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Friday night fights: The finals

By Kate Gardiner in News on Apr 18, 2009 7:10PM

Youth boxing phenom Tracy Rollins was billed to lose in the program - and surprised a lot of the crowd by unanimously winning his bout Friday at St. Andrew's Gym (Addison & Paulina, 8p.m.). The youngster, who at 16 was facing veteran boxer Ramon Valenzuela in his first-ever senior Chicago Golden Gloves championship (he's the five-time junior national champion), felt confident before the fight - and the look on his face after said he felt vindicated.

"I went in with a strategy to stick in and move in - and get as many points as possible," Rollins said after the bout. And so he did. There was a little bit of trash talking early on, a fact that got the ginger up in both men, but all told it was nearly a clean fight, despite Valenzuela's reputation otherwise.

Valenzuela's father, Ramon Valenzuela, Sr., on the other hand, was rumored to be less than pleased with his son's second place: according to the Golden Gloves Twitter feed, he broke the trophy over his knee in a fit in the locker room last night.

It's not like the family won't get to go to the finals though - Valenzuela's other son, Nathan, won in the 152-pound open Thursday night and is headed to the competition, as is his third son, a junior boxer at age 16.

In other Chicago Golden Gloves news:

*Jim Murphy, (Celtic Boxing Club) who stacked the crowd with at least thirty friends and relatives, beat Jaumor Williams for the 156 Novice title. Murphy had every Irishman on the floor on his or her feet, screaming, the entire bout.

*Amanda Ginski, who also brought a rousing fan club, won the 156-pound senior novice division by referee decision in round two against Tanisha McKinty. [Ed.'s Update: Amanda Ginski fights out of West Chicago's Power Boxing Academy. She is trained by Guillermo Coix and Mark Savage, not Sam Colonna. And she's their first Golden Gloves Champion. We reported earlier she was out of the Sam Colonna stables, per the results table from the publicists. Apologies.]

*In one of the most rapid-fire fights this tournament, boxers Darres Smith (Gladiators) and Jose Luis Fernandez (Jawbreakers) duked it out for the 119-pound open title. Smith took it home, but the lightening-fast punches they exchanged were, well. Lightening-fast.

*Fighter Natalie Malik, whose GoTime gym spurred this reporter's interest in the sport of boxing in the first place, took on (and handily beat) Amanda Reicke in the 119 senior novice. Malik will join the swelling ranks of the young gym's Gloves participants in her bid at Nationals.

Tonight on the program are the best (or the rest) of the competitors, including Notre Dame business school senior Mike Lee, the first of the Fighting Irish to leave the school's fledgling undergraduate intramural boxing club for the lights and the glory of Chicago Golden Gloves boxing.

According to his father, Lee's bringing along quite the entourage - all trekking up from the school to the city for the event. The catch: Lee's Golden Gloves fights are also his only fights - his dad also said his son has never fought publicly outside of the ring at St. Andrew's.

The rest of Friday's results are below. Jonesin' for more photos? They're creeping into Kate's photo gallery - check 'em out.

Division Winner Gym Result Boxer Gym
F119SN Natalie Malik Go Time DEC Amanda Reicke UA
119O Darres Smith Gladiators DEC Jose Luis Fernandez Jawbreakers
125SN Francisco Saldana ChgoBxg DEC John Chow Evanston
F139N Devin Young Jon Russell DEC Adrienne Nicolosi Unaffiliated
147N Michael Logan Evanston DEC Jaime Herrera Rivas
F147O Kristin Gearhart ChgoBxg DEC Holly Ford Alley Cat
156N Jim Murphy CelticBxg DEC Jaumor Willaims Chgo Hts
F156SN Amanda Ginski *W.Chicago RSC2 Tanisha McKinty DBB
165O Tracy Rollins ChgoBxg DEC Ramon Valenzuela Matadors
200O Lamar Fenner Leo DEC Robert Jekabson ChgoBxg
201+SN Dana Boughton Fonz DEC Brandon Lee OIAM

[*Updated: Due to an error in the results table, Ginski was reported as fighting out of Chicago Boxing Club. She's out of West Chicago B.C.]

And just FYI: Singer John Mellencamp's son, Hud, 14, just won the 132-pound senior class of his Indiana Golden Gloves division. He'll be at nationals May 4-9, 2009 in Salt Lake City with the Chicago team.