of the round after being warned for a low blow and drilled Perez with a right hand to the chin.
Nicklow needed a stoppage or at least a knockdown in the final two rounds to win the fight, but it was Perez who increased his work rate and the ferocity of his punches.
The judges scored the bout 79-73 on all three scorecards for DeCarlo Perez.
David Gonzales (5-0-1) met Ryan Belasco (18-6-3) in the second bout of the night in the junior welterweight division.
Belasco was content on throwing mainly jabs in the opening round while Gonzales was throwing wide, looping hooks and landing. However, Gonzales wasn’t throwing combinations and seemed content on looking for the big knockout punch.
Gonzales caught Belasco with a left hook in the second round as he was backing away that had him briefly on shaky legs, but he was unable to follow it up and score a knockdown.
Belasco had a good third round which featured a hard early straight right hand by him and he was able to avoid most of the power shots of Gonzales. Gonzales came out aggressive and wild at the start of the fourth and had Belasco backing up early and on the defensive. They exchanged a few times in the fourth and it was Gonzales who was landing the better and cleaner shots.
Gonzales only has one stoppage victory in his young career so he isn’t known for his power, and he appeared to outbox Belasco but wasn’t active enough to emphatically win the final two rounds.
The final scores were 58-56 Gonzales, 57-57, and 57-57 to make the bout a draw.
The main event of the night as between Amir Mansour (21-1) and Joey Dawejko (14-3-2) for the Pennsylvania Heavyweight Title. Dawejko had a very successful amateur career and has been on a tear as of late while Mansour is coming off of a devastating knockout win after losing a close decision to Steve “USS” Cunningham.
Both Mansour and Dawejko can bang and enjoy engaging in slugfests, and the Philadelphia fight fans were expecting a war.
Both boxers spent a majority of the first round feeling each other out and it was Mansour who landed the first good punch of the night with a check right hook on Dawejko. The crowd was definitely pro Dawejko as they cheered every punch he threw, whether he landed or missed. Dawejko best punch of the first round was a short right hook near the end of the round.
Mansour started off the second round with a hard straight left that stunned Dawejko and forced him to tie up. Dawejko looked hesitant to get in range after that punch landed, but an accidental head butt opened up a cut by Mansour’s right eye and gave the crowd and Dawejko some energy.
Mansour’s corner was able to close up his cut before the start of the third round. Mansour’s punches are so powerful that when he banged a straight left against Dawejko’s high guard it physically moved him back. Mansour landed a hard right hook in the third that Dawejko took well, but he also landed a hook over the top of Dawejko’s hook to the body. Another clash of heads occurred near the end of the third that opened up a cut in between Dawejko’s eyes.
Rd 3: Mansour’s corner did a good job on the cut. When Mansour lands a punch against Dawejko guard it moves him back. Mansour’s straight lefts to body seem to be effective. Good lead right hook by Mansour. Dawejko takes it.
Dawejko lands a hook to body and Mansour comes over the top of it with a hook to the head. Dawejko in a southpaw stance. Good left hook by Dawejko near end of round. Good left hook by Dawejko, but then a clash of heads and Dawejko has a bad cut near his nose.
Dawejko landed a left hook in the opening minute of the fourth round that nearly put Mansour down, but he was able to stay on his feet and rush forward on Dawejko by the ropes throwing bombs. Mansour was able to land a few body punches and both boxers were bleeding badly in the fourth.
The fifth round were less active than the previous four rounds, but Dawejko appeared to be doing a good job countering Mansour in the final minute of the round.
Mansour was far more active in the fifth round and Dawejko was looking for the counter. Dawejko however likely lost the sixth round as he was not throwing enough while Mansour was staying active with his jab from the outside.
The crowd was chanting “Joey, Joey” at the start of the seventh round but Dawejko again was not very active and seemed content on looking for the big counter punch. Mansour did catch Dawejko with a hard left hook in the middle of the seventh.
Dawejko may have been gassed by the eighth round as he was fighting moving backwards and simply outworked by the fresher Mansour. Mansour’s right hook found it’s home on Dawejko’s head several times in the eighth.
Dawejko’s supporters were urging him to pick up the pace in the final rounds as most believed he was behind in the cards. Mansour however was gaining confidence in the ninth round and tagged Dawejko at a higher percentage than in the previous rounds.
Dawejko needed a knockout in the last round to win but he didn’t have the gas to go for the kill. Mansour however had enough energy left to hurt Dawejko with a right uppercut and ended the fight convincingly.
The judges scored the bout 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93 for Amir Mansour.
Undercard Quick Results:
Gang-Yong Kim (4-1) defeated Edgardo Torres (2-4) by decision with scores of 40-35 on all three scorecards in the lightweight division.
Kevin Womack (5-5-2) defeated Nathaniel Rivas (5-2) by TKO at 1:24 of the first round in the welterweight division.
Ismael Garcia (8-0-1) defeated Tommy Ayers (2-5) by TKO at 2:06 of the first round.