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Photos and story by Bill Harris


PESHTIGO, Wisc. -- Cassie Weigal of the Peshtigo Boxing Club, showed her versatility Saturday, Sept. 15, when she opened the club's first ever amateur boxing program by singing acapella the Star Spangled Banner then donning her headgear and pounding out a decision over Liz Highland of the Oshkosh Boxing Club.

Ten novice bouts, nine of them men's matches, were held in the afternoon at the Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center in this small Wisconsin community about 45 miles northeast of Green Bay. Willy Price showed everyone that he had the moxy to not only open and run a successful boxing club but also could stage a good amateur boxing show, too. 

Understandably, five of the 20 boxers were from the local club but there was a good representation from other clubs in the state, too, especially considering the tragic national news that cast gloom over the nation. Capacity for the school gym's folding chairs and small bleacher section was about 300 and a rough count showed close to that number attended. Five dollars admission for all seats. Another highlight of the well run show was the announcer, Gordon Jacobs of Crivitz, Wisc., who added class and was informative and entertaining all afternoon. The public address system worked, too, an all-too- frequent problem at boxing programs everywhere.

A striking blonde, Weigal, 17, caught many people's attention well before her turn in the ring as she greeted friends and well-wishers during the period before the fights. But when she took her corner, gloved and warmed up to face her Oshkosh Boxing Club opponent, then was introduced as the soloist for the patriotic opening ceremony, the crowd went wild. 

She sang without accompaniment and her version, although more modern and upscale than the usual traditional arrangement, the anthem was sung with an unquavering voice, loud and clear so all could understand the words. Before the start of the program the crowd faced the flag with hats removed and hands over hearts while a ten count was rung on the round bell as everyone stood in silence and respect for those who had lost their lives in the tragic attack on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. All the right touches that served to enhance this first public program.

Although they were far from being skilled boxers, Weigal and her willing opponent, Highland, boxed a good competitive bout in the 156-pound division.  It was Weigal's second outing and the Oshkosh girl's first. Highland was seen to be somewhat outclassed shortly into the first round. As is often the case with novices, neither woman paid much heed to defense and Highland paid the price when she was put down in the second. Several toe to toe exchanges brought many to their feet as both boxers showed a willingness to trade at
close quarters.

Weigal showed her skill and punching power when she gave her Oshkosh visitor a slight bloody nose in the third. This caused an interruption while the doctor checked the injury but he waved the shorter woman back into battle.
Both tired early carrying their gloves low and breathing through their mouths but women showed good aggressiveness throughout despite the significant height disparity. Highland, at various times, held her own
against the taller Weigal. She bored inside on her taller opponent and worked the body, a tactic not often seen in novice amateur bouts, especially a boxer in her first fight. Weigal goes to 2-0, Highland, 0-1. Weigal has been training at the boxing club since July while Highland is believed to have been working out about a year. Highland received a well deserved round of applause for her pluckiness and skill; a potentially top notch boxer.
Nine men's bouts followed the women's opener and without exception all displayed young boxers with talent, skill, heart and enthusiasm for the sport.

All in all, a good afternoon of amateur boxing that showed the sport is alive and well in Wisconsin. The announcer's report at the conclusion of the program indicated that more boxing shows will be forthcoming which brought cheers and applause. It is to be hoped that some of the major business leaders in Peshtigo will get behind Price's efforts and provide more financial assistance for future shows.



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