Eight of Lancaster’s amateur boxers made it onto the card and into the ring at Saturday night’s Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves tournament at Lancaster Catholic High School.
The fighters, representing all three gyms that registered for the event had five wins and three losses — one of which was to another Lancaster athlete.
A’Nyah Wray (3-1), 14, who trains at Finefrock & Stumpf Golden Gloves Center, both started and finished the night. Her win over Reading’s Genesis Orbe DeJesus (0-1) earned her the Outstanding Boxer award.
The fight itself, the first of the night, left her bloody, but relieved.
“I’ve been nervous all day,” she said, then praising her opponent. “I didn’t expect she’d have much, (but) I think we both did good.”
In all, Saturday’s action was definitely a respectable showing by the locally trained young pugilists.
One bout, however, featured a bit of controversy.
The heavyweight, sub-novice clash between Joblennin “Joby” Anaya (0-1) of Finefrock & Stumpf and Dushawn Beecher (1-0) of Cameron Street Boxing Club in Harrisburg was visually awkward from the start, with Beecher towering over Anaya.
Beecher had the reach over Anaya, and used it to land a solid combo early in the first round. Anaya, unfazed by the blows, grinned and spent the rest of the round at the end of Beecher’s jab.
It was solid defense, and few of Beecher’s shots actually connected.
From there it got messy. Round two had referee Wayne Thompson calling out “no wrestling” when the young men appeared to grapple instead of box. Anaya either slipped or was pushed at one point as he fought to get inside.
Beecher, visibly angry several times, was called for holding and literally shoved his opponent out of a clinch at the end of the round.
By the third round, Beecher had more control, and Anaya threw a good combo early on, but the pattern of holding and clinching continued.
When the announcement that Beecher won came, the crowd booed. Anaya’s coach, Barry Stumpf, audibly questioned the judges’ decision.
“There’s no way I lost that fight.” Anaya said afterward. “He barely hit me.”
In another bout, Sheldon Supplee (1-0) of Finefrock & Stumpf was clearly out for vengeance. He closed in on Irish Boxing Club’s Matthew Padelski and, in the first 30 seconds of round one, nailed Padelski with a jab that had him wobbling.
An audible right hook to the body followed quickly, as did the ref’s calls for no taunting or pushing.
Supplee continued to work his jab in rounds two and three, and it worked. He left the ring victorious.
Watching from the gym floor, Anaya, who began training at Finefrock & Stumpf because of Supplee, offered his congratulations.
Supplee replied, “They robbed you. They were not gonna rob me.”
Another sub-novice Lancaster boxer, Zach Pannell (1-1), of Nye’s Gym, also earned a win.
Pannell, who also trained in MMA, threw hard straight rights at Deric Hess early in the bout. But it was two sweeping hooks to the head that got him an eight count over Hess.
In the last 10 seconds of the final round, Pannell, breathing hard, found the energy to put Hess in the corner and fire off a final combination.
Pannell admits he needs to work on his conditioning. He credits his father, who died of pancreatic cancer, for that final fury of punches.
“I thought of my father and saw the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
His late father was to first one to send him to the gym and was his number-one supporter, Pannell said.
Early in the evening, Lancaster City Boxing Gym’s young boxers, 9-year-old Roel Carrasquillo (1-0) and Jaren Colon (6-2), also 9, defeated Declan Power (0-1) and Qawi McFadden, respectively.
Isaias Ortiz (7-2) also trains at Lancaster City. He and Aidan Cruz were both fast and, at 120 pounds, lean. Cruz had the reach, but Ortiz still managed to triumph.
Travis “T.J.” McCauley (0-2) was not as lucky in his 123-pound match, which he lost to Elijah Logan of Harrisburg’s Capital Punishment Boxing Club.
The Pennsylvania Golden Gloves central district tournament will continue with semifinals and championships on March 23 and 24 in Dickson City, Lackawanna County.