The 51st edition of the Clash at the Cascades amateur boxing series packed a punch Friday night.
What organizer Dave Allison described as a “very full house” inside the Coast Hotel ballroom next to Cascades Casino took in an action packed event.
The main event presented a heavyweight showdown with top ranked heavyweights Palvir Atwal and Jay Byard trading punches for the second time.
Both Atwal and Byard engaged in a tough see-saw battle last January and the decision was split. Add to the close fight was the fact a point was taken from Atwal in the final round.
In that battle in January Byard was awarded the decision.
This night, a B.C. title was on the line and there would be an extra round to decide the night. Atwal was very poised and came in at a very trim 203 pounds. Byard weighed in at 216 pounds, four pounds less than the last outing.
“Although trimmer he seemed a little flat and boxed in spurts,” Allison said, about Byard.
“Atwal fought a solid fight with a consistent flow in his process. Atwal also had a very sound body attack that took the steam out of Byard,” Allison reported.
After five tough rounds, the new B.C. champion was crowned, and it was Palvir Atwal of Bisla Boxing.
The semi main was a “sizzler of a fight,” Allison said, and it was in the hottest division in boxing in British Columbia, the lightweight bracket.
Former Canadian featherweight champion Lev Jackson was back in the ring after a layoff of a couple of years.
He was up against Elroy Fruto of POWD a Richmond Club.
“Fruto just won the City Title and is the up-and-coming guy in the division,” Allison said.
The match did not disappoint.
Allison said Jackson clearly won the first round and as the bout progressed it started to even out.
The two exchanged combinations and in the end of a close fight the decision was awarded to Jackson.
In a Cruiserweight match Mike Wells of Kamloops took on Harkereet Nijjar of Bisla Boxing. The fight was one sided not due to a bad performance by Wells, it was simply an outstanding performance by Nijjar. The Kamloops corner wisely stopped the contest late in the second round, the 18-year-old Nijjar was outstanding.
In other matches:
• Lightweight Jacob George of North Burnaby won a tough decision over POWD’s Herman Chuak.
• Robin Benipal of Bisla Boxing and Mateo Rawlings pf Kamloops were in a very competitive bout, won by Benipal.
• Riley Grey of Gracies won by stoppage over Kenny Nghlam of Langley — both were fighting for the first time.
• And Roland Jin of North Burnaby won a close decision over Adrian Santos of Langley.
Clash at the Centre
Langley City Boxing is partnering with Bisla Boxing to host what will be a ground-breaking Pro-am event at the Langley Events Centre on May 25.
On offer will be four pro fights and six amateur contests headlined by Sarah Pucek, who will defend her Canadian and Commonwealth featherweight championships.
Pucek is ranked No. 7 in the world by the WBC and will face Olivia Gerula, a former WBC world champion and top 10 boxer.
“The Pucek-Gerula fight has been in the works for a year and it is the fight we have wanted,” says Allison, Pucek’s long time trainer/manager.
Gerula is a veteran of 40 pro fights and has fought in 11 world title fights, while Pucek has only 11 pro fights in all.
“We know we are the underdog in this fight, (and) this is not what is normally done in boxing,” Allison said. “When fighters fight at home they are normally the favourite.”
The Clash @ The Center will also feature middleweight Julian Kim of Port Kells and the pro debut of heavyweight Aman Aujla of Bisla Boxing.
Western Canadian champion Alisah McPhee will be on the card.