The semifinals of the 19th annual Baraka Bouts Boxing Tournament were held on Thursday night at the Dahnke Ballroom of the Duncan Student Center.
Elizabeth “Lights Out” Kerner of Pasquerilla West Hall vs. Mia “The Menace” Bellafante of Lewis Hall
Both boxers came out on the offensive, but Kerner was able to land some big punches on Bellafante early on. Kerner appeared to tire out slightly towards the end of the first round, however, and Bellafante was able to land some punches of her own to stay in contention in the fight. In the second round, it was Kerner who came out firing again, but this time Bellafante stood her ground better and was able to land some body punches as well. Kerner came out strong in the third round, though, with some huge punches, knocking Bellafante to the ground. Bellafante would put up a valiant fight, but Kerner was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Gabi “Texan Perfection” Cano of Pasquerilla West Hall vs. Ellie “The Hammer” Hammerschmitt of Pasquerilla East Hall
Both boxers came out swinging, but Hammerschmitt threw a big jab, getting Cano on the ground quickly. After getting up, Cano would throw some big punches, but Hammerschmitt once again threw some large punches, forcing her to the floor two more times. In the second round, Cano put up a fight, but Hammerschmitt proved to be the better fighter yet again, landing some more big punches. In the third round, Cano showed some heart and came out firing, but Hammerschmitt proved to be the better fighter, winning this one by split decision.
Karen “Can I Speak to Your Manager” Alvarez of Cavanaugh Hall vs. Amelia “Meals on Wheels” Love of Farley Hall
Both boxers flew out of their corners, coming out on the offensive in this one and trading punch for punch. Both fighters settled in, but Alvarez threw some strong punches to force Love to the ground at the end of the first round. In the second round, Alvarez came out swinging again, throwing some quick 1-2s at Love. Both fighters showed lots of heart at the end of the second round, going punch for punch to make it a very intriguing fight heading into the third round. In the final round, it was Love that came out strong, landing a big punch on Alvarez to throw her to the ground. Love used her big final round to prevail by split decision.
Cam “Can’t Touch This” Dowd of Badin Hall vs. Lily “Lightning” Whitman of Lyons Hall
Dowd and Whitman were able to land some big punches on each other early on in this one, going toe to toe in the ring. After coming out aggressively, both fighters tired out a bit towards the end of the round, setting up an exciting bout going forward. Dowd came out firing in the second round, but Whitman was able to counter her offensive and land some big punches of her own. Dowd finished the round on a high note, landing some big right hands against Whitman. In the third round, Dowd came out swinging yet again, but Whitman stood her ground to land some strong punches of her own. Both fighters were noticeably fatigued at the end, but Dowd was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Sabrina “Golden Stinger” Curran of Flaherty Hall vs. Shannon “The Sharon” Steines of Lyons Hall
Steines came out firing in this one, forcing Curran to the corner, but Curran was able to get out of it and go toe to toe with her opponent. Steines was able to land some more big punches against Curran at the end of round one to carry some momentum into the second round. In the second round, Steines came out of the gates on the offensive again, but Curran successfully settled in and landed some strong body punches against Steines to make this one an intriguing bout down the stretch. In the third round, Curran successfully evaded Steines’ early attack, but both boxers looked noticeably fatigued by the end of the fight, struggling to throw strong punches against each other. In the end, Curran proved to be the better fighter, winning the fight by unanimous decision.
Sophie “Mighty Mouse” Kressler of Walsh Hall vs. Dani “Mighty Muffin” Harold of Flaherty Hall
Both fighters flew out of the gate, but Kressler was able to settle in early and land some strong punches against Harold. Harold did a good job of coming back, though, and landing some strong punches of her own at the end of the first round. In the second round, it was Harold who carried over her momentum from the first round to land some big punches early, but Kressler was able to land a big 1-2 punch against Harold to get her up against the ropes. In the third round, Harold flew out of the gates, but Kressler found a way to slip one of Harold’s punches and land some strong punches of her own. Down the stretch, both fighters threw some strong jabs against each other, but Kressler proved to be the winner by unanimous decision.
Nicole “I ain’t calling you a truther” Lies of Welsh Family Hall vs. Carly “The Wall” Hall of Pasquerilla East Hall
In this one, both fighters flew out of their corner, landing some strong 1-2s against each other. Hall was then able to find a groove at the end of the first round and throw some strong punches against Lies. Both fighters went toe to toe in the second round, but Lies was able to evade some punches and land some strong jabs at Hall to set up a highly contested bout in the third and final round. Out of the gates in the third round, both fighters flew out of their corners to throw some strong jabs at each other in the middle of the ring. Towards the end of the round, both Lies and Hall appeared very burned out, but both fighters fought to the end, throwing some strong punches against one another. Hall fought better overall, though, winning this one by unanimous decision.
Kelly “Wardog” Ward vs. Erin “The Swimmer” Jackson of Welsh Family Hall
Jackson threw the first couple of punches, but Ward responded quickly to throw lots of fast, quick jabs at Jackson. Ward then threw a big 1-2 punch that threw Jackson against the rail, forcing the referee to pause the fight briefly. After resuming, Ward continued to dominate and force Jackson against the ropes. In the second round, Jackson threw some punches early, but Ward continued to punish Jackson with her 1-2 punches to force her against the ropes. The referee had to stop this one early, securing a dominating victory for Ward.
Emily “Bookhook” Wilborn of Howard Hall vs. Avery “Hurricane” Garrity of Johnson Family Hall
Both boxers came out of the gates firing in this one, but Wilborn was able to land some big punches against Garrity early on. Garrity fought back strong, though, to set up a highly contested bout for the next two rounds. Wilborn continued to dominate in the second round, landing some big 1-2 punches against Garrity throughout the round. Garrity did a good job of slipping some of these punches, however, and throwing some body punches at Wilborn to keep it interesting. In the third round, Wilborn tried to get Garrity on the ropes, but Garrity successfully evaded some of Wilborn’s punches to get back to the middle of the ring. Moments later, though, Wilborn landed a big punch to send Garrity to the ground. Wilborn was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Mia “Mayhem” Lecinski vs. Deirdre “Dirty D” Lagore
The first bout of the night in Ring B opened with a flurry of punches from both fighters. Lecinski landed a few jabs early in the first round before both fighters began to pace themselves, backing off slightly and circling the ring. Both fighters landed a few solid body shots before the end of the round, but neither fighter seemed dazed by the contact or the furious pace of fighting that resumed just before the bell. Lagore came out swinging to start the second round, and her aggressive style seemed to catch Lecinski off guard, as Lagore continued to land punches on her opponent’s head and body.
Lecinski fought back towards the end of the round, and the fighters traded a series of blows as the second round came to a close. Lecinski, trying to take control of the fight, came back out with a vengeance in the third round, landing some early jabs between the defense of Lagore. Lecinski’s confidence seemed to grow as the round progressed, and she continued to dominate the final round, earning an intervention from the referee as he checked up on Lagore following a few good combinations from Lecinski. The referee’s count ultimately ran out the clock in the third and final round. Lecinski was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Veronica “Tasmanian Devil” Mendoza vs. Mags “Little Bull” Roccato
The grad students turned out in force to support Mendoza, and their energy spurred Mendoza to an early flurry of punches. Roccato seemed to be the more composed fighter, as she used her height and reach to her advantage. Both fighters took a breath midway through the first round and began to pace slowly around the ring, but Mendoza was able to land two headshots just before the bell. Roccato started the second round strong, landing a few shots before backing off to survey her opponent. The fighters traded blow after blow in the middle of the round, and the crowd responded raucously. Roccato hit Mendoza with multiple hooks in the waning seconds of the second round, and the fight seemed relatively even heading into the third and final round.
Roccato came out swinging again to start the last round, and she began to chase Mendoza around the ring before the two fighters backed off and began circling the ring. Roccato’s reach began to play a huge factor down the stretch of the third round, and as both fighters tired, she was able to land some punches from a distance that seemed to ultimately make the difference in the bout. The referee intervened after Rocatto landed a few headshots on Mendoza, and the fight was over moments later. Roccato was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Kiera “Red Lightning” Judd vs. Erin “Waterworks” Fennessy
The third bout of the night in Ring B featured club president Erin Fennessy, and her advantage in experience over the sophomore was evident from the beginning. She came out hot and pushed the pace, dictating where the fighting went from the first bell. Judd fought back in the middle of the round and landed a few punches, but Fennessy took the fighting to the body as the round progressed. The volume of punches thrown by Fennessy became apparent towards the end of the round, and Judd was forced to play defense for the majority of the first round.
Round two opened with an offensive outburst from both fighters, but Fennessy soon regained control with multiple jabs to the head of Judd. The left hand of Fennessy was devastating in the second, as she landed jab after jab, keeping Judd off balance. To her credit, Judd weathered the storm extremely well, but despite her good defense, there was not much time between punches to launch an attack on Fennessy. The captain, who refused to sit between rounds, came with more of the same in the third round. While Judd was able to land a few blows in the final frame of boxing, it was once again Fennessy who dictated the pace of the fight. Time was called midway through the third to fix Judd’s headgear, and after the break Fennessy came back with more, backing Judd against the ropes multiple times. “Waterworks” won by unanimous decision.
JJ Jorgensen vs. Megan “Mamba” Voigt
Experience was once again the deciding factor in this fight, as the more experienced senior Voigt came out swinging early and often on her way to dominating the first round. Voigt backed Jorgensen into the ropes a few times with a series of headshots, but then took the fight to the body when she did get Jorgensen to the ropes. The first round was over in a flash, with both fighters barely stopping to breathe or survey their opponent for even a second. Voigt had landed many more punches, however, and her constant offensive style had kept Jorgensen almost completely on the defensive. Voigt came out fast again in the second round, but this time with a focus on the body. She then landed a flurry of headshots that earned a count from the referee, and Jorgensen used the entirety of the count before time was called to fix her bloody nose. Voigt spent the break surveying from the far corner, and she didn’t have to throw another punch, as the fight was called on account of Jorgensen’s bloody nose. “Mamba” won by unanimous decision.
Rachel “Same Hat” Salamone vs. Molly “M Capes” Caplice
The two juniors got a long talk from the referee before the bout began, but that was about the only slow part of the early stages of the fight. The taller Caplice was able to use her reach to her advantage in the first round, but Salamone responded well to being backed against the ropes early on. The fighters did stop briefly to catch their breath midway through the first round, but the break was short-lived. Caplice backed Salamone into a corner late in the round, and the bell interrupted a series of blows that Caplice landed on Salamone. Caplice came out swinging in the second round, but Salamone fought off the storm with a few strong headshots, one of which seemed to daze Caplice. The two boxers traded a variety of headshots as the second round continued, with Caplice landing a couple of big blows in the last few seconds of the round to take control of the fight.
The crowd really got into it as the third round began, and the fighters responded to the energy by bringing the fight early. Salamone, sensing the need to claw back into the fight, was aggressive in targeting the head of Caplice. Both fighters looked tired, and both struggled to keep their hands up to defend themselves. Salamone landed a few headshots late, and it was very unclear who would come out on top at the final bell. Caplice was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Cece “Ginger Spice” Giarman vs. Francesca “Frank the Tank” Masciopinto
Giarman’s quick right jab was on display from the beginning, and she dodged in and out of the longer reach of Masciopinto. Giarman also completely controlled the pace of the bout, circling Masciopinto on the outside of the ring. This fight featured much more patience and much less contact than the first four, which is exactly how it seemed Giarman wanted it to go. Supporters of both the fighters were loud during the first break, and the energy spurred the fighters onto a much more combative second round. Masciopinto’s reach became a factor in the second round, but Giarman was able to land punches in between the long swings of her opponent. Masciopinto landed multiple jabs down the stretch of the second round, giving her the momentum heading into the final frame.
Perhaps sensing this, Giarman threw a flurry of punches to open the third, backing her opponent into the ropes twice and forcing the referee to intervene on behalf of Masciopinto. The fight resumed with action from both fighters, but Giarman was able to dip, dodge, and dive enough to maintain her advantage. What had been a very close fight going into the final round did not seem so close at the end, as Giarman took control with a dominant third round that featured some serious punching power on her behalf. “Ginger Spice” was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Gabrielle “The Dirty” Diedrich vs. Maggie “Luxembux” Farrell
Coaches from both corners told their fighters to stay “under control” in the early stages of this fight, and for good reason. Both boxers came out swinging, but neither seemed bothered by the fast-paced action. Farrell landed a few jabs midway through the first round, causing Diederich to back off momentarily, but the grad student came back with a few shots of her own to end the first round. The up-tempo pace of the fight kept up through the early first round. But Farrell took control with multiple headshots in the middle of the ring. Diederich fought back once again, and the two fighters finally paused to catch their breath in the latter stages of the second round. The round concluded with the two fighters surveying each other in the middle of the ring, searching for a weakness to exploit.
The bout seemed to be up for grabs heading into the third and final round, but Farrell did appear less tired on the stool than Diederch between rounds. A furious exchange of blows resulted in a timeout to fix Farrell’s headgear, but she came out of the break fighting hard. The two fighters exchanged a multitude of blows as the fight came to a close, and both were exhausted at the sound of the final bell. Both boxers had landed a ton of punches, and this one seemed close. The winner, by split decision, was Gabrielle “The Dirty” Diederich.
Sydney Herczeg vs. Sarah Nowak
The fight started with high intensity, as both Herczeg and Nowak landed early solid blows before slowly settling into a more defensive contest. The fighters took their time in the first round, surveying each other as they moved around the ring, content to wait for an exposed weakness. The second round started with the same aggressive tempo, with both fighters swinging hard, a sequence capped off by Herczeg managing to knock Nowak to the canvas. It was the spark Herczeg needed.
From there she took control, landing several powerful hooks, though Nowak did manage to get in some blows of her own. Nowak was able to fight back to the point that her knockdown was almost forgotten, and the fight seemed close heading into the third round. Both fighters brought the heat in the final round in search of a victory, with punches being exchanged constantly over the final 90 seconds. Ultimately, Herczeg put together a final flurry of hooks and body blows that blew the fight wide open towards the end. Herczeg was declared the winner by split decision.
Samantha “Twinkle Toes” Manfreda vs. Abby Leone
Leone started the fight strong, continually pushing Manfreda around the ring with her long reach and persistent jabs. Manfreda did not resign herself to just playing defense, however, and managed to force in some solid jabs of her own towards the end of the first round. In the second round Leone came out flying, getting in several quick jabs before Manfreda could work her way into her own offensive groove. Once Manfreda did get some blows in, the round evened out, with both fighters making solid connections as the contest moved around the ring in close quarters, with Manfreda staying on the offensive for the majority of the round.
The third round was the best the fight had to offer. Both Leone and Manfreda went on the offensive early on, and the pair both landed solid connections in the first stage of the round, laying it all on the line for the win. The exciting third round made for a very close call by the judges, and it was unclear who would come out on top when the final bell sounded. But in the end, the winner, by split decision, was Samantha “Twinkle Toes” Manfreda.