MCLB ALBANY, Ga. -- The base tennis courts was the place to be May 15. More than 480 people were inside the fenced in area, but not to play or watch a tennis match. Instead they gathered to watch 26 Marines and Sailors duke it out in the ring.
This was the second boxing event held here to raise funds for the Albany Sergeant and below Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Admission was $5, a small price to pay considered by some attendees to watch 13, two-minute, three-round matches. Approximately $2,758 was raised through ticket, food and refreshment sales, which will be donated to the Sergeant and Below Enlisted Ball fund.
According to Sgt. Maj. Stephen Martin, the coordinator for the event, each boxer was evenly matched with an opponent according to weight and skill to ensure a fair fight. During each match, a referee was in the ring to ensure the safety of the fighters and medical personnel were on hand in case a fighter was injured. The boxers wore protective head and waist gear to lessen the impact of the punches.
Many of the boxers were amateurs and had little or no boxing experience, but according to Martin, they still gave it their all and put on a great show.
The first fight of the night set the tone for matches to follow. The heavyweight contenders battled it out, throwing fierce punches for three rounds until the bell sounded and the judges decided a victor.
As the night progressed the crowd's roar grew louder with each punch. One of the nights' highlights happened during a fight between Robert P. Dudeck and David Carballo. The boxers shared viscous blows but it was evident that Dudeck was out to win as he hammered his opponent. One minute and 13 seconds into the first round, Carballo hit the mat when Dudeck connected with a hard punch and the match was over.
"I felt pretty good in the ring," Dudeck Said. "But all of us are out here to put on a good show for the crowd, raise funds for the sergeant and below ball and just have a good time."
Another match that many attendees looked forward to was the female bout between Jessica R. Armstrong and Jolanta Krempin. Armstrong outweighed Krempin by 20 pounds but Krempin's height and reach offset the weight difference. Both fighters exchanged blows until the final bell. The judges declared Krempin the victor, but both fighters received trophies for the best overall contenders. Some argued that the female fight was one of the best bouts of the night.
No serious injuries occurred during the event, however Dwayne R. Yow dislocated his right shoulder in the first round of his match when his opponent, Steve M. Perez slugged him in the right arm. Yow slumped over and many spectators thought he was dazed but the pain from his shoulder popping out of the socket was the trouble. The ref counted Yow out, who was holding his bad arm, and the fight was over. Yow is now doing well and his shoulder is recovering from the injury.
Martin was proud of each Marine and Sailor who stepped into the ring.
Martin thanked all the boxers and everyone who helped make the event possible. But he especially appreciated all the people who attended the event because without them, the night would not have been successful.