Nevada Boxing split the wins and losses column right down the middle this past weekend, going 3-3 on the day squaring off against Navy and Utah. In this case, the record is not a determinant of effort, will power or want. To appreciate the peaks in life, it’s necessary to go through the valleys. Zack Smith, Britt Brown and Cameron Alten highlighted Nevada’s victories on Mar. 4.
Dustin Congdon, 136 pounds, started the night off with a bang for Nevada. After three rounds of tireless push and pull between Congdon and his opponent Matt Suarez from Navy, Congdon lost the fight, marking his first loss of the season.
“It kind of sucks,” Congdon said. “Obviously, you don’t come in the ring to lose. In retrospect, you can always feel like I could have pushed harder, I could’ve punched faster, but moving forward I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. More condition maybe. But being as close as it was, I figure it was just one of those close matches”
Congdon’s loss will always be there on record, but according to multiple fans around the ring, they felt as if he got robbed.
“After the fight, he even thought I should’ve won it,” said Congdon, referring to his opponent.
While this loss may sting now, it will not stop Congdon from attempting to improve every day. He’s licking his chops for his next bout come regionals.
“My mentality, I was taught from my wrestling coach. If you see a predator such as a lion for example,” Congdon said. “You don’t see a fed lion go and hunt. You see a hungry lion. Wrestle, box and fight a little hungry.”
The rest of the Nevada Boxing team reflected Congdon’s sentiments as they fought each opponent tooth and nail.
After Congdon’s bout, Dillon Maguin went up against Toshi Que from Navy in the 139 lbs. weight class. Round one went well for Maguin as he dictated the pace of the fight with his constant shots to the body. Maguin made it a point to distract with a single straight to the face, preceded by two vicious body shots. When the second round rolled around, both fighters did well at circling one another, never allowing the other to dictate the pace. Maguin again focused on body shots. The round was fairly even until the last few seconds when Que tagged Maguin with a couple of huge headshots, ultimately winning him the round. Maguin and his opponent both appeared to be winded going into the third, but Maguin did not let this stop his thirst for a win. Maguin began the round with a host of punches on his opponent, landing roughly 75 percent of them. Que backpedaled for the majority of the round, along with tying up on multiple occasions to catch his breath. Even with Maguin’s win of the third round, Que took the win for Navy.
Following Maguin’s devastating and questionable defeat, 147 pounder Britt Brown stepped into the ring to take on Taras Klymuk. Their first round began as more of a chess game in one another’s head. The two had a feeling out period, as Brown had multiple level changes and Klymuk attempted to distract Brown consistently by throwing his left hand above his head. Although Klymuk landed more punches than Brown in the first round, Brown landed a few devastating blows. Once the first round was over, so too was the feeling out period. The two would go toe-to-toe for the remainder of the fight leaving nothing to the imagination. Brown would go on to take the fight in a split decision.
Just minutes later Nevada broke out on Zack Smith, sending him into the ring with all the momentum he’d need to take down Princeton Luong from the Naval Academy. Unlike Brown and Klymuk, Smith and Luong knew their personal game plans, jumping right into action at the start of the first round. Smith threw the first punch of the round, which Luong answered with a four-punch combo. Luong appeared to start taking control of the round until both fighters dropped their defensive games, going swing for swing during a 15-second time frame. Smith won the exchange, but both fought well ending the round in a draw. The ensuing rounds would see Smith dictate the fight, forcing Luong into any direction he chose. Smith won the match by unanimous decision and was feeling elated after it.
“I feel good,” Smith said. “I feel really good. That third round, I felt good. Felt like I could’ve kept running combinations. I was landing everything.”
Although some may view this as over confident, that is not the case. When an athlete puts in the time and effort day in and out, they deserve room for some head inflation.
“I practice outside just as much as I practice inside,” Smith said. “Hour and a half practice. After practice, I’ll run three to five miles. I like to do my own type of cardio workout immediately after. I go train after I’ve been training. So I’m already dead tired. That’s what really sells it.”
Smith’s work ethic and skill have allowed him to excel in collegiate boxing and a bronze medal will not suffice for him this time around.
“Take the regional championship and then take nationals,” Smith said.
The following two fights would resemble Smith’s in various ways. Both were up-tempo, strong hitting bouts that heard their fair share of oohs and ahhs. Nate Strother squared off against Alex Olajided in the 165-pound weight class. But even though Strother appeared to win every round, the match would be given to Olajide.
The final fight that took place was that between newcomers Cameron Alten and Ryan Gandolfo and it had “fight of the night” written all over it. Alten looked like a natural in his first match throwing seismic punches at Gandolfo over the course of all three rounds. While the entire fight was well worth $15 on its own, round three was truly the defining moment in both these fighters first bout. Alten began the round with a series of brutal combos which landed, but Gandolfo quickly countered Alten. Each of them decided to let their guard down, going blow for blow. Gandolfo won the exchange, staggering Alten. Alten quickly recovered and got his revenge by landing a few strong hooks to unbalance Gandolfo. Gandolfo would also find some way to rally and the two fighters would end the round with just as much intensity as they began it with. Alten took home the third and final victory for the Wolf Pack putting them at 3-3 for the day.
Every boxer on the Nevada Boxing team has proven to be a tough competitor, with impressive willpower. The Pack is back in action two weeks from now with the regional championship coming into town