USF hosted the 11th annual Hilltop Cup in Hagan Gym this past Friday, and the university’s boxers impressed the spirited crowd that was in attendance. In the 14-bout event that featured schools such as UC Davis, USC, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA, the Dons proved that they could handle any competition thrown at them, finishing the night with a 4-3 record.
Male and female boxers ranging from ages 10-29 represented their schools and boxing clubs throughout the night. The first bout featured 11 year-old Kaylee Monroe, who represented the USF boxing club, and she dominated her opponent, Sativa James, with ease to start the night well for USF. Later, in what turned out to be the most impressive showing from any USF competitor, sophomore Anthony Nguyen came storming out of his corner against Avrum Winston of USC and pummeled him with an astounding display of blows that left Winston dazed after only 20 seconds. Winston ended up forfeiting, and Nguyen won his bout handily.
Junior John Felix-Gubuan was the third USF boxer, and he faced Austin Tam of Parks Gym, a boxing club based in the Mission District. While this fight was closer than the last one, Felix-Gubuan still outpaced Tam considerably with his powerful combination of left and right punches, and he won his fight after three rounds. The USF Boxing Club started the night 3-0, and received plenty of support from their home crowd along the way.
“This semester, we have a good core group,” coach Matthew Rodriguez said. “We put in a lot of work together. We’re definitely a lot more organized and focused this year.”
After 17 year-old Katrina Nahe of USF lost her fight to Adriana Ramirez of Yaqui Lopez’s Fat City Boxing Club, USF freshman Eli Morton-Smith brought the club back to victory when he defeated Joel Ormeno of the local Ring of Fire Boxing Club. While Morton-Smith didn’t take control of the fight until the second round, he still showed great poise and eventually outperformed Ormeno to earn an obvious victory.
Junior Connor O’Brien and Kenny Song, a student at USF’s School of Education, both fought in tough matches, but they ultimately lost to their opponents from UCLA and UC Davis, respectively. Overall, the USF Boxing Club did not disappoint as the hosts of the Hilltop Cup, finishing with a winning record and solidifying its reputation as a powerhouse in the world of collegiate boxing.