Vermillion Boxing Team captures championships Boxers from 15 South Dakota boxing teams converged on the Sturgis Community Center to participate in the South Dakota Junior Olympics and Under-19 tournament on April 29-30.
The Vermillion Boxing Team entered contestants in the Junior Olympics and the Under-19 Tournament. Age groups were from 8 to the under-19 group. Weights ranged from 60 pounds to super-heavyweight.
Several Vermillion boxers were declared state champs by walk-over, forfeiture of opponent or through contest.
Junior Olympic State Champions from the Vermillion Boxing Team included 13-14 year olds: Jacinta Varns, 119 pounds; Joey Kemp, 112 pounds; and Wahachonka (Chonka) Wilch 119 pounds.
Under-19 State Champions are Oliver Hope, 147 pounds, and Ben Bazemore, 156 pounds. Second place finisher was 100-pound 11- to 12-year-old Lyle Simon; third place 132-pound 13- to 14-year-old Junior Simon and third place Karlis Baisden, 139-pound 13- to 14-year-old.
On Saturday seven Vermillion boxers were matched.
In the 119# quarterfinals, Wilch met the scrappy and very experienced Donnie Shockey from the Teton Boxing Club. Wilch dominated the match from the opening bell with stinging jabs, right hands and left hooks. However, in the second round, his opponent caught Wilch with a straight right hand that sent him to the canvas.
Wilch came back with even more resolve as he displayed the ability to catch and parry his opponent's combinations, straight rights and lefts and to counter with unending straight rights and left hooks of his own.
In the third round, they traded punches with Wilch able to effectively neutralize Shockey's attack. Wilch won the bout and advanced to the semifinals.
In the quarterfinals, Baisden took on Rocky Ford's Casey Cummings. Baisden, in his first fight since achieving a national rank, took command of the bout and scored at will with rights, lefts, hooks and jabs to the body and head of his opponent throughout the first round. In the interest of boxer safety, the match was stopped at the end of the first round, giving Baisden the win.
The next Vermillion boxer to get into the ring was Kemp taking on Leslie Biber from the Sturgis Vets Boxing Club. Kemp showed considerable aggressiveness from the opening bell and connected with rights, lefts, and combinations of hooks and uppercuts. Kemp stunned his opponent midway through the first round by catching his opponent with a hard left hook sending him backwards to be caught by the ropes receiving the first eight count of the match.
Shortly after, Kemp continued to dominate and the match was stopped in the interest of boxer safety, giving Kemp the win.
Next, Lyle Simon took to the ring to face Tom Drapeau from the Crow Creek Boxing Club. The more experienced Drapeau caught him with several unanswered straight right and lefts to the head and then several body shots that stopped the Vermillion boxer. The referee stopped the contest in the interest of boxer safety.
Varns took to the ring to face a more experienced boxer from the Clark Boxing Club, Paige Paulson who has neutralized all of her past opponents scoring at will. In the first round, the more experienced Paulson soon discovered Varns' ability to catch and parry her straight punches, hooks and uppercuts.
Varns showed excellent lateral movements and very quick hands, but Paulson landed what appeared to be more scoring blows. In the second round, the boxers exchanged more blows and Varns was able to land with her left jab and right hook while catching most of Paulson's punches.
In the third round, Varns showed the best defense that Paulson has come up against. Varns effectively blocked over 35 of her opponents punches. In a match that showed very effective defense and skill in counter-punching by the Vermillion boxer, the win went to Paulson.
Junior Simon, in his first match of his boxing career, took on the hard-hitting Kyle White Bull from the Young Guns Boxing Club. His more experienced opponent's aggression was evident and the match was stopped with the boxer's safety in mind.
In what proved to be one of the surprises of the day's events, Rick Boyd, 156#, took on Zach Ziegler from Crow Creek Boxing. In Boyd's first bout he gave up the experience of over 45 matches to his opponent who had not been in the ring this year. Ziegler, who has stunned and stopped most of his past opponents, was substantially challenged by the steadfastness of Boyd.
In the first round, Ziegler threw multiple combinations, landing right hooks and body shots. Boyd countered with his jab and effective body shots of his own. The second round was filled with many exchanges by both boxers and Boyd was able to effectively withstand Ziegler's right hooks to the body and head countering with his own right and left hooks.
The third round brought a more aggressive Boyd into the competition. Sensing the ability to withstand the best punches his opponent could throw, Boyd landed many effective rights and lefts. His opponent's skill prevailed and Boyd was given an eight count prior to the ending bell. In a very strong showing for his first match, the Crow Creek boxer was given the victory.
Hope's match was canceled on the first day.
On Sunday, the second day of the tournament, Vermillion boxers competed in semi-finals and finals. Wilch received a bye for the semi-final. Baisden faced the more experienced Sheldon Two Bulls from the Teton Boxing Club. Baisden and his opponent squared off at 6:30 on Sunday morning in three rounds of hard-hitting action.
Baisden used his left jab, over-hand right, and hooks effectively throughout all three rounds. His opponent was able to go toe-to-toe with him throughout the match. In the end, a closely battled event gave the decision to the Teton boxer. Two Bulls went on to the finals and lost to national champion Daniel Standing Soldier from North Ridge Boxing.
Hope took on Rodney Janis from North Ridge Boxing. Janis, a past national champion and current nationally ranked pugilist with approximately 150 bouts compared to 30 for Hope, showed considerable aggression from the opening bell.
Hope was able to counter with blazing right and left hooks and upper-cuts on the inside. Janis was able to cut-off the ring and had Hope on the ropes two times early in the first round and hit Hope with flurries of hooks and upper-cuts. Unhurt, Hope was able to land many powerful shots in return.
At approximately one minute into the round, Hope caught his opponent with a left hook to the body, right to the head and a stunning left hook to the head that sent Janis to the canvas. Janis was not able to recover and the referee stopped the contest.
Lyle Simon took on a tough Rocky Ford boxer in three rounds of hard-hitting action. Both boxers landed many punches throughout the first and second rounds. Simon seemed able to control the pace of the bout as he scored with many effective counter-punches against the strong right hand of his opponent.
In the third round, Simon pursued his opponent landing many powerful combinations only to lose to his opponent on a decision in what was Simon's best match of his career.
Wilch took on Jake Two Bulls from the Oglala Boxing Team in the 119# championship. Two Bulls, a seasoned boxer, had faced over 30 more opponents than Wilch.
In the first round, Wilch was able to use his longer reach to score with several jabs; however, his left hooks and stunning right hand appeared to be his most effective weapons against his very seasoned and aggressive opponent.
Early in the second round, Wilch stunned his opponent with an effective left hook. After a long interchange with both boxers using multiple combinations, Wilch was given an eight count following a strong right hook to the head shortly before the bell. In the third round, Wilch showed considerable skill and determination as he counter-punched Two Bulls, landing multiple hook combinations, strong right hands and effectively parried and dodged Two Bull's onslaught.
At the end of third round, both boxers celebrated; however, only one boxer receives the win and the decision went to Wilch.
Coach Marc Zimiga was pleased with the outcome of the tournament with five state champions, excellent team interaction, and many of the young boxers showing improvement in basic skills and heart to box very tough opponents.
Wilch will advance to the Regional Junior Olympics in Cheyenne, WY, on May 19-20. Hope and Bazemore advance to the Under-19 tournament at the end of July.
The Vermillion Boxing Team extends appreciation to all who supported the team and extends congratulations to the many winners in the Spring Raffle. Aaron Aakre won the star quilt.