Rookie fighter, 34,
wins in his debut
By Greg Gulas
Courtney Price and Ryan Williams are late bloomers as far as the fight game is concerned.
At 34 years of age, Price was making his debut during Jack Loew’s third annual “Season’s Beatings” fight card while Williams, 32, an assistant wrestling coach at Liberty High School, was fulfilling boxing bucket list win or lose.
Price won by points over Williams Friday at the Saxon Club as both fighters proved even 30-somethings belong in the ring with the youth of the sport.
“I’ve been training all my life, but just the last few years as far as boxing goes,” Price said. “I wanted to end if before it went the distance and while I felt comfortable hitting him, he also got in some good shots on me. I just felt like I got my hits in a little better.”
Williams, who works in gas station maintenance by day, retires with a 1-3 mark in four amateur fights.
“I am so happy that I attempted this because I met so many wonderful people along the way,” he said. “I am officially done and going back to coaching wrestling at Liberty High School.”
Downtown Boxing Club’s Brian Sims (9-5) barely broke a sweat, needing just 76 seconds to dispose of Julian Salinas before referee Tom Miller stopped the fight.
Salinas, who was attempting a comeback after last fighting in 2009 and is the younger brother of Loew’s South Side B.C. contender “Popo,” suffered a concussion and neck injury and was taken to the hospital by ambulance for further observation.
“I knew that he [Julian] hadn’t fought in quite some time, so I knew absolutely nothing about him,” said Sims, who won for the third consecutive time. “He was four inches taller than me, so the game plan was to work the side and the body. He’s a great boxer, but I saw my opening and took advantage of it. Even I was a little surprised that the fight was stopped that fast.”
The 63-pound matchup between Juan Jauregui of South Side and Pittsburgh’s Soulja Cook turned out to be a real crowd pleaser.
Barely the height of the ropes, Jauregui (4-3) won by points over Cook as both boxers flailed with very little rest between punches.
“My corner just kept yelling at me to go after him, so I did,” Jauregui said. “It was my hook and jab that I kept using.”
In the opening bout of the evening at 132 pounds, veteran Ted Mrkonga (33-21) of Pittsburgh scored a unanimous decision over Joe Reed (3-4) of Buffalo while the other 132-pound pairing featured Alex Castellanos (18-7) score a unanimous decision over Alliance native Ryizzeemmion “Johnny” Ford (28-22).
For Castellanos, who was much shorter than the rangy Ford and was caught off guard when hit by his opponent as he went to tap gloves to start the final round, dodging punches was as important as landing a shot.
“I took offense to the hit at the glove tap, but knew that I had to stay composed. He just took me by surprise and while this wasn’t the first time that this has happened to me, it definitely won’t be the last,” Castellanos said. “You have to have a short-term memory and just get back to the game plan. Since he was long and rangy, I wanted to dodge and slip his shots, make him kiss, come back with my combos and be the last one to land a punch.”
In a 142-pound scrap, it was Brendon McWilliams (2-0) of Buffalo remaining defeated as he won on points over Cleveland’s Jameer Banks (0-1), who was making his ring debut.
The night also featured 13-year-old national contenders Tyshawn Denson of Akron and Angel Gonzalez of New York City in a 102-pound pairing.
Denson (55-11), who was ranked No. 1 nationally in his age group and weight class, won on points over Gonzalez (9-7) who is currently ranked No. 4 overall.
It was Butler’s Isaac Gunther (6-2) defeating South Side’s Brayon Colon (2-2) for the second time in as many meetings at 140 pounds while the other 140 pound pairing had Armond Richards of Cleveland moving to 33-6 overall with a decision by points over Pittsburgh’s Jerome Baxter (18-5).
Despite a bloody mouth suffered at the end of the second round, Butler’s Brian Mowry (10-2) won his heavyweight clash over Riko Hernandez (4-4) of New York City.