Boxers compete in Vermillion action Action at the Vermillion Armory on Saturday night matched 32 young fighters from three Nebraska teams with five teams from Eastern South Dakota.
The 150 fans were treated to the highlights of the evening that included exhibition boxing with featherweight girl boxers from the Pierce Boxing teams and challenges to several boxers who have recently finished within the top contenders for national titles.
The Vermillion Boxing Team hosted both Sioux Falls area Siouxland Boxing Club and Brotherhood Boxing, Sisseton-Wahpeton Boxing Club, Thunder Boxing from Watertown and teams from Macy, Pierce, and Sandoval, NE. Four Vermillion fighters were matched with fierce competitors in hard fought bouts. Vermillion Boxing Club Coach Marc Zimiga was pleased with their showing. Zimiga said three Vermillion fighters did not secure matches and hopes that the entire team in the next several weeks will focus on preparation for the Junior Olympic qualifying matches at Pine Ridge in late April.
Vermillion's Thomas Barnes fought Sisseton Wahpeton's scrapper James Hook in a grueling three round match losing on a decision. Barnes demonstrated that he could go the distance with this more experienced fighter and continues to show improvement in each of his bouts.
Vermillion's Rusty Thompson, a local 128 lb. fighter, took on aggressive challenger Michael Ronfeldt from the Pierce Boxing Team only to lose after three rounds of fierce competition. In his boxing debut, local fighter John Holoch showed he has the "heart" as he gave away 14 pounds and over a year in age to Sioux Falls pugilist Jon Leise who stopped Holoch in the second round. Zimiga said Holoch "fought an impressive first fight" and shows a quickness that will be a resource in the future.
Vermillion's most seasoned fighter, Oliver Hope, took on Shane Llewellyn from the Pierce Boxing Club. Llewellyn showed quickness in his jabs and hooks, but did not fare well to Hope's straight right that stunned him and buckled his knees at about 35 seconds of round one. In the interest of boxer safety, the referee stopped the contest.
Independent judges ranked fighters on four separate categories apart from the winning of each bout. The categories and winners were: "Team Sportsmanship" to Pierce Boxing Club, "Outstanding Senior Boxer" to Joe Lindner of Watertown's Thunder Boxing, "Outstanding Junior Boxer" to Vermillion's Ollie Hope, and the "Warrior" award to Sisseton-Wahpeton's Zach Hill.
The local fans and Vermillion Boxing Team showed their appreciation to Joe Shramek in a presentation of a certificate of appreciation.