Bengal Bouts finals: Nine boxers crowned champions in Purcell Pavilion
The 2023 Bengal Bouts concluded Saturday night with nine championship bouts in Purcell Pavilion.
Luke “Mantequilla” Slahor of Duncan Hall def. Rob “The Voodoo Ranger” Rucki of Carroll Hall
Slahor entered a two-time finalist and senior captain to face junior captain Rob Rucki. Slahor pushed the pace early, and the Duncan senior connected several times with his left hook. Rucki generated some mid-round momentum with a series of strong rights and connected more frequently down the stretch in the first 90 seconds. Round two featured a lot of wrapping up and clinches early on. The Carroll junior looked to have more energy and finally struck on a right hook to Slahor’s headgear. However, Slahor minimized damage. Rucki owned the momentum, but the result remained in doubt headed to round three.
Rucki continued to push the pace, but Slahor found a strong counter with his left. The Carroll junior was seemingly tired late in the round and couldn’t convincingly connect on anything. Slahor continued to wrap up Rucki and minimize damage, but he didn’t connect on much offensively in the final minute. The opening bout of the night was extremely tight and competitive, but Slahor edged out Rucki by split decision.
Charles “Attilio” Martin of Zahm House def. Jackson “The Stallion” Graham of Stanford Hall
Graham dominated the first 30 seconds with a probing left jab and strong right hook. Martin connected on the counter, but Graham controlled the pace in the opening 90 seconds. Martin notched one big hit before the bell with a jab to Graham’s headgear. The Zahm representative started strong in the second round, and his left jab began to split Graham’s defenses. Martin dominated for stretches in the second, but Graham loaded up on a few big right hooks.
Martin’s stamina continued to play down the stretch as he landed hooks from both sides. Graham’s trademark powerful right hook continued to score him a few points. However, Martin needed a late surge, and it was a tight bout down the stretch. Ultimately, Martin completed the comeback with a victory by split decision.
Nicholas “Nick” Buhay of Dunne Hall def. Nolan “Toothless” Lyon of Carroll Hall
It was a tight first round in which Buhay might have garnered a very slight edge, but it’s anybody’s bout headed into the second. Lyon boxed with a fierce right hook that was powerful when it connected. But Buhay connected on the first major blow of the second round, and his largely evasive and quick defense minimized Lyon’s efforts in the early going of the round. Lyon found some late momentum with a persistent left jab scoring several points.
Lyon came out strong in this final round and connected more frequently late. Both boxers competed with a high level of intensity down to the final bell, and Buhay struck with a late flurry to score points. That flurry, plus a small edge in the first two rounds, pushed Buhay over the edge. The Dunne Hall representative won by unanimous decision.
Generoso “El Oso” Rullo of Knott Hall def. Jesse “Justice” Salazar of Morrissey Manor
It was the freshman Salazar who pushed the pace in the opening 90 seconds. Russo landed some of his counters, but Salazar found his opponent’s headgear and body with greater frequency. Salazar dominated the earlier parts of the second round, utilizing quick feet and his left jab to right hook combo. However, Rullo found late momentum and drove some combinations into Salazar’s headgear to score critical points.
Rullo needed to push the pace and score quickly. He did so with a left jab that split Salzar’s glove, followed by some strong right hooks. He poured on the punches throughout the final 90 seconds, seeming to boost him to a slight advantage in the bout. Salazar ripped off one final combination as his sealing argument, drilling Rullo multiple times in the waning seconds. The competitive bout wrapped up with the result in serious doubt, but Rullo ended the freshman’s run with a victory by split decision.
Matthew “Two Cup” Turzai of Keenan Hall def. Chris “The Delco Destroyer” Zack of Baumer Hall
Zack stepped out with his signature light-footed dodges and straight punches. Turzai soon landed a few high-quality combos, displaying strength and speed in his right hooks that gave him an upper hand in what could still be anyone’s bout. Turzai attacked Zack’s body right away, leaving no room for question over who was dominating the ring. He rolled most of Zack’s counterattacks, sending back his own well-timed combinations which often ended in uppercuts that likely earned him extra points.
The final round featured more of the same winning combos from Turzai. Zack fought to the end, but Turzai once again made stronger and more frequent contact. The Keenan Hall representative secured the title via unanimous decision.
Patrick “PSweet” Sweet of Zahm House def. Charlie “Scro” Fredian of Duncan Hall
As anticipated, timing and striking distance proved pivotal. “PSweet” effectively stayed out of range until he found the right window to throw. Despite a reach advantage, Fredian landed few punches. Sweet notched several points by working the levels from his left jab. Both boxers kept their composure for the second bell. Fredian took a more offensive tilt, attacking with several long punches. Sweet responded with equally aggressive hooks. After largely equalizing the opponent’s points, the final round felt like it would be the decisive 90 seconds.
Sweet continued to nail the placement for that final round, connecting frequently. Fredian landed plenty of his own jabs, too, but Sweet worked the distance well to shorten his punches and land shots with greater frequency. It was enough, as the senior, formerly of Zahm House, took home the title by unanimous decision.
Phil “Il Capo” Pollice of Baumer Hall def. “Average” Joe Rozgonyi of Baumer Hall
The stouter Rozgonyi worked middle-up on the body of freshman Pollice in the opening minute of round one. Pollice fired back with a combination of left-handed jabs and uppercuts. Pollice used smart footwork to move Rozgonyi where he wanted around the ring. The junior Rozgonyi, sinking himself backward and deep in his fighting stance, launched many heavy blows with varying accuracy over the course of round two.
The sound of Rozgonyi’s red gloves popping off the skin of Pollice reverberated during the opening seconds of round three. Rozgonyi reached as high as he did all night with his punches in the bout’s dwindling seconds. Yet, Pollice’s hot start and final-round counters kept the match neck and neck to the bell. Ultimately, it was the freshman Pollice who claimed the split-decision victory over his fellow Baumer Buccaneer.
Tommy “The Tank Engine” Sylvia of Knott Hall def. Andrew “The Red Scare” Cassidy of Keenan Hall
Rapid arm and leg movement filled the bout’s first few seconds. Sylvia, the antagonizer, landed hit after hit through the meat of the opening frame. Before the two minutes were up, Cassidy connected with a jab or two. In the second round, “The Tank Engine” rhythmically located his black glove on the red mask of the junior from Keenan Hall. With 15 seconds to go, the referee felt it necessary to check out Cassidy for a few moments. Round two had Sylvia’s name all over it.
Not a minute passed in this round before the referee felt called to stop the match again — this time for a full 10 seconds. Then it happened again. Cassidy fought respectfully to the end, but Sylvia completed a dominant march through the 178-pound bracket with a victory by unanimous decision.
“The Real Big” Mike Guyette of Keough Hall def. Justin “My Name Is” Darwin of Dillon Hall
Darwin sank under and to the side of Guyette to get his shots to land around the junior from Keough Hall’s protective white gloves. All in all, both boxers initiated and received strong blows valiantly through the opening two minutes of this bout. Although Guyette managed his own slew of ear-popping hits on Darwin, especially toward the round’s close, Darwin’s hot start still seemed to carry over. At the bell, Guyette nevertheless showed that he had something potentially lethal left in the tank.
Guyette carried his newfound momentum into the last round. With a minute to go, Guyette forced his fellow junior into a 10-second count — and did it again 30 seconds later. Despite the difficult start, Guyette certainly put his best foot forward when it mattered. That strong finish was plenty for the Keough junior captain. Guyette claimed the title by unanimous decision.