Packed house watches Night of Fights unfold
They don’t call him the French Stallion for nothing.
Illyes Taleb, a French foreign exchange student who played tennis and wrestled for the Greenwave this year, was an instant crowd favorite as he kicked off the 23rd annual Night of Fights on Friday at the Venturacci Gym. Taleb’s victory set the stage for the rest of the night as the annual wrestling fundraiser was another huge hit.
“The fights were great and the house was packed,” Fallon wrestling coach Trevor de Braga said. “All tables were purchased and I think everyone got what they paid for. It was a fun night with no injuries and that’s how we like it.”
Taleb attacked right away and forced Jared “Money Maker” Osborne into the corner. After multiple jabs, he knocked Osborne to the floor with an undercut to the side in the first round. The second and third rounds were similar with Taleb controlling the bout, and the crowd, as referee Bert Serrano lifted Taleb’s arm with the unanimous decision.
“It was pretty good. I had the crowd on my side,” said Taleb, who has two years of boxing experience and whose cousin is a former world champ. “I had a lot of fun. It’s amazing.”
The main events featured a draw in the girls and an early exit in the boys.
Haley “The Prodigy” Nelson and Macey “The Big Kahuna” Zeller exchanged blows throughout the bout with Zeller possessing a size advantage. Nelson, though, came back in the second period and snuck in several hits against Zeller. With both showing fatigue in the third period, the crowd chanted for both fighters as the bout ended in a draw.
“I wanted to focus on technique and not throw random punches,” said Nelson, who moved to Fallon in January and is fluent in jiu-jitsu. “(Macey) was trying to load up on the punches.
One punch and it was all over in the boys main event.
Kobe “Beef Chief” Abe connected against Shane “Boom Boom” Krogg in the first period before Krogg quickly conceded and exited the ring.
The semi-main events had the excitement fans were craving during the night.
Kylee-Jo “Stillwater’s Finest” George won the girls semi-main event against Bella “Josphinia” Cardona. George snuck in several good hits, but Cardona retaliated in the first round. Both fighters held their own in the second before Cardona came back in the final round with several punches to win the event.
Awarded the best fighter of the night, “Young” Sean McCormick put on a show in front of the crowd against Miguel “RUMBLE” Ramos.
“I was just trying to move my feet and take shots when I could get open,” McCormick said.
The sophomore state wrestling champ chased Ramos in the first period and landed multiple hits. McCormick didn’t let up throughout the bout despite losing his headgear in the final period. With the crowd chanting “it’s all over,” McCormick put Ramos on the ropes before winning the event.
There were a couple breaks in the action with two sumo-wrestling bouts.
Hannah Frank and Haylee Paladini battled in the girls event while Mark Moyle and Jack Swisher entertained the crowd in the boys event as substitute referee Blane Merkley aided in both bouts.
Kendall “Too Tall” Rogers was too much for Johnathon “King of Pain” Blakey as the towering lefties packed a strong punch. Blakely, though, was quick on his feet and avoided several jabs throughout the bout.
Kaden “Hands of” Stone whipped the crowd behind him against Christian “Twinkle Toes” Sage to win the bout. Stone came out firing in the first round and even knocked out Sage’s mouthpiece in the final round.
In the first girls bout of the night, Sarah “Sugar” Rodarte took down Rhianna “The Stalker” Farren. The first round was evenly matched before Rodarte swayed the decision in the latter rounds.
Awarded the best match of the night, Noah “The Slayer” Krogg and Mason “The Dank” Smith ended in a draw. Both fighters were aggressive in the first round but Krogg appeared to have the advantage in the second round. The final round, though, went to Smith, who came out firing.
Dylan “Sacafee” McAfee was an unanimous winner over Andrew “NyQuil” Noriega after landing several hits in the first round and dominating throughout the bout.
Tucker “The All-American” Stritenberger started off hot against Jimmy “The Joker” Seeger but Seeger came back with the crowd chanting for both fighters early. Stritenberger suffered a bloody nose in the second round but was able to hold on for the win.
Harley “The Hitman” Fausey and Terry “The Little Great” White ended in the second draw of the evening. White led the first round before losing his head gear and Fausey responding with a knockdown. White, though, got up quickly before the bell rang. Both held in the last two rounds even though White was at a height disadvantage.