Owens to face Matassa in 150-pound semifinals
By JEFF BALTRUZAK
Chris "Shezzy" Matassa enters tonight's bout against Tom "T.K." Owens having fought just four minutes in the entire Bengal Bouts competition thus far. He received a bye to the quarters and defeated Julian "Bel Biv" Devoe in a referee-stopped fight on Monday.
Owens, on the other hand, has fought two fairly tight bouts, winning in the preliminaries by a unanimous decision but only defeating John "The Knockout" Nowak in a split decision on Monday night, a fight where Owens could not gain the decisive upper hand.
Owens will need his best boxing to come against the junior Matassa, a fighter with a strong jab as well as good feet.
The other semifinal features another winner of a split decision versus a very strong fighter. Tucker "The Wicked Bad Bostonian" McGree narrowly defeated Luke "Desperado" Busam, a fight that saw even action until McGree put together a strong combination of punches just prior to the final bell.
McGree will have an extremely tough time against Brock "Landers" Heckman. The junior Heckman hammered Matt "The Hogtown Hurricane" McDonald, seemingly landing almost every punch. Heckman also displayed a strong ability to get inside and land punches close to his opponent.
"He's an extremely aggressive fighter and he's in good shape," said McGree. "I want to try to stay composed and counter what he throws at me."
Sean "The Erie Kid" Nowak faces Tom "Frenchman" Pierce in the first semifinal in the weight class. Nowak is probably the hardest puncher in the class, as shown when he violently floored Joe "The Polish Tank" Czerniawski on Monday night.
That fight was controversially ended after that knockdown after the referee judged Czneriawski unable to continue.
The sophomore Pierce won a narrow split decision against Steve "The Natural Lightweight" Keppel in his last bout. He will have to work hard not to get hit squarely by Nowak, who has shown he has considerable one-punch power.
"My strategy is not to get hit by that haymaker," Pierce said. "He's taller, so I want to be able to get in and out well and be aware of the right."
Jeff "The Pittsburgh Kid" Dobosh had the easiest route the semifinals, receiving a bye to the quarters. His quarterfinal match was canceled because his opponent, Robert "Little Mac" McColgan was out of town for a job interview.
Dobosh faces junior Paul "He-Man" Mehan, the winner over Daniel "The Mauler" McCoy. Mehan fought well throughout the quarterfinal match, aggressively establishing the tone of the fight in the first round, and staying consistent throughout all three rounds.
Dennis "Thursday Night" Abdelnour is looking to power his way into the finals, but will have to get through Mike "The Militia Man" Melby first. Melby is a solid fighter, having won his last two fights by unanimous decision and referee stoppage respectively.
For Abdelnour, winning his bout and in turn the championship has much to do with desire. The senior captain is looking for his first Bengal Bouts crown.
"I want it," said Abdelnour. "I know the other guys want it, but I want it more."
Melby hardly represents an easy path to the finals. The sophomore has an excellent jab coupled with an extensive reach that has kept previous fighters at bay. Abdelnour will need to get inside and land one of the vicious hooks that he showcased on Monday night against Vince "The Italian Meatball" DeGennaro.
The second fight in the class just might turn into a classic brawl. It features two boxers that know how to punch, and punch hard — Joe Smith and Travis "Posse" Alexander.
Smith's victory in the quarters was decidedly one-sided, scoring two standing eight counts against Patrick "El Chipotle" Hobbins.
Alexander faced a more difficult time against Jeff "Re Re" Ream, but still was impressive. He pounded Ream with loud body blows in the final round, and secured a much-deserved unanimous decision.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, February 28, 2001