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Sports

2019 Bengal Bouts winners crowned

, , and | Monday, March 4, 2019

142 lbs

Daniel “The Emotional Punching Bag” Wilborn def. Aidan “Ace” Becklund

Becklund, a Dunne Hall freshman, came out swinging hard early in the first round, landing heavy combinations to the body and head of Wilborn, a senior representing Alumni Hall. Meanwhile, Becklund was able to stay out of range for the majority of Wilborn’s combos.

Wilborn came into the second round with an extremely aggressively approach and landed some solid combos to Becklund’s head. Becklund soon caught on and was able to reestablish Wilborn’s range, forcing Wilborn to wrap Becklund up multiple times in the second.

In the third and final round, Becklund was able to find holes in Wilborn’s offense. By exploiting these holes, Becklund was able to land several shots to his opponent’s head. In an unlikely turn over events, Becklund did make one critical mistake late in the third, tossing his opponent to the mat, costing Becklund the match as Wilborn was declared winner by split decision.

 

148 lbs    

Joe “Pa” Purcell def. Leonard “Typhoon” Calvo

Dillon Hall senior Purcell came into the fight with a clear height advantage measuring 6-foot-1, over a half-a-foot taller than his opponent, Calvo, a Keough Hall sophomore who stands at 5-foot-6.

Purcell landed several left jabs along with some powerful right hooks. Purcell rarely threw combos in the first round and relied on his jabs and hooks to keep Calvo at bay. Calvo rushed to Purcell in the second roundand immediately was taken to the ropes by Purcell. Calvo did manage to land several heavy shots to Purcell’s stomach. Both fighters seemed to be losing their energy rapidly as the second round came to a close. Calvo utilized his quickness in the third round ducking below Purcell’s swings. For Calvo — a former high school wrestler — ducking these punches and dropping low against Purcell seemed to be almost second nature.

Calvo was able to get beneath Purcell’s long arms in the third round and landed several rapid combinations to the mid-section. Despite these quick combinations landing and scoring Calvo was not able to rack up enough points to defeat his opponent. Purcell was eventually named the winner by unanimous decision.

 

157 lbs.

Michael “The K.O.” Feijoo def. Kyle “Nemo” Mettler

Feijoo was the first to throw punches and managed to rapidly draw blood from Mettler. The fight was stopped to deal with his injury, but Mettler — the larger of the two competitors — came out of the break with a flurry of hard shots to his opponent’s head.

Feijoo, a senior captain from Morrissey Manor, said he knew facing Mettler would be difficult for him.

“He’s a tall, big guy so I was a little worried about that height,” he said. “Boxing against tall guys is kind of my weakness, so I was doing a lot of preparation for that.”

Feijoo responded to Mettler’s attack with a quick-hitting series of head shots, but Mettler, a sophomore, recovered with another set of strikes. Feijoo let loose a string of shots that sent Mettler reeling, but the latter regained his composure heading into the intermission.

Both fighters came out aggressive in the second round, closing the space and throwing several shots. The fight briefly slowed down as both realized the other’s strength, but Mettler soon unleashed some strong punches. However, Feijoo then forced Mettler into the ropes with a powerful attack. This played into Feijoo’s strategy to bait his opponent and find an opening.

“The first and second round[s] my strategy was to pick out and make him miss, and pick out all my punches afterwards,” Feijoo said. “I knew he was going to tire himself out before I was, and I was going to make sure that by the end of the second round and the beginning of the third round I was going to give it my all knowing he would be more tired than I am.”

As the second period came to an end, Mettler managed to respond with some good defensive shots as Feijoo attempted to attack further. Mettler began the final stanza with a brutal, desparate attack, but Feijoo quickly matched the former’s aggressiveness, once more forcing Mettler to the ropes.

“I was going into the third round knowing that he was more tired than I was,” Feijoo said. “That is basically what I train for. I train that when I’m exhausted, my exhaustion will be better than theirs because at the end of the day, you are always going to be tired, it’s just a matter of who can keep on boxing.”

Mettler indeed began to wear down, and Feijoo had his opponent right where he wanted him. One Mettler shot caused the referee to fix Feijoo’s headgear, and he refused to give in, knowing that he needed every point he could get in the dogfight. However, Feijoo’s strategy worked perfectly as Mettler simply could not muster enough energy, and Feijoo won the fight by split decision.

Feijoo said his training helped him ensure that his approach never devolved into just throwing punches, because his mindset was always “boxing, not fighting, but boxing when you’re tired.”

 

160 lbs. 

Luke “Luscious” Fraser def. Nick “The Soviet Stinger” Kiene

Both fighters began the bout tentatively, trying to judge their opponent, but Fraser, a sophomore in Alumni, quickly looked to land several powerful shots.

“I know he likes to sit back,” Fraser said of his opponent. “He’s a patient fighter, he doesn’t like to initiate so if he wasn’t going than I had to.”

Kiene, a senior in Keenan, kept his composure through Fraser’s initial attack, and managed to briefly knock Fraser off-balance, even drawing blood from him. Fraser did not relent, and landed a set of solid hits, but Kiene managed to land his own shots as Fraser attempted to close the space, drawing blood from the latter.

“I think it was at the end of the first when he tagged me and my nose started bleeding and I immediately felt the blood start coming,” Fraser said of the series. “[I] didn’t like that.”

As time wore down, Fraser briefly forced Kiene to the ropes, but Kiene escaped, only to be forced back into them right before the first round concluded.

Kiene looked to be the aggressor in the second round, probing with a couple of jabs, but Fraser quickly used his strength to force the former back. As the period progressed, Fraser had a solid set of hits, but Kiene looked to briefly gain the upper hand. Fraser soon respond, reclaiming the momentum, and despite Kiene landing a few more shots, Fraser forced Kiene into the corner. The referee paused the fight to check Kiene, and the second round ended right as action continued.

“He landed a few shots,” Fraser said. “But I’ve taken other shots too in previous fights. So yeah, I’m stepping into the ring and I’m expecting to get hit.”

In the final round, Fraser unleashed an onslaught, pushing Kiene into the ropes and causing another official stoppage. Kiene successfully landed a strong hit to Fraser, but the latter wrapped Kiene up. Fraser began to tire, and Kiene looked to seize the opportunity, but Fraser had just enough energy to keep Kiene at bay. The final round ended with Fraser forcing Kiene once more into the ropes and landing several strong body shots. Ultimately, Fraser’s thorough control of the fight led him to a unanimous victory.

After the fight, Fraser complimented his opponent on his performance, saying, “He did well, he’s a strong kid, he tagged me a few times and made sure I felt them.”

Fraser also spoke of the spirit of Bengal Bouts and what it has meant to him.

“Oh man, it’s so cool,” he said. “I tell people who I meet … the program is kind of the coolest extracurricular college experience. Something I never imagined would come, something I didn’t consider when I was coming to college was athletic extracurriculars, but this was an open door when I arrived here and it has allowed such a cool opportunity for growth, development, and just enhancing my college experience, meeting new people and trying new things, it’s been a fantastic ride so far.”

Fraser said as a sophomore, he hopes to have “two more years of participation, and hopefully two more competitive runs.”

 

168 lbs.

Taylor “Bam Bam” Vucinich def. Ryan “Jessie’s Girl” Green

Wasting no time, the 168-lb. final lasted less than one round as junior Taylor Vucinich looked very formidable. After a period of sizing one another up, Vucinich jabbed aggressively at senior Ryan Green’s face before the referee broke the two apart. When the match resumed, Green responded by backing Vucinich into the corner. Bolstered by the ever-present cheers from the Alumni Hall faithful, Vucinich swiftly forced Green across the ring into the opposite corner and landed some powerful punches to Green’s head. As Green looked shaken up, the match ended in a referee-stopped decision with Vucinich taking home the victory. After the match, Vucinich seemed in awe of the whole event.

“I can’t even begin to explain it,” Vucinich said. “The moment you walk out there and you see all the people cheering for you … [it] feels amazing.”

Vucinich also explained how he abandoned his original plan to be more conservative in favor of a more aggressive approach.

“The beginning of my strategy was to counter, but then I realized … [that] I was going to just go for it,” Vucinich said. “It wasn’t the cleanest technical fight I’ve ever been in, but I got the job done pretty quickly.”

Allison Thorton | The Observer

Junior Taylor “Bam Bam” Vucinich lands a punch on Tommy “T-Train” Perea during the semifinal round of Bengal Bouts on Feb. 25.

 

173 lbs.

Dan “Pilgrim” O’Brien def. Jay “Nighthawk” Eversole

To open the bout, sophomore Dan O’Brien landed a few strikes to classmate Jay Eversole’s helmet. Eversole recovered well with a barrage of body shots and an strong uppercut to O’Brien’s head. O’Brien stormed back by striking Eversole with such force that his helmet was loosened. After the match was delayed to adjust Eversole’s helmet, both boxers tried to trap each other into the corners of the ring before the first round ended. After the bout, O’Brien stated that he carried out a more patient and counter-focused strategy.

“Going in, I was trying to be not as aggressive,” O’Brien explained. “I paced myself a bit and waited for those openings, which, for me, was every time I landed that cross and would chase with a couple [punches]. Then, I would back off and catch my breath.”

The second round started as both competitors traded massive hits to each other’s head. Eversole utilized his agility to attempt running uppercuts; however, O’Brien thwarted this strategy by grabbing him and forcing him into a period of grappling. As he tried to dodge O’Brien’s swings, Eversole lost his balance and fell to the floor as the second round ended. In the final round, O’Brien was able to land multiple punches to the side of Eversole’s head before he was named the victor. After reflecting on his win, O’Brien stated that he was ready to prepare for future bouts.

“It feels good,” O’Brien said. “Coming in, I was just telling myself that one man was left to beat it the year. Dieting, hydration and missing out on social events was all part of a process that I took one step at time since the beginning of the year. I’m just ready for that first step for next year.”

 

185 lbs.

Eric “Cheese Sandwich” Requet def. Michael “The Mayor of Flavortown” Krecek

This finals bout began as senior captain Michael Krecek tried to land a swarm of punches but could not break through junior Eric Requet’s two-handed block. Requet responded by pushing Krecek into the ropes before both boxers exchanged multiple head-shots. Just as Requet’s blocking seemed impenetrable, Krecek broke through Requet’s defenses and gave him a bloody nose. After a short medical delay, Requet aggressively forced Krecek to the ropes; however, Krecek escaped by swinging his body around his opponent before the first round ended. After the match, Requet commented on difficulty of boxing with a bloody nose.

“It sucked,” Requet said. “At one point, I tried to throw a punch and a blood clot came out of my mouth, which I had to spit out. It was tough, but I just had to not pay attention and worry about hitting him and not worry about how much blood was flying around. But it did add an extra element to the match.”

In the second and third rounds, Requet seemed to gain the upper hand due to his endurance. While Krecek tended to attempt quick bursts of uppercuts before dodging Requet’s powerful counter, Requet was patient and absorbed Krecek’s punches with his gloves. After some close-quarters grappling and body shots, Krecek appeared to be worn down. Requet took advantage of this by pushing his opponent into the corner while dealing successive uppercuts, which left Krecek dazed. After the final bell sounded, Requet was named with winner by unanimous decision. Requet cited his hard work and preparation as the reason for his success in the final.

“It feels amazing,” Requet said. “I put in a lot of work starting in October, and then coming out and beating two captains back-to-back … just shows that, if you put in extra work, it will pay off for you in the end.”

 

202 lbs.

Jack “Smiles” McDermott def. Montana “Louisianimal” Giordano

In a fight between two senior captains, both fighters came in eager for a victory, having both advanced to the finals all three years prior and fallen short every time. After a frenzied start, both fighters showed patience, attempting to get a feel for one another’s style. Then, in the blink of an eye, the fight turned, with both fighters landing shots. At this point McDermott, an O’Neill Hall senior, seemed to hit his stride, landing a nice spurt of punches to close the round.

The second round began similar to the first, very tight, as Giordano, a senior representing Alumni Hall, looked to push the tempo. McDermott allowed this to happen, luring Giordano in and striking on the counterattack. Despite a lengthy gear break for Giordano, McDermott kept his focus, coming out even strong after a frenzy of punches.

As for the turning point, McDermott felt the third round changed the tone of the match.

“I knew we both got tired, and, when you get tired, you just kind of resort to what you’re good at,” McDermott said.

This seemed to hold true, as he took greater initiative, and despite a few breaks for Giordano to replace gear, he stayed aggressive, forcing a standing eight count, cementing his victory.

 

Heavyweight

Ryan “Eat at Yaz’s” Richelsen def. Nick “Old School” Waytula

A contender for the fight of the night, Richelsen, a Morrissey Manor senior, and Waytula, a senior representing Alumni Hall, made their way into the ring for the final fight of the tournament. Richelsen definitely seemed the more energetic, aggressive fighter, trying to counter Waytula’s height advantage with speed. That being said, the strategies of both fighters seemed to pay dividends. Richelsen moved Waytula where he wanted, while Waytula used his length and patience to land several strikes on Richelsen.

In the second round, Waytula was more aggressive at the start, but fell back and let Richelsen take initiative. Richelsen’s speed continued to be a factor, as he consistently avoided the meaty hooks thrown by Waytula. In addition, Richelsen continued to move Waytula around, landing jabs to the body and wearing his opponent down.

The third round began rapidly, with both eventually getting tied up. But Richelsen’s energy took front and center, as he pushed Waytula into corners and landed several very solid strikes. Waytula held his own, however, landing some blows of his own to this chorus of the raucous crowd. In the end, speed topped size, and Richelsen came out on top via split decision.

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