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Misfortune gave Sitka's Matthew Coppick his boxing ring name of "The Goat."
Coppick went goat hunting on Sitka's Bear Mountain in October, when a blizzard blew in. Stranded at the top of a ridge, Coppick had to spend a night sleeping under the hide of his freshly killed mountain goat while waiting out the storm.
On Friday night, Coppick used his mountain-hardened experience to weather the blows of Adam "Bomb" Furlong in the main event of Roughhouse Friday boxing at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. The two middleweight boxers went toe-to-toe in the first round, with each fighter exchanging a series of connecting shots before Coppick took control of the bout.
Coppick (5-2-0) caught Furlong (1-1-0) with a couple of clean headshots late in the round, then in the second round he continued the deluge and sent Furlong to the canvas for an eight-count. A few seconds later, referee Butch Fondahn of Palmer stopped the fight, awarding Coppick a second-round TKO.
"I was getting ready for the third round," Coppick said after the fight was stopped.
Coppick works for Harbor Fitness in Sitka, but his conditioning program includes regular hikes of the 4,500-foot Bear Mountain and other peaks around his hometown. The high-country workouts helped Coppick build up his wind, but even he showed visible signs of fatigue at the end of the first round. In Roughhouse Friday main events, the rounds last two minutes instead of the one-minute rounds from the other bouts.
"I wasn't warmed up and it took me a bit to get my legs," Coppick said. "He (Furlong) is not as quick as me, and I could see his blows coming."
"I felt good until he rocked me," Furlong said. "His boxing skills are better than mine, and he caught me. My jaw's still sore."
After the bout, Coppick challenged Gabe "Steel" Duckworth of Ketchikan, who is ranked second among middleweights in the current Big H Promotions Southeast rankings, and the two will fight in the next Roughhouse Friday main event on Jan. 11. At last month's Roughhouse Friday show, Duckworth stepped up a weight class and beat current Southeast champion Russell "Dirt" Stevens.
"I was impressed by Matt's fight," said Duckworth, who added that his goal is to win both the middleweight and heavyweight Southeast titles. "I'm trying to get both belts and hold them for a while."
"My only problem with Gabe is his height," said Coppick, who lost a decision to the slightly taller Duckworth two years ago when both boxers were just starting out. "But where there's a will, there's a way. He's got a glass jaw and I put him down twice. They just gave him the decision."
While there were eight bouts in the Roughhouse Friday show, the best punch of the night was seen by just a handful of people.
According to witnesses, a couple of drunks fought in the men's room during the second intermission. One of the men wound up having an ambulance crew cart him out of ANB Hall on a stretcher after being knocked out in the scuffle. Police officers made no arrests at the scene.
The only split decision of the night's preliminary bouts came when Angela Day beat Cheri Phillips in one of the night's two female bouts.
Day (3-0-0) dominated the first round as Phillips (0-1-0) struggled to figure out how to counter the smaller Day's rushes. Phillips seemed to figure things out in the second round, standing Day up with a couple of uppercuts. Both fighters went to the canvas in the third round, but Day was the aggressor in the close round.
"I gave up nine inches and 37 pounds to her," Day said. "I won the third round, and that's how I managed to win the fight. If I didn't win the third round, I didn't win the fight."
"She's got a lot more experience," said Phillips, who was making her ring debut. "She's had over a year to practice, and I've had a month. I'll see her again next month."
In the other preliminary bouts:
Paul "Kali Kid" Garcia won by a third-round TKO over Allan "Squid" Pearce in a lightweight bout between Juneau fight rookies. Garcia, who was an amateur boxer with a 7-2 record when he was 17 years old, used his experience to his advantage even if the 15-year ring layoff did have its toll.
"You're winning, but you still want to stop," said Garcia, whose girlfriend is Pearce's aunt. "I haven't done this in so long, and I only took the fight a day ago. But all those years of training helped. I think I'll do it again."
Kevin Dean also won by a TKO when Scott "Pimpin" Minge didn't answer the bell for the third round in another lightweight bout between Juneau rookie fighters. Dean caught Minge with flurries of headshots in both the first and second rounds, and that proved too much for Minge.
"I'd never fought before, but my boys (friends) talked me into it," Dean said. "That felt good. He only got me once, on the nose. I did it for my 3-year-old daughter, Aubrie."
Andrew "The Gun" Swanston won a unanimous decision over Anthony "The Jinx" Parr in a lightweight bout that saw wild, off-balance swings by both Juneau fighters. Swanston (2-1-0) lost a shoe in the second round, but held his balance enough to claim the victory over Parr (0-3-0), who was the wilder of the two fighters.
"I've got flat feet and I'm not as quick around the ring," Swanston said. "I've got bronchitis and that hurt my training. But this is just fun and games."
Edna Abbott of Sitka, who now lives in Juneau, won a unanimous decision over Juneau's Amanda Harding in a rematch of one of November's Roughhouse Friday women's bouts. Abbott (1-1-0) lost a split decision to Harding (1-1-0) the first time they fought, and that prompted Abbott to go to John and Angela Day for help in her training. Harding said the two plan to fight next month to break their tie.
"I didn't train the first time," Abbott said. "I did a lot of working out, but no boxing. I had a couple of strategies to go for this time. I'd step back and let her come to me. It's definitely done my body good with all the training, but it's not fun getting hit."
John "The Messenger" Castillo won a unanimous decision over Wayne "Fu" Smallwood in a middleweight bout between Roughhouse Friday regulars from Juneau. Castillo (3-0-0) aggressively attacked the 51-year-old Smallwood (0-4-0) in the first round, earning two eight-counts before Smallwood made a brief flurry at the end. The next two rounds were close, but Castillo's first-round flurry carried the score.
"I had a game plan and it was going good until my legs got tired," said Castillo, who said he runs from Fred Meyer to downtown and back every day. "People told me he was wild and I was expecting that. I think he was saving it a little this time, but I tried to stick him hard and take that energy away. Desire is a flame and it's time to turn up the heat."
And in a heavyweight bout, Juneau's James Harmon won by unanimous decision over Jason Tilley in a fight between ring novices. Harmon, who was six inches taller than Tilley, held off Tilley's initial rush and in the third round put Tilley to the canvas for an eight-count.
"I definitely wanted it to last three rounds," Harmon said. "He started swinging hard, and I tried not to get caught up in all that. I wanted a clean fight. In the second round I caught my breath and settled down."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.