Battle at the Boat 99

January 9, 2015

Brian Halquist and the

Emerald Queen Casino

Mike Gavronski spent the majority of his time since his last fight preparing to face Louis Rose, a tough Californian middleweight until last week when Rose's manager pulled his fighter. Dashon Johnson replaced Rose, and though that did not change a lot of the preparation that Gavronski had done, it did put Johnson on the training fast track, a six day prep time. Both men entered the fight in good physical shape, so the decision in this battle would come down to who was the stronger and more effective boxer.

Gavronski answered the opening bell and stepped toward Johnson while throwing punches. Johnson covered up effectively, but he was not able to return many punches. As the round wore on, Johnson did find opportunities to throw his jab, and while it did not slow Gavronski, it did make him realize that he had a tough fighter in front of him. Near the end of the round there was a bit of pushing and holding that caused the two men to get a bit testy at round's end. Gavronski was again the busier fighter in the second round. He began landing his left to Johnson's ribs. Johnson started to warm up the combination punches, and when he could get close, he was able to score.

Johnson had a very good third round as he was able to let his hands go more frequently, and he landed a few shots on Gavronski's head. However, Gavronski was still the busier fighter throwing more punches in the round. Johnson continued to build momentum in the fourth round. His combinations and shots to Gavronski's head made the round close. The story of the round was Johnson landing shots up top while Gavronski landed to the body.

Johnson began the fifth round in a much more aggressive style. He walked Gavronski in the corner and began landing looping overhand shots on Gavronski's head. Gavronski worked out of the corner, and returned most of the fighting in the round to the center of the ring, but as the round closed, Johnson again landed his right to Gavronski's head. The sixth round was another close round, dictated by the style of the two men. Gavronski continued his steady assault on Johnson's body while Johnson looked to fire and land shots on Gavronski's chin.

The action in the seventh round came early and then late for Johnson. In those moments he was able to land scoring shots, but in between, Gavronski scored with body work. Gavronski regained a semblance of control in the eighth round as he created distance between himself and Johnson, and that kept the surging Johnson from getting close enough to land punches.

There were times in the fight when Gavronski pushed Johnson back, and early in the fight one of those pushes sent Johnson to the mat. The referee had warned Gavronski about the offense, but in the ninth round he stopped the fight to deduct a point after Gavronski pushed Johnson. Gavronski then went on to control all of the action in the round until the final ten seconds when Johnson unleashed a series of combinations that landed on Gavronski's body and head. Before the tenth round Gavronski's corner, in a colorful fashion, told Gavronski to return to the tactics he used to control the action early in the fight. He did that and as a result, Johnson was not able to get in close and land effective punches.

At the end of ten rounds, two judges scored the bout 98-91, the third saw it 95-94 all in favor of Gavronski who would score the unanimous decision win.

Gavronski's right scores inside

Johnson's left comes from outside to catcch Gavronski

Green got the better of Hughes when the fighting was in close

The last time the crowd at the Emerald Queen saw Will Hughes he was, after a long layoff, out boxing Marcelino Pineda on his way to a unanimous decision win. Virgil Green, in his last bout, scored a TKO win the in the third. This light welterweight showdown was one that locals from Tacoma, and supporters of Hughes, were loudly anticipating.

The opening round of the fight was close, perhaps only because Green landed a couple of heavy shots to close it. Prior to that Hughes was the busier man, throwing combinations and taking a sideways stance that made it difficult for Green to step in tight. Green was able to poke his jab at Hughes, but that did not stop Hughes' assault. In the second round Green found the range with his right hand, and often he landed it on Hughes' head. In that round a Green right opened a cut over Hughes' left eye. That momentarily bothered Hughes, but the blood flow was stymied between rounds.

Green used his reach to batter Hughes around the ring early in the third round. While Hughes raised his gloves to cover protect his head, Green fired his jab between Hughes' hands and continued to score. Midway through the round Hughes returned to his sideways stance, and that slowed Green's attack for a time. It was body work that led to Green out pointing Hughes to close the third and begin the fourth. The shots to the body also slowed Hughes' punch rate.

Green began the fifth round throwing a barrage of punches. His most effective weapon was his jab, but he also launched body shots to keep Hughes at bay. Hughes continued to come forward and throw punches, but he did not land enough of them to make Green back off. Hughes appeared pretty tired in the sixth round, though to his credit, he continued to step toward Green while trying to land shots. Green took advantage of his longer reach to jab at Hughes as he stepped forward, and in so doing, he controlled most of the round.

At the end of six rounds, one judge scored the fight 60-54, another scored it 59-55, and the third 58-56, though all three agreed that the unanimous decision winner was Virgil Green.



Damen Wood was looking for his first win when he faced local favorite Jeremy McLeary in a four round featherweight bout. McLeary has found it fairly easy to remain unbeaten, though each of  his fights has gone the distance. While Wood would not pose a big threat to McLeary, he did not back down.

The difference between the two fighters was evident early in the first round. McLeary was simply faster than Wood. Wood could not find much space to answer with punches of his own. At the 2:40 mark of the round McLeary landed a right square on Wood's chin that stunned him. Wood quickly recovered and charged back at McLeary who will retreating, slipped to the mat. McLeary continued to out quick Wood in the second round. As the round wound to a close, McLeary was punching and backing Wood across the ring when Wood stumbled at the same time McLeary threw a punch. Wood went to the mat and the referee began to count the knockdown. As Wood stood, the bell sounded to end the round.

The third round again showed that Wood did not have the speed to stay with McLeary. McCleary's right hand began to land on Wood's head more often, and that kept Wood from getting close enough to throw back. Wood had a good closing round because he started to throw power shots, often either a right hook or an overhand right. He landed a few of them, and that did slow McLeary, but those punches were not enough to change the direction of the fight.

After four rounds one judge scored the fight 40-35, another 39-36, and the third 38-37 all in favor of unanimous decision winner, and still unbeaten, Jeremy McCleary.


McCleary shoots the left through Wood's defense

Williams lands the right over the top

The early fights Marquis Weston has won, while not easy by any means, have not given him the challenges he needed to progress as a cruiserweight contender. Lamont Williams, a man who had won only once in his last six outings may not have appeared to be the fighter to push Weston either. However, Williams proved to be tougher than his record showed, and Weston had to up his game to compete.

Though Weston entered the fight unbeaten, Williams was undaunted. The two men squared off and sized each other up, flicking jabs in the other's direction. Weston gained a slight edge in the opener because his hands were quicker and he threw more punches. Williams showed that he was able to slip out of trouble, and in so doing he avoided being tagged with any heavy shots. The pace of the fight slowed in the second round until Weston backed Williams on to the ropes and began to land shots to the ribs. Williams covered up effectively and when he turned to escape, the action returned to the center of the ring where both men returned to throwing jabs.

Williams was able to control much of the action of the third round as he was able to land his jab and keep Weston from stepping in tight. Neither man was able to land any heavy shots in the round though Williams seemed to gain an edge as he threw more often than Weston. The fourth round was close as the men stood near each other and exchanged shots to the body and occasionally to the head. Fighting in tight eliminated the potential of throwing power shots.

At the end of four rounds one judge scored the fight 39-37 in favor of Weston, the other two scored the fight even at 38 and thus, it ended in a majority draw.


The scheduled four round bout pitting Antonio Neal against Ron Pryce came to a quick and unexpected end in the first round.

There was plenty of action early in the first round as both men tried to score behind the jab while backing the other across the ring. Neal gained a slight edge in throwing and landing more often. Pryce did find openings when Neal started to double up on his jab, but even that did not slow Neal. Just past the midpoint of the round Neal landed a left and then a right that caused Pryce to fall to the mat. In so doing Pryce twisted his knee. While he was writhing in pain the referee began the count but quickly realized that the injury would not allow Pryce to stand.

Neal would score the TKO win at 1:51 of the opening round.

Neal loads up the right to fire at Pryce

Reyes reaches to catch Vinson

The night opened with a lightweight bout featuring Benny Vinson and Andres Reyes, each with one professional win on their record.

Reyes went to work on Vinson's body at the sound of the opening bell. He most often followed his left with a quick right to the ribs. Reyes also tried to launch a few big shots, though he missed. Vinson, in the second half of the round, started to land shots to the body as well. While Reyes controlled much of the action of the first round, Vinson stepped up his work rate and had a more effective second round. While Vinson threw more punches in the round, Reyes landed more scoring punches with shots that stung Vinson's body.

The third round saw Vinson throw more punches than Reyes, but he could not match the power that Reyes had in the shots he landed. At the midpoint of the round Reyes landed a right hand power shot that momentarily stunned Vinson. It took a few moments for Vinson to regain his bearings, but he did and the fight continued. Reyes found his rhythm in the fourth round and behind that he was methodical in landing shots to Vinson's body before moving up to land shots to his head. Vinson remained busy, throwing punches at Reyes, but he did not land enough of them to slow Reyes.

At the end of the fight all three judges agreed and awarded Reyes the unanimous decision win.


Oh - Those Ring Card Girls ...

The Battle at the Boat series continues with the 100th Battle in March 2015

How they make the crowd come alive