Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wearing the Jacket At Eckhart Park

Tonight's Chicago Park District boxing show was held at Eckhart Park, over in the West Town neighborhood.   The matches were held outside in a ring that was set up in the back of the field house.  It had been humid most of the day, but by the time the fights began, the temperatures dipped down low.  Luckily, I had my Ringside sweat jacket with me.  I was shivering in the breeze.

Familiar faces included Sean and Kitchens, who were the referees.  Barry had several of his guys fighting from the youth program.  Gabriel and Professor had fights, but Professor fought for a different park.

As usual, most of the fights featured the kids and teenagers.  One of the fights ended in 20 seconds; unfortunately, one of the Loyola Park youths suffered a TKO at the hands of their opponent.  In fact, only one of Barry's fighters won a match.  There was some tough competition from Davis Square, Bessemer Park, and other parks.

I missed the first round of Professor's bout, but I saw the second half of the second round, and all of the third round.  The guy who fought Professor looked heavier.  Later, I learned that Professor came in at 165 pounds., but the other boxer was 175 pounds.  The two men were wrestling a lot during the last round. Professor didn't get the win, but it appears that the other boxer was open for a rematch in the future.

It was so cool outside that I debated whether or not to wear my corner man's jacket, but I decided to put it on right before Gabriel's fight.  Too bad I forgot to bring my camera or else I would have had someone take a photo of me with it on.  Alan had to borrow stuff like water bottles to use in the corner because he went straight to the boxing show from work and didn't have a chance to stop at home first.

While Gabriel fought, many in the audience urged him to use his height and his arm length to get the best of the guy he fought.  The other boxer waited on Gabriel to move so he could counter his punches which he did with accuracy.  Gabriel was waiting too long to throw punches.  Then the other guy would leap, catch Gabriel in the corners or on the ropes, and let his hands fly.  Gabriel's nose was bloodied up, and for a minute, it looked as if the judges might stop the fight.  But they let it go on.  Gabriel looked alive in the third round and got some shots in.  However, I knew the judges would look favorably on the other boxer's aggressiveness.  Gabriel lost the fight.

"I wasn't used to being pressured like that.  I need someone to pressure me like that during sparring," Gabriel said afterwards.  It was a learning experience for him.

The last fight of the night, the one after Gabriel's fight, ended in an abrupt fashion.  One of Barry's fighters was involved.  I heard someone comment that the match had become a street fight.  Barry's fighter had the other guy in a headlock, delivering multiple punches.  Kitchens was the referee, but a park district employee who was identified to me as being one of the heads of the park district's boxing programs, stepped in the ring and broke the boxers up.  Immediately afterwards, it was announced that the fight was stopped due to disqualification.  I had never seen that happen during all of the park district boxing matches that I've seen.

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