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Stiff left jabs, hard landing right hooks, solid body punches, and flying sweat. The women showed they could fight at Scranton's Cultural Center on Wednesday night in very tenacious competition. After several bleeding noses and a lot of grunts, fans screaming "knock her head off" were not disappointed.

Thirty female fighters from all over the country, including two local girls, competed at the Everlast Women's National Championships sponsored by United States Amateur Boxing, Inc. the national governing body for Olympic style boxing. The winners of these quarterfinals will move on to semi-final competition, concluding with the final national championship on Saturday.

The bouts are two three-minute rounds in weight classes from 106 lbs. to 201+lbs.

Unfortunately for the local heroes, Avoca's Christina Munski, (6 wins and 3 losses) at 119lbs., and North Bend's Sherry Wertz, 106 lbs. there will not be any representatives from Northeast Pennsylvania at the finals.

"I did not do what I was supposed to," Munski said, losing 25 - 2 in a lopsided match with California's Jamie Baron. "I'll be back," she added pointing out her opponent was a "great boxer and hard hitter."

Wertz felt she got a "raw deal" in her loss to Cathy Herway from Texas. "Every punch I threw landed," she said. "I bloodied her nose but the judges gave it to her because she was on the offensive," Wertz said. A married mother of one daughter who she claims is her "biggest fan", Wertz promises she will return to national competition.

Fourteen of the fifteen bouts went the distance. Only one fight was stopped one minute into the second round when Elizabeth Mueller from New London Connecticut stopped Utah's Jamie Day. "These bouts are very technical but do not lack intensity," Neuendorf said.

In one contest in the 119 lb. weight class, Deborah Stein from New York City came back after being knocked down in the second round by Teresa O'Toole from North Carolina. "I had to keep going even though I was dazed," Stein said. Her comeback in the third round surprised O'Toole who thought she "really had her opponent."

"This is a very important event for women's boxing," said Kevin Neuendorf, Public Relations representative for USA Boxing. "The winners will compete in the world's first international women's boxing competition in Finland next year."

The fighters come from all different backgrounds, including a television news anchor, an author of a book on veterinarian medicine, and former women's marines.

Neuendorf is confident the next two day's competition will get more intense as the best meet in the ring. Krysti Rosario from California says she's just getting warmed up after her win over Illinois' Amber Gideon in the 132 lb. weight class. "I'm studying my next fighter closely and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Neuendorf said USA Boxing chose to conduct this tournament in Northeast Pennsylvania because of the hospitality and the success of other women's boxing matches held here. "This is a very young program but it is growing fast," he said.

The semifinals will be held at the cultural center at 12 noon and 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 22. The finals are scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday, April 24 at the University of Scranton's John Long Center.

Tickets are $20 for ringside, $7 general admission.


Bout 1- Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Herway wins decision over Wertz, 15 - 10

Bout 2- Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Sproul wins decision over Sells, 9 - 6

Bout 3- Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Carillo wins decision over Madewell, 4 - 2

Bout 4- Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Caples wins decision over Yin, 30 - 2

Bout 5- Bantanweight, 119 lbs., Stein wins decision over O'Toole, 13 - 11

Bout 6- Bantamweight, 119 lbs., Baron wins decision over Munski, 25 - 2

Bout 7- Bantamweight, 119 lbs., Valez wins decision over Alcivar, 28 - 27

Bout 8- Bantamweight, 119 lbs., Vela wins decision over Salcido, 17 - 12

Bout 9-Lightweight, 132 lbs., Rosario wins decision over Gideon, 18 - 13

Bout 10- Lightweight, 132 lbs., Howe wins decision over Fucci, 11 - 10

Bout 11- Lightweight, 132 lbs., Mueller wins by RSC (referee stops contest), 1 minute into the second round, over Day

Bout 12- Lightweight, 132 lbs., Lewis wins decision over Bridges, 18 - 14

Bout 13- Welterweight, 147 lbs., Brown wins decision over Bullock, 17 - 7

Bout 14- Welterweight, 147 lbs., Pryor wins decision over Lugg, 26 - 1

Bout 15- Welterweight, 147 lbs., Huchber wins decision over Hynes, 15 - 4

Amateur women boxers from across the country battled through the semifinal competition on Thursday at Scranton's Cultural Center, to decide who will fight for the gold medal at the Everlast Women's Amateur Boxing National Championships. Scheduled for this Saturday, boxing enthusiasts can expect more technical skill, some old rivalries, and strong desire to take home the gold. Competing on the national level requires these boxers to perform at their best, said Kevin Neuendorfer, from United State Boxing, Inc., the event's governing body.

Fight fans saw four bouts stopped early because of the punishing action. New York's Deborah Stein, 119 lbs., could not muster another comeback after being knocked down in the second round, like she did in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

California's Jamie Baron flattened Stein with a right hook that caused the referee to stop the bout 40 seconds into the second round. Baron said she is looking forward to Saturday's finals. "I want this championship!" Baron said.

Krysti Rosario, 132 lbs., from California, who dominated Jennifer Howe, from Utah, with a lightning fast left jab predicts she will "win the gold" medal on Saturday. Rosario is a returning champion who won the 1998 Everlast Women's Championships. Rosario expects Saturdays match against Connecticut's Elizabeth Meuller to challenge her skills. "I rely on my trainer and I work to perfect my skills," she said.

Meuller who squeaked by California's Lisa Lewis said watching her opponent over the previous eliminations bouts gave her some tools to her win. Meuller stayed on the offensive. "I figured I needed to stay on top of her to win and that's what I did," she said. She will also work with her trainer to prepare for Rosario.

Linda Carrillo a California light flyweight, is another returning champion. Carrillo defeated Yvonne Caples, also of California, by scoring a tie-breaking point with three seconds left in the last round. She said "no one at this level should be underestimated."

One Pennsylvanian will make it to the finals. Pittsburgh native Sherry Huchber defeated Stephanie Jaramillo from New Mexico with a right hand punch she landed at will in the third round.

Two New York girls in the flyweight division will meet for the third time on Saturday at the finals. Jamie McGrath and Stella Nijhof both scored substantial wins in the semifinals, and McGrath feels Nijhof may be "out for blood."

"We know each other's styles," McGrath said, but she is not sure if that will give either boxer the advantage. "I won the last three times we met," McGrath said.

Nijhof said "she's ready to beat McGrath this time" and "we'll see on Saturday."

Kanicia Elay defeated Crystal Pinager in the light heavyweight division by "throwing punches to make her head snap back," she said. Elay, who threw herself to the mat when the decision was given said "technique is the way to win" at this level of competition. She lost the last three times she faced Pinager.

Saturday night's championships will be held at the University of Scranton's John Long Center, starting at 6 pm, for the winner, and the others take home a bronze medal.

Thursday, April 22, Semi-final Results:

Noon Roster

Bout 1 - 100 pounds, Peters wins by walkover over Garcia

Bout 2 - Flyweight, 112 lbs., McGrath wins decision over Strode, 20 - 8

Bout 3 - Flyweight, 112 lbs., Nijhof wins decision over Scott, 14 - 2

Bout 4 - Featherweight, 125 lbs., Fabian wins by disqualification of Humphrey, 39 seconds into the third round.

Bout 5 - Featherweight, 125 lbs., Avalos wins decision over Hedges, 11 - 2

Bout 6 - Light welterweight, 139 lbs., Gutierrez wins decision over Santaw, 26 - 11

Bout 7 - Light welterweight, 139 lbs., Martin wins by RSC

(referee stops contest) over McFerson, 15 seconds into third round.

Bout 8 - Light middleweight, 156 lbs., Stone wins decision over Emery, 9 - 6

Bout 9 - Light middleweight, 156 lbs., Mistretta wins decision over Mann, 9 - 0

Bout 10 - Light Heavyweight, 176 lbs., Eley wins decision over Pinager, 15 - 5

Bout 11 - Super heavyweight, +201 lbs., Baskett wins by RSC over Pankratz, 1 minute 50 seconds into the first round.

Bout 12 - Super heavyweight, +201 lbs., Chairez wins by walkover over Bailly 6 pm roste

Bout 1 - Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Herway wins by RSC over Sprowl 1 minute 43 seconds into the second round.

Bout 2 - Light flyweight, 106 lbs., Carrillo wins decision over Caples, 5 - 4.

Bout 3 - Bantamweight, 119 lbs., Baron wins by RSC over Stein, 40 seconds into round 2

Bout 4 - Bantamweight, 119 lbs., Valez wins by walkover over Vela

Bout 5 - Lightweight, 132 lbs., Rosario wins decision over Howe, 39 - 5

Bout 6 - Lightweight, 132 lbs., Mueller wins decision over Lewis, 7 - 6

Bout 7 - Welterweight, 147 lbs., Pryor wins decision over Brown, 9 - 0

Bout 8 - Welterweight, 147 lbs., Huchber wins decision over Jaramillo, 12 - 10

Bout 9 - Heavyweight, 201 lbs., Jackson wins decision over Green, 11- 2 

The women's amateur boxers champions fought for the gold Saturday night at the University of Scranton's John J. Long Center. The final bouts of the 1999 Everlast Women's National Championships brought the audience to their feet, and will provide representative from the United States to compete in May's international competition in Finland.

Pittsburgh's Sherry Huchber said she worked hard and was honored to get to the championship level each of the last two years. She was defeated by New York's Micki Pryor in their 147-pound bout. She said Pryor's hard punches and inside boxing kept her from gaining gold.

"The hardest part is the mental aspect of competing all week long through the elimination rounds," Huchber said. Huchber plans to go back to the gym and "try again."

Brooklyn's Veronica Simmons, the 165 lb light heavyweight and three time gold medal winner in the Everlast championships flattened her opponent seconds into the first round. Simmons is ranked number one in her weight class by United States Amateur Boxing.

Simmons won the Golden Gloves in three different weight divisions and really wants to box in the upcoming international women's championships to be held in Finland in May of this year. "After that, I'm probably going to turn professional," Simmons said.

The New York rivalry between Jamie McGrath and Stella Nijhof in the 119 lbs division, clashed for the fourth time and McGrath won again. "She was more aggressive than I expected, so I boxed using jabs and combinations to beat her." McGrath said she learned how to master Nijhof's "awkward style." During their bout, alternating sections of the audience chanted their names.

Deirdre Fabian, 125 lbs from North Carolina, felt this year would be her chance to win gold, after two previous silver. "It felt different this time, like it was there for me to have," Fabian said after beating California's Adelaida Avalos.

Linda Carillo, 106 lbs. from California won the gold for the second year in a row despite the attack by Cathy Herway from Texas. Herway, who said the silver would not be good enough this year, could not withstand Carrillo's scoring. "She tried to brawl," Carillo said attributing her win to her game of "cat and mouse."

In the 201 lb division, Gigi Jackson and Linsandra Velasquez brought the crowd to their feet as they slugged it out in the third round of their bout.

In the junior division, Evelyn Sanchez, 106 lbs., from Texas warns her debut in the senior division next year will be a good one. "I'm going to be tougher and harder to beat next year." Sanchez looks forward to competition in the 2004 Olympics.

Eight of Saturday's champions will be selected to compete based on their experience and performance during this championship tournament.

Twelve of the seventeen bouts went the distance.

The event was sponsored by the Northeast Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, USA Boxing, and several local businesses. The USA said conducting the tournament in Scranton was a pleasure because of the local support of boxing fans and the hospitality.


Junior Division (15 - 16 year olds)

Bout 1, 106 lbs., Sanchez wins by RSC (Referee Stops Contest) over Crowder, 49 seconds into round three.

Bout 2, 125 lbs., Ramos wins decision over Claussen, 20 - 7

Bout 3, 132 lbs., Herrera wins decision over O'Banion, 38 - 23

Uncontested Bout, Hathaway wins

Senior Division

Bout 4, 95 lbs., Ortiz wins by disqualification over Lefebvre

Bout 5, 112 lbs., McGrath wins decision over Nijhof, 19 - 2

Bout 6, 119 lbs., Valez wins decision over Baron,, 13 - 2

Bout 7, 125 lbs., Fabian wins decision over Avalos, 19 - 12

Bout 8, 139 lbs., Gutierrez wins decision over Martin, 10 - 7

Bout 9, 147 lbs., Pryor wins decision over Huchber, 14 - 2

Bout 10, 106 lbs., Carrillo wins decision over Herway, 24 - 6

Bout 11, 100 lbs., Peters wins by RSC over Tremblay, 1 minute, 57 seconds into the third Round

Bout 12, 132 lbs., Mueller wins decision over Rosario, 26 - 3

Bout 13, 156 lbs., Stone wins decision over Mistretta, 16 - 5

Bout 14, 165 lbs., Simmons wins by RSC over Matty, 52 seconds into the first round

Bout 15, 178 lbs., Eley wins decision over Sema, 23 - 5

Bout 16, 201 lbs., Jackson wins decision over Velasquez,21-7

Bout 17, +201 lbs., Baskett wins decision over Chairez, 6 - 3



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