Fight Night: Townsel’s victory, Forrest City dominance highlight event


William Townsel was the Pine Bluff Boxing Club’s last hope for victory, and he delivered.

Townsel, 18, won a 165-pound match by decision against Nelson Roberson of Augusta during Saturday night’s Boxing at Seabrook event, a showcase for some of Arkansas’ young amateurs.

“They just told me to come out there and beat on him,” said Townsel, a Watson Chapel High School junior. “It was all good. It was a good fight.”

Townsel’s bout with Roberson was the most intense of the eight fights at the Seabrook Family Christian Center. The hometown favorite wanted to show why he was one of four state Golden Gloves champions from the club while he prepares next month’s regional Golden Gloves tournament in North Little Rock.

“He looked like he needed to look today,” PBBC coach Scott Ladd said. “He fought the same kid last week and let the kid bully him around. But I told him that right there was going to stop. Ain’t nobody going to come in and bully us in our own home.”

Said Townsel: “It was a slugfest. I can fight way better than that if I’m calm.”

Townsel indicated a little trash talking from others against him got him a little excited.

Eight scheduled three-round fights, featuring boxers ranging in age from grade school to young adult, made up Saturday’s card. And the Forrest City Boxing Club dominated the event, winning four of its five bouts.

Among Forrest City’s victories, Larry Millbrooks defeated Pine Bluff’s Donnell Green by third-round knockout at 150 pounds, Tony Bond stopped Caleb Hendrix of Little Rock’s Ray Rodgers Boxing Club in the second round, Sherrod McGruder defeated JoCorbi Harris by decision at 190 pounds, and Anthony Glover beat Devin Woodell of Sheridan’s Elite Boxing Club by second-round knockout at 201-plus.

“They are the new Pine Bluff,” Ladd said of Forrest City’s club. “They’ve got a lot of city backing and stuff, which helps them a lot. But I think we’re about to get the city behind us after this little match right here. I think they’ll be more behind us.”

Also, Ray Rodgers fighter Frank Okoli beat Forrest City’s John Washington by decision at 201-plus, and Braiden Coleman of Hot Springs did the same against Briar Williford of Elite.

Quincy Means and Mason Wickett, both from Pine Bluff, fought in a demonstration match that was not scored. They are among five regional Golden Gloves qualifiers from the PBBC.

No headgear in Olympic boxing?

Rodgers, the president of the Golden Gloves of America who attended Saturday’s fights, was not in support of new International Boxing Association rules calling for no headgear and a new 10-point-must scoring system in men’s Olympic-style boxing beginning this year, according to a story on CBSSports.com.

Headgear was adopted prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, according to the story, and was used in Boxing at Seabrook. The rules will not apply to Golden Gloves-type events, Rodgers said.

“I came up through the ranks without headgear,” Rodgers said. “I’m firmly in belief the headgear should be used, if nothing else, to minimize cuts around the eyes. … There’s questions still as to whether it minimizes the impact of injuries, but if we’re going to make a mistake, let’s make it on the side of safety. That’s why I still advocate the use of headgear forever.”

Charles Butler, the chairman of AIBA’s medical commission, said in the online story numerous medical studies suggest fighting without headgear will decrease concussions.

Rodgers added he “cannot arbitrarily endorse” the new points system, which is slightly different from scoring in professional fights.

“The 10-point must system has not been completed because it’s not truly a 10-point must system as old pro judges know it,” he said. “It’s hooked to a computer and they’ll have random judging where only three of the five judges’ scores count, so it’s kind of a crapshoot. It’s so new and novel, it hasn’t been tried yet.

“I have some concern about the success rate of it.”