They are running out of wall space at the Valentine household.
Al “Mean Machine” Valentine looked in the best shape of his most recent comeback on Friday night in the Southeast Showdown Championships at Marlintini’s Lounge.
Valentine was defending his heavyweight title belt against Ketchikan’s Tyson Duckworth.
Duckworth (165-pounds), 31, was looking to become the first Roughhouse Friday fighter to claim a championship belt in the Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight divisions. Last year Valentine stopped him in that quest.
This year would be no different.
Valentine (270-plus-pounds), 52, appeared to be more chiseled and polished in the bout, and still packed his thundering roundhouse blows.
Duckworth was the same fighter he has always been: smart, cagey and combative.
In round one both fighters didn’t back down, yet did not throw a lot of leather. When Valentine got too close Duckworth would cling to him like a baby orangutan, slapping a few breezy punches against his side in the process.
When Duckworth tried to throw a flurry, Valentine would charge straight in and disrupt the balance of life in the ring as we know it.
Round two was more of the same. Duckworth landed more jabs and Valentine unleashed more thunder.
In round three little changed. Valentine was content to fight back when pressed and Duckworth, who was trying to dethrone the king, did not do enough to take a title belt.
Valentine was awarded the split decision and Duckworth still had the energy to claim the fight was unfairly judged.
To reach the heavyweight title bout Duckworth took early target practice at James “The Beast” Roberts (320-pounds), 26.
Once again it appeared that Duckworth wasn’t doing enough to win the fight outright. Roberts stalked Duckworth consistently throughout the three-round decision and, although not as skilled a fighter as Duckworth, he appeared to be the aggressor and in much better shape than his last fighting experience.
Duckworth landed jabs and counters throughout and is a better fighter. Roberts landed the huge body shots and had the more aggressive flurry at the end. The judges went with the Ketchikan kid in the end.
Valentine reached the title in a solid performance against competitor Charlie Gallant (205-pounds), 22.
Gallant clearly has skills but Valentine was faster with his hands, had a longer reach, more power, and was able to absorb shots to the body. Gallant got the tough draw with Valentine and may have advanced to the title had he been on the other side of the bracket. Instead Valentine was never challenged in the bout.
The Middleweight Championship belt went to Sitka’s Joey Chairs (192-pounds), 23, in a split decision over Ketchikan’s Brian Matthews (187-pounds), 29.
Matthews seemed to take charge after the first even round, putting together better combinations and more punches. Chairs seemed to throw the harder punches, but not enough them. The final round saw both fighters going toe-to-toe and the outcome being determined by the judge’s call. The two fighters had no preliminary matches.
The Lightweight Championship belt went to Juneau’s Cameron Mitchel (159-pounds), 25, over Utah’s Chandler “Henchman” Horne (163-pounds), 19.
Both fighters came into the ring undefeated and, as each bout on the night, both did not do enough to take a belt.
Mitchel is clearly the most polished lightweight on the scene and Horne is one of the most aggressive and a hard hitter. With the crowd clamoring for action the two fighters were content to spend two rounds feeling each other out. Both landed solid shots that made the other take notice. Mitchel showed he deserved the belt when he absorbed one of Horne’s hardest blows to the face and then countered with a couple flurries that put the younger fighter back on his heels.
Mitchel reached the title with a decision over Hoonah’s William Milton (171-pounds), 19. It was an actionless bout. Neither fighter would throw any leather. Mitchel is a great counter puncher but Milton would not punch.
Horned reached the championship bout with a decision over Angoon’s Bailey Johnson (164-pounds), 25.
Horne was passive the first two rounds and Johnson led on the scorecards with big overhand blows. Horne used an aggressive last round to get the judges favor and was awarded the bout on fan appeal.