ATLANTIC CITY -- Egg Harbor Township junior-middleweight boxer DeCarlo Perez kept his winning streak intact Saturday night.
The 21-year-old collected his fifth straight victory with an eight-round, unanimous decision over Jamar Freeman (9-2-2, 5 KOs), of Wilson, N.C., at Bally's Atlantic City.
Judges Joe Pasquale (77-75), Luis Rivera (78-74) and Eugene Grant (78-75) all scored the fight for Perez. Their verdict generated a mixed reaction among the crowd at Bally's Grand Ballroom and caused a few arguments among fans of both fighters.
"I knew he had the upper hand coming into the fight because I'm in his hometown and his promoter (Russell Peltz) had the show," Freeman said. "I knew I couldn't afford to keep it close, and I didn't think I did. I definitely thought I won the fight. That was a robbery, right there."
Perez was forced to overcome some early adversity in the bout.
Both fighters were effective in the first two rounds, but Freeman rocked Perez with an overhand right in the third. He pressed Perez into the ropes and landed several more big punches, but Perez weathered the onslaught.
Perez, a 22-year-old who works as a pharmacy technician at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus, was the busier fighter in the middle part of the fight.
"He caught me with a real good right hand in the third," Perez said. "I just focused on staying calm and not losing my composure. That's something I might not have been able to do earlier in my career. I think that's what it takes to develop into a better fighter."
Another local fighter, Vineland middleweight Ismael Garcia (6-0, 3 KOs), earned his sixth victory in as many pro fights with a second-round TKO over Michael Sunkett (1-3, 1 KO), of Louisville, Ky.
Garcia, 26, began his career with three unanimous decisions and has now posted three straight knockouts/TKOs. He suffered a flash knockdown in the opening round but overwhelmed Sunkett in the following round. He battered him with punches, forcing referee Lindsay Page to step in at two minutes, two seconds of the round.
In the main event, Philadelphia junior-lightweight Teon Kennedy (19-2-2, 7 KOs) came on strong down the stretch to post a 10-round, unanimous decision over New York's Joselito Collado (13-3, 3 KOs). Kennedy said afterward that he thought he sustained a broken jaw in the fight.
In other undercard bouts, Mark Rideout (3-0, 1 KO) gained a second-round TKO over Aaron Leonard (0-1-1) in a duel of Philadelphia heavyweights.
Berlin junior-welterweight Nathaniel Rivas (1-0) won his pro debut with a four-round, unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Carlos Nieves (0-5).
Neptune cruiserweight Dave Valykeo (3-0, 0 KOs) earned a four-round, majority decision over Brian Donohue (2-5-1), of Philadelphia.
St. Clair, Pa., welterweight Rafael Montalvo (3-4, 3 KOs) upset Puerto Rico's Jose Javier Calderon (4-3, 4 KOs) on a fifth-round TKO.
Philadelphia junior-lightweight Anthony Burgin (5-0, 1 KO) took a four-round, unanimous decision over Puerto Rico's Jose Del Valle (1-2-2).
Punchlines: Atlantic City welterweight Antowyan Aikens (8-0, 1 KOs) won a four-round, unanimous decision over Marcos Brooks (7-15), of South Carolina, late Friday night at Dover Downs Casino Hotel in Dover, Del.
Millville junior-middleweight Thomas LaManna (12-0, 7 KOs) dealt Jeremy Yelton (17-15), of Forest City, N.C., his 13th consecutive loss with a second-round TKO on Aug. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.
Boxing returns to Bally's Atlantic City on Sept. 28 with a card featuring Passaic junior-middleweight prospect Glen Tapia (19-0, 11 KOs) against Mexico native Elko Garcia (27-8, 13 KOs).