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Women hold first Baraka Bouts finals

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 22, 2004

After three months of training, hundreds or thousands of push-ups and sit-ups and hours of running, the women boxers finally stepped into the ring this week. For 22 boxers, their hard work was surely well worth it.

Sunday at 2 p.m. the first bell sounded, at the Joyce Center, for the inaugural Baraka Bouts championships. For the first time ever, the women’s boxing club was able to hold a tournament. Last year the women fought in exhibition bouts.

“No other school has women’s boxing,” Emily Rickert said. “It’s a good opportunity”

White def. Paladino, flyweight

In the flyweight championship bout, junior Paige White defeated freshman Meghan Paladino, in a split decision, after three one-and-a-half minute rounds.

“You put in a ton of work during the season – long hours,” White said. “Getting in the ring and coming out on top in front of a large crowd of people definitely makes it all worth while. It was a great match. I’m just excited to have come out on top.”

Ruiz def. Fickey, featherweight

In the featherweight division, senior Grisel Ruiz overpowered junior Jessica Fickey for the title. Heading into the third round, the bout was still close, but Ruiz cornered Fickey nearly 30 seconds into the round and dealt several solid blows. Ruiz held on to her lead the rest of the way for the title.

Rickert def. Burgin, junior featherweight

Emily Rickert edged senior Sarah Burgin in the final, in a tight, hard-fought match.

“It’s a great workout,” first-time boxer Rickert said. I thought it was a really aggressive bout. It was a good fight.”

Irvine def. McCormick, junior lightweight

Senior Melanie Irvine used her experience to her advantage as she defeated freshman Colleen McCormick in a unanimous decision.

The senior was savvy and aggressive, using combinations to gain the upper hand early.

McCormick gave a valiant effort, but found herself on the receiving end of too many blows from her opponent. Irvine wore down McCormick in the later stages, putting her on the defensive for the majority of the final round. Irvine’s consistency throughout the three rounds reflected her seniority and was enough to give her the title.

Williams def. Jackson, lightweight

In a match marked by early aggression from both fighters, freshman Emily Williams emerged victorious in a unanimous decision over junior Erica Jackson. Williams used her left hand to keep her opponent off-balance, a strategy that gave her an early advantage in the fight. As the match progressed, she began using a right jab to set up her powerful left, using this technique to pin her opponent against the ropes in the second round. The final round featured an early spurt, followed by defensive tactics from both fighters. Williams’s strength in the early rounds proved enough for her to earn the victory.

Miller def. Wu, junior welterweight

Dominant from the outset, sophomore Kelsey Miller won the title over classmate Aileen Wu in a unanimous decision. Miller was poised to attack from the opening bell, using a barrage of punches that sent her opponent to the canvas within the first minute of the bout.

The trend continued in the second round, as Wu was unable to prevent Miller from backing her into the corner and gaining the upper hand. Despite having her strongest performance in the third round, Wu was still forced to go on the defensive as Miller tried unsuccessfully to deliver the knockout blow. Miller’s consistency throughout was more than sufficient to award her the decision.

Borys def. Whealan, junior middleweight

Senior captain Amanda Borys was masterful in a textbook performance that resulted in a unanimous decision over junior Meghan Whealan. Borys came out firing, landing several punches early that forced the referee to step in and send the combatants to the corners.

Borys continued her dominance after the stoppage and into the second round, landing combinations to the head and body of Whealan. The junior was on the defensive for the majority of the match, suffering a big right from Borys in the third round that resulted in another stoppage. Successive blows to the head of Whealan late in the third round sealed the decision for Borys. Canavan def. Libardi, super welterweight

In a bout that proved to be one of the more closely contested fights of the day, Megan Canavan defeated her sophomore classmate Julie Libardi in a split decision. Both fighters threw aggressive combinations in the early going with Libardi backing Canavan into a corner, taking the early advantage.

Canavan came back with an inspired performance in the second round, however, attacking early, and landing a high percentage of her punches. It was Canavan’s most effective round as it propelled her to a victory despite suffering a blow in the third round that sent her mouth guard flying out of the ring.

Oguchi def. Welch, middleweight

The final middleweight match up for the 2004 Baraka Bouts was between Leslie Oguchi from Farley and Maria Welch from Welsh Family. Oguchi hit Welch with several uppercuts during the second round, only to be bombarded by Welch in a last-second comeback. This bout was close until late in the third round when Oguchi pinned Welch up against the ropes. However, Oguchi came out as the winner in split-decision of a well-paired match.

“It was an excellent event,” Welch said. “It was so great for the girls to showcase all of their hard work this season. We are working to make each other better and to raise money for the cause.

Galmarini def. Mooney welterweight

The battle of the Phoxes of Pangborn was won by sophomore Agus Galmarini who earned the unanimous decision over fellow sophomore Kathleen Mooney. The two combatants, who live on the same floor of Pangborn, were cautious at the outset as the first round yielded limited action.

The fight took a decisive turn in the second round; however, as Galmarini was able to land combinations that left her opponent on her heels. Galmarini’s success continued in the third round, as she used her left jab to gain control of a match that appeared awkward for both of the combatants.

Runde def. Popoff, supermiddleweight

The final for the super middleweight title was the last of the night. Emily Popoff and Kate Runde, both from Walsh Hall, faced off in the ring.

Popoff started off strong, fiercely delivering several jabs and ending in a jab-cross. Runde, however, soon had her against the ropes. During the second round, she skillfully planted a huge right cross on Popoff. Runde continued to attack on the cross while Popoff struggled in her defensive position. The two circled several times in the third round, followed by a final meeting of gloves, however Runde was declared the winner by unanimous decision.