The crowd was standing room only in Waldorf for Friday night’s prime-time event in which 26 boxers fought in the Washington/Maryland vs. Virginia/North Carolina Golden Gloves Regional Championships.
In front of a favorable home crowd, Maryland/D.C. boxers won 11 of the 13 fights on the night, including a sweep of the Open Division bouts that didn’t include walk-overs.
In the evening’s final fight, Temple Hills’ D’Mitrios Ballard dominated, advancing to the National Golden Gloves (April 29-May 6 in Mesquite, Nev.) with a victory against Daniel Silva (Virginia Beach, Va.) that the referee stopped at the end of the second round.
Ballard (who trains with NoXcuse) lost in the Regionals last year and showed he was more than ready to avenge that defeat.
“I felt good. In training, you prepare for fights like this,” Ballard said. “I trained like the best 165-pounder in the world.”
“Big Meech,” as it says on Ballard’s belt, started the first round strong, peppering Silva with quick jabs to the body. He landed two strong lefts to Silva’s head, one right before the first-round bell.
“I was just touching him down there in the body. If you keep hitting him down there, you’ll be able to capitalize on it later,” Ballard said.
In the second round, Ballard continued with much of the same. He did, however, find himself backed up against the ropes in the left corner a minute in. Instead of trying to regain his footing, Ballard went down to one knee.
“I was on the ropes and I felt myself go down to a knee because he started teeing off. I said, ‘Let me just go down, take a knee real quick and get myself back together,’” Ballard said.
Following that slip-up, Ballard took control, landing three more headshots, including a strong right that left Silva visibly shaken. Before Silva recovered, Ballard landed another punch at the bell, prompting the ref to stop the fight. Ballard will make his second appearance at Nationals, while his NoXcuse teammate, Jerry Odom, will make his third after the 178-pounder won via walk-over.
“We picked up the intensity all week. He wanted to get back in there and get revenge from last year,” said Ballard’s trainer Lamont Roach. “He stayed tight with his defense. He worked a lot of the body.”
Three fights prior, Gary Anotino Russell (Capitol Heights) also ended his fight midway through the second round with a convincing victory against 132-pounder Kevin Harris (Richmond, Va.). There was a bit of confusion and blank stares when the referee stopped the fight, but Russell said he saw Harris’ eyes roll back in his head and knew it was over.
In the fight round, Russell appeared slow and wasn’t getting the better of Harris, but once the second round began, he scored two quick 10 counts within 20 seconds. Another led to the end of the bout.
“I’ve been practicing my left. I wanted the fight to go a little longer. I’ve been putting everybody out with my [right] hook, so I wanted to try and set it up with my left,” Russell said.
The 19-year-old will make his third trip to Nationals and attempt to become the third of three brothers to win a national Golden Gloves title.
“This is what really motivates me is the poster with both of my brothers’ names on it,” Russell said. “I feel good. I’m very motivated and hungry.”
In the 114-pound bout, Glenarden’s Gregory Outlaw won a three-round decision against Michael Daniels (Newport News, Va.). Outlaw was knocked down once in the second round, but was perhaps the most composed Open fighter of the evening. Throughout the rest of the match he didn’t take many chances and played solid defense. The 18-year-old student at Bowie State University was happy with his performance.
“I feel real good. I’m very confident in my abilities now,” Outlaw said. “I’m going to train every day [before Nationals].”
In the Novice Division, the fighters from L.A. Boxing won two of their three matches as 141-pounder Yurii Polsihchuk (Lanham) and 152-pounder Zarifbek Nishanbaev (Lanham) both defeated their opponents. Novice 201-pounder Albi Sadikas (Fort Washington), was narrowly defeated in three rounds by Curtis Iverson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.).
“I’m really happy about it. We’re a family. Albi showed heart and it isn’t like he got dominated when he lost,” said L.A. Boxing trainer Terrance Wood. “They came a long way to make it here.”
Wood said he plans for the trio of talented novice fighters to all advance to the open class on the same date in June.
“They’re excited to turn open. I’ll let them take a week ... and then we’ll get back to the drawing board,” Wood said.
Two novice fighters from Gaithersburg also won their bouts with 132-pounder Jefri Guiterrez and super heavyweight Kenneth Campbell scoring victories. Campbell’s bout against Thomas Harper Jr. (Virginia Beach, Va.) was perhaps one of the more comically entertaining of the evening as Harper Jr. was a large, large superheavyweight. The stronger, quicker, Campbell won easily, but after periods of being pounded on, Harper Jr. stepped back and placed his hands on his hips, or dodged as if he weighed 114 pounds. The crowd ate it up. As well as the rest of their chicken wings.
Washington Golden Gloves Regional Championships
Waldorf Jaycees Community Center
132 -- Jefri Gutierrez (Gaithersburg) def. Walter Parker (Hampton, Va.)
141 -- Yurii Polishchuk (Lanham) def. Jairo Vargas (Richmond, Va.)
152 -- Zarifbek Nishanbaev (Lanham) def. Luis Valentin (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
165 -- Davonte Harris (Roanoke, Va.) def. Steven Bucci (Finksburg, Md.)
178 -- Joe Jones (Temple Hills) def. James Morrow (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
201 -- Curtis Iverson (Camp Lejeune, N.C.) def. Albi Sadikas (Fort Washington)
201+ -- Kenneth Campbell def. Thomas Harper (Virginia Beach, Va.)
108 -- Jonathan Howard (Hamstead, N.C.) walk-over
114 -- Gregory Outlaw (Glenarden) def. Michael Daniels (Newport News, Va.)
123 -- Gervonta Davis (Baltimore) def. Steven Zaiden (Roanoke, Va.)
132 -- Gary Antonio Russell (Capitol Heights) def. RSC Kevin Harris (Richmond, Va.)
141 -- Michael Reed (Waldorf) def. RSC Joseph Canale (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
152 -- David Grayton (Washington, D.C.) def. Jonathan Steele (Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
165 -- D’Mitrios Ballard (Temple Hills) def. RSC Daniel Silva (Virginia Beach, Va.)
178 -- Jerry Odom (Bowie) walk-over
201 -- Devar Ferhadi (Frederick) walk-over
201+ -- Danny Kelly (Washington, D.C.) walk-over