Boxers put on a good show |

Boxers put on a good show

Steve Ranson

FALLON – The main event of the second annual Saturday Night Fights didn’t disappoint the 400 fans who packed the convention center.

Skylar Sampson of Wadsworth and Flavio Cardoza, representing Bruno’s Boxing Club in Carson City, engaged in a thrilling battle that resulted in a close decision for a happy, yet exhausted Sampson.

In the bout prior to the main event, Tyler Hinkey, a two-time Native American champion in his weight class, easily hammered Will Wheatley with a decision.

Much to the cheers of the local fans, Sampson took a few bows at the end of his match. On the other side of the ring, the Bruno’s Club entourage was not pleased with the results.

“It could have gone either way,” said Vinnie Austin, Saturday’s fight promoter and trainer for the Walker River Boxing Club in Schurz.

Decked out in all black, Sampson kept backing up Cardoza with a few jabs and hooks. At one point in the first round, Cardoza looked a little staggered.

In the second round, Sampson used a series of punches to stagger Cardoza again, which resulted in a mandatory standing eight count.

Both boxers elicited the crowd’s approval with a punch for punch exchange in the third and final round. With sweat pouring down both boxers’ faces, Sampson appeared to have a late surge of adrenaline near the end of the match.

“That was a good fight,” Austin said.

In the semi-main event, Hinkey, who was taught the finer points of boxing by his father in McDermitt, faced Wheatley of the Excitement Boxing Club in Oakland, Calif. Hinkey, though, fought under Austin’s direction in the heavyweight bout.

Hinkey, fighting from the red corner, had a distinct experience factor over his taller, leaner opponent who had only five bouts up to Saturday’s semi-final.

Within the first minute of the opening round, Hinkey belted Wheatley hard, causing the referee to a separate standing eight count. Not more than 30 seconds later, Wheatley took another eight count.

On the first eight count, Hinkey caught Wheatley moving around the ring with a couple good shots to the head.

Dazed but not confused, Wheatley tried to avoid Hinkey’s aggressiveness by standing in the middle of the ring, but the McDermitt native kept pursuing his opponent.

In the third round, Wheatley used his footwork to his advantage to move around the ring and to avoid any contact with Hinkey.

But Hinkey continued to charge Wheatley and nailed him several times with a left hook to the body and one to the head.

Hinkey gave credit to Wheatley for battling him and not giving up.

“He (Wheatley) had good foot work. He’s green but I caught him with good punches,” Hinkey said.

Hinkey felt he won the first round, but the second round was close.

Overall, Hinkey said it was a great fight.

“In the third round, I picked it up,” he said after his match with Wheatley.

Austin could not be happier with all the results.

“Both the semi and main events lived up to their billing,” said a smiling Austin.