Bengal Bouts 165-pounds - 170-pounds: Crosse, Matassa appear favorites for 165-pounds
By: BRIAN BURKE
One look at the 165-pound bracket shows that there are two obvious front runners for the title: junior captain Clay Cosse and Chriss Matassa. Matassa narrowly lost a split decision thriller to Brock Heckman last year in the 150-pound final.
Fighting for the right to take on Matassa will be Wyatt "Shifty" Shiflett and Justin "The ResLife Regular" Meyers. Meyers was a semifinalist last year at 165 pounds.
The other end of the bracket has Matt "Diesel" Wilkerson facing off against first timer Mike "The Scottish Nightmare" MacRitche, with the winner taking on Cosse.
The weight class has several other inexperienced fighters. The preliminary bouts pitting Will "Muhammed" Holley against Mark "The Holy Ghost" Yost, Patrick "Moo Hair" Muehr and Nick "The Silent Assassin" Nanovic, Matt "The Meat Hook" Seidler and Michael "Bike Mike" McDonald, and David "The Double Barreled" Cannon against Matthew Klobucher all feature competitors making Bengal Bouts debuts.
"You can see there's mixed emotions with the fights starting," Cannon said. "There's some tension building in practice, you can see it in the Pit [the auxillary gym in the Joyce Center where the boxers train].
The 170-pound weight class should be one of the more entertaining in the tournament, not only because of its competitiveness, but the makeup of the fighters as well.
"It's a real aggressive weight class," said Ryan "Rhino" Hernandez, who faces James Ward in the preliminaries. "There's a nice mix of power and endurance, so you see guys who are able to maintain a barrage throughout the fight."
Hernandez, who lost a preliminary round bout to eventual finalist Rob Joyce last year, has a slight advantage in experience over the first-time fighter Ward.
The highlight of the 170 preliminaries matches Matt "Rocky Mountain Avalanche" Padilla against Nate Scheid. Last year, both boxers claimed preliminary victories in a relatively inexperienced bracket. Padilla lost to eventual finalist Joyce.
The only other fighter with Bengal Bouts experience is Matt "The Booster" Knust, who lost a preliminary bout last year to eventual 175-pound champion Mark Criniti. Knust faces freshman Chris "The Count of Monte Fisto" Milliron.
The other fights pitting Bengal Bouts rookies are Domingo "Lunes" Maynes against T.J. "The Human Punching Bag" Strachota, Geoff "Ragin' Asian" Dennie against William "The Kid" Phillip, Evan "Dysfunctional" Oliver against Kraig "Left On Colfax Right On Hill" Kotteman, Shaun Iversen versus Craig "The Devil's Advocate" Oliver, and Eric "Broke" Barroso against Patrick "The Irish Curse" McGarry.
All Sports Stories for Friday, February 22, 2002