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Bulldog boxers prepare for main event

MT file photo

Wyatt, Wohosky lead 5 to nationals

Rapid-fire punches fly in every direction.

All heads in the Bulldog Boxing Club's gym turn to watch two budding 12-year-olds throw punches as hard and as fast as they can.

Many punches are landing, and the thud of leather gloves striking skin and bones permeates the gym.

Daniel Boone Wyatt, an 85-pound Eagle Point boxer, absorbs many of those punches in a battle with teammate Troy Wohosky.

The sparring becomes serious. The two boys continue to pummel each other for a couple of minutes before Bulldog Boxing Club head coach Joe Pedrojetti stops the action before somebody gets hurt beyond their bloody noses.

Once separated, they exchange good wishes.

They've done this before.

They went really hard, Pedrojetti said of the Monday workout. We need them to take it easy tomorrow. This was more than sparring should be.

They shouldn't be going hard for this long at this point. Boone and Troy have the advantage of sparring every day in our gym. They get their best competition against each other in practice.

So it goes, day after day in the Bulldog Boxing Club gym. But this week is different. For five Bulldogs, it's bigger.

Wyatt, Wohosky and teammates Pancho Esqueda, Dennis Jackson and Mike Wilson are preparing for the National Silver Gloves finals Thursday through Saturday in Lenexa, Kan.

The Silver Gloves are for boy and girl fighters ages 10 to 15.

The Bulldogs qualified for nationals at the Northwest Regional tournament two weeks ago in Great Falls, Mont.

Wyatt and Wohosky are the club's two top hopes to bring home national titles, Pedrojetti says.

They are two tough kids who punch hard, says Pedrojetti. Boone can really take a punch. When it's time for a real fight, he tends to perform better and faster. He doesn't back off from anybody.

He claims he's the toughest kid in the gym. For his age, he could be, although some others might have something to say about that.

Wyatt, who has only been boxing for 11 months for the Bulldogs, will go after the national championship in the 12-13-year-old, 85-pound division. He takes a 15-0 record into the tournament.

Wohosky, a sixth-grade student from Roosevelt Elementary School of Medford, is 3-1. He fights in the 12-13, 90-pound division.

I think Boone and Troy probably have the best chances of any of the five kids we are taking to Kansas, says Pedrojetti. Both of their problems will be lack of experience. But both have proven how good they are, and I think they can stand up to anybody they face and have a good chance to win.

Wyatt gravitated to boxing nearly a year ago in part because he didn't meet his own expectations in other areas.

I wasn't that good at other sports, and I wanted to be real good at something, says Wyatt, a student at Eagle Point Junior High. I think I found it.

I'm undefeated because I have good trainers and I train real hard. I try to learn a lot because I like the sport.

One of his trainers is Wes Wambold, a former professional boxing trainer, including former heavyweight champion Ken Norton.

Daniel has an outstanding chance of winning back there, says Wambold. He's a very skilled, good boxer.

He's an outstanding kid who comes from a good family with a lot of discipline, says Wambold.

There was some concern prior to the regional whether Wyatt would be ready to go. His nose began bleeding on flight to Montana.

We couldn't get it stopped, says Pedrojetti. I was getting a little worried about it. He had the flu, and he wasn't feeling good. But he never said a word about being sick. He never does.

He went out and had a phenomenal tournament despite being sick.

Wyatt's will apparently won out.

It means a lot to me to win, he says. I seem to be able to think about that and not let other things bother me. I just think about relaxing and throwing as many combinations as I can.

Another combination -- desire and talent -- could bode well this week.

Bulldog Boxing Club member Daniel Boone Wyatt, right, shown in an earlier sparring session, takes a 15-0 record to Silver Gloves nationals.