It was Ladies' Night at the Roughhouse Friday boxing event - and old guys were welcome, too.
When the main event had to be scrapped due to some Friday the 13th fog, it was the ladies and the almost-senior citizens who made sure Juneau's roughhouse boxing fans got their money's worth at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.
The ladies bout between Amanda Harding and Katrina Hansen had the most toe-to-toe action of the night, while in bouts where there was a decided age difference (at least 15 years) the old guys posted a 4-1 record.
That was enough to keep fans in their seats - or standing just in front of them while they cheered on their favorite fighters - after promoter Bob Haag of Big H Promotions had to scrap his scheduled main event between lightweights Andrew "The Gun" Swanston of Juneau and Sitka's Scott "Kid Roo" Robinson. Swanston was at the fights, working corners for his friends, but Robinson's plane was unable to get him from Sitka to Juneau when an afternoon fog rolled into both communities.
"This is my 20th show (in Juneau) and I've always been able to say we've never had a time where the plane couldn't get in," Haag said. "Well, it didn't get in today. Kid Roo's stuck in Sitka, so the main event's canceled and we're giving refunds to anybody who wants them."
The bout between Swanston and Robinson was supposed to have been the lightweight title bout at last April's Southeast Showdown, but it didn't happen then because Swanston sprained his ankle while winning his semifinal fight and the ankle was too swollen to let him fight Robinson.
"When it happens, it's going to be a great fight," Swanston said. "I've got the reach and speed advantage, but he's got the power."
Not many people took Haag up on his refund offer, which was posted at the main entrance, as there was close to a packed house Friday night. So that left the ladies and old folks to give the fans a good show.
The women's bout between Harding and Hansen drew probably the night's biggest cheers, as the two ladies threw more punches in a single round than were thrown in some of the eight men's fights. Both fighters threw about 50-60 punches each for the three one-minute rounds, with Hansen's being harder while Harding's were more accurate.
In the end, Harding's experience won out as she won a close decision to improve to 3-1. Hansen was making her fight debut.
"I was tired," Harding said. "I think I'm getting the hang of it. I kind of thought I had it (the decision) because I think I hit her more times than she hit me. That was the best fight of the night."
"I want a rematch," Hansen said. "I can take a punch, but I wasn't sure how it would turn out. My coach was shocked (at the decision)."
With his main event scrapped, Haag rearranged his fight card to provide a new one. He had Jack Duckworth of Ketchikan fight Shawn Lynch, a new heavyweight in town who used to fight in Fairbanks, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Duckworth, a middleweight who's in his late-40s, handed Lynch his first career loss to cap the night for the old folks. It also gave Ketchikan fighters a 3-0 record on the night.
"I haven't been training much since I became director of the teen center," said Duckworth, who added that he plans to drop down to lightweight by the end of the season. "All I heard about him (Lynch) was that he's 18-0."
"He stayed focussed and he picked on my left side," said Lynch, who said it's been seven years since his last fight and he's been nursing a broken left hand. "He beat me fair and square. He's got skills."
In other bouts with large age differences:
Rudy Vonda, 38 and the smallest male fighter on the card at 5-foot-1, celebrated his 20th anniversary in boxing by winning a decision over Jess Baker, sending Baker to the hospital with what medics thought was a broken rib. "I brought myself lower so he had to stretch to reach me," said Vonda, who improved to 5-1. "All of my opponents are 10 inches taller than me."
Al Garrison won by a TKO over his younger cousin Shaun Sheakley in a battle of heavyweights, with Garrison picking up his first victory. "That was my fourth fight, and the first one I've won," Garrison said. "My wife told me I should be standing up more and straight jabbing. He's got a good right, but I've got a good left."
Wayne "Fu" Smallwood, 52, claimed his first victory after six losses when he won a split decision over Mike Kaznakoff in a battle of middleweights. "I had to get my knife out of the pawn shop," said Smallwood, an Alaska Native carver. "I'm ready for another one."
Sky Bonnell won his first fight with a decision over Doyle Cook, 45, of Petersburg, who was returning to the ring after an amateur career in Seattle 20 years ago. Bonnell dropped Cook twice in the first round, but Cook recovered to finish the middleweight bout, even though he was the only older fighter to lose. "I feel fine," said Bonnell, who said his bloody lip was from before the fight and not a shot by Cook. "I didn't think he'd go down like that. I got winded, oh yeah."
In bouts involving other Ketchikan fighters:
Eddie Wurzer of Ketchikan won a close decision over Juneau's Clint Davis in a heavyweight fight. It was Wurzer's fight debut. "I'm a little winded, but I felt good," Wurzer said. "It was a good fight."
Middleweight Jon Erickson of Ketchikan won a split decision over Juneau heavyweight Michael Garrison in another debut bout. "Our prefight plan worked," Erickson said. "I wanted to get underneath and work his body. He was a good fighter, but I had to stick to my game plan."
And in the other bout, which featured Juneau boxers close to each other's ages:
Kenneth Schoonover claimed a split decision over Derrick Lee in a middleweight bout that opened the fight card. Schoonover improved to 2-0, while Lee is 0-1. "I appreciate what his skills are," Schoonover said. "He knocked me around a couple of times."
The next Roughhouse Friday event will be Jan. 10 at ANB Hall. Duckworth said the Ketchikan Fight Club will be hosting its own show on Monday, Jan. 12.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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