CAMPBELL - John Preponick found the formula for dealing with longer rounds in the championship fights of the 25th annual K.O. Drugs boxing tournament Monday at the Palermo Center.
While most of the fighters were exhausted in dealing with the rigors of three one-minute rounds, Preponick made sure he didn't have problems by winning the Underclass Division lightweight title with a first-round TKO of Jake Bunch of Reynolds (Pa.)
Preponick, a sophomore at Champion High School, was on Bunch from the start. He didn't let up until referee Billy Lyell stopped the fight.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
LaBrae’s Christian Mathews, left, and Columbiana’s Robert O’Malley mix it up during the Underclass Division Super Welterweight Championship Monday in Campbell.
"Once again it was the second fight I had where the kid let his hands down," Preponick said. "I took it right to him with my right jab."
Rounds were 45 seconds each in the three nights of the four-night event. They were lengthened by 15 seconds for the title bouts, which resulted in the addition of another round.
Preponick was barely winded after receiving his championship belt.
"When I came in he didn't look real mad. I was real mad," Preponick said. "I just took it right to him. It felt real good."
Preponick credited the training of Shaun Garretson of Cortland. Garretson has MMA experience.
"We were working on combinations," Preponick said. "I have my principal over there. I wanted to show him that a kid from a small town can do this."
Preponick was one of eight Trumbull County fighters to win a title. Six came in the Underclass Division, which is for ninth and 10th grade students.
Other Underclass Division winners were Colbie Tryon of Mathews at junior featherweight; Jordan Radich of Howland at super middleweight; Zamar Leonard of Harding at cruiserweight; Terrell Neely of Niles McKinley at super cruiserweight and Nick Lardas of Niles at heavyweight.
Josh Mango of Niles won the Upperclass Division junior middleweight crown, and Ron Kirila of Brookfield claimed the Upperclass light heavyweight title.
Tryon won by decision over Robbie Rosenberger of Howland in a close, competitive fight.
"He was really tough," Tryon said. "He kept throwing and throwing. We were both tired at the end. It was a great fight. I have a lot of respect for the guy."
Radich won a decision over classmate and football teammate Taylor Fortson. Radich had a little more stamina at the end.
"I've been training for about six weeks," Radich said. "I think that gave me what I needed to win. I'm glad I was in a little bit better shape than he was, but not great."
Radich noticed the extra 15 seconds per round.
"It took a toll on me," Radich said. "The last 15 seconds were obviously the longest part of each round."
Leonard was the star of the preceding week when he scored the only knockout of the tournament. He won by decision over Chaz Johnson of Niles in a close bout. Leonard scored with effective use of his jab, while Johnson scored working the inside.
"I needed a little more motivation, and I got that from my dad (professional boxer Zack Page)," Leonard said. "He let me know what I was doing wrong. It was harder than it was the last two times because I wasn't as in-shape as I was, but I still worked as hard as I could."
Leonard admittedly was looking for another knockout.
Lardas won by TKO in the third round of his bout against Christian Shedosky of South Range. Lardas wore down Shedosky with body punches.
"I hit him right in the ribs," Lardas said. "That's what won it. That's always my game plan. Rock the body."
Lardas won the cruiserweight title last year. He's looking forward to winning a third straight crown next year.
"I've wanted to box since I was six," he said. "I love boxing. This is a dream come true."
Neely and Zane Henrickson, who is home-schooled, went at it for three grueling rounds. Neely won a split decision.
Mango showed endurance in winning by TKO in the second round against Zach Hollobaugh of Brookfield. Mango never stopped throwing punches.
"I've done a lot of running and training, thanks to my coach Rick (Palmer)," Mango said. "He's helped me out so much. He helped me from scratch. I got tired, but the adrenaline kept me going."
Kirila won by decision over Randy DeWeese of Lakeview.
Flyweight: Terrance Holloway (Farrell) dec. Jamir Fudge (Harding).
Bantamweight: Tyler Banks (Campbell) TKO-2 Nathan Johnson (Harding).
Junior featherweight: Colbie Tryon (Mathews) dec. Robbie Rosenberger (Howland).
Super featherweight: Jared Vanasdale (Boardman) dec. Tyler Wyant (Columbiana).
Lightweight: John Preponick (Champion) TKO-1 Jake Bunch (Reynolds).
Super welterweight: Robert O'Malley (Columbiana) split dec. Christian Mathews (LaBrae).
Junior middleweight: Davonte Gist (Beaver Local) dec. John Rojas (Campbell).
Middleweight: Angel Sau Rojas (P. Ross Berry) split dec. Demitryus Martinez (Struthers).
Super middleweight: Jordan Radich (Howland) dec. Taylor Fortson (Howland).
Light heavyweight: Juan Rojas (Campbell) dec. Evan Brown (Poland).
Cruiserweight: Zamar Leonard (Harding) dec. Chaz Johnson (Niles).
Super cruiserweight: Terrell Neely (Niles) split dec. Zane Henrickson (home school).
Heavyweight: Nick Lardas (Niles) TKO-3 Christian Shedosky (South Range).
Super heavyweight: Keith Jenkins (Campbell) dec. J.R. Guzaski (South Range).
MOST PROMISING Gist.
Cruiserweight: Kayla Burnside (Struthers) dec. Mikayla Bloodshaw (Keystone).
MOST PROMISING: Burnside.
Junior lightweight: Torrence Ahart (East) dec. Niko Froce (New Castle).
Junior welterweight: Anthony Ross (Canfield) split dec. David Blue (East Palestine).
Welterweight: Craig "CK" Smith (Columbiana) dec. Dillon Palmer (Niles).
Super welterweight: Joe Allen (Life Skills) dec. Edwin Figueroa (Poland).
Junior middleweight: Josh Mango (Niles) TKO-2 Zach Hollobaugh (Brookfield).
Middleweight: Troy Sigurani (Boardman) won by default.
Super middleweight: Jesse Chenevey (Marlington) dec. Matt Garasic (Poland).
Light heavyweight: Ron Kirila (Brookfield) dec. Randy DeWeese (Lakeview).
Cruiserweight: Joe Matricardi (Life Skills) dec. Shane Board (Edison).
Heavyweight: Connor Hoelzel (Canfield) dec. Tyler Karabin (Hubbard).
Super heavyweight: Mike Shaffer (Struthers) TKO-2 David Stewart (Struthers).
MOST PROMISING: Hoelzel.