The highlights of the amateur boxing card on Saturday, October 10 at the Uppercut Gym in Minneapolis came from one of the club’s beginning boxers and another who is more seasoned. While a debuting Tim Tu, 155 lbs., walked across the ring and landed a solid right hand on the chin of an unsuspecting Brian Karanez of Anoka to score an opening round knockdown, capitalizing on the early surprise to win when the referee stopped the contest a short time later, Gizzy Hobbs, 145 lbs., showcased superior footwork and head movement in a bout against a taller and very determined Roberto Mendoza of Canada. Hobbs mixed his punching approach with shifting concentrations on jabs, lead left hooks, and occasional right hands, and at times confused his larger opponent by dancing and moving away and luring him in, rather than trying to chase him down to cut the reach advantage. His skill and poise won for him a well deserved decision.
In the opening bout Bryan Beccera demonstrated the degree of talent to be found in boxers younger than 12, defeating Julian Alvarez of Canada in a fight at the 75 pound division. Beccera, a southpaw with a noticeable reach advantage, fought off a determined Alvarez who landed his own share of punches. But Beccera’s jab proved to be too much, and the precocious punch controlled the momentum and secured the fight.
In the third bout of the evening, St. Paul’s Steve McComas, the three time Ringside Masters Division Light Heavyweight Champion, took on Heavyweight Jack Kennelly, also of St. Paul, in Kennelly’s competitive debut at 193 lbs. I was not at the weigh ins, but it seems highly unlikely McComas weighed anywhere near 193, although that didn’t deter him from out boxing Kennelly from opening to closing bell. Kennelly should be commended, however, because he kept coming every round and McComas admitted afterward that he gave him all he could handle. McComas is now in his mid-50s, and Kennelly is 57. I trained Kennelly for a short time in 2004 at St. Clair Fitness in St. Paul, and he has trained at Uppercut since 2005. It is a major accomplishment for him to have gotten to this point, and it will be no surprise if this nearly 30 year marketing professional is seen competing in Masters competition in the future.
In one of the more exciting contests of the night, Uppercut’s Jesse Vasquez of St. Paul fulfilled a lifelong dream of getting into the ring to compete when he won a 150 pound match with Dane Smith of Anoka. Vazquez, 22, showed his inexperience in catching a few more punches than he had to, but he kept his jab in Smith’s face, landed some good right hands, and kept up enough pressure throughout the fight to take the decision.
In the main event, Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champion Deon Jordan gave his best effort at 163 pounds against Canada’s Kelly Page, but procrastination in the execution of combinations and getting hit at the end of exchanges put victory an inch or so out of reach.
Robbie Loyd of Uppercut took till the third round, but he stopped Jehrid Hale of Rochester to win a 165 pound fight. Jamie Barlett of Rochester defeated Damon Lachaman of White Bear Lake in the second bout at 115 pounds, and Abdi Gelle of Rochester won a decision over Brendan Feiler of St. Cloud in the 8th bout of the evening.
(612) 822-1964, www.uppercutgym.com.