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Boxers advance into final round

Luke Busam | Thursday, March 4, 2004

Ross Bartels won the best fight of the night against defending 165-pound champion Alex Fergus by unanimous decision. Bartels came out hard and brawling in round one and was relentless in pursuing Fergus. Fergus held his hands low, waiting to set up his powerful right. The right came at 55 seconds in and sent Bartels to his knee. Bartels sprung up and came out fast after the break, relentless again in his pursuit of Fergus. Fergus’ right found its target a few more times late in the round, but in round three Bartels took advantage when Fergus lowered his hands to set up the right hand.Senior captain Pat Dillon achieved his longtime goal of a place in the finals after winning a called fight against junior Craig Thompson. Thompson brought the match to Dillon early in round one, but Dillon began the match well and used a parry, one-two combination to score a number of times throughout the match. A strong right hook at 50 seconds into the second round warranted a standing eight-count against Thompson. Ten seconds later, a parry one-two-one combo stopped the fight. The RSC was called at one minute, two seconds into the second round.

170 poundsSenior captain Tommy Demko won a split decision victory to earn a well-deserved place in the finals. Law student Matt Smith was a strong lefty, but Demko did not seem flustered at all. Demko countered the advancing Smith well for the first 25 seconds and earned a standing eight-count thirty seconds into round one with a big right hand. Smith initiated contact well and his right jab often found its target, but Demko’s counters were excellent and scored often. Late in the third round, Smith began to dominate and his right jab found its way in several times, perhaps swaying a number of judges to call the fight for him.Brian Nicholson won a hard-fought split decision victory over James Ward in the second 170-pound bout. The match began as a brawl with a huge flurry featuring only a few clean punches. Nicholson settled down shortly after and found success with his one-two. Ward came on strong in the second round, landing his lead jab well in initiating contact. Round three began with a lot of contact and heavy exchanges. Both boxers were bleeding. Ward came on hard with 30 seconds left, and both were sent to their respective corners to be cleaned with 20 seconds left in the match. The last 20 seconds were intense with both fighters throwing numerous and accurate punches.

180 poundsJunior captain Jim Christoforetti moved extremely well and earned a quick victory over an aggressive Denis Sullivan. Christoforetti’s parry was near perfect as it dismissed Sullivan’s early jabs. Christoforetti was able to pick his spots early on in the first, choosing to counterpunch off his parry with a quick left. Near the end of the first round, Christoforetti landed a number of quick hard shots to Sullivan’s head, which prompted a stumble from Sullivan. This stumble sent Christoforetti falling on top of Sullivan. Sullivan was slow to get up and rested on the mat with his eyes closed for a bit too long for the comfort of the referee, which prompted the fight being called at 1:28 into the first round.Eric Callahan came out brawling and took fellow senior Larry Rooney out of his element to earn his spot in the finals against Christoforetti. Though a bit uncontrolled, Callahan aggressively pursued Rooney around the ring, working his jab well and picking Rooney off as he circled. Callahan dominated the second round, as well. Rooney was unable to break through the taller boxer’s jab to score the body combos he sought. In round three Rooney came out hard and landed three hooks under Callahan’s jab as he brought the fight to Callahan.

Light heavyweightSenior captain Billy Zizic looked superb in his win over relentless sophomore Bryan Bylica by unanimous decision. Zizic was patient and elusive, but when it was available Bylica capitalized with his left jab. Zizic continued to move like the experienced boxer he is, and at 1:05 into the first round Zizic switched and fought as a lefty for two exchanges. The versatile Zizic switched back at 1:20 and finished the round as a righty. Zizic picked his punches well in the second. In round three, Zizic threw high into Blyica’s gloves, which opened the body.Jonny Griffin is a first time Bengal Bouts fighter, but he doesn’t seem to know it. Griffin overcame a great fighter in sophomore Chris Cavanuagh and won by unanimous decision to earn a spot in the finals against Zizic. Griffin was patient and composed in the ring, and his punches were straight and accurate. Cavanaugh boxed well in round one, and in the third round he made Griffin’s nose bleed. Still, Griffin eventually tossed Cavanaugh to the mat. It was a highly physical, well-fought, aggressive battle.

HeavyweightReturning champ Stefan Borovina made his first appearance in the bouts and will make his third appearance in the finals on St. Patrick’s Day after defeating Douglas Pope early in three rounds. At one minute into the first round, Stefan backed Pope into a corner with a strong upstairs flurry. Borovina did it again shortly after, ending the round with a flurry in his corner. Round two saw similar action. In the third, a number of hard shots from Borovina began the round and sent Pope into the ropes. Pope was forced to backpedal throughout the round, and the bout was called at 54 seconds into the third. Nathan Schroeder’s refusal to quit and a die-hard third round propelled him past junior Darryl Burton in a split decision victory. These fighters were noticeably heavier than the previous heavyweight bout. At times, it resorted to a slugfest. Burton and Schroeder traded punches in a high contact exchange on the ropes in the early going. Defense was not a major priority for either boxer in round one. Burton kept Schroeder out of the center of the ring throughout the round and patiently chose his punches and advances.