By Sam DiTusa
While the boxing shows dwindled in the Northwest, there were still a few very bright spots that shone through the gray clouds. There seemed to be an influx of new pro’s which have thrown their hats in the ring. In the lighter weight classes, Seattle’s Francisco Reyes,(3-0, 3 KOs) had some people taking note. The middleweight divisions also had its share of young lions led by Qualicum Beach native Aubrey Morrow, (3-0-1, 3 KOs) and the McClellan brothers from upper British Columbia.
But the biggest new comer hasn’t even stepped into the ring yet. Cruiser/heavy weight Garrett Simon from Summit, Washington was sought after by nearly every top promoter in the country. Simon finally signed with Art Pelullo and Banner Promotions. The 18-year-old Simon is loaded with talent and won virtually every honor as a junior open fighter. At 6’5 and lightning quick, Simon appears to have a bright future.
As for the established area fighters, Tyrone Harris scored the biggest win of his career on July 31st by defeating Marvin Quintero via 8th round TKO on Showbox. Heavyweight Chauncy Welliver,( 40-5-5, 14 KOs) continued his successful ways in New Zealand as he disposed of five opponents en-route to a perfect 2009.
And now for the Fightnews.com Northwest Year End Awards: The promoter of the year award goes to Manny Sobral, Neil Pope, & Alister Brodie of “West Coast Promotions.” The trio along with casino exec’s Howard Blank & Joe Jackson brought time boxing back to the Vancouver, Canada area putting on very good shows at the River Rock and Red Robinson Casino’s. Twice they have brought in TV and are kicking off their 2010 campaign in March at the River Rock. This is a real class act and many Washingtonians have made the trek north of the border to take in the great accommodations of these two fine Casino/Resorts.
The cornerman of the year will be handed to Dave Kraal who has molded welterweight Dashon Johnson into a legitimate prospect. Dave uses simple approaches that have been working for decades to put Johnson into top shape and hone his boxing skills. Never one to stop learning, Kraal has surrounded himself with some of the better trainers in the sport as he has taken a page of many books and created a style which is conducive to building champions.
And finally the fighter of the year award goes to Dashon Johnson. Johnson, who got off to a shaky start, hooked up with Kraal, a manager, and put together an impressive string of straight wins against solid opposition. Johnson’s relentless training regimen and ability to work with top champions like Timothy Bradley have paid off. Johnson ended his year with a great reward for his efforts, a promotional contract from Banner Promotions. I predict this kid will be a sleeper in the years to come. At only 21-years-old the “Fly Boy” is ready to take the boxing world by storm. Congratulations to all the winners!