Nevada to host boxing regionals

RENO - Timing is everything in boxing and with the regular season now out of the way the University of Nevada boxing team is hoping it's their time to peak.

Six Pack boxers will compete for titles in the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Western Regional Championships Friday and Saturday at the Eldorado Convention Center.

All six were putting the final touches on their training Wednesday at the Nevada-Jimmy Olivas Gym.

"I feel good. I'm ready," said 165-pound junior Ryan Healy, who won last year's regional and national championships. "I've been waiting for this since last year."

Healy was the only national champion for Nevada last year and he's been training for the repeat ever since.

"I think my toughest competition will be against this Air Force kid," said the 21-year-old Healy, from Salem, Ore. "I should see him in my second fight (Saturday). I want to send him a message right off (by winning Friday)."

Healy is 4-1 this year, including two open amateur fights, which he split. He said he has twice defeated his would-be opponent from the Air Force Academy, including once this year.

Healy's teammate, 125-pound junior Jose Casas, from Wells, is hoping to win his third consecutive regional championship. The 20-year-old Casas, 2-2 this year, got off to a slow start last year before turning it on in the regionals and is hoping the same holds true this year.

Daigo Moki, a 119-pound senior exchange student from Chiba, Japan, is hoping to improve on last year's runner-up spot in this, his final regional tournament.

"This is my last year, so I have to concentrate and be at my best," said the 23-year-old Moki.

Nevada boxing coach Greg Rice said he thinks this could be the year for Moki to break through.

"Moki's worked harder than anybody in this gym," Rice said. "He never missed a day. It's about time for him to win. He's gotten so much tougher since he started. At the nationals two year ago he got a standing-eight count and lost. I'm sure he won, but he just didn't get the decision."

Another senior looking to win his first regional title is 6-foot-5 heavyweight John Lorman, who was last year's national runner-up.

"I'm focused. I've worked on a lot of mistakes I made last year," said the 26-year-old Lorman, who got married to Gina Bisio on March 5 and is expecting his first son on Aug. 2. "I've got my physical conditioning up a lot more. It's easier to keep up than to get."

Lorman is 4-2 this season and said he has been working on getting his gloves back to protect himself after throwing his punches.

"It's so easy to say, but so hard to do," said Lorman, of Glendale, Calif. "It's my last year in college. I have a kid on the way. This (tournament) means a lot."

Two first-year Pack boxers - freshman David Schacter and sophomore Thomas Gennaro, both of Las Vegas - are looking to rebound from their respective March 4 losses at the Eldorado.

The 20-year-old Gennaro is 2-3 on the year at 147 pounds and dropped a close decision to Cal's Todd Gaylord and the 18-year-old Schacter, 2-1, lost to Virginia Military Institute's Todd Wilson after getting rocked early but boxing well for the last two rounds.

"I felt like I was trying to catch up the whole fight," the 132-pound Schacter said of his loss to Wilson. "I never got going. I'm just trying to move on and hope to see (Wilson) in the nationals."

Two other Nevada boxers will be in action, although they won't be competing for titles.

Matt Johnson, a 2003 Whittell High School graduate, will be seeking his first victory in four starts at 175 pounds and junior Joe Pulickal, a 112-pounder from Union City, Calif., will be competing in his first fight.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Friday, with the first bout beginning at 6.

NEVADA BOXING

What: NCBA Western Regional Championships.

Where: Eldorado Convention Center.

When: Friday, semifinals, doors open at 5 p.m., first bout 6 p.m.; Saturday, finals, doors open at noon, first bout 1 p.m.

Ticket info: $15 per day. Available at Eldorado Showroom box office or by calling (775) 786-5700.

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