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Bengal Bouts: Fighters get set for rematch in heavyweight final fight

Dan Murphy | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The first Bengal Bouts champion of 2009 will be crowned tonight in the Joyce Center.

The heavyweight championship fight features sophomore Kevin Crepeau and defending champion Will Bourroughs.

Crepeau and Bourroughs will be fighting for the first and final time tonight as the only two boxers in this year’s heavyweight division. Crepeau weighed in at 234 pounds and Bourroughs tipped the scales at 239.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking because that first fight you always get to see where you are,” Crepeau said. “Nothing is the same as when you actually fight, so you don’t know if all your training has been enough until you actually get in there.”

Tonight’s battle is a rematch from last year’s final when Bourroughs, a law student, proved to be too much for then-freshman Crepeau.

“Last year he gave me a pretty good beating, so this year I think I’m going to come with something a little different,” Crepeau said.

Last year, after a fairly even first round, Bourroughs pulled away in the second and opened up on his opponent in the final round, ending the contest before the final bell.

“Once he had me, he just hit the gas,” Crepeau said.

To his credit, the rookie was the only fighter that Bourroughs did not put on the canvas. Crepeau said he used the loss as motivation in his training this year and thinks he is better prepared the second time around.

“I know what I have to do,” Crepeau said. “I just have to do it and that’s not that easy.”

They know each other’s style after sparring many times leading up to this year’s fight.

The title fight should be one of many hotly-contested bouts tonight. The rest of the 48 remaining boxers will fight for a place in the finals this weekend.

Along with Bourroughs, there are seven more defending champions stepping into the ring, including senior Kris Perez. Perez, who is undefeated in his career, is going for his fourth straight title. He takes on Kieran Bulger in the 140-pound division semifinals tonight.

Senior captains Mike Lee and Dan Rodgers are each trying to take the next step towards a third Bengal Bouts crown. Lee, who transferred to Notre Dame at the beginning of his sophomore year, is also undefeated in his career. Jim Hasson, who has won both of his fights this year in unanimous decisions, will try to hand Lee his first loss.

Several other hungry fighters will vie for their first chance at a championship tonight. Some notable bouts include bruiser John Tchoula against the technical Rafael Diaz in the 185-pound divisio; a battle of senior veterans Patrick Kibbe and Brian DeSplinter in the 147-pound bracket; and lightweights Sean McNichols and Michael Sayles, who will square off in the second fight of the night.

The action is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.