Kaiserslautern, Ramstein boxers seize gold at Main Event

Christine June, Story and photos
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***A rusty, a first-time and a veteran boxer each had their arm raised in victory at Saturday’s K-Town Main Event Boxing Tournament.

Kaiserslautern’s Domingo Sarmiento, who hadn’t strapped on the gloves for more than seven years, won the gold in the first of three middle-weight bouts. Kaiserslatuern’s Jeff Graves took the gold in the light-weight division in his first-ever bout. Ramstein’s only boxer in the event, Michael O’Neill, seized the gold in his 14th fight, third in the Army circuit.

A total of 14 boxers took part in the event that was sponsored by the 415th Base Support Battalion’s Sports and Fitness Office and held at the Kleber Fitness Center and Gymnasium.

Silver medals were won by Kaiserslautern’s Jerrian Foreman and Alfredo Tovar, fighting in the middle-weight and heavy-weight classes, respectively.

Graves started the action off in the only light-weight bout of the evening. He won round one by scoring an eight-count with his long, left jabs at his opponent, Giessen’s Robert Coleman, who was also in the ring for the first time.
“In the beginning, I just kind of went off and waited until the second round to really start swinging,” said Graves.

Round two also belonged to Graves who scored all of his blows to his opponent’s head. Round three was an even match, but round four saw Graves again score with an eight-count that he set up with a left jab, followed by a straight right 55 seconds into the round.

“Both boxers showed good skills for their first time boxing, especially Graves from Kaiserslautern,” said Tom Hlavacek, a Main Event boxing official.
Kaisersalutern’s reign continued in the second match up with Sarmiento facing Ansbach’s David Janey. Sarmiento took that bout because he was able to get under the long reach of his opponent.

“My opponent was Goliath. He was a big guy and very intimidating,” said Sarmiento. “My key was to hit the body because you can’t take a big tree down unless you chop it from the bottom.

“I think if I hadn’t hit the body that I wouldn’t have won because I couldn’t really reach him upstairs because he was so tall,” said Sarmiento. “I would’ve had to jump up.”

***image2***The first three rounds were close, but in the fourth round, Sarmiento dominated by scoring several times with an effective right cross.

The third match-up of the day saw the end of Kaiserslautern’s reign as Foreman kept losing his mouthpiece and lost the middle-weight bout to Baumholder’s John Poole. It was the first bout for both boxers.

The last middle-weight bout of the evening belonged to O’Neill who faced Illeshiem’s Kenneth Torregano.

Round one was close as O’Neill was trying to figure out Torregano’s awkward style.
“He works good angles from side-to-side, and he can move, hit and throw from those angles so a few times I had to stutter-step because I was in the wrong position to hit,” said O’Neill. “I had to feel him out. I could see it, but I couldn’t get it to go. Once I started getting it to go things started working out better.”

It sure did as Torregano relied solely on his big, left hook and O’Neill countered with combination shots.

“O’Neill was doing combination, two to three shots at one time, which gave him the advantage because Torregano was just doing one shot, the left hook,” said Larry Goodman, a Main Event boxing official. “O’Neill was strong throughout the whole bout.”

O’Neill scored with a short, right hook in the third round that earned him an eight count. Throughout round three and four, O’Neill dominated by aggressive hitting, tiring Torregano into making mistakes.

Kaiserslautern also lost the last bout of the evening, as first-time boxer Tovar had the misfortune to get matched up to fast-punching Alein Lopez from Illesheim in the heavy-weight bout. This was Lopez’s fifth bout.

“I was just trying to stay on my feet,” said Tovar. “It was difficult being in a ring with somebody as talented as this other fighter was.”

Tovar did stay on his feet throughout the bout. In fact, it was a victory of courage.
After all the spectators left, the 415th BSB Sports and Fitness Chief Robert Bigelow made it a point to tell Tovar, “You did well against such a skilled boxer.”
All bouts at the Main Event were novice and determined by judges’ decision.

Other Main Event action saw Illeshiem’s Jason Johnson beat fellow teammate, Napoleon Thompson, in the only light, heavy-weight bout. Friedberg’s Alector Tavares defeated Würzburg’s Ian Jackson in the first heavy-weight bout of the evening.

The next boxing event in Europe is the New Year Knock-Out Boxing Tournament 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Patch Fitness Center and Gymnasium in Stuttgart.