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18 JUNE 2018

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Miller And St. Vil Win Co-Features In Whitehall

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Promoter Greg Gross and Whitehall Athletic Club returned with their second pro-am boxing show at the Armory on Saturday. Whitehall is an unusual locale, far from the population centers, in the picturesque Lake George region of upper NY. That only serves to show the hardiness of the game, that it can flower virtually anywhere with sufficient ingenuity and versatility. The promoter even had the fighters and trainers staying at his house! “He’s a great guy,” advised manager Greg “The Bionic Bull” Cohen. About 400 fans came out for matchmaker Diana Rodriguez’ matches. It was a good show, but opened on a sad note as timekeeper “Clyde” Beattie counted out certainly an all-time great as well as a personable and outgoing guy, Emile Griffith.


As usual, the women put on the best bout, in the co-feature 10. Popular Sarah Kuhn, 143, Albany, 6-4-1 (1), was expected to win against sleeper Melissa St. Vil, 142, Brooklyn, 5-1-2. It was a good fight, but didn’t go the way the fans wanted. The favorite was bigger and stronger, but a determined straight-ahead plodder who seemed to lack imagination. The stocky, shorter visitor proved too mobile and quick, and Kuhn just never came up with an answer. From the start, St. Vil moved smartly and popped clean shots from maddening angles. Kuhn never let up and was after her for two minutes of every round, but found the target too elusive while paying the price. By the third and fourth, St. Vil was letting her hands fly with abandon, but in round five it looked as though the contest was turning for the favorite. Sarah began to drop in short, straight punches as Melissa wasn’t getting away fast enough, and it appeared that possibly all the movement had sapped her legs and Kuhn could come from behind.


St. Vil put that notion to rest with a dramatic revival in round six. In an action-packed session, Melissa got her style working again. In the seventh, she turned aggressor, as some of the action began to move to rugged inside trading. Here Kuhn was stronger but St. Vil still showed the better hands. Sarah came out of a bruising round with a bad cut on the left eye. Round eight wasn’t particularly effective for either, while Sarah got the crowd into it in a vigorously mauling and wrestling ninth. One good right jarred Melissa, and Sarah may have edged the round, but it was more by way of physically bulling her opponent than landing clean blows. The withering final round was more of the same, with Sarah’s eye considerably puffed. The frenetic physical action had the fans hopeful that the favorite had a chance, but the judges got it right. Don Ackerman and Matt Ruggero scored 96-94, Eric Marlinski 97-93, all for St. Vil.


The top bout, between Shawn Miller, 174 ½, Troy, 11-1-1 (4), and Yasin Abdul Rashid, 174, Bklyn., 7-5 (2), lacked the sustained action and excitement of the co-feature, but provided a tense mix of styles and held the crowd in expectation. It was at once both close and one-sided. That’s because Yasin chose to fight all but the final ten seconds in reverse. Every round was virtually the same; Shawn edged carefully forward, set the pace, and picked his punches, Yasin countered. That’s only an effective tactic if the boxer makes the opponent miss and counters. When he gets hit and counters, the fighter forcing the contest is almost sure to pick up a few extra points. Rashid held his best round until the tenth, and at the tap, opened up with a volley to the bell. Marlinski scored 96-94, Ruggero 98-92, and Ackerman 99-91, all for Miller. Rashid looked genuinely nonplussed at the verdict. In Europe, he might well have gotten the call. But this is American boxing, and Miller won fair and square. “Jab, press forward, jab,” Miller described his corner’s preparations, but admitted rightly, “I shoulda jabbed more, like my corner planned.” He added, “It’s a small dream come true so far and I got a lot to work on but we’ll keep marchin’ forward.”


In a bruising slo-mo heavyweight eight, Eric Fields, 203, Ardmore, OK, 22-1 (15), busted up tough Alexis Mejias, 241, Paterson, 12-10 (5), forcing the doctor to stop it at the end of the fifth. There was little sustained action, as both eyed the other cautiously. But what they threw was serious, as Fields opened up a tight contest in round three. Mejias returned to his corner badly damaged under the right eye. Picking his punches judiciously, the favorite jarred Alexis with a right in round four, while a left hook at the tap in the fifth jolted him again. As Popeye declared, “Enough is too much.” TKO, Fields.



The opening four was entertaining in bizarre fashion. Debuting Mike “The Blue-Eyed Phantom” Pryor, 147, Greenwich, NY, met Neyeine Muang, 144, Utica, 1-0-1, in a Mutt ‘n’ Jeff pairing (does anyone still remember Mutt ‘n’ Jeff?). The lanky debutee needed only to keep out of the way of the stocky human projectile, who looked like an MMA fighter, throwing his whole body rather than his hands, missing wildly and coming back with the “Kid” McCoy Eephus Punch (outlawed a century ago). With few clean blows but more body action than in the WWF, Marlinski and Ruggero gave Muang credit for aggression and body language, scoring 38-38, while Ackerman favored Pryor’s clearly better skills, 40-36, resulting in a majority draw.


Amateur results:

135 Open – Oscar Peralta, West Side AC, Syracuse, dec. Josh Bickford, Albany Parks & Rec, 3.


116 J.O. - Joe Barcia, Saratoga BC, dec. Yniko Lucara, Manny’s Old School, Ellenville, 3.

188 Open – Luis King, Sagarese BC, Amsterdam, NY, TKO3 Jeff DeLisle, Empire BC, Quebec City.


143 Open – Will Madera, Albany Parks & Rec, dec. Alex St. Pierre, Empire BC, 3. 

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