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Saturday, June 15, 2024
The Observer

Bengal Bouts champions are crowned

137 pounds

Michael “Munchkin” Kappaz def. Atticus “Finch” Coscia
The first fight of the finals began in tremendous style, as the first round saw both fighters come out swinging. Kappaz managed to land some early body shots, but Coscia picked up momentum as the first round drew on. Kappaz continued to land the occasional right jab, but the highlight of the round came when Coscia caught his opponent on the ropes and managed to string together a series of hits.

The second round started with both fighters trading blows once again, but Coscia was able to control the pace and move Kappaz around the ring, landing punch after punch. Kappaz tried to get off his back foot with the occasional big swing, but Coscia held firm, and continued to land punches. However, Kappaz was not finished yet, and he said he was able to turn the fight around by becoming more aggressive.

“I tried to get inside of him because he’s got long arms and he goes non-stop with one-twos one-twos,” Kappaz said. “So getting inside and throwing hooks to the body early helped to bring his hands down and open up some opportunities for me. You get really tired by the third round, but you just gotta push through it and see the finish line.”

Kappaz came out with a vengeance in the final round and began to dictate the fight with some powerful jabs to both the head and body of Coscia. Coscia tried to hang on, but as both fighters tired, Kappaz kept swinging and landed multiple right jabs that sent Coscia reeling. Kappaz held on and ultimately won the fight by split decision.

144 pounds

Alex “El Cadejo” Alcantara def. Danny “Nacho Tigre” Espinoza
The first round began in a game of cat-and-mouse, as both fighters patiently looked for an opening. Alcantara, a junior in Alumni, sought to gain a quick advantage by bringing the fight into close quarters, where he could use his quickness to land some good hits to the body, while Espinoza, a senior in St. Edward’s, tried to catch Alcantara off-guard with his reach. Both fighters managed to land some hits, but the bell sounded with neither having a clear advantage after one round.

It was much of the same in the second round, as Alcantara kept coming inside before getting wrapped up by Espinoza. As time went on, however, the fight started to loosen up, and just before the bell sounded, both fighters exchanged a flurry of punches.

In the third and final round, Alcantara came out swinging, and looked to land a big blow before the bell sounded. Espinoza tried to set the tone, but Alcantara kept up his game plan of staying inside, where he managed to land several good hooks to the head and body. As a result, Alcantara was awarded the victory by unanimous decision.

“I think I did a good job of setting the pace early and really being controlled with my aggression,” Alcantara said. “Hats off to Danny, he’s a great fighter and he fought a great fight and really pushed me, but I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

152 pounds

Kieran Carroll def. Jack “Hi my name is Liam” McDermott
The opening round began with a flurry of blows from Carroll, who came out looking to set the tone against his younger opponent. McDermott tried to keep up, but Carroll managed to land some early hits to seize the advantage. As the round went on, McDermott did manage to gain his footing and get some punches in, but as the bell sounded, Carroll was still in the lead.

In the second round, Carroll once again came out swinging, but McDermott was ready, and managed to catch the senior off-balance and send him sprawling. Carroll got right back up, however, and continued his barrage. McDermott stood tall and took some blows, but only managed to land a few of his own.

The final round began with both fighters trading punches. As time went on, however, Carroll used his reach to land punch after punch to the head of McDermott. McDermott tried to fight back, but tired as the fight went on and could do little to stop the multitude of punches coming his way. The bell sounded and Carroll, a senior captain, won by unanimous decision.

Carroll said the key to his victory was his conditioning.

“I just pressured right from the start and relied on my lungs to keep a heavy pace the whole fight,” Carroll said. “I took a lot of shots trying to work my way in, but I was able to stay on a high enough motor to win.”

Senior captain Keiran Carroll, left, avoids a punch by freshman Jack McDermott. Carroll won the 152-pound title by unanimous decision.
Senior captain Keiran Carroll, left, avoids a punch by freshman Jack McDermott. Carroll won the 152-pound title by unanimous decision.

157 pounds

Patrick “Starsky” Lawler def. Sean Himel
Lawler, a sophomore in Fisher, started the fight with an aggressive pace, immediately attacking Himel. Lawler’s mobility allowed him to force Himel, a Duncan senior, to move around the ring, and he was also able to simultaneously evade Himel’s advances by getting low. The fight maintained a fast pace throughout all three rounds, and Lawler said he wanted to come out aggressively.

“[Himel] is the captain,” Lawler said. “He’s gonna be really technically sound. And I knew I was the shorter boxer going in. So I just focused on getting low and keeping my hands up. I’ve worked my butt off this season, and I let [that] get the victory for me, because it was a long six minutes.”

Lawler remained in control in the second round, knocking Himel around. Himel was able to come back slightly, catching Lawler against the ropes multiple times, but Lawler was able to dodge and escape on each occasion. Lawler’s speed and mobility allowed him to back Himel across the ring. Lawler’s punches were strong and impactful, ending the second round with a solid punch to Himel’s head.

In the final round, Lawler maintained his control, picking Himel up and tossing him completely to the ground which resulted in a stoppage of play by the referee. Himel’s strong defense allowed him to keep the match close, but Lawler won the fight by split decision.

163 pounds

Pat Shea def. Ryan Chestnut
Both fighters bided their time to start the first round, with Chestnut, an O’Neill sophomore, going on the offensive first with a strong hook to Shea’s head. However,  the Keough senior Shea came back quickly, knocking Chestnut off balance. Shea quickly took a more aggressive approach, aiming for Chestnut’s head, and Chestnut was forced to duck to defend himself. Chestnut’s mobility kept the fight very close, however, as he was able to keep Shea on the run throughout the fight. Chestnut maintained a similar aggressive strategy early in the second round. Both fighters took their time and attacked strategically, with Shea going for Chestnut’s head as much as possible. His strong combinations allowed him to maintain control. Shea said the key to his victory was his experience.

“[The key to the win] was experience,” Shea said. “I think I had just a little bit of an edge in ringmanship and that was what the difference was. Ryan’s a great boxer — watch out. In the next few years, he is going to tear it up.”

Chestnut stayed in the fight, however, using his mobility to his advantage. Shea took control with a more offensive approach in the final round, and one particularly strong left hook to the side of Chestnut’s head left Chestnut looking shaken. Although Chestnut was able to recover and use his reach to his advantage, it was not enough to fend of Shea’s advances, and Shea took the fight by unanimous decision.

175 pounds

Zach “Bedrock” Flint def. Jack “Not the guy from lost” Shepard
In the 175-pound weight division championship bout, seniors Zach Flint and Jack Shepard boxed for their final time at Notre Dame. The two experienced fighters began the fight calmly, neither willing to overcommit and put themselves in a position of weakness. Midway through the first round, they met in middle and began exchanging blows. Flint, a resident in Siegfried, rushed Shepard into the ropes. Shepard retaliated with solid head shots, and one blow of his knocked Flint down as the round ended.

The second round began with Flint rushing Shepard into ropes and then across the ring to the opposite corner. Flint kept on the offensive, forcing Shepard to keep his guard up and be on the defensive. A big swing from Flint and a strong counter by Shepard brought the fighters into the third round in an even bout.

In the third round, the boxers met in the middle and connected on hits to each other’s head. Flint said he understood the importance of the third round and turned his focus to closing out the match strongly.

“I’m a third round guy,” Flint said. “Going out, I knew I had two hard minutes ahead of me. I knew Jack hadn’t been in that situation before and I had.”

Flint bull-rushed Shepard into the ropes and connected with a big blow to open the final round. The match ended with a series of dodges and one-two punches by Flint before the bell sounded. Flint was awarded the victory by split decision.

182 pounds

Brian “Cheese” Willis def.  Eamon “Gravy” McOsker
Both boxers opened the match with strong and fast punches. Willis used his reach to get off relentless combinations of left and right jabs. McOsker countered the onslaught with jabs of his own. The first round continued with both fighters waiting for their time to strike. Willis found an opening and landed a blow to McOsker, which started a standing count from the referee. Both fighters landed headshots to close out the round.

The second round started with Willis attacking and forcing McOsker to the ropes. McOsker managed to escape and land a strong hook, causing Willis to bleed from his nose. Unfazed, Willis rebounded and landed four consecutive hits to force another standing count before the end of the round.

In the third round, Willis maintained control of the fight. He used a barrage of punches to force McOsker into a corner, where he was able to dodge and hit McOsker. As fatigue set in, McOsker was able to connect on some hits, but ultimately, he could not catch up to Willis. Willis won the title by unanimous decision and the senior credited his length as the key to his success.

“Eamon is so fast,” Willis said. “I was just a little bit longer, that’s what it came down to. We were trading on almost all our blows in the first and second round, but I don’t have to expend quite as much energy since I’m longer, and I was able to sit back and hit Eamon where he couldn’t hit me.”

191 pounds

Jack Considine def. Jason “Downtown” Ellinwood
The boxers began the match meticulously, waiting each other out and looking for a time to strike. Both men had difficulty connecting on hits as each boxer was skillful in their blocking. The round continued with blocks until Considine finally was able to break through Ellinwood’s guard and connect on a hard swing right before the bell sounded. The even match continued into the second round, but Considine said he came out with a new strategy.

“It’s so hard to tell [who was in the lead],” Considine said. “It was pretty even the first round, but then after that I was charging the entire time.”

The junior focused on putting the senior Ellinwood on the defensive for the rest of the fight. Finally breaking down Ellinwood’s defense, Considine connected on a series of hits, while Ellinwood was barely able to counter.

As fatigue set in during the third round, the defensive bout turned offensive. Both Ellinwood and Considine made strong swings left and right, but Considine was more successful in landing his. A series of one-two combinations from Considine against the weakened defensive Ellinwood put Considine in the driver’s seat. Ellinwood was able to land a strong uppercut towards the end of the round, but ultimately could not come back in the fight. The title was awarded to Considine by unanimous decision.

207 pounds

Pat Gordon def. Montana Giordano
Gordon came out strong in the first round, landing several hard punches to the face of Giordano, including one that sent Giordano to the floor right before the bell.  In the second round, Gordon continued landing quality punches, frequently employing combinations of punches that the Morrissey freshman could not counter. Gordon said his strategy was to counterattack his way to victory.

“My strategy is being a counter-puncher,” Gordon said. “I like to sit back and wait for the other guy to throw a punch, try to parry and then counterpunch — either my two versus a righty or my jab versus a lefty — but obviously you cannot counterpunch the entire match.”  

Gordon successfully mixed up his punches, and as a result, Giordano was unable to do much offensively. Giordano was constantly on the defensive against Gordon, who landed a flurry of punches right before the end of the second round.

Giordano did not let up in the third round, as several times he pushed Giordano up against the ropes while simultaneously landing punches to the stomach and head of his opponent. By the end of the match, Gordon was running Giordano, who was protecting his face at all costs, all around the ring. Gordon secured the victory by unanimous decision.


Matt “Here comes the” Boomer def. Fr. Nathan “The Exorcist” O’Halloran
The first round started with both fighters swinging aggressively. Both landed punches early on, but O’Halloran landed a flurry of blows that drove Boomer against the ropes and forced a tie-up. Boomer recovered, however, and the round ended with both fighters willing to conserve some of their energy for the later rounds.

Boomer controlled the early part of the second round, landing multiple punches to the face of O’Halloran. Boomer followed that up by landing a few more quality punches, and the round ended with O’Halloran visibly frustrated.

In the last round, Boomer landed a couple of direct punches to the face of his opponent. However, O’Halloran, buoyed by the crowd, came back with a bull-rush against Boomer, landing several punches and severely bloodying the nose of Boomer. Boomer was able to land one hard punch to the head of O’Halloran before the bell sounded. Boomer said the fight boiled down to who could throw more punches.

“[It was] two [big] guys throwing heavy haymakers — there wasn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to what was going on in there,” Boomer said. “We were just going right at it.”

In the end, both fighters were visibly exhausted, and the judges awarded Boomer the win by split decision.

Super heavyweight

Logan Plantz def. Jackson Wrede
In the first round, there was an evident contrast in styles, as the smaller, yet quicker Wrede had trouble landing punches against Plantz’s much larger frame. Plantz dominated the center of the ring and was frequently able to land punches to the body of Wrede.

In the second round, Wrede was able to land uppercuts to the side of Plantz’s head. However, Plantz was able to land a huge punch that sent Wrede tumbling to the floor, causing a stoppage. Plantz said the key to fight for him was stamina.

“I just tried to control my heavy breathing, push through the whole morbid obesity holding me back, and I made it through,” Plantz said.  

Wrede was able to bounce back during the later portion of the second round, landing several punches to the head of the slower Plantz.

In the third round, Wrede continued his tactics from earlier, but Plantz was able to counterattack with strong punches to the face of Wrede. However, Wrede, with more energy than Platz in the final round, was able to dance away from some punches while landing many of his own — fearlessly launching himself at Plantz. However, it was not enough, as the judges awarded a split-decision victory to Plantz.