Saturday, July 17, 2010

Abell avenges defeat from years ago, Alfaro proves ready for future

Mark Connor

© Copyright 2010, Mark Connor

Armory, St. Paul, MN, Saturday, July 17

Tonight southpaw Joey Abell fought an excellent fight, dominating the first three rounds behind a strong right jab with a punishing straight left hand that found its mark down the middle on nemesis Arron Lyons, who handed him his first loss back in December 2006. As he continued his strong start at the beginnig of the second round he eventually began landing left hand-right hook combinations, along with the right uppercut to the body followed by the hook to the head. By the end of the third round he was landing more uppercuts and hooks in combinations with more measured power, and in the fourth round he opened a vicious cut over Lyon's left eye, prompting referee Mark Nelson to consult Dr. Sheldon Siegal, under whose advice Nelson stopped the scheduled 10 round fight.

In the semi-main event Vicente Alfaro of Hastings, MN defeated St. Paul's Brad Patraw with a second round TKO. Alfaro opened the fight by outjabbing Patraw and backing him up, using great head movement and landing punishing hooks and body blows while throwing an occasional hard right hand. In the second Alfaro's right hand found the mark and his relentless combinations dropped Patraw twice before the finishing flurry caused referee Gary Meezwa to stop the fight. Alfaro looked exceptionally good in this fight, showing he has great potential to rapidly advance in his career.

In the opening fight Marty "Wolfman" Lindquist broke a four fight losing streak with a first round TKO over Frankie Quinn, who entered the Cruiserweight bout with a 6-0 record after not having fought since 1997. Lindquist stalked Quinn, missing often with a wild right hand but dropping him with the one punch when he finally landed it late in the round, following with a mild flury causing Quinn to fall again finally to his knees.

In the second fight Bobby Butters, Jr., whose father is a retired club fighter known for professoinally boxing in St. Paul and the larger Twin Cities through the 1990s, appeared to demonstrate that coming form a boxing family wold propell him by virtue of experience into victory over MMA fighter Travis Perzynski, who was 0-1 as a boxer. But after starting aggesssively with combinations off his fast jab and some good movement and footwork, Butters was careless with wild right hands. Puzynski caught him on the ropes with combinations to the body and head and put him out on his feet, prompting referee Mark Nelson to stop the fight.

José Hilario made quick work of debuting Jr. Lightweight Matthew Brogan of Green Bay. Hilario began with a couple of jabs as he moved to his left and the pair made one clockwise resolution around the cent fo the ring. Brogan looked unprepared for the professional ring, getting caught with a right uppercut that caused him to lurch forward, holding Hilario as he drove im into the ropes. Hilario turned him around and continued whipping looping combinations off of him, not hurting him with most shots but damaging him greatly when landing the right uppercut, which allowed him to land the right uppercut body shot that put Brogan down and won the fight.

Finally, Gavin Quinn, the son of Frankie Quinn, made his professional debut at Jr. Middleweight with a lackluster victory over Ryan Stock. After Stock opened the fight with first round dominance, continuously controlling im with the left jab and landing the right hand and left hook at will, estabishing a large mouse under the southpaw Quinn's right eye. But in the second round Stock began giving the victory away, deciding not to be busy enough to continue his dominance. While in the thrid and fourth rounds Quinn kept coming forward and throwing the majoirty of punches in the fight, his footwork was legthargic and came mostly off his heals rather than the balls of his feet. Stock decided to lean in a corner at one point to just put his hands up and let Quinn punch him willingly, even though most of the shots only landed on Stock's gloves. Obviosly Stock is not Muhammad Ali and if he was attempting the so-called "rope a dope" move of Ali e had no idea what he was donig. He was not in shape either, which probably explains why he only fought in the first round and deciding to go the distance a a punching bag for the remainer of the 4 round fight.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Patriarch of Minnesota Boxing, Emmett Yanez, at 90 years old

Mark Connor
© Copyright 2010, Mark Connor

On March 3, my boxing coach who taught me to fight at age ten and guided me to national tournaments, Emmett J. Yanez, turned 90 years old. He also trained numerous other Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champions as well as national champions over the years, and he continues to coach amateur boxers today. His most recent champion is Robert Brant, who won the National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Championship for the second time this year and is attempting to win the USA Boxing Light Heavyweight Championship at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO this week. During the celebration, which took place at Mancini's Char House in St. Paul, I was privileged to read out a declaration from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman declaring March 3, 2010 Emmett J. Yanez Day in St. Paul, Minnesota. A special thanks to my father, Robert Connor, for advising me to contact the Mayor's office for the declaration.

The text of the declaration in its entirety follows.

Whereas, Emmett J. Yanez is currently a resident of Saint Paul, Minnesota and has lived in the city for nearly 80 years, in addition to having worked for the City of Saint Paul in the Department of Public Works;

Whereas, Emmett J. yanez today turns 90 years old;

Wereas, Emmett J. Yanez is a World War II veteran of the United States Army, regiment 504 of the 82nd Airborne Division that fought to liberate Europe;

Whereas, upon returning to Saint Paul after the war Emmett J. Yanez boxed professionally and eventually became a traiiner of Saint Paul Amateur boxers for more than 50 years;

Whereas, Emmett J. Yanez has developed numerous Saint Paul Golden Gloves and Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champions, City, state, and Regional amateur boxing champions of the juunior Olympic and Open Class age groups, and at least two open class national champions, and he has also trained successful professional boxers in Saint Paul;

Whereas, Emmett j. Yanez continues assisting Saint Paul youth and youth in general as a trainer of amateur boxers in a Saint Paul suburb,

Now, Therefore, I, Christopher B. Coleman, mayor of the City of Saint Paul, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, march 03, 2010, to be:

Emmett J. Yanez Day

in the City of Saint Paul

In Witness Whereof I have herunto set my hand
and caused the seal of the City of Saint Paul to be
affixed this Third Day of March in the Year Two
Thousand Ten.

Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Truax defeats Veteran Echols to top Entertaining Seconds Out Cart in St. Paul

Mark Connor
© Copyright 2010, Mark Connor

Minnesota’s Caleb Truax took another significant step in his undefeated career Friday night with a unanimous decision over veteran middleweight Antwun Echols of Davenport, Iowa. The fight appeared close throughout, with Truax establishing dominance in the beginning but seeming to fade as the rounds passed. Echol’s persistent body shots on the inside appeared to take their toll, but just when he seemed to cede too much control in any given round Truax would score a significant flurry to turn the tide. The Boxers and Writers Magazine view of this fight is that it was much closer than the judges saw it, but Truax did deserve the unanimous decision. He turned on the pressure in the final rounds, particularly dominating the last two. Echols gave him the challenge that is to be expected from such an accomplished veteran Middleweight and Super Middleweight who has TKO victories over skilled fighters like Charles Brewer and once went the distance with the legendary Bernard Hopkins.

In the semi-main event Blaine’s Jon Schmidt lucked out with a no contest over an accidental head butt over his right eye as Josh Crouch took control in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with effective inside uppercuts and hooks from either side as he switched from the right handed and southpaw stances.

Ismail Muwendo scored a 3rd round knockout over Juan Baltierez in a scheduled 6 round Super Featherweight fight. Baltierez actually looked much stronger than he did months ago when fighting to a draw in West St. Paul. He actually landed some effective jabs that stopped Muwendo in his tracks, as well as good right hands in the first round. He did the same thing in the 2nd, but was neutralized by Muwendo’s strong jab, which was a continuation of the first round in which Muwendo landed cleaner, clearer shots including strong uppercuts and a solid, staggering right hand that established his command of the fight. Muwendo finally found his mark with a left hook in the 3rd round, dropping Baltierez, who rose to be dropped within a couple of more exchanges that ended the fight. Baltierez has potential, but he needs to sharpen up on a lower level of competition before competing with fighters as strong and effective as Muwendo, who has proven his power and potential but will have to tighten up on his defense—including an improvement of footwork and protecting his untested chin—before he steps up his own competition.

Charles Meir of Coon Rapids rose from the canvas after Corey Rodriguez dropped him with a looping right hand during a barrage of punches Rodriguez unleashed in the first round of their 6 round Middleweight fight. Meir did exhibit a high degree of skill in moving around the ring and landing counter shots, but Rodriguez was relentless throughout the fight with his body attack and appeared to be more effective and land more punches. But Rodriquez was dropped in the third from an accumulation of blows after a sneaky shot stunned him, and even though he came back well and was competitive in the last quarter of the round he still gave it away by a 10-8 margin. Boxers and Writers Magazine scored the fight 58-55 for Rodriguez, but apparently the judges were watching an entirely different fight. Denny Nelson and Veid Muiznieas scored it 56-56, while Carl Benson scored it 57-56 for Rodriguez, the total constituting a majority draw.

0-1 Jake Backus exhibited an improved performance in his second fight, a rematch
against 2-0 Super Bantamweight Vincente Alforo of St. Paul. But his effective movement and counterpunching never amounted to effective and punishing blows, and he was caught with a right hand that almost dropped him in the third round, forcing him to grab and hold for survival. At one point he was hurt so badly that his clinching resulted in him accidentally tackling Alfaro, and the round was lopsided enough for him to lose it 10-8. With a majority decision favoring Alfaro, Nelson calling it 39-37, Muiznieas scoring it 38-37 and Benson settling for 37-37, it is obvious that Backus let the fight slip away with his precarious 3rd round performance.

Hector Orozco avenged a technical decision loss from October of last year with a majority decision over Danny Figueroa. Boxers and Writers Magazine saw this fight differently from the judges also, believing Figueroa’s jab and combinations to be more effective throughout. Figueroa slipped well and utilized the ring, and he also fought effectively inside while Orozco continuously came forward. Orozco did look better this time around, though, and his high degree of recent activity has paid off. Nelson scored it 39-37 and Benson had it 39-38 for Orozco, while Muiznieas called it a 38-38 draw.