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Olszewski/Warner: The Afterword
by Bernie McCoy
October 27, 2010
Photo: VPeiPics


(OCT 27)  The Capitale is a former savings bank, reincarnated as a nightclub, located just north of Chinatown, in the lower part of the borough of Manhattan in the city of New York. It is an imposing building, located just uptown from the intersection of Grand Street and Bowery in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. On Friday, October 22, the Capitale played host to a six bout boxing card constructed by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing. The feature bout of the evening was a six round fight between Eileen Olszewski and Suzannah Warner and, in retrospect, there was a certain synergy between the Chinatown proximity to the Capitale and this bout.

It was six rounds of fast paced boxing, replete with good ring movement and quality ring skills on the part of two good fighters, who just happened to be female. Olszewski was coming off a nearly two year hiatus from the ring but showed no indication that the absence had dulled the skills that propelled her to the WIBA flyweight title. Warner has, physically, always seemed to "fight taller" than her 5' 5" height and, figuratively, she has, in her career, fought far "taller" than her 9-9 record, earned against many of the best female flyweight boxers in the world, including a close loss to Olzsewski, in a four round bout in the Bronx in August 2007.

Eileen Olszewski was adjudged the winner by unanimous decision of the official scorecards: 59-55, 58-56 (2x). It was, to me seated at ringside, a very close fight, each round competitively fought, although the fourth round was clearly a big round for Warner. On my very unofficial scorecard, I gave Warner the second, fourth and fifth rounds. I awarded Olszewski the first and sixth rounds and I called the third round even. I made it 58-57 Warner. Would I have argued with a score of 58-57 Olszewski? No. Does 58-56 for either fighter seem terribly out of line? No. Was 59-55, for either fighter, an accurate assessment of the bout? Not for the six round flyweight fight I watched at the Capitale last Friday night. I don't believe either of the two fighters dominated the six round bout to the extent that she should have been awarded five of six very close rounds.

I asked the management of both fighters to comment on their assessment of the bout and received prompt email responses from Allison Emmert, manager of Suzannah Warner and Eileen Olszewski and her husband Matt via her manager, David Selwyn. (Complete text of the emails are linked here.) Both sides agree in their complimentary comments about the promoter, the overall promotion and their opponent.

Not surprisingly, each management team views the bout as evolving in the favor of their fighter. The Olszewski camp making the point that only Warner seemed marked up during the bout, due in large part to their fighter landing the "more effective and harder punches." They also felt that the decision was "decisive and consistent......Nothing controversial there." The decision was, unquestionably, decisive, but (not) controversial? Not from where I was sitting in press row. The Olszewski statement ends with an offer of a rematch.

The Warner assessment takes the tact that their fighter was cast as the "opponent" in the bout and this image was reflected in the judges' scoring. In fact, both boxers are "New York fighters" and while it's true that Suzannah Warner had not fought in New York in over three years, Olszewski had not appeared in a New York ring in 32 months, so it's a bit difficult to picture either boxer as the "house" fighter, and it's hard to imagine that either fighter would be more familiar to New York boxing officials. And both fighters had loud, vocal, supporting contingents in the overflow crowd.

I have no doubt that each side arrived at, and firmly believe in, their respective positions regarding the bout and maintain a firm conviction in their opinion. And as one interested observer remarked to me in discussing the bout, "It's too bad, one of those fighters had to lose." That's, quite possibly, a point, that belongs prominently in any epilogue of this bout. Both Suzannah Warner and Eileen Olszewski are very good boxers, two of an amazingly deep talent pool of New York female fighters, numbering, among others, Alicia Ashley, Melissa Hernandez, Ann Marie Saccuratio, Belinda Laracuente, Jill Emery and Amanda Serrano who do not get nearly enough publicity or opportunities to showcase their talent. Olszewski and Warner made the most of the opportunity provided them on Friday night.

Thus, while there could and, probably, should, be room for discussion over the decision, there can be no disagreement over the fact that the standing room crowd of boxing fans saw two very good female fighters put on six rounds of very good boxing at the Capitale, just north of Chinatown. Which might recall one of the last lines of Roman Polanski's epic movie, "It's Chinatown, Jake," explaining the uproar of circumstance. So let's leave Friday night, at the Capitale, with a paraphrase of a familiar quote in the sport: "It's boxing." Only let's add, in a tip of the hat to those six rounds, "It was real good boxing."

Bernie McCoy

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