Falcons Finalize Wing Open Field with 12 Semifinal Bouts
Feb. 25, 2009
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - With a place in the Wing Open Championships on the line, 24 members of the Air Force boxing team left it all in the ring during the semifinal round of tournament action tonight (Feb. 25) in the Upper Boxing Room. Backed by hard-hitting, bell-to-bell action, the 12 winners secured their place under the lights in Clune Arena.
Only two bouts tonight featured a weight class with only one spot on the line, as the other side of the bracket featured a returning champion.
In the first bout, Dean Chuva secured his spot in the finals after taking a split decision from Michael Mizes in the 132-pound contest. Chuva, a senior who spent the first three years of his career boxing at the 112-pound weight class, will take on defending 132-pound champion, Dave Simon.
The final bout of the evening featured a pair of Wing Open newcomers looking for the opportunity to face defending champion Cory Tintzman in the finals. Mike Chambers and Garrett Gilbertson traded punches throughout the three-round bout, each controlling several minutes of action. Once the judges' votes were tallied, Chambers earned the advancing nod by split decision.
In between the two hotly contested single bouts, both corners were decided for five weight classes.
Daniel Starr received a unanimous decision over returning finalist Bailey Ball in the first 139-pound contest, while Seth Gunn, a Wing Open finalist in 2007, punched his return ticket to Clune with a decision over Ethan Salgado.
In the first 156-pound bout, Tyrus Korecki advanced with a split decision victory over Jeffrey Witt. Senior Rudy Bowen unanimously decisioned Joseph Silvio in the second bout at that weight class to not only advance to the finals but to earn his first Boxer of the Week award this year. Bowen, one of a handful of boxers that saw action in last week's quarterfinal round, used a good right lead and hook to the body to out-point Silvio. Bowen was able to adjust to his opponent's left-handed stance and scored with good combinations.
The 165-pound bracket was decided by a pair of unanimous decisions. Austin Almand defeated Casey Habluetzel, while Nick Cataldo claimed victory over Justin Lee. In the 175-pound bouts, Lucas Gagliardi, the 2008 Wing Open champion, defeated Jon Andresen to return to the ring at Clune Arena, where he will face Mike McLain, who earned his spot in the finals by decisioning Lincoln Miller.
If the semifinal round of action in the 195-pound bouts was any indication, the finals will be an extremely hard-hitting affair. Both winners staked their claim on a corner with referee-stopped-contests. Andrew Catoire, the Wing Open champion in 2006, didn't wait for the final bell to defeat Fred Johnson, while Wing Open newcomer Kevin Williams advanced to the finals in less than one round, as he defeated Reggie Howard.
The 51st Wing Open Championships will take place on Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m., in Clune Arena. The event is free and will feature 11 bouts, ranging from 119-pounds to the heavyweight division.
RESULTS FROM WING OPEN SEMIFINALS