Canka Wilch takes national title

Canka Wilch takes national title Canka Wilch, 17, a 165-pound competitor of the Wilch Boxing Club, fought in the Native American National Boxing championships in Denver, CO at the University of Denver�s Ritchie Center on July 2.

His opponent in the championship match was reigning 165-pound NABC champion Mathew Karaga, 20.

Wilch (32-4), reigning NABC champion at 152 pounds (2004), stepped up in weight to the 165-pound division. As boxing enthusiasts know, this is no easy task. With added strength and stamina, Wilch went into this fight with an impressive resum� of tallied wins since last January, beating five opponents, four ranging in age from 21 to 28 years of age.

Karaga (25-2), from Harris, MI, is an internationally experienced amateur boxer, having fought in a European tour last fall. Tough and tested, Karaga presented possibly Wilch�s toughest test of his career thus far.

This match up brought out the best in both champions. Wilch established his jab early while landing a clean uppercut body shot that hurt Karaga in the first round. Karaga retaliated with single and two punch combinations, mostly power punches, but came up empty. Wilch feinted a jab then immediately landed a right behind it that nearly put Karaga down in the middle of the second round. After a furious exchange near the end of the same round, Wilch left Karaga reeling with a right uppercut, followed by a left hook to the head. Both punches landed clean at the bell. Wilch turned and raised his right arm straight up in the air as he walked to his corner.

In the third, Karaga adjusted in desperation, clamping up his defense quick after short flurries of still single punch and two punch combos. He tightened up the contest by avoiding Wilch�s dangerous punches for the most part in this round.

The fourth and final round was a classic, and showed why both athletes were champions. The furious pace had not affected the stamina of either fighter, with their conditioning being superb. Coming down to the last minute, Wilch threw two sets of right jabs, followed by an immediate thudding right to Karaga�s left jaw area.

Karaga fought back heroically after being stunned by wading in straight at Wilch, and after Wilch�s jab missed Karaga came up with his own best punch of the fight � a right that landed on Wilch�s jaw.

Wilch immediately landed a solid uppercut that made Karaga initiate a clinch. Wilch stayed busy landing a very skillful combo of two body shots, followed by a clocked left hook to the head, then a clean jab to Karaga�s head at the bell.

When it came time for the decision, Wilch stood confidently, sure he would be awarded a unanimous decision, but the announcement came that a winner would be awarded the contest by tie breaker. Out of the red corner, Wahacanka Wa�ste (Good Warshield) Wilch.

Wilch shared these comments after his victory:

�My condolences go out to the families of those I�ve lost close to me recently. I�m dedicating my next match to Ken Willis Jr., who was a member of our boxing club.�

Willis died on July 4.

�A champion is sometimes measured by how much he can endure along the way, yet still remain loyal to the sport,� Wilch said.

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