Mike VanDorn of Bay City AAA def. Don Walker In the final fight of the night. (Above) Solid hits by VanDorn put Walker on the ropes in the third round.
Winter Fight Night Hosted by American Athletic Association Is Big Hit
(All Photos for MyBayCity by John Keuvelaar, (989) 225-5572)
February 27, 2011
(EDITOR's NOTE: For high quality prints of any of the photos below, contact Koov's Photography)
By: John Keuvelaar
While the snow was flying outside, punches were flying inside as the American Athletic Association hosted its 13th annual Fight Night at the Bay City Armory. A large crowed braved the storm and were treated to some excellent boxing as 16 bouts were held. Boxers from as far north as Sault Ste. Marie, Canada and as far south as Ohio took on much of the local talent. These boxers came to Bay City to test themselves as well as prepare for the upcoming East Michigan Golden Gloves Tournament scheduled to start March 17th at the Birch Run Expo Center.
While many fans came to watch their favorite fighter or just to enjoy the competition, there was a particular interest in seeing Jodi Eller, a female fighter, participate in her first fight for the AAA team. For Eller, a member of the United States Coast Guard stationed here in Essexville, that fight will have to come another day as her opponent failed to show. But the lack of a fight wasn't for lack of trying as "Coach put in a call to a back-up fighter," Eller explained, "but he was not able to get ahold of her," So what is next for Jodi Eller? "Coach wants me to fight Golden Gloves," she commented. "That has been a dream of mine." That decision will come later.
Meanwhile, a full bout card gave plenty of action for every fan to cheer about from very young boxers to seasoned fighters with years of experience. To call these tough athletes "fighters" almost gives a false impression of kids stepping into a ring and swinging away at each other. These are gutsy trained athletes who work hard on conditioning and technique just to participate in a sport that puts them clearly on the line. It seems like the most difficult time of the sport occurs just before they enter the ring. This is the time they realize just how hard they have trained and listened to their coaches as they are moments away from putting that training and their body to the test. This also shows in the level of respect each boxer shows to their opponents at all phases of the bout. It was evident that there were no losers, just athletes who came away with either a trophy or a medal. Clearly each fighter was a winner as they exited the ring.
60 lbs. Diego Marin def. Sirillo Bermudez
The lead off bout featured two very young fighters. Both showed good technique for such a young age. Martin was a good puncher using jabs to control his opponent while Bermudez used more round house blows. Third round had Martin using left-right-left power jabs to gain an advantage over Bermudez. Both showed a lot of energy from beginning to the end in an exciting opening match.
130 lbs. Ben Bradoor def. Emilio Trejo
These were older fighters (anyone would have seemed older) who were more polished. Both threw strong jabs while Bradoor caught Trejo in the jaw leaving him staggering. The second round saw an exchange of rapid fire blows with Trejo withstanding the hard hits. He then came back as Bradoor lost steam. The third round was much the same as Bradoor fired a flurry of blows but ran out of steam. The flurries were enough to care him to victory.
145 lbs. Chance Grable def. Jimmy Al-Bazzi of AAA
While the first period saw lots of jabs as each fighter eyed each other up, the second period was wild. Going toe-to-toe, the two whaled away at each other. While in close range, Grable used a combination of body blows and upper cuts to gain an advantage in what was close quarters fighting. The final round saw a series of rapid punches by both fighters leaving them fatigued by the end of the round.
95 lbs. Branden Rodriguez def. Michael Evers
This was a very spirited battle of young fighters. Style gave way to an all out brawl as they went at it like two similar age brothers having a bad family spat. They showed a lot of stamina as they went at it for three full periods.
110 lbs. Brenden Mulligan of AAA stopped Jeremy Olivarez by a RSC in 2nd round
This was a very entertaining bout with two different but compatible styles. Olivarez showed good footwork moving around the outside of a circle waiting for an opening to spring like a cobra. Mulligan had a steady and stalking style being in the center of the circle always on the offensive taking the fight to him. Olivarez' jabs gave Mulligan a bloody nose in the first round but not phasing his attack. In the second round, Mulligan was able to get in close to connect several blows to Olivarez causing a cut to his face near the nose. Eventually the referee had to stop the fight to check the condition of the fighter. After the ringside doctor examine Olivarez, the fight was stopped for his protection.
120 lbs. Neicil Lopez def. Devin Gallagher of AAA
Both fighters showed good movements and jabs. Lopez used his left jab to keep Gallagher on his heals and occasionally threw a right. Gallagher countered by getting in close and firing combination punches. The third round started exciting as both fighter went toe-to-toe with a flurry of punches designed to try and finish the fight. Then Lopez went back to the jab to keep Gallagher at bay and set up his right. Although bloodied, Gallagher kept fighting back the whole round.
165 lbs. Alexander Worvie def. John Wilkerstrom
This was an exciting match and close decision. Wilkerstrom was a much taller boxer with a long reaching jab. He used this quite effectively to keep control of his opponent and in particular stayed away from Worvie's strong left. He also used the jab to move in for combinations. Worvie was a stocky southpaw with plenty of power in his left arm and looked to use it. The second round had a good flurry in the first part of the round but as both fighters tired, there was lots of grabbing. This allowed Worvie to get more body blows in. Worvie stayed persistent as he had to keep punching up to connect with his opponent while Wilkerstrom continued his barrage of blows. In the end, Worvie prevailed in a too close to call match.
150 lbs. Andrew Grezeszak of AAA def. Thomas Howard
In one of the more talented matches of the night, Grezeszak out lasted Howard in a well fought match. Both fighters were very tactical in their approach with Grezeszak staying low and aggressively attacking with his left jab setting up his right. Howard moved well avoiding combinations with good counter moves. The second round was a great round of boxing to watch. Grezeszak started strong charging forward with multiple blows. Howard kept on his toes moving around the ring dodging jabs then springing forward with multiple rapid blows. Howard had a strong third round with multiple solid connections as Grezeszak kept charging. Howard opened a slight cut by Grezeszak's left eye but it was Grezeszak who held on for the decision.
130 lbs. Delonte Heath stopped Isreal Diaz by a RSC in the 2nd round.
Heath came out strong and aggressive on Diaz. Striking with multiple blows, Diaz was on his heals most of the fight. Diaz suffered two knockdowns in the first round before he started to bounce bat with a late flurry of strikes. In the second round, Diaz showed signs of making this a fight when Heath caught him hard with a left to the jaw dropping Diaz to the canvas. Referee Bob Arsenault stopped the fight moments later.
165 lbs. Koty Wells def. Jacob Unangst of AAA
Wells had a very distinctive height advantage over his opponent. While he used that to his advantage with long reaching jabs and a hook type punch with that jab, Unangst kept attacking looking to get inside. In the second round, Unangst frustrated Wells by blocking Wells punches with punches of his own. In the third round Wells was determined to get to Unangst by punching through his blocks. He swung with might effort to blow through the blocking effort to have it's affect on Unangst. Unangst literally had to jump to reach his head as Wells kept his distance with his jab and leaning back.
135 lbs. Omar Al-Farraji def. Robert Rushing
This was a very interesting and entertaining fight as the both were aggressive but clearly enjoyed the competition and had great respect for each other. Opening glove taps and congratulatory gestures after each round showed the respect the two had for each other. Al-Farraji was the more polished fighter as he took the fight to Rushing using his jabs. Rushing then attacked with a combination of 2 and 3 punches. Al-Farraji was able to catch Rushing a couple times. In the second round, Rushing became more confident using his own jabs to keep control of Al-Farraji's attacks connecting solidly on a few blows. The 3rd round was very exciting. Rushing came out firing which only served to fire up Al-Farraji. He came back with multiple combinations making good connections.
135 lbs. Joshua Rivas of AAA def. Edvardo Merdiela
This was one of the most evenly matched fights in terms of size, style and skill. Both fighters started with lightning quick blows to the body and head at close range. Both circled each other, neither giving way and exchanging blows. The 2nd round saw big body blows by each with Merdiela getting some solid hits to Rivas head. Rivas didn't back off as he kept coming taking a hit to move in and deliver one of his own. This was a very close match.
201+ lbs. Leon Mallett def. Antoine Peters
This was truly a heavy weight fight as both were big boys. But don't let the size fool you as both moved well with good kills. They packed powerful blows that could be felt in our seats. Both absorbed the blows without flinching. They battled all three rounds showing good stamina battling to the end.
125 lbs. Raymond Castaneda def. Devin Tomkins of AAA
Both were seasoned fighters with good tactical skills. Each showed quick footwork to go with even quicker combinations as they battled all three rounds with great skill. Lady momentum moved back and forth as each fighter would drive the other into a corner only to soon find themselves in a similar situation. The third round found both fighters handling business in the center ring staying out of the corners and exchanging solid punches even though clearly tired.
165 lbs. Jesse Addison def. Joaquin Garcia
In my mind probably the best fight of the night and there were several. These two fighters were not only seasoned but very powerful. They were very chiseled and skilled as they exchanged punishing blows throughout the fight. The second round saw about as much energy used to throw the blows as was used to block them. It was a very powerful battle. The final round was a round of following the coach's instructions. Having been strongly told to lead with the left jab, Addison started stunning Garcia. Addison went after him to put him away on the ropes but Garcia was able to hand in there. Garcia showed great heart as Addison had several blows that should have put Garcia away but he refused to go down. Garcia was able to get a few blows back but Addison had clearly got the upper hand tonight.
175 lbs. Mike VanDorn of AAA def. Don Walker
In the final fight of the night, VanDorn fans were not disappointed. Walker came out of his corner with quick punches to the body and sides of VanDorn in an attempt to slow him out of the gates. But VanDorn was like a bull, blocking the blows and driving Walker into the corners. Walker kept turning to move out of the corner exposing his back preventing VanDorn from following with any shots. This tactic continued in the second round as VanDorn kept his aggressive approach. The third round was all VanDorn as he went for the knockout. The crowd was really into it as they encouraged their home town boxer to finish off his opponent. Walker was determined to make the distance as he kept moving in an attempt to avoid that knockout blow. He was successful in lasting the rounds as a couple times he moved away and fell back into the ropes to catch his breath then reengaged into the fight.
It was a great night of boxing as all fighters put on a great effort. Regardless of the judges' decisions, all boxers earned a lot of respect for the battle that was waged. Many of the boxers will go on to fight in the Golden Gloves Tournament that starts for them March 17 at Birch Run Expo Center. Come enjoy the fights and cheer on the local participants.
Sirillo Bermudez and Diego Marin go at it.
Look at the effort in their faces and arms.
Marin connects with a left jab.
Emillio Trejo readies to fire a punch at Ben Brodoor.
Brodoor fires the right hook while Trejo counters with a jab.
Trejo blocks another right.
Trejo delivers a blow.
Chance Grable readies to attack Jimmy Al-Bazzi
Close quarters means body punches.
You can almost feel the blow by Al-Bazzi as Grable reacts.
Branden Rodriquez leans back to avoid Michael Evers right.
A good exchange of punches.
Rodriguez receives instructions from his coach.
Rodriguez shows the affects of Evers left.
Fans and family really get into the fight as early one of these ladies (we are not telling) was out punching air to help her favorite boxer.
Brenden Mulligan (right) and Jeremy Olivarez battled hard early.
Sometimes you have to take a punch to deliver a punch.
Mulligan catches Olivarez with a left which left his opponent bloodied and eventually stopped the fight.
Olivarez receives attention in his corner from his coach.
Ringside doctors are on hand to give immediate attention to the fighters.
This fight was stopped to insure fighter safety as Brenden Mulligan was awarded the victory.
Devin Gallagher (left) and Neicio Lopez square off.
Lopez as a seat between rounds as his coach instructs and hydrates.
Gallagher blocks Lopez's blow.
Lopez connects with a right.
Lopez used the jab to keep Gallagher from getting to him.
John Wilkstrom in blue connects on a right jab against Alexandre Wolvie.
Fighters eye up each other anticipating their next move.
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