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A Full Night of Action Opens 2012 National PAL Championships Competition in Toledo
by Julie Goldsticker
October 9, 2012
     
   
   
   
   

(OCT 9) All four age groups opened preliminary action on Monday night at the 2012 National PAL Championships. The night showcased several former national champions as well as reigning World Champion Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) at the Seagate Centre in Toledo, Ohio. Fifty-seven bouts of action were on the night’s docket with the action spreading across three rings.

The evening started with some of the youngest competitors in the tournament as the 11-12-year-old division kicked off with bouts in the 80 and 85 pound divisions. A trio of youngsters moved on in the tournament with Devin Young, Juan Jenkins (Baltimore, Md.) and Luis Ibarra (Colorado Springs, Colo.) advancing.

In the intermediate division of 13-14-year-old competitors, seven bouts were contested on the first day of the tournament. Leon Lawson (Flint, Mich.), the younger cousin of 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell competed in the first bout of the tournament with newly crowned Olympic gold medalist and fellow Flint native on hand to cheer him on. He won a 15-7 decision over Jairo Perez (Casper, Wyo.) to advance to the next round.

2012 Junior Olympic National Champion Efren Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) took his first step toward another national title in 2012 in his PAL opener. Lopez won a 23-7 decision over Mack Allison (Baltimore, Md.) in 15-16-year-old bantamweight action. Lopez’s Veles Cup teammate and 2012 Junior Olympic national championships silver medalist Edgar Berlanga (New York, N.Y.) claimed a first round win on Monday as well, defeating Marco Magdaleno (Las Vegas, Nev.) by a slim 10-9 decision.

Several experienced boxers took the ring in both men’s and women’s open division action. Two Chicago stars represented the Windy City well in their first round bouts. Olympic Trials flyweight silver medalist Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) is aiming to take the crown once carried by three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren and he got off to a good start on Monday. Simpson won a 19-13 victory over Abel Soriano (Omaha, Neb.) to move on to Wednesday’s flyweight action. Lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) who enjoyed a strong showing at Olympic Trials last year as well, stepped into the ring for his first bout of the tournament on Monday night. Sims enjoyed a quick night, stopping Cameron Parker (Hampton, Va.) in the first round of their lightweight bout.

In women’s action, Brown showed why she is a world champion, wasting no time in her bout with Amber Swift (Trotwood, Ohio). Brown won a second round stoppage over Swift in the featherweight preliminary contest and advances on to Wednesday’s competition. Olympic Trials lightweight participant N’yteeyah Sherman (Fairlawn, Ohio) enjoyed an impressive opener in her bout with Nakarri Jones (Tampa, Fla.). Sherman used her impressive height and reach to box her way to a 32-8 decision over Jones.

The hometown fans were treated to two big victories by Toledo boxers in open division action. Former National PAL Champion Albert Bell (Toledo, Ohio) won a 17-8 decision over Pedro Duran (Los Angeles, Calif.) in lightweight action while light heavyweight Leo Hall (Toledo, Ohio) stopped Michael Reid (Minooka, Ill.).

2012 National Championships silver medalist and Olympic Training partner Steven Nelson (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) put on an impressive performance in his first bout of the tournament. The U.S. Army boxer won a 26-7 decision over Octavius Webb (Maple Heights, Ohio) late in Monday’s action.

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