Bengal Bouts semifinals: Boxers compete to earn spot in finals
Nicolas Morles, Alysa Guffey and Peter Breen | Tuesday, February 28, 2023
On Monday evening, in Dahnke Ballroom, Notre Dame boxers competed in the Bengal Bouts semifinals. Winners advanced to Saturday night’s championship bouts.
Luke “Mantequilla” Slahor of Duncan Hall def. Mattheos “Mattheos” Mattheos of Siegfried Hall
In the first bout of this semifinals, the fighters did not disappoint, putting on a show early in the first round. Both fighters traded cross hooks that connected well, but Slahor was able to gain the advantage after pushing his opponent against the ropes twice in the beginning of the contest. “Mantequilla” was smooth like butter, slipping many punches thrown his way. However, Mattheos was able to force a few clinches from the Duncan boxer during the second. In a deciding final round, both fighters landed a few significant strikes, but “Mantequilla” was able to edge out a close split-decision victory due to his consistent effort and early lead.
Phil ‘Il Capo’ Pollice of Baumer Hall def. Ryan ‘Lefty’ Lally of Dunne Hall
Off to a quick start, Ryan Lally and Phil Pollice showed off their quick footwork and movement throughout the first round. While the first round was characterized by a variety of slips, both fighters came into the second with new energy. Chants of ”Il, Il, Il, Il” rang out in Dahnke as the Baumer freshman landed some strong hits on his opponent. “Lefty” was able to minimize the power of his opponent in the second by keeping him at a distance and slipping his hooks, but the third round was all “Il Capo”. Two stoppages from the ref underlined a string of effective striking from Pollice. While Lally kept the bout close in the beginning stages, “Il Capo” pulled away in a unanimous decision victory.
“The Real Big“ Mike Guyette of Keough Hall def. Harry “Soup” Peluso of Keough Hall
With both fighters coming out on the offensive, Mike Guyette and Harry Peluso traded a string of jabs in the first. The highlight moment came when “Soup” connected a headshot, with the sound of his strike reverberating all over Dahnke. Even after a hard-fought first round, neither fighter seemed to have lost a step in the second with “The Real Big” Mike Guyette landing a few hits that seemed to stagger Peluso. With the fight close on the scoresheet, the third round continued to show excellence from both fighters who held their ground against the opposing onslaught of punches. In the end, “The Real Big” Mike Guyette was able to seal a unanimous decision victory against his fellow Keough boxer after three strong rounds.
Rob “The Voodoo Ranger“ Rucki of Carroll Hall def. Loren “Bird Legz” Hahn (Off-Campus)
Dancing around the ring, Rucki appeared to be on the front foot during the first round. “The Voodoo Ranger” avoided any significant blows while striking his opponent numerous times. However, Loren Hahn did not let his opponent guide his movement in the second, with strong hooks from the graduate turning the tide of the fight. In another close bout, it seemed that the final decision was dependent on the outcome of the third round. While “Bird Legz” attempted to push his opponent against the ropes, Rucki remained aggressive, not allowing himself to get cornered. “The Voodoo Ranger” earned the unanimous decision win after continued pressure throughout the bout kept him ahead in the scoresheet.
Nicholas “Nick” Buhay of Dunne Hall def. Alex ”Jack” Potts of Duncan Hall
Early in the first, “Jack” Potts seemed to take the lead with a strong series of strikes. However, chants of “Nick Buhay” seemed to ignite “Nick” who brought the round back in his favor guiding his opponent against the ropes. Buhay continued this momentum into the second round with alternating body and head shots tiring his opponent who could not seem to return his energy. Determined to change the outcome, strong right hooks from Potts helped to close the gap in strikes landed between the boxers. While a strong finish from “Jack” Potts brought the match within range, Nick Buhay exited the ring with a split-decision victory after a strong performance in each round.
Jackson “The Stallion” Graham of Stanford Hall def. Greg “The Hitman” DeFalco of Alumni Hall
“The Hitman” initiated first contact through the matchup’s opening seconds, but the sophomore from Stanford Hall made the more memorable introduction – brushing off DeFalco’s hits and shoveling the senior from Alumni into the ropes. In round two, Graham genuinely embraced the offensive and deposited DeFalco into a 10-second count – not once but twice – before the second frame was over. DeFalco maintained his mental resolve in the final round, but he kept his feet active to stay out the way of Graham’s forays. Again in round three, the referee held “The Hitman” back in a couple of full 10-second counts. Graham, a sophomore from Houston, TX, won by unanimous decision.
“Average” Joe Rozgonyi of Baumer Hall def. Nirajan “One Punch” Koirala (Grad Student)
To the sound of “Let’s go Joe” chants, Rozgonyi buzzed around the Nepalis graduate student, landing some bonafide haymakers in round one. Koirala would go on to make some headway in the second frame, never dropping anything too grave upon his opponent but beginning to take back control of the contest. “Average” Joe and “One Punch” both had a backlog of evidence left to prove in the final round. Neither exposed himself to a dramatic amount of harm, but neither could cash in any significant hits. In the final quarter of a minute, “One Punch” inflicted far more than a single shot on the mask of Rozgonyi. But Koirala’s last-second burst wasn’t quite enough, and Rozgonyi took home the victory by split decision.
Tommy “The Tank Engine” Sylvia of Knott Hall def. Josh “More of a Lover than a Fighter” Williams of St. Edward’s Hall
A fury of punches filled the opening seconds of this 178-pound semifinal competition — primarily a consequence of Sylvia’s antagonization. At the close of round one, “The Tank Engine” ignited the crowd of presumably Knott Hall residents with a jeer. In order to keep pace with the junior from Manhasset, NY, Williams’ shoulder axis operated on a swivel to kick off round two. But Sylvia was soon able to swing the momentum back in his favor, pressuring the senior from Sparta, NJ into a 10-second count to close out the second frame. Despite a stoppage for an untied shoelace in the final round, “The Tank Engine” made closing arguments as if he had been schooled by Amy Coney Barrett in the Eck Hall of Law. Sylvia defeated Williams by unanimous decision.
Patrick “PSweet” Sweet of Zahm House def. Jack “Ghost” Phillips of Knott Hall
The stakes were at an all-time high in this contest between this Zahm House senior from Cleveland and the Bengal Bouts club president. Whatever his background, “Ghost” really started to chip away at “PSweet” at the end of 90 seconds and then into round two. Nonetheless, drawing off the strength of his tumultuous and numerous backers in the stands, Sweet was looking just as relaxed as anyone in the Dahnke Ballroom with just 90 seconds to go. “Ghost” slipped up early in round three — tripping his fellow senior to the condemnation of the referee. To the very last second, the Clevelander’s blows were delivered and received with force. Out of the blue corner “PSweet” took down Phillips by split decision.
Charles “Attilio” Martin of Zahm House def. Isaac “Ice” Culp of Fisher Hall
With the repeated technique of punch after punch after punch, Martin evaporated the confidence of “Ice” during the opening 90 seconds. Between rounds, off-duty referees concerningly conferred about the abundance of hits on Culp. Less than a dozen seconds into the second round, the freshman from Marshall, MI was forced into a 10-second count. Before round two concluded, the referee stopped the match for well over a minute so that Culp’s nose could be patched up. In the next round, “Attilio” landed one too many headshots once again, and the fighting was paused for another extended period of time to replace Culp’s bandages. Martin prevailed by unanimous decision.
Nolan “Toothless” Lyon of Carroll Hall def. Sean “Peg Leg” Mullen of Morrissey Manor
The first round saw Lyon and Mullen repeatedly wrapped up in a tight bout. The Carroll Hall supporters couldn’t care less as their boxer established an early edge. Mullens, anchored by a steady right foot, sent “Toothless” into a couple of 10-counts over the second frame. The Morrissey Manor Manorites in the crowd engaged with their foes from across the lake before round three — and the Phoenix, AZ native backed them up as best he could in the final 90 seconds. Though Mullen did deal a few foreboding face shots in round three, they proved to be not quite enough. Lyon would take home his split decision victory back around Saint Mary’s Lake.
Chris “Delco Destroyer” Zack of Baumer Hall def. Kian “The Persian Excursion” Shinaver of Keough Hall
Early in the competition, Zack fell to one knee, but the “Delco Destroyer” got right back up — encouraging “The Persian Excursion” to opt for a couple of clinches by the time 90 seconds had passed. To the chants of “CZ,” the junior from Newtown Square, PA gained some hard-fought ground against the senior Shinaver during round two. Looking to the crowd for support before the final frame, Zack was left a little unprepared when Shinaver tried to make a name for himself during the first 10 seconds of the third round. Withstanding his foe’s dangerous desperation, the “Delco Destroyer” finished out strong all the way through the matchup’s close. Out of the blue corner, Zack took home the split decision.
Justin “My Name Is” Darwin of Dillon Hall def. Ijeh “The Golden Child” Nwaezeapu of Keough Hall
Both boxers bounced around the ring to kick off this matchup. Darwin got Nwaezeapu on the defensive quickly, forcing the latter to dodge rather than take swings. Nwaezeapu slowly but surely got his footing though and the freshman continued to escape Darwin’s rapid hits. “The Golden Child” shined at the end of the first round, but fell back on his heels at the start of the second, forcing a count and a setback. But yet again, Nwaezeapu gained the upper hand with Darwin pushed into the corner. This true back-and-forth battle came to a climax in the third with both of the agile boxers standing their ground to solidify their case. Ultimately, Justin “My Name Is” Darwin took the bout home by split decision.
Generoso “El Oso” Rullo of Knott Hall def. Michael “Money” Winchester
Rullo was ready to swing to start this bout, but Winchester’s steady stance made it hard for the former to make many impactful hits. “El Oso” landed some late in the round, but “Money” was ready to pounce each time. A few hits to Winchester’s headgear gave Rullo his first break of the bout. “Money” didn’t slow down his swings in the second but the freshman out of Knott, Rullo was more prepared to avoid the barrage. Still worn down from the second, Winchester never regained the momentum he had in the first round. After a final push, Generoso “El Oso” Rullo will head to the finals after winning by split decision.
Charlie “Scro” Fredian of Duncan Hall def. Damien “Sauce of the Month” Sylva of Fisher Hall
In a battle of mental strength, neither boxer took the offensive in the first round, opting instead for some maneuvering with the use of their feet. The second round began much more aggressively after “Sauce of the Month” dipped into his bag to deliver jab after jab. “Scro” was able to stay with him, though, and took landed several to Sylva’s chest. With both boxers bleeding from the beginning of the third round to the end, Sylva had the stamina to wear Fredian down until the latter boxer couldn’t reset to swing between hits. Out of the gold corner, Charlie “Scro” Fredian was able to take his early momentum to win the bout by split decision.
Andrew “The Red Scare” Cassidy of Keenan Hall def. Bobby “Sweet Bobby Ray” Fitzpatrick of Alumni Hall
Cassidy pushed Fitzpatrick into a corner physically, but Fitzpatrick never stopped swinging. After a brief stoppage, Cassidy continued his assault. With lightning-fast flurries of punches, “The Red Scare” frightened “Sweet Bobby Ray” into the ropes several times in the second round. Fitzpatrick had a moment to take control of the tide of the bout, but the sudden burst ended before he could capitalize much. Cassidy continued to land hits on Fitzpatrick until the final bell. With a decisive victory by unanimous decision, Andrew “The Red Scare” Cassidy will fight in the final bouts Saturday.
Matthew “Two Cup” Turzai of Keenan Hall def. Ryan “Homie” Quan of Morrissey Manor
Turzai couldn’t be stopped as the sophomore came out to win with strong punches and a deafening crowd of Keenan Knights behind him. Quan’s series of hits couldn’t seem to make solid contact at any point in the first round. A maddening rush by Turzai backfired as Quan pushed him off of him and onto the ground. Another series of swings by “Two Cup” though solidified the win. By referee-stop contest, Matthew “Two Cup” Turzai won the final semifinal bout of the evening.
Jesse “Justice” Salazar of Morrissey Manor def. James “Gimme the Shimmie” Lawrence
Due to injury, Jesse “Justice” Salazar wins this bout by walkover to earn a spot in the finals.
The Bengal Bouts finals will take place Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article misspelled Chris Zack’s boxing name. It is “Delco Destroyer,” not “Decio Destroyer.” The Observer regrets this error.