By Frank Bartolini, Ringside
Questionable scoring by the judges dampened Philadelphian Damon Allen’s comeback at the 2300 Arena last Saturday night (7/09). It was Allen’s first fight since the COVID pandemic struck; he had not been in the ring since October of 2019. Tough Oscar Barajas, Zamora, Mexico, fought hard but did not appear to earn the six-round decision.
Looking a bit rusty, Allen, 131.5 lbs., still came out fast and managed to stay on his toes and moved well while landing blows to Barajas' head during round one. Although Allen’s timing may have been off, this pattern continued and he clearly swept the first three stanzas.
Granted, the southpaw Barajas,136.2 lbs., pressed forward, fighting out of a half-crouch, and managed to score a few hard shots to the head and body during the first nine minutes.
However, matters took a different course in the fourth and fifth rounds when Barajas’ awkward punches began to find their mark. Barajas tattooed Allen with combinations to the chin and had him buzzed during round five.
Determined to win, Allen returned to life and stormed off his stool when the bell chimed to start the final session. Standing toe to toe both combatants unloaded bombs. It was give-and-take until the final gong, and Allen got the better of every exchange. The entire crowd of over nine hundred spectators were excited, and on their feet cheering the native Philadelphian.
Following the fight's conclusion, the Philly boxing fans were smiling, shaking hands, and high-fiving, believing Allen’s heart and big finish had secured the victory. So, there was a collective gasp when ring announcer “Discombobulating '' Jones read the official scores: 57-57 and 58-56 twice, giving Barajas a majority decision win.
This was the second straight win for Barajas against a Philadelphia prizefighter at the 2300 Arena. In February, Barajas upset Philly fan favorite Jerome Conquest in the very same ring. Barajas' mark rose to 6-8-1, 2 KOs. Allen lost for the second time and is now 16-2-1, 5 KOs.
Allen vs. Barajas was the co-feature to an eight-round main event that pitted featherweights Edward Vazquez, Fort Worth, TX, against Jose Argel, Carolina, PR in a scheduled eight-rounder. Neither Vazquez,128.8 lbs., or Argel 127.2 lbs., packed a punch, yet both adhered to a slugger's fighting style. This made for a pitty-pat war for all eight heats. Vazquez won by shutout, 80-72 on all three cards, and improved his respectable record of 12-1, 3 KOs. Argel dipped to 8-4, 2 KOs.
Isaiah Johnson, 141.6 lbs., Sicklerville, NJ., winner TKO1 (1:57) over Rondale Hubbert,145.7 lbs., Duluth, MN. Johnson: 5-0, 5 KOs. Hubbert 14-23-3, 8 KOs.
DeAundre Pettus, 160.5 lbs, Columbia, SC won by unanimous four-round decision over Chukka Willis, 163 lbs., Emporia, KS. All three judges scored 40-36. Pettus, 7-1, 3 KOs. Willis: 4-17, 2 KOs.
Famous Wilson, pro debut, 160.5 lbs., Deer Park, NY, won by unanimous decision versus Vincent Randall, 157.9 lbs., Valparaiso, IN. The scores were 40-36 twice and 39-37. Wilson: 1-0, Randall: 0-2.
Boimah Karmo, 152.7 lbs., Sharon Hill, PA, won a unanimous four-round nod against Daniel Jiles, 151 lbs., Philadelphia, by scores of 40-36 and 39-37 twice. Karmo: 3-0-1, Jiles: 0-2.
The night started with a battle of junior welterweight debutantes. Najeem Johns, 141 lbs., Philadelphia, cold cocked Darryl Chamberlain with the second punch of his pro career. The punch rocked Chamberlain to the core, and had him on queer street. John's follow up shot had Chamberlain falling face-first onto the ring apron. The fight ended after just 16 seconds into the action when referee Shawn Clark waved it off and the ring physician climbed through the ropes to provide medical care. Chamberlain was up on his feet one minute later and deemed in good physical condition. Johns: 1-0, 1 KO, Chamberlain: 0-1.