A Philly Fighter Named Lajuan Simon
Jameel "Black Gold" Wilson entered the Philadelphia National Guard Armory ring Friday night, wearing his usual gold Everlast boxing trunks, to the eardrum-shattering cheers of the capacity crowd.
Wilson is a Philadelphia native and recently had recently had do-or-die battles with the likes of Antwun Echols and Tarvis Simms. Black Gold was the fan favorite for his main event bout against the talented but as yet untested Lajuan Simon.
If you don’t count Simon’s one round bout against Horace Cooper last November - which was ruled a no-contest (an accidental head butt opened a nasty cut over Cooper’s left eye) - his last fight was over seventeen months ago, a fourth round TKO 4 over Matthew Thompson. Yet judging by the reaction of the crowd as Simon entered the ring, you would have never known that he too was fighting out of the City of Brotherly Love!
As soon as the opening bell sounded that all changed. Simon displayed sound boxing skills and a quick-stinging jab, not often seen coming from a young boxer fighting in just his ninth professional match.
Simon took the first round and was faring well in round two until the rugged Wilson connected with his big right hand that hurt the 26-year-old Simon. A Simon left hook and a couple of unintentional head butts in round thre, had Wilson cut and bleeding around both his eyes. Understandably, this was beginning to bother and affect Wilson, who refused to back down and decided to turn the bout into a toe-to-toe brawl . . . to the crowd’s approval!
Wilson was bleeding all over in round four - I had to wear my white shirt? - and was getting pounded by Simon’s fast hands. Black Gold’s gold trunks were now crimson, but he battled on and won everybody’s respect with his "no quit" style, even though he absorbed a great deal of punishment in round five.
By the sixth round even the white tape wrapped around both fighters’ gloves had turned to red. With the blood flowing freely from Wilson’s eyes, and the ringside media getting spattered with each thunderous punch Simon landed, the delirious crowd truly appreciated Wilson’s display of nuts and guts.
As Simon assumed control in round seven with his workmanlike attack to Wilson’s body and head, too many combinations by the well trained and well conditioned Simon were finding their mark.
As the fighters touched gloves beginning the eighth and final round, the crowd stood on their feet as both Philly warriors went at it full blast! Wilson, now desperate and sensing he needed a knockout to win, was throwing punches from every angle and hardly stopped winging shots at all during the last three minutes.
With Simon and Wilson going toe-to-toe in the center of the ring, the final bell sounded to end this hard-fought battle.
While two judges rightfully scored Simon as the winner (79-73, 79-73), you couldn’t help but wonder how a 76-76 draw was tabbed by the third judge.
Either way, Lajuan Simon, now 8-0-1(4 KOs), earned his majority decision victory over Jameel Wilson, now 13-9-2 (8 KOs). Lajuan Simon also earned the respect of the discerning Philly fight crowd - who now were cheering for Simon as he exited the ring!
"I couldn’t believe (Wilson) stayed up with all I hit him with" exclaimed the likeable Simon afterwards,. "He was really tough and this was my first time going eight rounds."
Also on the Greg Robinson Power Productions undercard, Derek "Pooh" Enis extended his unbeaten record to 6-0 (4 KOs) with a fourth round TKO over Josh Smith. Smith, from Nashville, Tennessee, dropped to 17-18-1 (15 KOs).
With his two-time world heavyweight champion Uncle Tim looking on, Chazz Witherspoon (now 4-0 3 KOs) battered Harold Rodriguez around the ring en route to a fourth round TKO win. Witherspoon, a 2004 Olympic team alternate and soon-to-be college graduate, showed he had the tools of a young heavyweight prospect on the move.
In a battle of junior welterweights from Philadelphia, Tyric "Too Sweet" Robinson (3-0 2 KOs) scored a unanimous four round decision win over Ahmed Curry, whose record fell to 2-3 (2 KOs). The quick and talented Robinson had Curry down in the first round.
Cruiserweight Lamont Barnes (1-0 1 KO) made his pro debut extra special with his first round knockout win over a tough Alfred Bandikebicius (0-2).
In the card’s opening bout, local middleweight Jamal “The Truth” Davis (3-1 2 KOs) dropped Rashard Sanders (4-6-1) three times during his first round knockout win. The Truth’s fists told no lies as he annihilated his foe with a vicious body attack.
Thanks to Philadelphia’s Greg Robinson and his Power Productions Inc. for an exciting, entertaining evening of fighting that showcased some of Philly’s better up-and-coming talent. Power Productions next show will be on June 10 at the Blue Horizon. Call Ticketmaster at (215) 336-2000 or The Blue Horizon at (215) 763-0500 for more information.