Thursday, July 02, 2015
Fight Night at LaFollette Park
The fighters for LaFollette Park's boxing show arrived early. It wasn't long before the gym was filled with kids from Scottsdale Park, Ogden Park, Hamlin Park, and Fuller Park.
Shanita and Julius were complete no-shows. Unfortunately, I expected as much. When Rick from Scottsdale showed up with the kid whom I had pre-matched with Julius, I called Julius's mom. Come to find out that her son had gone visiting somewhere and would not return until next week. I didn't even bother to ask about Shanita after that. I was embarrassed to tell Rick that his fighter no longer had a match. But Rick shrugged his shoulders and said, "We'll make do."
I really wanted to get fights for Kishaun and LaKendrick, but there just weren't enough contenders available for either. Most of the kids had a lot of experience, too much for Kishaun and LaKendrick, both of whom have no fight experience. But I'm determined to get them fights in the upcoming boxing shows.
Johnathan, one of the new kids, apparently thought that he was just going to bulldoze his way into getting a match. In everything that I was going on, I momentarily lost track of who actually had fights. I gave Johnathan a pair of hand wraps to put on, and I helped him wrap his hands. When I realized that he had no fight, I was irritated with him. "Boy, why did you put those on? Don't waste people's time like that!" I snapped.
Coach James, seen here in the above photo, did a nice job being the announcer.
Mya decided at the last minute that she did not want to fight. "If you don't want to, I'm not going to be mad," I told her, and she bowed out. Her sister Ashley, and her brother Carmelius were pre-matched, so they were ready to go. Nassir and Jordan came in later and were able to get fights.
Alan came by with John (not John the teacher), but there were no adults available for matches. Kenny and Colonel came by, and they told me they wanted to volunteer in the gym. I would love to have them there. Some of the people in Loyola Park's adult boxing program also came to watch the fights.
Carmelius went the distance with his opponent, who I believe was one of David Diaz's fighters. Diaz has some aggressive fighters in his group. Carmelius did not win. Every time he ran up to throw a punch, the other kid was laying in wait and had something for him.
Nassir was throwing wild punches during his bout. I think Nassir's opponent was from Scottsdale Park. Nassir wears glasses, and I'm not sure if that was because perhaps he couldn't see what was coming back at him. That fight ended in the first round, when Tommy, who was the referee, saw that Nassir was taking too many punches. Nassir's mom said to her son, "Why are you crying? You know that this is boxing, and that people get hit. Remember we talked about that."
Jordan's fight also ended quickly. Another first round of throwing wild punches, while the other kid was picking shots and aiming correctly. Jordan wasn't happy, either. Next week, it is back to basics for all three boys, because they've got to learn how to control their punches.
Ashley fought a girl named Diana from Ogden Park. Ashley was moving a bit slow, but her hands were not. She kept popping Diana while constantly moving forward. I could see Diana becoming frustrated because she couldn't figure out how to ward off Ashley's onslaught. Twice, an eight count was called on Diana. The third time it happened, the fight came to an end, and Ashley got the winner's trophy. Kenny, Diana's coach, told me, "We want a rematch!" "You've got it," I smiled.
Here is a shot of Ashley with her winner's trophy and her brother Carmelius (otherwise known as Man-Man) holding his second place trophy. So Ashley is the first fighter I have trained to a win. I felt very good about that, but even more so for Ashley who gave a good fight.