Wilch achieves victory at boxing tourney

Wilch achieves victory at boxing tourney Three members of the Wilch Boxing Club fought at the Vermillion Boxing Teams Invitational Boxing Tournament Feb. 26 at the Armory in Vermillion.

Tanner Drappeau, a 10-year-old, 80 pound lefthander, was ready for his first competition. After an initial flurry in which Drappeau landed a solid shot on Fremont Boxing Team's Alfonso Buol, he was caught in a vulnerable position and stopped when his glove became entangled on the ropes while he was in the motion of throwing a punch.

This was a valiant effort on Drappeau's part, and the best is yet to come.

Josh Smock, 16-year-old heavyweight, made his amateur debut against Shawn Kasto from Cheyenne Eagle Butte and came out on top in a contest that exemplified desire and no holding back in an entertaining bout for two evenly matched beginner heavyweights.

National champion Wahacanka Wilch (27-4 with 10 KOs) faced the toughest test to date of his already very competetive boxing career. Canka's opponent was 21-year-old Samual Ojeda, of the Sandoval Boxing Team, Grand Island, NE.

Ojeda had faced 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward over three years ago in a hotly contested match, with Ward receiving the close decision win.

The fight started at a fervent pace from the opening bell, and neither boxer would let up.

Wilch established the jab early and followed up with devastating rights and slicing left hooks to the body and head. Ojeda is a very experienced fighter, and after being caught with clean punches early on the outside, he adjusted by staying very close to Wilch in order to keep the fight inside, toe-to-toe, if possible.

Wilch, however, comfortably pivoted after inside exchanges and released cleanly to the middle of the ring in order to get punching room. After absorbing a clean inside left hook near the end of the first round, Wilch dominated the second and third rounds.

Ojeda was wobbled after receiving a beautiful lead jab to a straight right at the end of the second round and a lead left hook followed by a straight right hand before the end of the third and final round.

Both of these particular sets of explosive, accomplished punches would have toppled any ordinary fighter, but Ojeda has proven that he, too, is no ordinary opponent.

Wilch gives Ojeda credit where credit is due.

"Ojeda is an example of the best in this region," he said. "Sammy made me sharper as a fighter and I thank him for that. God kept us both safe, and I have nothing but respect for Sammy Ojeda."

The Wilch Boxing Club extends thanks to Vermillion Boxing Team head coach Mark Zimiga and his assistant coach, Matt Strickerz, for the opportunity to compete in this well-organized Vermillion invitational.

The Wilch Boxing Club is also appreciative of the support provided by sponsors that made a March 4 trip to Winnepeg, Canada possible so club members could compete as feature fighters in the Alliance Challenge Amateur Boxing Classic.

Sponsors are Toby's, Murph's Appliance, the Vermillion Beauty Shop, Coffee Shop Gallery and Grandpa Wilch, Wahoo, NE.

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