For the third time in a year Sarah Pucek headlined a fight card at the Coast Convention Centre in Langley and came out with a win.
As was the case the last two outings she was in a tough fight. Marquita Lee of San Francisco showed up to win the fight and go home with the North American Boxing Federation title.
Lee had suffered from inactivity until she got an offer to fight Shelly Vincent late last year. The Lee-Vincent fight went the full eight rounds and Lee showed she can compete at the highest level of the sport.
Lee lost the decision against Vincent but was offered the fight with Sarah Pucek in January with a March date. The fight was moved to April 7, Lee had a great training camp and was ready to give the performance she would need to win the NABF title and join Claressa Shields as the second woman to win the iconic title.
Sarah Pucek’s last fight was Sept. 9 against Lucia Larcinese of Montreal, where she won a 10 round split decision over Lucia Larcinese. Pucek has also had inactivity issues, however, it was due to a three-year hiatus from the sport due to college commitments and work. There was no room in her life at the time for boxing.
This has changed and Pucek has found a new dedication to the sport, says her trainer Dave Allison. The two have been together since the amateurs and Allison says Pucek is a very young 30, and has been a pro for almost 10 years with stops and starts. She had 16 amateur fights over 20 months then turned pro and had her first three pro fights in a six-month period. She had her comeback fight April 1, 2016, and fighting Lee for the NABF title is her third fight back.
Pucek fights in the featherweight division, however, Lee’s camp wanted the fight at 130 lb. Both women weighed in below 130, Lee came in at 127 and Pucek at 128. The fight started with Pucek moving a lot, using her jab and legs to establish distance. The first three rounds were obviously feeling out rounds with Pucek setting the pace.
The fourth round saw Pucek pick up the pace and start landing right hands, Lee tried to answer in kind, however, kept missing the mark. Lee was dangerous and proved it in the sixth round coming out with a very impressive fight. It was an exciting round that went to Lee.
The fight was scheduled for eight rounds and got better as each round went by. Pucek started to land combinations and was finishing with some solid left hooks. Both women had good body attacks going down the stretch, Pucek was faster and pulled the trigger better than Lee and this was the difference.
The unanimous decision went to Pucek who had clearly won the fight.
The pro am show featured another pro fight on the card. A four-round fight featured a match between amateur standout Julian Kim, making his pro debut, and veteran Ted Reno from Calgary, Alberta. For Kim it was a perfect pro debut as he was able to win every round, however, Reno forced Kim enough to make it a valuable fight. Kim won a unanimous decision with a shut out.
The amateur undercard was exciting and not without some controversial decisions that almost go hand in hand with boxing.
Brandon Kim of Port Kells and Tyson Gembey of Gracie’s were engaged in a competitive fight, and in an exchange Kim landed a right hand that put Gembey on the mat. Kim threw another punch as Gembey was going down and this is where the controversy was. The referee ruled Kim had landed an illegal blow and disqualified Kim. The crowd disagreed with a loud response to the final decision.
In what would be considered an upset MMA fighter Lupita Godinez won a very close decision against Gina Skopelitis of Harrison’s Boxing in a featherweight contest.
In a very exciting lightweight fight Cal Bennett of Port Kells won a decision against Elroy Fruto of POWD, a Richmond club.
In another lightweight contest Arsh Pattar of Ibarra’s Boxing won a decision over Gotham Mohan of Sugar Rays, a Vancouver club.
Jaskaran Dhaliwal of Mission’s River City Boxing won a decision over Faarhad Sahiadusief of Ibarra’s Boxing, a Surrey Club.
The 500 fans were entertained in what turned out to be a history making fight for an NABF Championship.