By Bruce Amaro
---- — As Haverhill Downtown Boxing Club boxers won one and lost two Tuesday night at the Golden Gloves preliminaries in Lowell, everybody agreed that their performances in this year’s Novice group shows that the city has the potential to produce champions.
Thomas O’Connell won his middle weight bout, Josh Couture lost in a split decision bout as did Geraldo Torres.
O’Connell won his fight against Clarance Jones of Paladin Boxing from Fitchburg, a former USA Boxing New England champion. Jones lost last night in a fight that everyone agreed O’Connell controlled with movement and carefully laid on punches from bell to bell.
“I told Tom (O’Connell), ‘You became a fighter tonight,’” said co-owner and trainer Ray Hebert. Derek Couture is the other co-owner and trainer at the gym.
In his bout with Fitchburg’s Paladin, O’Connell’s opponent hardly touched him, Hebert said.
“He hardly got hit; he kept his eyes on the guy and dodged the other guy’s punches, then came back with quick, hard jabs and a few combinations. He went in one-two, one-two. He controlled the fight,” Hebert said.
O’Connell stayed upright and, “I did everything Ray and Derek taught me,” he said about how he won, again. This win gives him six wins, two losses and puts him two bouts away from the 10 he needs to move up to fight in the Open Class.
O’Connell now moves into the semi-finals in his weight category for the next round of fights. If he wins there, he will move on to the finals with a shot at the local championship.
Heavy weight, Josh Couture, lost on a split decision to Randy Philbrick from In the Ring Boxing and Fitness Club from Londonderry, N.H. They fought in the 201-lb. Weight group.
Couture knocked Philbrick down in the second round but the referee never started the count and Philbrick got up after complaining about one of his knees. An In the Ring Manager said that Philbrick slipped, but either way the bout went to Philbrick on a split decision.
“Josh knocked him down good. He went down hard then said his knee hurt. I called to the ref ‘how about the count’ but nothing happened,” Hebert said.
The fight went all three rounds with Couture hitting hard all the way to the end.
Haverhill’s Geraldo Torres lost his bout to John Portes from the Lowell West End gym. Torres, an experienced 16 year-old, 132 lb. fighter from Puerto Rico, where he learned to box, admitted that he had a tough fight against an experienced fighter with nine bouts behind him to Torres one fight. Torres has been fighting from Haverhill for four months.
Torres said that his opponent had a long reach and fought from the outside. That confined Torres to body shots and fighting in close.
“I had to go in and had to keep down and hit him in the body.” Torres said. That did not allow Torres to stand up enough to get in some head shots and use his upper body power.
Torres said that he wanted to get in quick and use some movement and angles to get some power in his punches but, “He fought hard from the outside, and he was tough to get at,” Torres said.
“I have to train harder and learn more,” Torres said about his boxing. He says that Hebert’s training style builds stamina, but that he, Torres, needs to work at it more. He said that he wants to develop more movement to overcome another outside fighter.