Champions crowned in 88th annual Bengal Bouts
Chris “Chip Blood” Dethlefs def. Thomas “Tommy Gun” Manno
Zahm senior Manno and Sorin senior Dethfefs squared off Friday for the 141-pound division Bengal Bouts title. The two laid it all on the line in a split-decision, instant-classic win for Dethlefs.
The first round started fast, with both fighters looking to dictate the pace of the fight. Manno put Dethlefs on the ropes early, but Dethlefs was able to counterattack well, landing combos on Manno’s body coming off the ropes. In the second round, both fighters continued to try to move each other around the ring, each battling hard for points. Manno pushed Dethlefs hard, and Dethlefs said had nothing but respect for his opponent after the fight.
“Thanks to Tom for pushing me out there and making me earn it,” Dethelfs said. “Every second of that fight was a challenge.”
The third round was aggressive, and the rowdy crowd injected energy into the fighters. Manno knocked Dethlefs onto a knee in the third, but Dethlefs battled back, moving Manno around the ring late and earning a win by split decision.
“[My boxing career] feels like it came full circle,” Dethlefs said. “Freshman year I worked hard all season and lost a split in my first fight. I kept working, lost for three years and came into my own this year getting a split win the final. I’m ready to have some mental free space. It’s a relief to have it done.”
Joaquin “Hindi Humuhupa” Camara def. Matthew “The Fightin’ Amish” Yoder
The 148-pound division pitted two experienced seniors against each other, both looking to go out on top. Keenan senior Camara was able to repeat as Bengal Bouts champion over O’Neill senior Yoder by unanimous decision.
Both fighters were on the attack early, with Camara looking to land ambitious combos on Yoder. Yoder did a good job blocking, and landed a few punch of his own back on Camara in the first round.
Both fighters came out fast in the second round, and Camara brought the crowd to its feet with a huge hook on Yoder’s headgear. Yoder appeared to gain momentum by putting Camara on the ropes, but Camara responded hard, planting Yoder on his back leading to Yoder receiving a 10-count from the referee.
Camara said he was able to put his best effort forward in the ring.
“It felt great, I go out there and try to give my best effort regardless of the outcome,” he said. “A lot of that is faith in God, because there’s so much that can happen that’s outside of my control. I can get sick, I can get injured, anything can happen. I just have to give my best and give praise and glory to God.”
Both fighters traded blows in the third round, visibly putting in effort. The pace of play slowed down greatly, and it ultimately turned into a test of will.
In the end, the judges awarded the fight to Camara by unanimous decision. Camara now has Bengal Bouts titles in the 141 and 148-pound weight divisions.
Camara said Bengal Bouts was a huge part of his Notre Dame experience.
“The mission is absolutely outstanding, the culture of brotherhood and teamwork is amazing and the individual development is phenomenal,” he said. “Matthew was one of the first people I met in the club freshman year. We’re good friends I have all the respect in the world for him. He pushed me extremely hard and gave me a very close fight.”
Michael “The K.O.” Feijoo def. Steven “Beefcake” Ramos
In the finals for the 165-pound weight class between Keough senior Childers and Fisher junior Luchini, both fighters came out aggressively swinging to start things off in the first round.
Childers was able to get Luchini on the ropes just briefly about a minute in, but as the round continued, pace started to slow, with each fighter becoming more methodical in protecting themselves.
In the second round, there was a start as ferocious as the first, this time with Luchini perhaps landing a few more of the blows. Both fighters were delivering powerful punches, leaving both tired as they entered the final round. In the third, Luchini took a more defensive approach to start, and Childers took the opportunity to go on the attack.
Childers was able to corner Luchini and deliver a strong series of blows as the fight winded down, eventually drawing blood from his opponent before all was said and done.
By unanimous decision, Childers was awarded the victory.
Afterwards, Childers credited his opponent for giving him a tough match.
“He made it really tough on me,” he said. “He’s one of the hardest hitters I’ve had to fight so I definitely couldn’t do everything I wanted to, but I guess I did enough.”
Lawler worked Yerkes back onto the ropes just five seconds in, delivering a successive series of punches to both the head and body.
After having separated briefly, Lawler again went right after Yerkes, this time causing the ref to get involved as he checked on Yerkes.
Pace slowed a bit as the first round began to wind down, but it was Lawler who continued to give out the majority of the punches.
In the second round, it was Yerkes this time who came out the aggressor, going after Lawler.
Lawler, however, quickly turned things around, causing Yerkes to once again go on the defensive. Lawler began furiously coming at Yerkes, shifting the fight from corner to corner as he continued to land a succession of blows.
Roughly halfway through the second round, the referee stepped in for what proved to be the last time as he called the fight. Lawler walked away with the victory by referee-stopped contest as a result. Following the fight, Lawler said the victory meant a great deal to him.
“I feel proud of myself and how I trained this year. I feel proud of everyone in this club, and I can’t wait for that number to be revealed at the end of the year saying how much we raised,” Lawler said. “I’m one of 11 and I’ve got my extended family and my girl here, so it meant the world to me to be able to do my best in front of them.”
Both fighters were patient out of the gate, waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. Finally, it was McDermott who went on the attack, followed shortly after by Chamblee who sought to get in a few hits.
Chamblee was eventually able to get McDermott on the ropes, but only for a brief moment as much of this opening round remained spaced out and defensive.
In the second round, both fighters came out a little more aggressive, each getting in his shots. The two would be tangled up a couple of times throughout the round, and by mid round it was McDermott who began to land a series of punches.
However, Chamblee did not back down, and by the end of the round he was landing hits, eventually being able to corner McDermott before the bell concluded the round.
Chamblee was able to land a strong string of punches mid round, but it was McDermott who finished off the round on the attack as each fighter sought to empty the tank before the match was complete. In what was a very close contest, Chamblee who was awarded the split-decision victory.
Chamblee said the fight was significant for him personally.
“This wins means a lot to me,” he said. “I came to my first Bengal Bouts fight 20 years ago when I was a little kid. I grew up watching this so it means a lot to be able to win.”
The 186-pound fight, was a tight bout between two juniors — Krecek and Nolan — which ended in a draw. The fight started slowly, with each fighter taking their time before throwing their first hits. Nolan, representing Duncan, was able to land some major hits on Krecek in the first round, knocking the Morrissey resident to the ground after a big hit.
However, Krecek was able to come back swinging, landing some big punches towards the end of the round.
“I think the one thing I did well was landing some counterpunches,” Krecek said.
Krecek took this energy with him into the next round, coming out swinging against Nolan with a renewed energy. The second round was more aggressive than the first, with both fighters throwing and landing more punches and moving at a much faster pace.
This sudden burst of energy was quickly tempered, as Nolan and Krecek both were visibly exhausted at the start of the third round. The two kept at it in the middle of the ring, both landing hits despite their fatigue, but Nolan eventually was able to get Krecek on the ropes towards the end of the match.
“I used up all my tank, I left my heart out there in the third round,” Nolan said. “Overall, I’m proud of myself.”
The bout ended in a draw, after one judge did not circle a winner.
“[Nolan] did a lot more right than me, he fought his best fight, coming out with a lot of strong hooks that I really had trouble with,” Krecek said. “But a fight’s a fight. I think it turned out OK.”
Jackson “Dollarface” Wrede def. Montana “Louisianimal” Giordano
As soon as the opening bell rang in this final round heavyweight matchup, senior Wrede ran at Giordano, ready to fight. Wrede, representing Knott, was able to land some hits on the Alumni junior at first, but Giordano fought back, making for a fast paced first round between the two aggressive heavyweights.
Giordano returned with a vengeance in the second round, immediately gaining some momentum in the match-up, using his speed to his advantage. However, the momentum was short-lived as Wrede was able to get his hands up to avoid some major punches, allowing him to land a crucial hit on Giordano that resulted in the referee counting Giordano down. Wrede did not let up for the remainder of the round, forcing Giordano onto the defensive as Wrede landed hit after hit.
“Boxing’s pretty simple. If you keep your hands up, you don’t get hit,” Wrede said. “ … I stuck to the game plan.”
As the third round commenced, Wrede, a three-time finalist, looked hungry for a victory as he went after his opponent. While Giordano was able to corner him for a moment, Wrede forced his way off the ropes to strike him. Both visibly frustrated, the fighters went at each other with full force for the remainder of the fight, but ultimately the referee was forced to stop the contest in favor of Wrede.
“To be a senior captain, come out and win, for your last chance,” Wrede said. “It meant the world.”
Pat “The Quiet Man” Gordon def. Ryan “Eat at Yaz’s” Richelsen
Senior captain and Keough resident Gordon came into the ring in the first round with a balanced attack. Landing valuable punches on Richelsen, a junior from Morrissey, Gordon was able to control the tempo of the first leg of the bout. While neither fighter came out with particular aggression, Richelsen’s footwork threw Gordon off balance on a number of occasions.
Richelsen was able to land more hits in the second round, as he was able to get Gordon on the ropes early in the round. The bout turned more aggressive as Richelsen continued to strike Gordon, and the referee had to break the two fighters up amidst one scuffle.
Gordon’s experience, however, proved useful in the third round as he was able to finally break away from Richelsen, landing some decisive punches. The final round was the fastest paced, with both boxers chasing the other to the various corners of the ring throughout the match. However, Gordon’s consistent attack proved successful as he walked away from the bout with a victory by unanimous decision.
“Finishing my last year with a title felt incredibly rewarding,” Gordon said. “[Richelsen] is a great boxer, an incredible competitor, and he made me work for it. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
The trophy was not the last one Gordon would win for the night, however, as he was presented with the Larry Ash award at the end of the evening.
“I’m honored to win the Larry Ash trophy,” Gordon said. “It’s a small group of boxers that have been fortunate enough to win this prestigious award, and I consider myself lucky to be amongst them.”
Gordon said these awards were “awesome.”
“After going to Bangladesh and seeing the benefits of our fundraising firsthand, I made it my goal to do as much as I possibly could for the kids in Bangladesh,” Gordon said. “Knowing that we have made a real impact on people’s lives means the world to me.”