Amateur Boxing came to Amsterdam Saturday
It’s always a risk to hold an amateur boxing event outdoors, especially in August when thunderstorms are an almost daily late afternoon threat. But organizers Bob Miller and Dave Wojicki rolled the dice yesterday at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam, and for a while it looked like a bad gamble.
At the expected 3:30 start time the clouds rolled in and opened up. Only the fans seated in the covered stadium were dry. But nature must be a boxing fan because within a half hour, it was over and the action was on, albeit in a sometimes too slick ring.
But nobody asked for their money back, let me tell you. They were treated to seven outstanding amateur contests. I wish I could give each a paragraph or two, god knows they deserve that much. But as I’ve said a few times, I’m not yet sufficiently experienced as a referee where I can do my job and watch the fights, too. I’ll throw in a few insights as they come to me (if they come to me:>) ).
(Please feel free to write in and correct misspelled names.)
153 lbs: EJ Wallace (Saratoga) fought a very respectable bout against Watertown’s Toniq McDonald, but came up short against the superior opponent from the north. Coach Charles Berkman, a masters boxer himself with an interesting story of his own you can read about here, showed the fruits of his labor, not just with McDonald but with Adam McKinney (below).
135 lbs: Amber Blumenfeld (Albany) showed some of that solid Quail Street Gym boxing training in her defeat of Standing Rock’s Robby Cook. I will say this about Cook. I had refereed her first fight about one year ago in Catskill. I remember how nervous she was as she did just about the hardest thing there is to do – which is to answer that bell for the first time. As I recall, she was stopped in the first round that day. Blumenfeld got the decision yesterday, but what a difference a year and a few more fights made in Cook. She was an entirely different boxer and I told her so. She was so much more skilled. Blumenfeld outboxed her but there was no shame in that loss for Cook.
135 lbs: Oscar Parolta (Syracuse) over Jamal Gregory (DC Boxing)
120 lbs: Ryan Maisenbacher (Anasta) over Hassen Dotley (Syracuse)
147 lbs: Ismael Lebron (Anasta) dropped a very close decision to Syracuse’s Luis Vargas.
These are two remarkably skilled athletes, folks. One of these days I’m going to do an entry about my journey as a referee. Trust me when I tell you, it’s infinitely harder than it appears. Unlikely as it may sound, it’s usually much easier to referee better boxers than less experienced ones. Their movement is more predictable. No matter what you do, you usually wind up in position. More often than not, it’s like riding in the back seat of a car. You’re just along for the ride. Besides, experienced fighters know the rules and tend not to preoccupy you with things like endless holding calls. Your job can become more a question of staying out of the way, and letting them fight.
Note, I said it’s usually easier. Every so often, it’s not. Lebron and Vargas are about as good as it gets around here. They hit hard and they are f-a-s-t, so fast you have to mentally adjust to it. It’s like driving at about 25 mph, then all of a sudden you’re in traffic where everybody’s going 60 mph. Unless you react as fast as they’re boxing, you’ll be destined to miss calls. I got talking to Eddie Claudio, the great pro referee about this very thing a few months ago. He told me that it’s just the kind of thing you grow into, but until you do, you’ll deal with the frustration of being a nanosecond behind the action and hanging on by your fingernails.
Anyway, I don’t want to steal my own thunder. I’ll write an entry about this soon. For now, let me say that it was an honor to be in the ring with these two remarkable and well-trained boxers. Stay tuned also, because I’ll be writing about Lebron soon as well. I’ve been wanting to write about him for a long time.
158 lbs: Adam McKinney (Watertown) over Jasin Proffitt (Catskill). Proffitt is a fine boxer coming back from some time away, so he’s still a few fights off of his mark. This is not to take anything away from McKinney, another Black River Boxing Academy (Watertown) rising star. He just opened up on Proffitt, resuting in an early stoppage to the contest.
90 lbs: Joe Barcia (Albany) over David Dancil (Syracuse)