The words loss and defeat are not part of Jon Ohlhauser's vocabulary.
The perpetually optimistic head coach of the Crandall Chargers boxing team was proud of everyone involved in the first-ever boxing card held in the university gym on Saturday, October 5.
The event attracted an encouraging crowd of about 400 and a full slate of sponsors to indicate community and on-campus support. There was praise from the visiting team from the United States army academy at West Point and long-time boxing supporters were left looking forward to more cards at Crandall.
Both of Crandall's boxers on the card were beaten, but Ohlhauser remained upbeat.
"There's no such thing as losing on our team," the coach said.
"Either you win or you learn. For our team, we learned a lot about ourselves and well continue to work hard and improve. I am proud of our team."
The card featured 11 bouts – three of them featuring Crandall boxers. Several other members of the Chargers were scheduled to fight, but non-boxing injuries kept them out of the ring. The coach was a little disappointed, but he predicted strong showings for the others in the near future.
Crandall's Janzen Ohlhauser opened the afternoon card against West Point's Josh Riddick in a battle of 175-pounders. Both fighters were aggressive throughout the bout, but Riddick's ability to land a few jarring counter-punches made the difference and he was awarded the victory by unanimous decision.
"I thought Janzen had a good fight and he met his goal of staying in the fight and being respectable," Coach Ohlhauser said. "We were thrilled. He really had a good fight against a very tough opponent."
Crandall's other bout featured Max Morin, a former candidate to make the Mexican national team, and Lawrence Shepherd of West Point.
Shepherd's blitzing combination of jabs to the head and severe body blows proved to be lethal. After the American bloodied Morin's nose, he hammered the mid-section and sent the Crandall fighter to the mat. Morin could not recover and Shepherd collected a technical knockout win.
"I know that Max had high hopes for this fight and he was looking good, but his opponent got in a good shot that was the difference," Ohlhauser said. "He will continue to grow. He will continue to learn more about himself and that's what I call a win."
The only other Crandall fighter on the card was Marvik Alvarado, who squared off against his coach in a three-round exhibition that concluded the event. Avarado, 25, and Ohlhauser, 53. traded a few jabs, but no flurries. They embraced when the final bell run and both soaked in the special moment.
The remainder of the card was filled by West Point boxers facing opponents from several Maritime clubs, who filled in for the injured Crandall fighters. Coach Ohlhauser thanked them for saving the day and providing outstanding competition.
Evan Walker of West Point posted a split decision win over Christine Anderson of Bridgewater, N.S.
Moncton's Rohit Vasdudevan landed several staggering heat blows and beat Kyle Taylor of West Point in a unanimous decision.
West Point's Leandra Ramos recorded a unanimous decision win over France Doiron of Moncton.
Devan Greenfield of West Point picked up a unanimous decision victory over Simon McNamee of Halifax. Kathryn Yeoman of Saint John took a unanimous decision win over West Point's Jacqueline Chronister.
Manny Ahou of West Point earned a split decision win over Isaiah Haya of Saint John in a slugfest that was determined to the best bout of the card by ring-side judges. The 178-pounders took turns straightening up each other for the entire three rounds.
Exhibition bouts featured Will Nauman of West Point and Reade Primeau of Oxford, N.S. and Amadou of West Point and Jacob Martel of Saint John.
West Point head coach Ray Barone was pleased with the way all of the boxers performed.
"I have to call it a success," said Barone, who has coached at West Point for 13 years. "We've got a lot of sophomores on our team and they got to face some good competition. No one got hurt and it was a good learning experience. That's a very good day."
The coach hopes Crandall, the only Canadian university to have a team in the National College Boxing Association, will continue to host cards.
by Dwayne Tingley