RENO - University of Nevada heavyweight John Lorman entered Saturday's National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Western Regional Championships with his back against the wall.
But the 6-foot-5 Lorman, a senior from Glendale, Calif., showed resolve and used a fast start and strong finish to stop Ian Tuznik of the United States Air Force Academy at 1 minute, 14 seconds of the third round to become one of four Nevada boxers to win regional gold at the Eldorado Convention Center.
After hammering the 6-foot-4 Tuznik, the 26-year-old Lorman grew emotional as he discussed how much it meant to win the championship in only his second year in the sport.
"I wanted this thing so bad. Words can't describe it," Lorman said with his voice breaking. "I just got married, I have a baby on the way. I had too much on my plate. I had two losses in the last month. I had school. Two weeks ago I lost to (Tuznik)."
The left-handed Lorman moved well, used a strong right jab and mixed in some left crosses to take the first two rounds. In the third Lorman struck paydirt with a straight left, forcing a standing-eight count and prompting Tuznik's corner to throw in the towel.
"I wanted to knock him out cold," said Lorman, who moved to 5-2 on the season and advanced with five other Pack boxers to the NCBA National Championships April 1-3 at Colorado Springs, Colo. "I wanted to show everybody. I'm only 215 pounds. I want the bigger guys - 225-245 pounds - with a bunch of muscles to know you can't take somebody out with just a bunch of crazy punches. You have to know boxing."
Nevada's David Schacter joined Lorman in showing it's even better when you mix a little power to go with style. Schacter, an 18-year-old freshman from Las Vegas, used a vicious body attack to stop San Jose State's Maneet Sohal at 1:11 of round two.
"I was trying to set up (Sohal) with overhand lefts and go low," said the 132-pound Schacter, a southpaw who improved to 4-1 in his first year. "Then I faked to the body so I could go back to the overhand."
Schacter landed a right hook to the body, dropping Sohal in the first round before returning to the body with right hooks, forcing a standing-eight just before the stoppage in the second.
"I really wanted the championship," Schacter said. "I wanted the gold and went out and got it. It feels awesome."
Nevada's Jose Casas, a junior, earned his third consecutive regional championship, outboxing Air Force's Ezekiel Ignaco over three rounds in a 125-pound bout. For the second year in a row the 20-year-old from Wells has gotten off to a slow start in the season and turned it on in the regionals.
"I thought it was close," said Casas, who improved to 3-2 on the year. "I kept changing up to southpaw and caught him off-guard."
Ignaco, a southpaw, kept trying to counter over Casas' left jab, but it was Casas who was successful in the maneuver, countering over Ignaco's right jab.
Defending national 165-pound champion Ryan Healy capped off a strong showing for the Pack, boxing well over the first two frames before holding off Air Force's Mike Sackenheim in the third to earn his second consecutive regional championship.
"I knew it was close," said Healy, a junior from Salem, Ore., who upped his record to 6-1 on the season. "I felt like I took the first two but let him in the third. I took some sloppy right hands and walked right into them."
Sackenheim proved to be an elusive target as he skittered in an out of Healy's range, but Healy scored with a strong left hook in the first round and landed several hard rights in the second to go up on the judges' cards.
Healy said he should meet Sackenheim, whom he's beaten three times this season, at the nationals.
"I know he'll be back at his home, looking for his revenge, but I ain't gonna let it happen," Healy said. "I feel like I'm ready to go to nationals ready to bang."
Although they both lost close fights, two other Nevada boxers advanced to the nationals. Senior Daigo Moki fought aggressively, but dropped a decision to Air Force's Darren Smith in a 119-pound bout and sophomore Thomas Gennaro fought the flu and Cal's Todd Gaylord in a 147-pound bout. Gaylord took his second decision in two weeks over Gennaro.
Air Force won the team championship, taking home titles at 112, 119, 175, 185 and 195 pounds. Daniel Reese (139) and Jeff Watkins (156) won titles for UNLV.