On Oct. 23, in War Memorial Gym, the Koret Fitness Center held their annual Hilltop Cup boxing showcase. This event invites boxers from surrounding boxing clubs to compete in an authentic ring and to raise money for the Saber es Poder Scholarship. Spectators can even sit ringside to catch all the action.
This year boxers were invited from Stanford, Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, Santa Clara, San Francisco State, and many others. This event increases these boxers’ chances of reaching the national competition level. Eight boxers from USF were scheduled to fight on Friday night, but USF’s Max Haffner, who was scheduled for the main event match could not compete as his opponent San Jose State’s Alan Cheng did not show up. USF’s Ramsay Ayloush’s match was then made the main event at the Hilltop.
All of USF’s competitors took home belts on Friday night in front of two world champions, three-time World Champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and the IBA Female Bantamweight Champion Anna “The Hurricane” Julaton. Along with those special guests, the Hilltop welcomed Bay Area native Fatima Yusuf David who was a finalist on American Idol to perform at intermission along with others.
One of the most memorable matches of the night was USF’s Nicole Ward’s fight against San Francisco City College’s Rebecca Wilhelm. These two were the only women featured on Friday’s ticket. Ward fought tough and it showed. Her fight only went two rounds as she knocked out her opponent and walked away with the belt. “It felt awesome. I was surprised to get the knockout right away,” said Ward. “I train every night. It’s a lot of work.”
The main event featuring Ayloush was the other fight that stood out for spectators as Ayloush took on San Francisco City College’s Hefner Miranda. Ayloush fought hard giving his opponent hard blows. The crowd chanted “Rambo! Rambo!” as Ayloush threw blows. After three rounds it was obvious Ayloush took his opponent and he walked away with the belt and the main event win. “I am just honored to be able to box for the school. Every night I have been working hard.” When asked what his next move will be Ayloush said, “Wherever the good coach takes me.”
Ayloush was referring to the coach of the boxing club at USF, Angelo Merino, who has been coaching boxers since 1989. Merino’s coaching definitely helped his team Friday night as they walked away with seven belts. Although this is the boxing club’s only event this semester, Koret offers a boxing bootcamp that is free to students and Koret members, and after Friday night it seems it would be quite the workout.