The only Christmas spirit inside Marlintini's ropes Friday night were the red blinking Santa Claus outfits of ring girls Stephanie Cave and Ciara Meek; when they left the canvas, all that remained was stand up, knock down brawls on a card that was hailed as one of Roughhouse Boxing's best.
"I was so nervous," Anchorage's 155-pound Lauren "The Pirate" Taylor, 27, said after ending the main event a round early by hammering Juneau's 160-pound Selina Slack, 27, in the corner until referee Joe Isturis stopped the fight. "My coach wanted me to work my jab a lot. That's all we talked about and worked on, move and jab. I didn't move as good as I wanted."
Taylor (3-1) jabbed early and often while Slack (7-2-1) tried to cover and bully her opponent to the ropes. In the second round, however, it was Taylor who pinned Slack in the corner and landed repeated body shots until the referee stepped in.
"My coach Tony Ridges is all about the body shots," Taylor said. "I got a body shot in and it kind of took the air out of her."
Slack, a court clerk, is considered Juneau's top female boxer, trains late into the evening and shows up at every Roughhouse event hoping an opponent is available. She grew up wrestling her cousins, sparing with the college guys, jumping rope and hitting the bags at Gold's Gym and learning the fight game by watching the men.
"I wanted to mix it up tonight," Slack said. "Try some southpaw and switch. My neighbor offered me beer and pizza earlier. I don't have a trainer but I know that isn't in my diet and I don't do either."
Taylor, a University of Alaska Anchorage nursing student, has a 9-year-old son. She got into fighting by taking Jujitsu lessons with him in a gym with MMA competitors.
"It was just an accident," Taylor said. "A coach there said I would be an idiot not to fight. My son thinks it is pretty cool but I never let him watch. He doesn't need to see his mom get punched or punch anyone. Selina is a classy lady, a very good person."
The semi-main card featured two brawls that left fighters and fans winded. Angoon's Bailey Johnson (7-0), 24, 170 pounds, and Juneau's Brian Lauth (10-6), 20, 175 pounds, went toe-to-toe for three rounds. Johnson prevailed as Lauth's body became decorated with red welts from Johnson's gloves. As the bell sounded, Lauth vomited on the canvas and both fighters draped themselves over the ropes in exhaustion.
Southeast Showdown Lightweight champ Aaron "The Red Baron" Tucker (16-4-1), 21, 161 pounds, and MMA stud Craig Reishuis (5-1-1), 23, 150 pounds, gave the fans plenty to Bah Humbug about as they battled to a boxing draw. Fans wanted holiday blood and now must wait for a New Year's rematch. Judges scored the bout 29-28, 28-29, and 29-29. Reishuis showed that boxing is not his top skill, but he was quicker than Tucker and both fighters could take a punch.
In the fastest fight of the night, Hoonah's Charlie Gallant (47-4), 21, 197 pounds, took Sitka's Jon McGraw (1-2), 36, 185 pounds, down to the mat in the night's only MMA bout and used a grapevine to render McGraw defenseless while pummeling him until the referee stopped the slaughter in the first round.
California's Alaska National Guard fighter Gerardo Lopez (2-1), 22, 219 pounds, continued to improve his resume with a decision over Tonga Island's Lee "Tongan Stallion" Finau (0-2), 21, 210 pounds. Lopez showed signs of real maturity by responding to a late hit by Finau with a patient mauling in the corner. Finau cried for a rematch after.
Craig's Lester Dix (1-0), 34, 245 pounds, began his boxing career, and a break from long shoring, by spoiling California Long Beach's Albert "Somoan Monster" Nauer's (0-1), 23, 216 pounds, Alaskan vacation boxing debut in a three-round turf war.
Nebraska's Henry "Dangerous" Dehling (8-5-1), 24, 147 pounds, was the aggressor in a three-round win over Juneau's Luis Garcia (2-2), 18, 140 pounds.
Marlintini's Lounge owner Ethan Billings promised a star-studded fight card for the next Roughhouse Friday on Jan. 28.
"You will not be disappointed," Billings said. "If you have a resolution for the new year, make sure it is to watch what we feel is the most talented (group of) fighters assembled yet."
Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org