The Rapidian

Local gym sends eight GR boxers to West Michigan Finals

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The action was intense Saturday as amateur boxers battled it out for the opportunity to advance to the West Michigan Finals in the 2010 Golden Gloves Tournament held at the Grand Valley National Guard Armory on 44th Street (click here for directions). Saturday was the third day of the tournament and featured 21 semi-final amateur boxing matches. The boys from the Michigan Golden Gloves Association (MGGA) gym, located at 418 Leonard St NW in Grand Rapids, put on a great performance, advancing eight boxers to the West Michigan Finals. They'll compete at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 3. If they win, they'll advance to the State Finals the following weekend at the Armory on April 9-10.

The first fight of the evening was in the 152-pound sub-novice division between Miles Murphy of MGGA and Nathan McDonald of Sand Lake Boxing Club. Miles connected with straight rights in the first round and Nathan landed body shots and hooks. At the start of the second round, Nathan came out in a fury, landing several hard punches and bloodying Miles' nose. After this burst of punches, Nathan was visibly tired and Miles took over for the rest of the second round. Miles stayed in control and remainded the aggressor for the entire third round, but Nathan scored valuable points several times as he caught Miles stepping forward with a one-two combination (jab, right hand). Nathan won by a decision with four of the five judges scoring the bout in his favor.

The MGGA boxers started winning when Burim Beqiri fought against southpaw Russell Breazegle in the 141-pound novice division. Burim won easily by decision after landing combination after combination of uppercuts and left hooks. Not showing fatigue, Burim came out aggressive in the third round and gave Russell a standing eight-count 30 seconds into the final round. All five judges scored the bout in Burim's favor.

Craig Rood of MGGA, fought against a much shorter Jason Thompson in the 178-pound novice division. Craig's longer reach and jab gave him the advantage in the match allowing him to keep away from a barrage of swooping right and left hooks. Craig won by decision with three of the five judges scoring in his favor.

Cameron Glenn of MGGA, a strong 240 pounds, found himself up against a clearly larger Arryn Guy in the 201+ novice division. In the first round, Arryn of MLK Boxing Club, showed a fierce amount of energy and power as he through a flurry of punches right from the opening bell. Cameron showed great defense as he ducked, slipped and blocked most of these punches and scored points in return by landing numerous blows to the body. The action continued in the second round with Cameron continuing to land clean body shots while Arryn used his size to push Cameron around the ring. When Arryn got Cameron against the ropes, he'd throw a combination of punches then tie up, leaning his huge body over Cameron's. The action slowed down in the third round as both boxers became tired. But Cameron continued to land hooks to the body and came away the winner by a close decision.

Cameron will meet an even larger Dean Allen from Kalamazoo Kayo Boxing Club in the West Michigan Finals on April 3. Dean's fight on Saturday against Mike Lucsher of MGGA was over in 30 seconds. He came out quick and hit his opponent with such a powerful right hand, the thud made the audience cringe. That punch gave his opponent a standing eight-count and shortly after the referee stopped the contest.

Both MGGA boxers Niall Shimmell and Christian Thomas won their bouts by decision respectively in the 165-pound and 178-pound open division. And Jordan Shimmell, state champion in the 201-pound open division for the last four years, will advance uncontested to fight in the state finals for a record setting fifth consecutive state title.

More great boxing comes your way April 3 at the Armory as the finalists compete for the West Michigan title. The bouts start at 7 p.m. and will last until around 10:30 p.m. Come check out the action and support your local amateur boxers!

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