Steamboat Springs By late Saturday night the field of 20 boxers who had signed up for Fight Night had been narrowed to just four and the crowd of nearly 600 screaming fans who packed the Steamboat Springs Middle School gymnasium had reached a fevered pitch.
It was the perfect finale to Steamboat Springs' first-ever Fight Night, and local promoter Tara Nultemeier couldn't have been happier.
When it was all said and done, three local boxers were standing tall in the center of the ring with their hands held high in victory. The other 17 went home to nurse the cuts and bruises from a brutal night in the ring.
The first champion of the night was Mitch Globe, the dean of students at the Lowell-Whiteman School, who topped Ryan Lee in the middleweight championship bout and earned a check for a whopping $100.
"It wasn't the money," Globe said after the fights. "I just turned 40 last week, and I wanted to prove I could still do something like this. So when I saw it in the paper I said to myself, 'I'm going to do that.'"
Globe, who teaches judo to the students at his high school, said it was a great experience and that it was the first time he has ever stepped into the ring with a referee.
Globe defeated Lee, who threw in the towel in the second round after suffering a shoulder injury.
The Heavyweight boxers squared off in the next championship. Steamboat's Ryan Nance knocked down Troy Breyfogle in the third and final round of that bout.
Nance said he came out as hard as he could in the championship bout, gambling that his opponent was tired after going three rounds just a few minutes before against Craig boxer Hugh Benjamin. The strategy paid off as Nance was able to land a few combinations early in the fight and get his opponent on his heels.
Breyfogle put up a solid fight in the second round to pull even, but Nance finally landed the punch he was looking for, sending his foe to the mat in the final period. Breyfogle did not get up and the fight was called.
The finale bout of the night featured lightweight contenders Ilia Tarnaroutski and Ryan Crafts. The two boxers put on a great show with Tarnaroutski getting the win in a split 2-1 decision.
"I was a little out of shape," Tarnaroutski said after the fight. "The last one was the toughest of the night. I'm not sure if the competition got tougher or I got more tired."
Tarnaroutski said the boxing matches were wild as fighters of varying abilities went head-to-head in elimination format.
"In most boxing tournaments you may fight one opponent, but this was more like a 'toughman event' where you just keep going and going," Tarnaroutski said. "The crowd was great. They kept us pumped up all night."
To reach John Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org