J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: Wow! What a town! Houses range in style from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Appalachia, there’s a 5th & Broadway, mountain cliffs drop into backyards, there was a drive-by at the trailer park, and a river (canal) runs through it. And there was professional boxing! Not surprisingly, the Armory looks like a Medieval fort. When was the last boxing show here? Was there ever? Far from the madding crowd, in Upstate New York, almost on the Vermont border, intrepid promoter Greg Gross and the Whitehall Athletic Club ran a pro-am on 4/12/13. The show was nearly a year in coming, as a previous attempt was stillborn last summer. Diana Rodriguez made the matches, and local icon Bob Miller lent logistic support.
The main event was a rugged six in which Shawn Miller, 176, Troy, 10-1-1 (4), pounded out a workmanlike unanimous verdict over useful Mike Wilmer, 177, Huntington, WV, 4-5 (3). The first three rounds were close, with the underdog’s southpaw style taking some getting used to, while his vigorous flailing attacks made the favorite cover up. But Shawn blocked the shots well and answered back with telling blows. In round four, the contest changed dramatically. Wilmer had nothing left and of a sudden was taking a pounding. One right drove him straight back over the ropes like a pile driver. There was no quit in him, but he merely survived the final three sessions, while the fans enjoyed the hometown’s solid finish. Scores: 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
“You name it, I’ve been at the top of everything, but boxing is the hardest thing to do… and that’s why I did good and bad,” the victor described his effort. “I walked him down more, I forced action, and I made him punch. Therefore, if he’s not in shape and he’s punching, eventually he’s…going to get tired, and that’ what ended up happening.” Amazingly, the honest underdog basically agreed! “It’s my shape,” Wilmer admitted. “I didn’t run enough…I should have been in a lot better shape…I was a slacker. I paid for it tonight.” How often do you hear THAT?
In a brisk women’s six (two minutes), Jackie Trivilino, 124, Plattsburg, 9-5-2 (1), gained a hard-won unanimous decision from Sherine Thomas, 123, Ottawa, 2-3. Sherine looked disgruntled when the decision was announced, and in Canada this may have gone the other way. But it was in fact a fair verdict. The first five rounds were all close and similar, with Trivilino forcing the fight, slipping and ducking deftly, and outworking the more orthodox stylist. Only in the last round did the visitor try to make up lost ground, take the initiative and jolt the favorite with some clean, hard shots. All scores 58-56.
Antoine Douglas, 164, Wash., DC/Burke, VA, 6-0 (4), made quick work of Juan Zapata, 164, a
Honduran out of The Bronx, 2-6-1 (1), in an explosive scheduled four. Zapata opened ambitiously, but soon had his elbows pinned protectively to his sides. A big left hook rocked him late in the round and set up round two. With back to the ropes, Zapata was nailed by a left hook behind the ear and went down to a knee. He tried gamely to regroup but Antoine was going with the hook full tilt now. Juan was immediately staggered, then sent crashing face down, where referee Paul Brown waved a TKO, 2:02 round two.
In an earnest but amateurish four, Martez Potter, 165, Syracuse, 2-0, gained a hard-earned unanimous shutout of debuting Matthew Leddick, 165, Albany. Leddick stalked purposefully but couldn’t get off, while Martez beat him to the punch with loose-limbed roundhouses.
Don Ackerman, Eric Marlinski and Eddie Scuncio judged, Ron Lipton was the other ref, and “Clyde” Beattie kept time. A house of only about 250 enjoyed the show. Will there be another at this unlikely venue? Promoter Gross owns the armory, as well as other sports and recreation facilities, and promises regular shows. We’ve heard that before. But either way, there’s more to boxing than Pay-Per-View; local shows are the headwaters.
72 – Zahir Salaan, Elite BC, Nutley, NJ, dec. Kasir Goldstone, Albany
102 – Joe Barcia, Saratoga BC, dec. Steven Ramirez, Elite
141 – Will Madera, Albany, dec. Chann Thompson, Montreal
205 – J. J. Nichols, Saratoga, RSC1 Mo Zhang, The Den, Utica
185 – Dan Majistralic, Precision Gym, VT, dec. Shakeel Phinn, Montreal
78 – Vito Melniecki, Elite, dec. Shariff Dancil, Friends of Boxing, Syracuse