Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass boxing sends eight fighters to Fall Brawl at Lock Haven

Three Minutemen fighters featured in the event’s main card
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The UMass Boxing club participated in its first tournament of the year last Saturday, sending eight fighters to compete in Lock Haven’s fifth installation of its annual Fall Brawl. Seven other schools were represented in the event alongside UMass: North Carolina, Hartford, Connecticut, Air Force, West Point, Navy and Trinity College.

Five UMass fighters were featured in the event’s undercard, with Mehdi Riza, Soomin Parks, Erica Dirk, Anton Pritchard and Richard Young fighting. Only four competed, however, as Dirk’s scheduled opponent backed out unexpectedly the day before.

Throughout the day, UMass coach Rocky Snow kept encouraging his fighters to stick to the fundamentals in between rounds.

“The main thing was just stick to the basics, work the jab and make sure you’re breathing,” Snow said. “Because a lot of the new people, they hold their breath. The main thing is you gotta breathe, because if you’re not breathing, you can’t fight. But just stick to basics, don’t try anything fancy.”

Fighting in the 139 pound weight class, Parks secured the Minutemen’s sole win on the day with a decision over Tina Nguyen of UConn. Mehdi Riza was stopped by the referee in the 2nd round of his bout, while Anton Pritchard and Richard Young lost via decision to their respective opponents.

In the main card, Dylan Roda and Eric Dawes scrapped for UMass in the 185 pound division, and Mohammed Rahman clashed with Lock Haven’s Jesse Hance in the 132 pound class. Both Rahman and Dawes were stopped by Snow in the second round of their fights and Roda lost via decision in what Snow described as UMass’ nastiest showdown of the day.

“That was a brawl, because they both had the same style,” said Snow. “[His opponent] was a little taller, but it was a brawl. Neither one wanted to give up, take a step back.”

Despite having to be stopped in the second round of his bout, Eric Dawes impressed the coach with his ability to come back after being knocked down in the early going.

“I’ll tell you one thing, [if] you wanna talk about someone that showed everything, [it’s Eric Dawes],” Snow said. “He got caught in the first round with a good, good shot right to his jaw, which dropped him. Most people would’ve stayed down, but he got up and he did the best he could, but I stopped it [in the second round]. He never recovered, but he showed a lot of heart because most people would’ve stayed down.”

Due to a slow start to their season, UMass did not participate in the Richmond invitational nor the Cincinnati invitational in October, putting them at a slight disadvantage. Increased amateur boxing safety regulations by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission also prevented UMass from competing in its annual Battle of the Borders tournament, which was scheduled for Nov. 3.

Saturday marked just the first collegiate fight for many of the Minutemen boxers. Now that those fighters have that first bout under their belts and better understand the importance of cardio, Snow expects marked improvement at their next tournament, which Snow hopes will be December 1st at West Point.

“They all handled themselves really, really great,” said Snow. “None of them got mentally down, they took it as a learning [experience]. And like I explained to them, they might have lost some decisions, but they won because, number one, they know more about themselves, the strength that they have. Number two, they know more about the sport. Number three, they know more about their opponent if they have to fight them again. And, nobody got hurt.”

Ben Painchaud can be reached at [email protected].







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