Escondido’s ‘Fly Boy’ returns to South Philly

Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson when he was one of Manny Pacquiao's sparring partners used to prepare for the mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Hard-luck Escondido middleweight Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson  came within seconds of upsetting Jesse Hart at South Philly’s 2300 Arena on March 18.

Fly Boy returns to the scene of the pugilistic crime when he takes on DeCarlo Perez, of Atlantic City, NJ, in the scheduled eight-round main event on June 3.

Johnson, 28, floored the unbeaten Hart, a South Philly product, in the sixth round only to be waved off by referee Ernie Sharif . He did it again  in the closing seconds of the 10th round and again was waived off by Sharif.

Adding loss to indignity, Johnson went on to defeat in an unanimous decision by scores of 95-94, 97-92, and 98-91, later filing a protest over Sharif’s work.

A pro since 2008, Johnson has made a career out of fighting some of the best junior middleweights, middleweights and super middleweights, going 19-19-4, 6 K0s against the kind of schedule you rarely see any longer in boxing.

Twelve of Johnson’s opponents were unbeaten when he fought them and his list of opposition includes: Julian Williams, Glen Tapia, Luis Arias, Jermell Charlo, Dominic Wade, Sergio Mora, Craig McEwan, Louis Rose, Adam Trupish, Daquan Arnett and Yudell Johnson.

Only Williams has managed to stop him in 42 fights. Johnson had won four in a row, including a revenge win over Mike Gravonski, before losing to Hart.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Philly, a place where the fans appreciate me for my fighting style and my grind rather than looking at my record,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to Peltz Boxing for bringing me back and I am looking to pick up right where I left off and put up a great show for the fans.”

Perez, 25, knows a victory over Johnson will get his career back on track after suffering a setback Jan. 22 when he was stopped by Rob Brant, of St. Paul, MN, in the fourth round of their Jan. 22 fight in Tucson, AZ, for the vacant NABA middleweight title.

Drained by making 160 for that match, Perez has decided to put on a few pounds and grow into the super middleweight division. The fight with Johnson will be contested at 164 pounds.

“I know people will criticize me about my last fight but that is behind me,” Perez said. “My focus is on my future and destroying everything and everyone who steps into the ring with me. That was a different fighter (against Brant). I wasn’t myself throughout camp but as a fighter I’m not going to run away from a fight. All I can do is fix my mistakes and what was wrong and come back better than ever.

“I have refocused myself purely on my boxing career—and nothing else. Come June 3, everyone will see a completely different fighter.

“I feel this fight against Dashon Johnson is going to be a great competitive fight. He has been in there with good fighters but I believe on June 3 he will be facing his toughest challenge. I know he will be ready and I will make sure I am above and beyond prepared.”

A pro since 2010, Perez is 15-4-1, 5 K0s, and he is 3-0 at the 2300 Arena, where he outpointed Jesse Nicklow and scored knockouts over Tyrone Brunson and Tolan Tascoe.

Prior to the Brant fight, Perez had won nine out of 10, including an impressive win on ShoBox last summer against Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, of the Dominican Republic, who was 23-0 at fight time.

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The Dashon Johnson-DeCarlo Perez fight headlines a seven-bout card at the 2300 Arena, located at 2300 South Swanson Street in South Philadelphia (between Ritner & Porter, Front and 2d Streets). The June 3 fight is being sponsored by Parx Casino and Coors Light. Doors open at 6 pm; first fight at 7pm. Tickets are $40, $50 and $75 and can be purchased by calling Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) and Wanamaker’s Tickets (215-568-2400). Tickets also can be purchased online at The June 3 card is promoted by Peltz Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions and BAM Boxing.

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