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Michael Jakab was a boxing champ before he ever had to throw or take a punch, winning the first tournament he ever entered, courtesy of a bye. Things wouldnt be as easy for the 22-year-old Bayside resident at the 75th Annual Golden Gloves, held last month, but the result was the same.
Jakab, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound lanky Cardozo High School grad, who works at Evergreen Recycling in Corona, won five fights by decision, including his finals encounter against Manhattans Marlon Brown, to claim the Novice Division Super-Heavyweight title and be crowned champ for a second time.
Its a big shock, Jakab said. Im still in a little awe.
Prior to boxing, Jakab had been working out at Tiger Shulmanns in Bayside before friend Eric Camacho brought him to the Westbury PAL, where Jakab hooked up with trainer Tom Molloy.
But Jakabs decision to become a Golden Gloves champ was cemented when he saw his friend Adam Lachoffs pair. Lachoff won the Novice Heavyweight title last year.
I saw them hanging on [Adams] neck and I thought, wow, that looks really nice, Jakab said. When the Gloves came around I said, lets do it.
But Jakab admitted to being nervous when the time came for him to finally step through the ropes. After training exclusively for the Gloves for the past nine months, Jakab took on Darrel Madison in the opening round of the tournament and won an unimpressive 4-1 decision.
Admittedly, the anticipation of the moment wore on him.
The first fight came and I did a lot of holding, he said. I wanted to make that big impression. It was a big crowd, a lot of people and I was nervous. I was fighting some big kid. I just tried to do what I could do.
Jakab said his next fight, a 5-0 decision over Pedro Parilla, was a big improvement.
The next fight was the opposite of the first fight, I stuck the jab, he said. Everybody said I looked relaxed, calm, looked good. The crowd always gets me. When I feel like Im losing and I hear everyone yelling, that gets me going again.
Jakab followed his first two fights with a 5-0 decision over Jeffrey Duluc and a narrow 3-2 win over Matthew Lonsdale to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden.
But Brown was no easy opponent. In three fights, the security guard at Club Lotus who trains out of Gleasons Gym brought a 3-0 record with two KOs to the table and, according to Jakab, was the favorite going into the bout.
It was a lot of nerves, he said. Theres something in me that wants to fight, but I get nervous. I always get nervous before I fight.
The first round I had him hurt, but I didnt jump on him because I was too nervous to get caught back with something, he added. I didnt want to be the one to go down in the Garden.
Jakab flashed some power in the second, wobbling Brown with a left hook before finally putting his opponent on the next with an overhand right. Brown got up, but Jakab cruised to the 5-0 win and garnered the Super-Heayweight Novice Division crown.
For nine months, no drinking, no partying, just training my ass off to do it, Jakab said. It was a great feeling. Especially knowing I trained for it and sacrificed so much just to get there.
The next major amateur competition for Jakab could be the Empire State Games, but the newly crowned champ isnt committing to it just yet. In fact, he isnt committing to much. Though his father was approached by a couple of professional boxing promoters at the Gloves, Jakab is content with being an amateur for a while.
Im in no rush, he said. I dont want to do it the wrong way like all these guys and wind up being an opponent. I want to be the guy. Ill see where it goes.
Kelley wins comeback bid
Former WBC featherweight champion of the world and longtime Queens resident Kevin The Flushing Flash Kelley scored a second-round knockout over Raul Martin Franco Saturday night at the outdoor stadium at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
Kelley, 34, dropped Franco with a leaping left hand, prompting referee Joe Crotez to call a stop to the bout at 1:05 of the second round. The bout was Kelleys first at junior lightweight he weighed 131.5 for the fight and the first since Kelley was stopped by Erick Morales for the interim WBC title 20 months ago.
With the win, Kelley raised his professional mark to 52-5-2 with 35 knockouts.
Maddalone to headline card
Vinny Maddalone, a Holy Cross High School graduate, will headline a boxing card of Black Tie Boxing Friday, May 3 at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Maddalone, a Bayside native, will put his unbeaten heavyweight record on the line, in a non-televised eight-round bout. Flushing cruiserweight Richie Meliton, was to fight on the card, but was bumped when his scheduled opponent did not pass the muster of the New York State Athletic Commission, accoring to Tommy Kenville, who is handling the PR for the card.
For information on how to purchase tickets for the card, promoted by Howard Beach resident Tommy Gallagher, please call Cipriani at (212) 499-0599.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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