Though fighting valiantly and with relentless vigor, our school’s two gloved warriors were felled Friday at the S.F. Winter Boxing Championships.
The venue was staged at Longshoreman’s Hall on Fisherman’s Wharf, a crowded scene interspersed with a broad range of spectators. Amongst them were motorcycle gang-members, eager families with boxing in their blood, and Andre Nickatina (or at least his look-alike). The superfluous consumption of beer and tequila amidst luscious RockStar Energy Drink models proved this was not an event for the prudish or squeemish. No, this was a platform for power and he -or she- who can take it, will have it all. But the fighters themselves have no room for these ephemeral pleasures in their narrow focus; their’s is a resolute intention, the honor of a win.
Unlike other team sports, in boxing, the weight of responsibility falls on the individual boxer. Once in the ring, the spirit of his or her teammates may be intangibly supportive but, ultimately, it’s up to the man or woman to utilize everything they’ve learned to their best advantage. Stated by a member of the USF boxing team, Matt Katekaru, “The stakes of a win or loss are much higher here. Sometimes you know you’ll kick the guy’s butt and other times you know you’ll get your’s kicked. Either way, you get all the credit or all the blame.”
With regard to our school’s forecasted successs, Trenton Stonerock, a novice on the USF Boxing Team, admitted, “Both of our guys are outmatched this time. It’s mostly an issue with the management. This time they just didn’t match up the fighters appropriately.”
USF submitted only two boxers to the tournament, Nargis Shegasi and Paulo Amparado. Shegasi, the female Captain of the team, fought Stelacia Leggatt of “Multi-choices” boxing gym. Amparado, a sophomore, faced Francisco Madrigal of the intimidating “Bad to the Bonez” gym located in Modesto, California.
Walking out of the locker room to the bass-claps of Rihanna’s “Run This Town,” Shegasi marched triumphantly across the red carpet and into the ring, her hands resting on the shoulders of Head Coach Angelo Merino. And with the spark of the bell signaling the fight’s commencement, the two well-built female fighters exploded into action. Unfortunately, Leggatt’s agility quickly overwhelmed Shegasi, as she faded into fatigue within the first round. For the rest of the fight her efforts were tired and defensive. Tripping against the ropes she was finally deemed the lesser pugilist when the referee raised Leggatt’s hand as the victor.
After five more fights and a 15-minute intermission, Amparado stepped into the ring with his aggressor, Madrigal. Despite the fierce and feisty persistence of his punches, Paulo went down in the second round with a climactic knockout that prompted Coach Merino to literally “throw in the towel,” lest Amparado suffer any lasting damage.
When asked about his winning strategy, Madrigal asserted that his T.K.O. (Technical Knock- Out) Punch was “guided by God,” as his devotion to boxing is second only to his love of God.
Whether or not his devastatingly strong right was divinely inspired, there’s no doubt that Madrigal’s boxing talents are well-honed and deliberate.
Unlike the male match-up, Shagasi had battled Leggatt before at our campus’s Hilltop Tournament.
Upon asking Shagasi for her opinion on how Leggatt got the “upper-hand,” so to speak, in this fight, she revealed a change of strategy in her opponent. “This time she came right at me. I expected her to dance around, like she did last time, and was caught completely off-guard.”
With Leggatt having disproven Shagasi’s claim to power, I must entreat her with this offer to substantiate her superiority: Best two-out-of-three?