Palmer wins comeback fight with second-round TKO

Donnie Palmer took full advantage of his height and size advantage over opponent Houston Crayton last Saturday. Photo by Bill Forry

Dorchester’s Donnie Palmer made a triumphant return to the ring last Saturday evening. The heavyweight boxer, who was shot and wounded last July in an incident on Park Street that nearly claimed his life, defeated Houston Crayton in a second-round technical knockout. The victory improved Palmer’s professional record to 5-0-1.

The pugilistic event at Club Royale on Tremont Street was a good one for the Dorchester Boxing Club, where Palmer trains. A second fighter, Brian Kelly of Adams Corner, also scored a tough, four-round decision to win his first-ever professional fight.

Palmer’s bout against Crayton was not the main event, but it drew heavy interest from the region’s boxing fans. Until he was shot, Palmer was on track to score even bigger pro contests and purses. Saturday’s fight — albeit against a smaller boxer with a weak pro record—was his first opportunity to show that his recovery is on track.

”I got shot in the stomach, not in the heart,” Palmer said after the fight. “I’m human. I had a lot of reservations. Is my leg going to hold up? Am I going to have to stand up between rounds? But I got into the ring, the music was playing, the crowd was going, it was out the window. It was a surreal high.”

Palmer let Crayton do much of the work in the first round. It was by design, he said. “The first-round I was figuring, let me just tire him out. I would suck a lot of energy out of him and then knock him out in round two.”

That’s exactly how it played out.

What’s next? “I want to fight everyone. I want to go 10-0 in 2015. Id like to clean up Massachusetts, take out everyone in Mass. … I’d like to fight these dudes, have heavyweight supremacy in Massachusetts,” said Palmer, a former Olympic hopeful who chalked up an impressive 74-11 record as an amateur before turning pro in 2013. “I do want to be in the Mass Hall of Fame for boxing, so I want to fight all the guys in my era right now early because these guys ain’t going to see me after 2015, because after this year it’s shoot for the stars,” he said.