By: Albert Miller – Day One of the 2017 Azalea Festival Boxing tournament is in the books. The long running tradition of Wilmington, North Carolina had twenty three amateur boxing bouts, all sanctioned by USA Boxing. In the decade’s worth of boxing tournaments that the Azalea Festival has made possible, this was the first to be held at the Wilmington Convention Center. Pugilists from all over the United States have descended upon the Port City in a fiercely contested tournament, spanning several different weight classes, age demographics, and contest parameters.
One special aspect that I would like to note is how concise the tournament planning and execution was. With an event that big, with that many bouts, it could have gone on for hours and hours; thanks to careful planning, and thoughtful execution, the bouts ran very smoothly and efficiently. The promoters did a very good job of keeping the action moving.
Without further ado, here are Day One’s results:
Bout 1: Corey Brooks vs. “Pretty Boy Ree” Kyree Williams (13/14 Year Old; 85 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – The first bout of the tournament opened up with Brooks and Williams very aggressive, trading punches at a very frenetic pace. The second round of the bout saw Brooks trying to establish a rhythm and pace with use of the jab, Williams answered with counter punching. The final round saw Kyree Williams scoring with combinations, power punches, and body shots; the referee had to intervene for a standing eight count before the final bell. Winner: “Pretty Boy Ree” Kyree Williams.
Bout 2: Clayvarn Thomas vs. Chacai Campbell (13/14 Year Old; 145 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – The fight opened with skillful head movement and technical boxing from both sides of the contest. In the second round, Campbell began working a jab and Thomas countered with heavy power shots. In the third round, Campbell took pressured as the aggressor, utilizing power and body shots on Thomas. Winner: Chacai Campbell.
Bout 3: Chris Simmons vs. Reuben Miranda (11/12 Year Old; 90 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – This bout may have been the most aggressive and frantic bout of the day, both young men came out of their corners swinging, neither seizing an obvious advantage. The second round looked very similar to the first; Chris Simmons was deducted a point for holding. The third round was very aggressive as well; Reuben Miranda secured advantage by scoring with head shots. Winner: Reuben Miranda.
Bout 4: Sam Brower vs. Astrid Amanda (152 Lb. Novice Division) – Amanda demonstrated early, and through the duration of the round, that his advantage was speed. His head movement and footwork made him a very hard target to hit. In the second round, Brower was able to time Amanda a little bit better than he had in the first, neutralizing some, but not all, of Amanda’s body movements. By the time round three rolled around, fatigue had begun to set in and Amanda had adopted a more traditional stance. In the third round, Sam Brower was able to score with some body shots, but it didn’t completely stop Astrid Amanda from being light on his feet. Winner: Astrid Amanda.
Bout 5: Robert Golds vs. Ry McWhorter (165 Lb. Novice Division) – Golds opened the fight with good use of his range and didn’t allow McWhorter to acclimate to his southpaw stance. The referee had to intervene with a standing eight count on McWhorter in the second round; McWhorter would become more comfortable countering Golds’ left hand in the round. Referee had to administer a second standing count on McWhorter in the third; Golds would continue to have advantage as the fight came to a close. Winner: Robert Golds.
Bout 6: Jamal Ellis vs. Rigoberto Cepeda (141 Lb. Novice Division) – The first round was nearly dead even between Ellis’ jab and Cepeda’s counter punching; Cepeda did score a knock down on Ellis in the round. Cepeda answered the bell for the second round as the aggressor and began head-hunting on Ellis. As the round was coming to an end, Jamal Ellis was in survival mode. Rigoberto Cepeda was no worse for wear in the third round, displaying effective head and foot movement. The referee had to administer a standing eight count on Jamal Ellis; Cepeda ended the round strong. Winner: Rigoberto Cepeda.
Bout 7: Divine White vs. Shanchez McGhee (141 Lb. Novice Division) – White and McGhee were an even match in the first round, with no one able to secure obvious advantage. The second round was more of the back and forth from the first; McGhee almost found himself pushed out of the ring during an intense flurry, and White ended the round with a strong showing. Divine White came out of the third round bell looking for a head shot, and scored big, earning advantage that would carry to the end of the round. Winner: Divine White
Bout 8: Jesus Aguirre vs. Keishawn Horne (132 Lb. Novice Division) – Despite an accidental groin foul on Jesus Aguirre, Keishawn Horne overwhelmed Aguirre until the referee had to step in and stop the fight. Winner: Keishawn Horne by RSC (Referee Stops Contest).
Bout 9: Aaron Singleton vs. Richard Ramos, Jr. (178 Lb. Novice Division) – Out of the gate, Singleton was the more effective puncher; Ramos, however, did have good responses and counter punching. The second round saw Singleton still leading on the score card with his punches. Richard Ramos counter punched well, but not enough to capitalize. Aaron Singleton kept up his pursuit of victory in the third round. Ramos gambled on a heavy handed uppercut, but it didn’t connect. Winner: Aaron Singleton.
Bout 10: Khalil Goode vs. Dathan Covington (15/16 Year Old; 154 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – Covington came out of the opening bell aggressively, and was head hunting on Goode the entire round. Good tried to implement counter measures in the form of slipping punches with head movement. Goode had more luck with his slip moves in the second round, but Covington still had the advantage in aggression and shots landed. The third round saw both fighters fatigued, but still willing to throw hands. Winner: Dathan Covington.
Bout 11: Cody McGhee vs. Anthony Bingham (178 Lb. Novice Division) – Cody McGhee put his long limbs to work at keeping range and land shots when he chose; Bingham struggled with getting inside of McGhee’s range defense. In the second round, Bingham adopted a more powered approach to breaking through McGhee’s long limbs and range, but McGhee was still able to defend and score effectively. McGhee was able to score with a big shot in the third; Bingham stuck to his aggressive attack on McGhee. Winner: Cody McGhee
Bout 12: Clidon Wyatt vs. Daniel Zapota-Garduno (178 Lb. Novice Division) – Wyatt set the rhythm and pace early, peppering Zapota-Garduno with overhand lefts. Zapota-Garduno came out strong in the second round, but Wyatt was able to set the pace to that of his choosing, landing timed shots at will. Daniel Zapota-Garduno really dug deep and rallied during the third round, but it didn’t stop Clidon Wyatt from imposing his will for the rest of the round. Winner: Clidon Wyatt.
Bout 13: Leslie Rosas vs. Angei Miles (125 Lb. Novice Division) – Angei Miles opened the fight with incredible hand speed; Rosas had decent power counters to offer. The second round saw Miles with the same blistering hand speed, but she was taking her time picking her shots. A few jabs from Miles landed hard on Rosas, but Leslie Rosas recovered and took the fight to Miles nicely. The third round had Leslie Rosas employing power shots on Angei Miles, and Miles used that hand speed and footwork to respond in kind. Leslie Rosas rallied with hard shots late in the round. Winner: Leslie Rosas.
Bout 14: Michael McWilliams, Jr. vs. Donell Poe (141 Lb. Open Division) – The fight had a good back and forth exchange to start with; McWilliams, Jr. scored with aggressive shots and Poe responded with timed counter punching. Donell Poe employed skilled head and foot movement, but Michael McWilliams, Jr. was still able to score big shots in the round. The final round saw McWilliams pushing the pace of the fight, but Poe responding with strategic counter strikes and movement. Winner: Michael McWilliams, Jr.
Bout 15: Messiah Miles vs. Deonte Washington (165 Lb. Open Division) – This fight did not occur as scheduled as Deonte Washington did not respond to the call to the ring.
Bout 16: Terryan Rogers vs. Quantavius Singleton (165 Lb. Open Division) – Rogers opened the fight aggressively, throwing punches in bunches and often. Singleton didn’t let himself get overwhelmed, and stuck with his strategy of picking his shots. In the second round, Rogers came out aggressive still, flurrying with punches and dictating the pace against Singleton. Quantavius Singleton rallied early in the third round with power shots, but Terryan Rogers held to his point advantage by overwhelming with flurries. The final round ended with Rogers and Singleton punching with everything they had left. Winner: Terryan Rogers.
Bout 17: Hunter Laurence vs. Raphael Carolina (201 Lb. Novice Division) – The first round was a feeling out round, Laurence took the opportunity to begin employing heavy combinations. In round two, Laurence still threw combos, but was adding more power to the shots. Carolina responded by slipping punches where he could with head and foot movement. In round three, Raphael Carolina opened the round with power combos, with Carolina and Laurence trading blows for the rest of the round. Winner: Hunter Laurence.
Bout 18: Presley David vs. Jay’Von Cummings (10/11 Year Old; 80 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – David and Cummings, like most of the combatants younger than seventeen, opened their fight in a fury; neither boxer able to clinch an obvious advantage. In the second round, it was the same hectic pace, still no clear winner. Presley David shined in the third round, displaying solid endurance and out punching Jay’Von Cummings. Winner: Presley David.
Bout 19: Cal Asby vs. Robert Shackleford (15/16 Year Old; 119 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – Both Asby and Shackleford had the same idea early in the first: throw heavy shots aimed for the head. Asby started to gain advantage in the second round, and started to overwhelm Shackleford as the round came to a close. In the third round, Cal Asby maintained his pressure on Robert Shackleford to the final bell. Winner: Cal Asby.
Bout 20: Nicholas Wood vs. Kenric Brutus (132 Lb. Open Division) – Wood tried to impose his will in the first round, but Brutus would find himself setting the pace for the round. Kenric Brutus maintained the same control through the second, despite Nicholas Wood flurrying with punches. Kenric Brutus was able to keep his advantage in the third; Nicholas Wood didn’t go out without a fight, with a big rally in the last round of the fight. Winner: Kenric Brutus.
Bout 21: Sage Hicks vs. Victor Garcia (152 Lb. Novice Division) – Victor Garcia had some noteworthy stick-and-move in the first; Sage Hicks was able to score a knock down before the round ended. In the second, Garcia tried to push the pace and action, but Hicks was responding with heavy shots. Victor Garacia spent the third round as the aggressor, but Sage Hicks was the more accurate puncher, scoring crucial points where it mattered the most. Winner: Sage Hicks.
Bout 22: Joshua Horton vs. Chadwick Strom – The opening round of this fight is best described as “big boys throwing heavy leather.” Despite Strom’s determination, Horton found himself to be the more accurate striker. In the second round, the referee had to administer a standing eight count on Strom twice, warning him that he’d stop the fight if he had to administer the third. The third round saw Horton’s trademark heavy punches land on Strom’s jaw, hard. Keeping his word, the referee stopped the bout in the third round. Winner: Joshua Horton by RSC.
Bout 23: Rajeek Born vs. JaMarton Knowles (10/11 Year Old; 75 Lb. Junior Olympic Division) – This bout was a bonus for everyone in attendance at the Wilmington Convention Center, This fight was the most controlled of the younger-than-seventeen bouts. Born spent the first round chasing down Knowles, scoring big with punches. The second round saw some text book foot movement from both pugilists, Born scored higher with his punches. Rajeek Born came out of the third round bell as the more aggressive fighter, and stayed that way for the duration of the round. Winner: Rajeek Born.
Continuing coverage of the Azalea Festival Boxing Tournament continues tomorrow, with the coverage of Day Two. Day Two will include the complete results, completed brackets, and list of champions.
Cage Nation TV’s coverage of the Azalea Festival Boxing Tournament is brought to you by Port City Boxing and Fitness; find them online right now at http://www.portcityboxing.com.