Ryan Bivins returns to Bad Left Hook this afternoon with a second report on last month's Pennsylvania Regional Golden Gloves Show in Philadelphia. Related: Part One of Ryan's Report.
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On April 7th, 2012 eastern Pennsylvania held its regional Golden Gloves championships while western Pennsylvania held their regional bouts a week later on the 14th. The winners from each collided in the state championships on the 21st. A total of seventeen state title fights were contested in both the novice (under 10 fights) and open class divisions, and several other participants received walkovers. All bouts were scheduled for 3 rounds. Novice rounds were 2 minutes long while open rounds were 3 minutes long. Brittany Rogers promoted the event under the Bam Boxing banner, once again at Philadelphia's Front Street Gym. Philly fighters can thank Brittany for the unusual opportunity to go through the entire State tournament without traveling.
1. <110lb> Jose Borges [Harrowgate-Phila] DQ3 Dallas Holden [AC Pal]
Holden began the fight over anxious while Borgias was poised. Overall Borges did his best work by staying behind his jab and patiently timing his opponent with power shots, opening up with lead left hooks as the fight went on. The shorter Holden had faster hands but wasn't landing as clean or effectively. Holden's lack of head movement didn't help him either. Both fighters lost a point in the 2nd round for holding and Holden lost another 2 points in the 3rd, resulting in a DQ victory for Borges.
2. <119lb> Kyree Lyons [Front St-Phila] PTS3 Cole Koontz [Remsiks-PGH]
Lyons was too fast, too elusive, and too busy for the gun shy Koontz. Lyons landed a big straight right hand a minute into the first round that lead to an 8 count, but Koontz didn't appear to have been hurt and protested the call. The round resumed with Koontz being more aggressive while Lyons played keep away. Throughout the fight it was as if Lyons just couldn't miss with the jab. And even though the orthodox Lyons usually pulled straight back with his left hand down after throwing the jab, Koontz was unable to retaliate. Koontz came forward and applied pressure, but because he didn't let his hands go Lyons was not worn down by it.
3. <132lb> Matthew Conway [South Park-PGH] PTS3 James Martin [Unattached]
This was an action packed fast and furious affair where neither fighter had a clear advantage through the first half of the fight. The difference in the fight was Conway's straight right hand. Conway walked Martin down and out landed him more and more as the fight went on. Martin often acknowledged that Conway landed good punches when he'd shake his head afterward.
4. <159lb> Andrew Staiger [PGH-51] PTS3 Shane Denofa [Front St-Phila]
While twisting your hips and shoulders is important in boxing to create torque and thus achieve snap in punches, Denofa took it a step too far and nearly swung himself so off balance he'd almost fall. And he kept doing it the entire fight. Although Staiger helped get Denofa off balance by landing punches, Denofa's decision to pull his head back while simultaneously trying to land shots of his own didn't do him any favors. Eventually a jab, dip, and left hook from Staiger lead to the referee giving the much taller Denofa the first standing 8 count in the final round. Moments later Denofa received a second standing 8 count after falling in on a failed straight right hand. Staiger used the opportunity to counter with a right hand of his own, which nearly sent an off balance Denofa to the canvas. Oddly enough Denofa's performance in the remainder of the round was his best of the fight. But it was too little, too late.
5. <114lb> Tyrone Arzeno [Allentown-Central] PTS3 Ulyssess Castaneda [Dog Pound-Phila]
Brasino was loose, fluid, and landed in combination. Castaneda struggled to find him in the first 2 rounds and had more or less given up by the 3rd, which found him mostly in retreat. Brasino's punching power may have discouraged Castaneda.
6. <141lb> Julian Cruz [East Reading-Central] PTS3 Elliot Brown [Bethesda Erie BC-PGH]
Brown began the fight with an apparent advantage in technique and skill but gradually let the fight slip away by being out worked. He also had a habit of leaving his left hand dangerously low and leaning over his knee. Oddly enough Cruz rarely took advantage of that and concentrated most of his work to the body, which was often left available to him while Brown laid on the ropes.
7. <165lb> Adam Hembrick [3rd Ave WPAL-PGH] PTS3 Vance Nwakpuda [MLK-Phila]
Hembrick controlled the fight with solid jabs and straight right hands. Toward the end of the 1st round both fighters threw right hands but Hembrick's landed and Nwakpuda fell back and needed the ropes to support him, resulting in a technical knockdown. Nwakpuda had his headgear fixed 3 times in the opening round and spent the rest of the fight in retreat. Hembrick began leading with left hooks a lot in the 2nd round but they didn't land, although some of his follow up right hands did. By the 3rd round Nwakpuda's disengaging tactics greatly reduced Hembrick's ability to land, but the fight was already in the bag for Hembrick by then.
8. <201lb+> Serverino Coffy [Joe Hand-Phila] PTS3 John Zemerose [IUP-PGH]
Coffy, despite being much shorter and visibly overweight, out boxed and out slugged his stiff and upright opponent with combination punching. Zemerose applied pressure but couldn't get any sort of rhythm going. When Coffy was low on fuel he stayed close to Zemerose and covered up. Zemerose did not force separation and thus did not give himself an opportunity to land effective punches. Some of Zemerose's best punches were low blows, which eventually lost him a point in the 3rd round. Zemerose was active throughout, but just couldn't land clean, legal punches.
9. <178lb> Mike Diplacido [Rocco's-Phila] PTS3 Eric Sydnor [Shaffer's-PGH]
Sydnor, a slick southpaw, used his athleticism to take an early advantage in the bout. But Diplacido applied intelligent pressure and was able to time and catch a defensively poor Sydnor more and more as the fight went on, especially when Sydnor was trapped against the ropes. Sydnor's conditioning ultimately failed him and Diplacido ended the bout in firm control, leading to some extracurricular activity after the final bell. After Sydnor landed a left hook clearly after the bell, Diplacido retaliated with a right hand, and Sydnor leaped at him with a double fisted attack. The referee had to break the two up and deducted points from both fighters. Post-fight foolishness aside, this was a great fight.
10. <123lb> Antonio Duboise [Shuler's-Phila] TKO1 Luke Gloeckl [PGH-151]
Duboise made quick work of Gloeckl by landing a check left hook which caused Gloeckl to grab his right eye and take a knee. He quickly got up but seemed to be complaining about his vision to his corner, so the referee stopped the bout. Prior to the incident Duboise was in clear control of the fight.
11. <132lb> Seifaid Jihad [Bozy's-Phila] PTS3 Rosi Morales [Elwood City-PGH]
In a battle of two southpaws, Jihad, a counter puncher with good defense and adept infighting skills, proved to be busier and more accurate than Morales. Morales struggled to find a comfortable fighting range the entire fight, most notably in the 1st and 3rd rounds. And during the infighting of the 2nd round, Jihad gave back even better than he received. Morales often lunged in and his punches had more push than snap. But Jihad did hold from time to time when Morales did manage to get inside, resulting in a point deduction in the 3rd round. But what's one point when you're ahead by many?
12. <141lb> Amonte Eberhardt [3rd Ave WPAL-PGH] PTS3 Damon Allen Jr [Mitch Allen-Phila]
In perhaps the most action packed and certainly the most controversial bout of the evening, Allen lost what many considered to be an insurmountable lead after throwing well over 100 punches in the opening round, landing at least a quarter of them. Allen was warned a few times for low blows in the 1st round, which may have discouraged him from going to the body for the remainder of the fight. As brilliant and Allen was offensively during the bout, fighting with his hands down caused him to get caught with many shots that would otherwise have not landed clean. Eberhardt on the other hand maintained a tight guard throughout the bout and became more active as the fight went on. Team Allen was not pleased with the decision, but most took it without much protest. However, one member of the team became vocal and inadvertently disrupted the next fight due to the intensity of his verbal attacks. More on that later...
13. <152lb> Devon Williams [Bethesda Erie BC-PGH] PTS3 James Kelleher [Allentown-Central]
After a close competitive first round, the more hurtful punches from Williams began to bust Kelleher's face up. Despite being out gunned, Kelleher remained game to the very end but ended up a bloody mess. But the bigger story was the eruption and postponement during the 2nd round. It began with a member from team Allen heckling team Eberhardt that their fighter "got a gift". This quickly turned into accusations of corruption once the lady who handed out the trophies was seen congratulating Eberhardt for his victory. The upset team Allen member was then asked to leave and was threatened to be escorted by police when he refused. After a few minutes of swearing the man agreed to leave if he was refunded his money. For the sake of the tournament ending in a timely fashion, his wish was granted.
14. <165lb> Kyron Davis [WHACC-Phila] PTS3 Shayaa Berry [Dirty Dawg-PGH]
Due to the blood splatter in the previous fight this bout was delayed to clean the mess up. Davis proved to be the better boxer from the onset but Berry was able to come over the top of Kerry's low left with the right hand. Davis quickly reasserted himself and unleashed a combination on Berry against the ropes that dropped him. Berry retreated the remainder of the round and never really got back into the fight. It was left hook city for Davis in round 2 with an uppercut mixed in that gave Berry a standing 8 count. In the final round Davis lost 2 points for losing his mouth piece (1 point for each drop) while Berry apparently lost 1 point for lowering his head beneath the waist of Davis. Davis was a point deduction away from a DQ but still a mile ahead by the end.
15. <178lb> Nigel Rogers [Capital-Central] TKO1 Aaron Wright [3rd Ave WPAL-PGH]
Rogers pumped a strong jab, threw good hooks and body shots, slipped shots, countered, and backed Wright into the corner and dropped him. The referee promptly waved it off. Rogers was simply too fast, too strong, and too tall.
16. <201lb> Marquise Dacres [Fast Lane-Phila] PTS3 Deonte Manley [3rd Ave WPAL-PGH]
Dacres used his height and reach advantage to keep Manley on the outside. Both fighters were tentative in the opening round. In the 2nd round the southpaw Dacres used his jab and straight left effectively from a distance and hooks and uppercuts when Manley worked his way inside. When Manley got inside he worked the body. But by the 3rd round Manley was too low on fuel to do any more good body work. After backing Dacres into a corner mid round Manley was so tired he just held onto the top rope to keep Dacres from escaping. But once the referee spotted the rope holding he broke it up and penalized Manley one point. Most of the round was just wrestling, but Dacres had already done the more effective work in the first 2 rounds.
17. <201lb+> Fred Latham [Boyce AC WPAL-PGH] PTS3 Bill Marks [Unattached-Central]
In the final bout of the evening Latham easily outpointed Marks using his superior speed, combinations, and defense. Marks mostly stuck to his jab and Latham would often counter the jab with a right hand over the top. When Latham didn't counter the jab, he'd slip outside with ease or parry it. The entire offense of Marks operated behind the jab, and Latham completely took it away from him. By the 3rd round Latham was landing a lot of 1-2 combinations but never finished with the hook. Nonetheless the outcome of the fight was never in doubt.
The Open class fighters that got byes and will advance to the national tournament include 108lb champion Ricardo E. Carabello of Harrowgate and 114lb champion Stephen Fulton Jr. of Shuler's gym, both Philadelphia fighters. I was only able to record the name of one of the Novice class fighters to declare the state championship uncontested, Andrew Peurifoy of Philadelphia's Joe Hand gym (201lb). The fact that he's in my weight division is entirely coincidental... But hopefully we'll meet down the line.