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Bengal Bouts: McGill wins in nailbiter

Tim Dougherty | Monday, March 6, 2006

Under the lights of the Joyce Center Sunday, the Notre Dame Glee Club belted out the national anthem, just in time for to the 76th annual Bengal Bouts finalists to belt each other in pursuit of the coveted championship.

125: Matthew Gelchion v. Will Marra

Freshman Matthew Gelchion outlasted Will Marra in a split decision victory in the 125-pound division.

Gelchion stayed lower than Marra, dodging and then exploding with strong left and right headshots to an exposed Marra, resulting in an early standing eight count. Marra rallied in the second round, jarring Gelchion’s headgear loose with a hit and eventually hitting him into his own corner after a facial blow that sent spit flying.

The third round turned into a playground slugfest, as both fighters traded punches to exposed heads – including an uppercut that knocked Gelchion into a standing eight. With strong crowd support from the men of Fisher Hall, an exhausted Gelchion hung in for the win.

132: Kris “El Azteca” Perez v. Chris Izaguire

The 132-pound fight lasted just more than a minute, after the referee stopped freshman Kristopher Perez’s mauling of sophomore Chris Izaguire. From the bell, a fiery Perez threw hard left and rights to Izaguire’s head as if he were looking for lunch money to add to his trophy.

140: Michael “My real name is Merc” Hennig v. Lawrence “The Boston Massacre” Sullivan

In the 140-pound class, junior Michael “My real name is Merc” Hennig unanimously downed Lawrence “The Boston Massacre” Sullivan. At the bell, Merc, last year’s runner-up, gained the upper hand as his fists flew at Sullivan with robotic tenacity. Merc’s quick lateral movement and boundless energy set the tone for the match, ducking away from attacks and countering with crushing blows that twice knocked out Sullivan’s mouthpiece – silencing a Fisher Hall contingent’s chants of “Sully.”

Sullivan had a chance to pin Merc against the ropes, but again Merc slid away from a punch and delivered his own to take the fight.

145: Andrew McGill v. Tommy “Fightin’ for milk” Forr

The 145-pound match pitted power versus speed, as junior Andrew McGill narrowly defeated junior Tommy “Fightin’ for Milk” Forr.

McGill, whose hair stood up to an Ivan Drago-like spike, reared back and launched powerful punches into big first-round points. A taller, trimmer Forr countered, taking the second-round edge by throwing quick jabs and dancing away from a frustrated McGill, whose fists could only hit the air once occupied by Forr.

McGill responded in the final round with a sudden barrage of blows that put Forr in the corner early. Forr could not keep up his earlier pace, and one of McGill’s fierce right hooks connected with Forr’s face, the smack reverberating throughout the audience before dying into the typically vacant plush seats of the basketball arena. McGill’s clout proved just too much for Forr’s agility in the split decision.

150: Bret “The Mail Never Stops” Shapot v. John “The Highlighter” O’Connell

At the 150-pound level, sophomore Bret “The Mail Never Stops” Shapot, even on Sunday, delivered a split-decision victory against freshman John “The Highlighter” O’Connell.

Though the fight was close, Shapot – evidently gone postal – was the fight’s aggressor throughout. Shapot connected on several big left hooks from the lefty’s inverted address, taking the edge in round two with a left-right package that put O’Connell against the ropes, before a big blow to the head at the bell.

O’Connell recovered strongly in the third round, until Shapot again backed him against the ropes. O’Connell fought him off and returned to sender a crushing punch at the final bell, but the highlight of his match was not enough to stop the bleeding, or The Mail.

155: Chris “The People’s Champ” Calderone v. Zachary “Zach Attack” Jara

For the 155-pound title, junior Chris “The People’s Champ” Calderone also became the official champ, knocking off Zachary “Zach Attack” Jara by unanimous decision.

In a test of two technically sound boxers, successful punches were hard to land. Though many fists flew, they connected with the fists of the opposing fighter.

In the second round, Calderone was able to penetrate Jara’s arms, landing a couple shots to the face that put Jara on defense. The final round remained a stalemate of blocked blows and tie-ups, until Calderone forced in a couple of hooks, to take the point lead over Jara in a match closer than the decision implied.

of the fight. Again, however, Nicholson used his long reach to keep the smaller Breslin at a distance. Nicholson landed a number of jabs and then, backing Breslin into the corner, landed the first solid combo of the fight.

Breslin struck right back, however, landing his own combo just a few seconds later. Toward the end of the round, Breslin got underneath Nicholson and landed a number of hooks, including one to the face the got the crowd in an uproar.

With the momentum – and the crowd – in Breslin’s favor, Nicholson again used his reach to take control of the fight. Nicholson landed a very solid hook about midway through the third round, and then the fighters traded punches until the bell.