Usa Boxers Cuff Irish Americans Shut Out Weary Rivals

The Fighting Irish didn’t take this many lumps in the Independence Bowl.

Less than three months after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were thrashed in their football bowl game by LSU, the boxing Fighting Irish were shut out in Friday night’s USA vs. Ireland boxing dual.

Unlike the football team, the boxers have an excuse.

They were dead tired.

Americans won all eight Olympic-style bouts before 2,280 in the Arena, but give the Irish credit for handling a brutal travel regimen.

After losing to an American squad 7-3 Thursday night in San Jose, Team Ireland was up at 5 Friday morning to catch a bus to San Francisco and an 8:30 a.m. flight to Spokane. A 10:30 weigh-in and lunch kept them out of their hotel rooms until about 1:30 p.m., where some tried to nap before lining up outside the Arena at 5:30.

So when Bernard Dunne of Dublin went toe to toe for three rounds with rugged Cornelius Lock of Detroit in the opening bout at 119 pounds, the Irish served notice.

They weren’t going down without a scrap, although as the card wore on, some were as sluggish as the last couple in a dance marathon.

Dunne, who hammered third-ranked American Saul Perez Thursday night, bloodied the lips of Lock, the No. 2-ranked U.S. bantamweight, in the second round here. He had Lock down twice in the third, but the hard-punching American landed enough scoring blows to convince two of the three judges to award him the split decision.

“You have to knock ‘em out to get a draw, you know?” said the 18-year-old Dunne, who’ll fight for an all-European team in Russia later this year. “You have to live with these things. All the travel wore us out. The crowd was keepin’ us going.”

That’s as close as Ireland got to a win.

Larry Mosley, an 18-year-old Carson High School senior from the outskirts of Los Angeles, lived up to expectations. The world’s third-ranked amateur light welterweight sent Paul McCloskey crashing to the canvas with a left hook in the first round.

“I was planning on following the left with a right hand-left hook,” the country’s top-ranked 139-pounder said. “I try to throw my punches in combinations. I didn’t expect it to happen (with one punch).”

McCloskey recovered only to get trapped in a corner late in the round, where a Mosley combination brought an end to the fight at the bell.

LeChaunce Shepherd, whose younger brother Teaunce won his fight at 125 pounds on Thursday night, swept all three judges’ cards against Francis Barrett, the flag bearer for the the ‘96 Irish Olympics team.

Barrett, a bulldog of a 147-pounder, was bloodied in the first round, staggered in the second and took a couple of standing 8-counts.

“He was scrappy and motivated, but once he felt my power he was in there to survive, more than to win,” said Shepherd, the top-ranked American amateur welterweight. “I’m the best in the United States right now. The next level is to step up in international circles.”

Jason Ingwaldson, a student at Henderson (Nev.) Community College about to transfer to UNLV, stopped Michael Hobbs in the second round, validating his ranking as the country’s top 125-pounder.

“He (Hobbs, a loser by unanimous decision to the younger Shepherd the night before) was very nervous,” Ingwaldson said. “His coaches were nervous, too. He was holding. It was too awkward.

“By the second round, my coach (Al Mitchell) was just telling me to calm down so he would calm down. When he did, I countered what he threw with some shots of my own.”

Ingwaldson, 18, is about to move to 132 pounds.

In other bouts, Reggie Davis of Portland won by unanimous decision at 147 over Robert Murray.

Darnell Wilson, 156, took a split decision over tough Frank O’Brien, one of three Irish to win Thursday night in San Jose.

Sechew Powell, one of two Americans who also had to fight Thursday night (Davis was the other), won his second unanimous decision in as many nights, battering Sean Barrett at 147.

Randy Griffin left Kevin Walsh’s face puffed up at 165.

Two bouts - at 178 and super-heavyweight - were canceled when Irish fighters were unable to go after suffering losses the night before.

In the women’s bout, Jaime Taylor of Wallace beat Jennifer Price of Coeur d’Alene.

The promoter, Toby Steward, said about 1,900 of the 2,280 paid. He said the show will end up in the black, and that Spokane is not out as a potential site for the U.S. Olympic boxing trials in the summer of 2000.

Building availability in San Jose and here necessitated fighting on back-to-back nights, Steward said.

The program will be shown Tuesday night on Fox Sports Net.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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