Two Rivers Boxing Club’s first female main event was accompanied by ear-splitting cheering from a rowdy crowd on Saturday night (April 6).
Local fighter Melissa “Little Mama” O’Flynn may not have had her hand raised at the end of her bout at Rumble 26, but the crowd’s adoration for her performance, which resulted in a fight of the night trophy, was the next best thing.
O’Flynn and her opponent, Robin Grant from Jag Seehra Boxing in Prince George, wasted no time on a feeling-out-process, opting instead for throwing punches with mean intentions from the very beginning.
Grant caught the Two Rivers fighter with a couple strong straight rights in the first half of the round, the second of which staggered O’Flynn, prompting a standing eight count from the referee.
The quick breather helped O’Flynn focus, and she was getting the better of Grant by the end of the round, rushing her with barrages of punches and forcing Grant to fight with her back to the ropes.
The second round saw both fighters continue their torrid pace. O’Flynn landed a nice left hook early on, but Grant was able to keep her wits about her, firing back with the odd counter whenever the Quesnel fighter started to get the better of her.
It was down to round three, and Grant started out hot. She uncorked three or four nasty power punches to set the tone. Not to be outdone, O’Flynn battled back, throwing the crowd into a frenzy as they screamed themselves hoarse for the local fighter.
Alas, it was not enough to sway the judges, who ultimately gave the bout to the Prince George fighter.
O’Flynn was still ecstatic despite the loss.
“It felt so good,” she said, shortly after the card had finished. “I feel like that was definitely my best fight so far.”
She said the standing eight count in the first round, which probably cost her the fight, was unfortunate.
“That was me tripping!’ she exclaimed. “It wasn’t even when she hit me. I tripped forward and [the referee] started counting.
“I was telling him, ‘I’m good, I’m good!’ but it definitely got me down a point.
“I think I maybe need to keep my footwork a little better and cleaner, but other than that, I thought I’d won it.”
Two Rivers head coach Wally Doern thought the fight could have gone either way.
“I felt it was very close,” he said, “Either one of them could have won that and nobody would have been disappointed.
“They really got the crowd going.”
Doern also had praise for Quesnel’s Camille “Dynamite” Logan, who was clinical in winning her first sanctioned boxing match.
“Camille controlled that entire fight,” he said. “It was amazing. She had so much control. Never wasted a punch.
“She’s an amazing talent.”
Logan picked apart a frustrated Andrea Wall from Five Star Boxing in Fort St. John over the course of three 90-second rounds in the opening bout of the second half of the card.
The 13-year-old southpaw has been an unsolvable riddle to many who spar her in the Two Rivers gym, so her club mates were not surprised in the slightest to see her utilize her crafty technique against the taller fighter.
Logan went straight to work as soon as the bell rang; often beating her opponent to the punch and using her movement to stay out of harm’s way.
“I tried to get lots of head movement in,” she said. “Trying to avoid most of the punches; doing my dips and ducks and getting to those spots where I could land body hooks.”
The work to the body paid dividends, with the Five Star foe’s energy waning in the latter half of the bout.
“In the third round, she was getting so tired. I could see in her eyes that she couldn’t go anymore, so I took advantage,” Logan said.
Also emerging victorious in their first sanctioned fights were Owen Crossman and Admir Hanic.
Crossman, who fought a 145-pound match against Pasquale Ramuno from Vernon, was the first Two Rivers winner on the card.
He looked very relaxed from the get-go, scoring with a few right hooks and a vicious cross that bloodied his opponents nose. Ramuno stormed back in the third and made an interesting fight of it, but the judges ultimately went with Crossman on the evening.
The young fighter seemed taken aback by the decision.
“I was shocked,” said Crossman. “I was just so fatigued and shocked. It was the weirdest feeling.”
Doern implied there was no surprise from the Two Rivers Club.
“It was the best I’ve ever seen him box,” he said. “Owen boxed better than he ever has in sparring, so I think he’s on his way to big things.”
Hanic overcame some early chiding from the referee due to his inclination to use his mixed martial arts (MMA) skills in his match against Quinton Moriarty from Sooke Boxing.
The 37-year-old Quesnel fighter was employing a behind-the-head clinch in the first round that would be more of use in a Muay Thai fight.
His opponent expressed his frustration loudly the second time it happened, and the ref issued a warning.
Moriarty started getting quite aggressive following the quick stop in action, and Hanic was only too happy to oblige his wish for a throw down.
“He started throwing some power, and I said to myself, ‘alright, it’s fight time I guess.’”
Hanic saw an opening and decided to switch stances to throw his opponent off. It worked out, as he was constantly able to make Moriarty miss and then follow up with clean straights lefts.
Coach Doern joked about his new student’s MMA tendencies after the match.
“Chris [Heaton] cornered him because they practice MMA all the time,” said Doern.
“I thought if Admir wins, [Two Rivers] will take all the credit but if he loses we’ll blame his MMA training.”
Although not all the Two Rivers fighters emerged victorious on the evening, everyone was able to leave the gym with their chin held very high.
Caleb “Rooster” Tetreault started off the night with an 85-pound match against Csonger Basco from Rebels Boxing in Coquitlam. The 10-year-old Two Rivers fighter had a strong second round and held his own in the third but like his teammate O’Flynn, was outdone by a standing eight count in the first.
Connor Clancy showed a ton of heart in a technical knock-out defeat to Raven Kage Therarge from the Just Do It gym in Lillooet. He took relied a little too much on a hook heavy attack and ate a few more straight counters than he would have liked.
Following a couple standing eight counts, his corner thought the first-time fighter had endured enough and the fight was called in the second round.
It was his first fight, so will be counted as a lesson to go back to the drawing board with.
In exhibition action, James Mott managed to stanch the attack of the larger Scott Bugden from Sooke Boxing. Bugden threw some heavy leather to start but, like many of Mott’s past foes, got discouraged when the pace did not let up in the slightest.
Mott caught the odd punch getting inside the reach of his opponent, but he pressed time and time again to make things as uncomfortable as possible.
Evan Lee, 13, fought in his first exhibition match versus Cody Herren from Williams Lake. This was a slug fest throughout, with both fighters treating the match as a coming out party.
Lee impressed all his Two Rivers teammates with his calm, collected approach. He was landing uppercuts and hooks and showcasing movement that he has rarely used while in the gym.
“Evan is going to be a force,” says coach Doern, “He’s a real up-and-comer for our club.”
Also fighting in their first exhibition was Holden Ratcliff, who matched up against Balant Basco from Rebels Gym.
The 14-year-old fighter didn’t even know he was going to be on the card until the last minute.
“It was actually last night after I got off work,” Ratcliff said, shortly after his bout, “Of course I accepted right away.”
He adds he was nervous entering the bout but his coaches calmed him down beforehand.
“Being in the ring felt pretty cool. It was nice using all my hard training in the exhibition.”
Doern was delighted with the event as a whole.
“I thought it was a great card with great matches.
“What made it great was the travelling clubs. We had clubs from Sooke, Coquitlam, Vernon, Lillooet, Prince George, Williams Lake and Fort St. John. All corners of the province.
“We had different style boxers, different coaches and everybody got together and put on some really good matches.”