Fight fans didn’t get the quantity they were expecting, but they did get quality.
The Rumble at the Rink boxing card in Nanaimo on Saturday night featured just three bouts, as Gordy Racette failed his final medical half an hour before bell time.
The other three pro bouts were crowd-pleasers, though. Qualicum Beach’s Aubrey (Bam Bam) Morrow scored a seventh-round TKO over Paul Bzdel in the main event, Alisah McPhee defeated Peggy Maerz by unanimous decision and Dashon (Flyboy) Johnson beat Chris Aucoin, also by unanimous decision.
The main event was the fight of the night. Morrow had the clear edge early as he bruised and battered Bzdel for four rounds, then got opened up himself in the fifth, reversing the momentum. It led to a bloody and dramatic finish that saw Morrow back Bzdel into the corner and deliver a series of left hooks that stopped the fight one minute, 37 seconds into the seventh round.
“I had him rocked a few times and I let him recover, so I knew this time if I got him that I needed to put him away,” Morrow said.
The bout was for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council’s Western Canadian middleweight title and Morrow said it feels great to be a champion. He said he and his trainer knew Bzdel would be tough, but were still surprised by the Saskatoon fighter.
“He stuck it out,” Morrow said. “A couple times I thought I had him. Shots that I hit him with had put other people away, so it was surprising.”
Women’s title fight goes the distance
The ladies’ fight was also action-packed, with both combatants connecting repeatedly through all eight rounds. McPhee said she tried to keep her chin down, stay compact and keep moving laterally.
“I didn’t want to get into a brawl,” said McPhee. “I didn’t want to stay in tight; I knew that’s where danger happens for me. I wanted to make sure that I could keep my range and do what was working for me because it was frustrating her.”
The victory earned McPhee the CPBC Western Canadian bantamweight belt and the schoolteacher said “my students are going to be excited to see this for show and tell.”
She said the win feels really good because it was a fight she knew would be difficult, and was.
“That’s what this sport is about, is getting in and being challenged and I love the challenge,” she said.
Old boxer won’t give up the fight
Racette said he wasn’t allowed to fight because he was too excited.
“You get excited, your blood pressure goes up,” he said. “They tried three times, my blood pressure was going down, but apparently there’s a set number of times they try and that’s it.”
The 63-year-old said he is annoyed with the boxing commission.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for five years, I’ve been training for the last year and a half. I’m ready to go,” Racette said. “Am I disappointed? Yeah.”
He said his dream of fighting in five different decades “is not dead. I’m still going for it.”
Promoter Terry Strawson said he apologizes to fans and hopes they understand why the fight had to be cancelled.
“It was devastating for myself and for Gordy and I’m sure a ton of people…” he said. “Hopefully we can come back and we can make it up to everybody.”
The card was also supposed to feature four amateur bouts organized by a third party but those fights were cancelled Thursday night due to “complications on their end,” Strawson said.
“We faced adversity throughout the night and in the days leading up to the bouts, but I think everyone around me and all of the fighters did what they were supposed to do and it was a good night,” he said.