National Collegiate Boxing Association Tournament begins at Foxwoods
By Alex Pierpaoli
On Thursday afternoon, Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, CT hosted the quarter-final round of the National Collegiate Boxing Association championship tournament. Over the course of five and a half hours, thirty bouts featured sixty competitors who squared off inside the ring at the Fox Theater.
There was lots of action throughout most of the bouts, five of which ended in stoppages; Referee Stopped Contest is the amateur distinction, with the result being a knockout of the technical variety. Of the twenty-five official decisions rendered, this writer would only argue with 2 of them, at the most and both of those were close fights.
Without exception, the boxers in this tournament each came to win, making for intense exchanges in some of the most closely contested bouts. Couple the athletes’ intensity with the brevity of three 2 minute-round contests and time has been so compacted that each second is there for the boxers to control and prevent their opponent from taking from them. Of course, sometimes hand-to-hand combat is a lot uglier, with more grappling or missing than punches exchanged, but out of thirty fights there were probably only 2 stinkers in the bunch.
132 pounder, Jared Santos, of University of Nevada Reno, battled Lock Haven University's Corey McQuiston. Round 2 was especially heated, both guys landing with power, when Santos scored a knockdown off a thumping right hand. Sensing he’d hurt his opponent, Jared Santos came raging out for round three and landed a heavy combo that scored him another standing 8 count. Corey McQuiston backpedaled, more cautious now and hoping to put some distance between him and Santos’ heavy hands. When the bell sounded it looked as though the referee was just about to stop the fight. Jared Santos advanced to the next round.
Josh Quintana of West Point switched back and forth from southpaw to orthodox and battered his southpaw foe, Richard Vansicien, of University of Washington, 175 pounds.
Quintana overwhelmed Vansicien, scoring two standing 8 counts before the referee stopped the contest in round one.
147 pounder, Norberto Perez of the nearby, US Coast Guard Academy, in New London CT, broke the straps on his opponent’s headgear with a right-left combination in round one. Calib Trotter, of University of Nevada Reno took the blows a lot better than his equipment did, and once the head-protector was replaced the action resumed. Perez controlled the work-rate and the distance in a competitive but one-sided fight and he advanced to Friday night’s round.
In another 147 pound contest. Sebastian Mims of West Point battered Oscar Gomez of San Jose State University and won the decision. Mims’ beautiful left hook and an excellent sense of distance really told the story in the most lopsided bout of the day. Oscar Gomez hung in there and kept trying but Mims’ naturalistic footwork, coupled with heavy accurate combos, should make him hard to beat in this tourney.
Despite a bloody nose which the doctor looked at in the middle of round three, the US Naval Academy’s Noah Weintraub finished strong and defeated Lock Haven University's Owen Gregory at 156lbs.
In a Sea versus Air match-up, 156 lbs, Jamen DesCartes of US Coast Guard Academy battled James Monk of the US Air Force Academy. James DesCartes, a southpaw, got the better of the second round, landing the right hook well, in a good action fight. James Monk poured it on to finish strong but DesCartes, spurred on by an enthusiastic cheering section, comes away with the win to advance.
Dave Montz, of Penn State, thumped Alex Gentry, of East Carolina University, gaining an RSC victory and advancing in the tourney. Both guys exchanged heavy shots from the start, but in the second Montz connected with a heavy combination that drew a standing 8 count from the referee. A few seconds later, after another barrage, it appeared Gentry surrendered when he was about to receive a second standing 8. Penn State gains an RSC win in the 139lbs class.
JJ Mariano of University of Nevada Reno and Jim Lawson of the US Naval Academy showed some real skill in a spirited, action bout that featured lots of contact between 139 pounders. The officials tabbed Mariano the winner at the end of three in a close, exciting fight.
At 175 pounds, James Kashmere of Shippensburg University of PA defeated Jeff Fuss of West Virginia University. Kashmere’s cruder, bullying style won the favor of the judges, although this ringside observer thought the clever boxing and work-rate of Jeff Fuss, especially in the last half of the bout, should have prevailed. The officials tabbed Kashmere the winner and he advances.
185 pounder, Anthony Alexander, of the US Naval Academy, got the worst of things in round one vs. Josue Gaytan of University of Nevada Reno. Although taller, leaner and with a more chiseled-looking torso, Alexander had all he could handle trying to hold off the busy, battering-fists of Gaytan. Proving the old adage “looks don’t win fights” the smoother, thicker-waisted Gaytan prevailed by using good body punching, clever head movement and a fusillade of heavy blows in the third which garnered him a standing 8 count.
In a bout that featured lots of posing, feinting and hesitating from both men, counter-punchers Vinh Thai, of UNLV, lost to Ceon Harris, of West Point. Despite being speedy 119 pounders, this match-up featured a startling lack of action compared to most of the other fights. However, it was certainly not due to a lack of skill on the part of the combatants, but simply the clash of styles. The amazing reflexes and speedy fists of Ceon Harris, along with a busy third round, gave West Point the win in a close one.
175 pounder, Taylor Tennyson of US Coast Guard Academy, defeated Logan Brandt of the US Air force Academy. Tennyson came out blazing in round one, but by the end of the round Brandt had put some distance between them and was scoring on his pressuring foe. Fighting out of a crouch, Tennyson seemed to be tiring by the end of the second but Brandt took his own foot off the gas as well. Tennyson won the third and the bout to advance in the tourney.
One hundred sixty-five pounders, John Mejia of West Point and Andrew Sensoli of University of Michigan rumbled through the full 6 minutes. Sensoli, a taller southpaw fighter, was unable to use his physical advantages due to the pure aggression of the pressuring Mejia. Sensoli reached for Mejia, repeatedly, in hopes of catching him with something to slow Mejia’s rushes but overall Sensoli paid for it. West Point's John Mejia advances with the points win.
156 pounds, Dan Gibson of West Virginia University versus Colin Schmitt of University of California Davis. In round one where's Teddy Atlas?! A shoelace just came untied on Gibson and the referee called a halt to the action to get it tied. Flashback to the Olympic tourney in London this summer, there it seemed to happen quite often.
Schmitt is timing the longer-limbed, taller Gibson and scoring with his own shots inside the slightly wider blows of Gibson. That was another close bout. Got to assume the accurate punching of Schmitt carried it but Gibson may have landed more and more often throughout. The judges like Colin Schmitt of UCAL Davis and he advances; the was a good, spirited effort from Dan Gibson of WVU
119lbs, Brandon Knox of East Carolina University versus Mike Magtalas of the US Air Force Academy. Compared to many of the exciting bouts today this fight is downright ugly. Both guys drawing repeated warnings from the referee. Going into round three it's really hard to tell who's ahead; there’s been lots of grazing, grappling and missing. The judges see East Carolina University's Brandon Knox as the victor and he advances.
147 lbs, Jamal Ferguson of Indiana Univ of PA vs Glenn Miltenberg of USAFA. Ferguson landed heavier blows in the 1st, Miltenberg more often. The second starts up with a heavy exchange, Ferguson gets the better of it. Ferguson is spending a bit too much time along ropes and Miltenberg is really making him pay for it. Very close round, first half belonged to Jamal Ferguson and second half to Glenn Miltenberg. In the third,
Miltenberg connects with a long straight right and scores a standing 8 count. This looks as though Miltenberg may have stolen it with big 3rd. He has, Glenn Miltenberg of the US Air Force Academy wins the decision over Jamal Ferguson and advances. That was a dramatic, exciting bout, and both guys have crowd-pleasing professional-looking styles. There’s nothing quite like welterweights.
In bout 4 pits 132 pounders, Justin Suen of US Naval Academy against Kevin Jones of Westpoint. These guys are really letting their hands go, accentuating the big difference between amateurs and pros. They are throwing like activity counts a lot more here. Kevin Jones is just pouring on the pressure. His supporters shout "sprint, sprint, Kevin!" from their seats and listened, really never stopped punching. Jones has got a stinging one-two and amazing reserves of energy. And a gutsy effort from Justin Suen who was outworked and a little outgunned.
Bout number 27, 165 pounders, Will Morrill of Penn State University versus Denis Vorobyov of the US Air Force Academy. Morrill of Penn State has a bit of size advantage here but Vorobyov is overcoming it with good timing and consistent pressure. Vorobyov never threw one punch at a time, always combinations, always pressuring with Morrill trying to hold him off, gamely but ineffectively. Vorobyov advances at 165.
Bout 17 up now, Zach Hildebrandt of West Point versus Sam Frankel of the University of Washington, 156 pounds. Frankel, a southpaw, is taking the worst of things from Hildebrandt through the 1st round. Hildebrandt scores a standing eight count in final seconds. Round two sees Hildebrandt fighting like a man possessed, winging punches and landing right hand blasts that produce another standing 8 count. The bout continues but not for long. Zach Hildebrandt has a crowd-pleasing slugging style and he battered the very game Sam Frankel to advance via RSC.
Next is Emmanuel Osei of West Point versus Will Peterson of the USAF Academy, 139lbs. Peterson has a major height and reach advantage over Osei but so far he's not using it. Peterson is using straight punches better in the 2nd but he gets caught with a big shot from Osei and receives a standing 8 count. Osei is really opening up on his stunned opponent and he gets the RSC. Heavy-handed Emmanuel Osei has an explosive pressuring style and Peterson really couldn't keep him off. Ref Stopped Contest in rd 2
Kenny Smith of Lock Haven University went up against Mike Mourafetis of US Naval Academy in Bout 10, 147 pounds. Round one looked very close and Mourafetis looked to be a little bit busier overall. Smith's corner is exhorting him to let his hands go. Kenny Smith is waiting a bit too long in there, looking for openings that just aren't coming. The shorter Mourafetis is pressuring; both guys are tired. There’s a heated exchange to start the 3rd; Smith still a little out of range, his shots are falling short of the target. Mourafetis is crowding him, both men are warned for holding. This bout was close and both fighters know it. The judges say Mike Mourafetis comes away with the decision and advances in the tourney, very good effort from Lock Haven University's Kenny Smith.
139lbs up next, 3 rounds 2 minutes each, amateur rules, Gabriel Sanchez of San Jose State University versus Luis Quiles of West Virginia University. Both guys exchange heavy body shots. These are two thick and compact looking 139 pounders. Some grappling and man-handling of one another towards the end of round one. Quiles has very unique wide-open style, he’s scoring with hooker-cuts to the belly of Sanchez. Sanchez probably stole that second round on activity, really letting his hands fly.
Luis Quiles probably needs a big third round. Not sure if his moving, defensive style is a hit with the judges either; while Sanchez is still pressuring, pursuing. As they await the decision both fighters are talking and laughing with each other. The sportsmanship being shown so far today has been impressive and refreshing. Gabriel Sanchez of San Jose State University wins advances in the tourney.
Heavyweights and these men are super heavies, no doubt. 225lbs plus I’m guessing. Drew Gensimore of Lock Haven University could be 245 perhaps. John Zemrose of Indiana University of PA locks closer to 230. Gensimore is big southpaw and despite his bulk he really pressed the action in round one, smothering much of Zemrose's offense. Zemrose is busier early in the round but the physicality of Gensimore really took over quickly. Watching these heavies compared to the lighter weight classes earlier today is almost like watching a different sport altogether. Gensimore is landing heavy left hand bolts and body shots but Zemrose might be touching him more often in bursts. The judge thought he was at least although this observer wonders about that. John Zemrose of Indiana University of PA did pushed the action throughout against his bigger foe; but a good effort by Drew Gensimore who has deceiving speed and endurance. Zemrose advances.
Heavyweights, Ebeneezer Saint of West Virginia University did battle with Max Goldwasser of the US Naval Academy. Goldwasser's a southpaw landing with real power shots in the final seconds of the first. Both guys had their moments in the first 2 minutes. These are not giant heavies, they are leaner, quicker, maybe 215 a piece. Goldwasser is in control from long range. Saint landed a single heavy counterpunch in the second but it's the Navy boxer doing most of the scoring so far in this fight. After three it’s the US Naval Academy’s Max Goldwasser that advances.
Sean Hunt of the US Naval Academy and Zach Barbara of University of Nevada Reno, 165lbs, put on quite a show in the penultimate bout of the day. Both men landed heavy blows through round one, with Hunt stunning Barbara a little more often. The fighting was fast and heated, filled with punches thrown with bad intentions from both fighters. Although each round was competitive, Hunt dominated and advanced in the tourney by decision win.
Josh Surgeon of USCGA is up against Albert Ta of University of Washington, 165lbs.
Wow, Surgeon is a hard-charging, wild-swinging middleweight landing heavy left hooks especially in the final seconds of the round. Both men had their moments in that round but Surgeon probably edged him. In the second Ta landed well towards the end of the round but Surgeon should have a pretty serious lead going into the 3rd and final frame. Josh Surgeon repeatedly landed heavy clubbing blows on the head of the incredibly tough Albert Ta in that fight. His name may be Surgeon but there’s not a lot of precision in that aggressive brawling style. Fun way to end the day for sure, Josh Surgeon wins last bout of the day over Albert Ta and advances.
In other results:
Jay Doh of UNLV defeated Evan Kamei of UCLA Berkeley, 125lbs
Josh Lopez of UMASS defeated John Yarbough of ECU, 132lbs
Jacob Berggren of USAF Academy defeated Josue Avila of ISU, 132lbs
Live coverage from ringside continues tonight and is available through the show’s Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/TalkinBoxing) beginning at 6PM eastern. The tourney wraps up with the finals at 7PM tomorrow.