Just minutes before the featured middleweight bout Friday night at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, Gabe Duckworth nimbly bounced around his corner.
The 21-year-old from Ketchikan had something to prove when he faced the undefeated Southeast middleweight champion Victor 'Savage' Littlefield of Sitka.
Gabe Duckworth was also undefeated in roughhouse competitions but Littlefield was a big step up in the competition he had been recently fighting. Nevertheless, Duckworth knew he could stack up against the best in the Southeast and he showed it by winning a unanimous decision over Littlefield.
"I beat him dominantly and you can quote me on that," Duckworth said. "He (Littlefield) gave up a lot of height and I took advantage of it."
The 6-foot-2 Duckworth had a six-inch height advantage over Littlefield and it was a major factor in the fight, as Duckworth was able to keep Littlefield at bay with his longer reach.
Littlefield sustained some heavy blows, while he landed few himself. He knew his unblemished record was no more as soon as the final bell rang.
"I don't have anything to say," Littlefield said. "I'm not too happy about this."
Duckworth's win most likely makes him the middleweight favorite for the Southeast Showdown on April 13-14.
Punches flying: Ketchikans Jack Duckworth, left, and Fernando Pintang of Juneau exchange punches in their lightweight bout. Duckworth, 44, won by a decision to remain undefeated in roughhouse competitions.
BRIAN WALLACE / THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
"If I'm not the favorite, I'd like to know who is," Duckworth said.
The lightweight main event featured Gabe's older brother, Tyson, who ravaged Elijah Sheakley of Hoonah for a decisive victory.
Sheakley was bloodied early and sustained a dislocated shoulder in the second round. He managed to finish the fight, but to no avail.
Tyson Duckworth came out fast and strong, connecting blow after blow to Sheakley's head. Sheakley looked visibly stunned when he received his third standing eight-count in the first round and so did the 550 audience members.
Before the fight, Sheakley was considered by many to be the best lightweight in the region after easily handling current Southeast lightweight champion J.R. Diamond in November.
Tyson Duckworth upped his record to 2-0 and looks to be a force in the Southeast Showdown while Sheakley's record dropped to 2-1 with two knockouts.
Jack Duckworth, the father of Tyson and Gabe, showed he could also be a threat in the lightweight ranks by defeating roughhouse journeyman Fernando Pintang of Juneau.
Jack Duckworth towered over Pintang and, once again, height and reach proved to be too much for the shorter fighter.
Jack Duckworth upped his record to 3-0 while Pintang's evened at 3-3.
"The height and reach helped so much," Jack Duckworth said. "We've trained real hard for this and we wanted it so bad. It's all about having heart in an athlete. If you don't have heart, you don1t have anything."
The final main event of the night was a women's bout between Laurel McCullough of Juneau and a mystery opponent, who was announced just before the fight as Jamiann Stevens.
Stevens, wife to Southeast heavyweight champ Russell 'Dirt' Stevens and current events coordinator for 'King of the Ring,' made the jump from ring-card girl to fighter to the delight of the audience.
However, McCullough got the best of Stevens in the closest fight of the night, winning a split decision.
In other roughhouse action:
Lightweight Clint Palmer of Juneau won a decision over Anthony Parr of Juneau. Palmer ups his record to 2-0 and Parr's record drops to 0-2.
Angela Day of Juneau won by technical knockout over Naomi Hill of Hoonah when Hill couldn't continue after the second round.
Middleweight Scott Webster of Juneau won his inaugural fight with a decision over Mike Jenson of Ketchikan. Jenson evened his record to 1-1.
Sitka's Sean Demello easily handled Kevin Pringle of Juneau, winning by a unanimous decision in the middleweight class. Demello's record rises to 2-1 and Pringle's falls to 0-1.
Middleweight Jerome Dennis of Juneau improved his record to 1-1 with a decision over Jay Diorec of Juneau.
Heavyweight Tim Wilson of Juneau scored a decision over Fred Schwon of Juneau.
Heavyweight Jess McCallon bullied Thomas 'Heavy Hands' Ferry of Ketchikan for a decisive victory. McCallon improved his record to 2-0 while Ferry's fell to 1-2.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.