A provincial champ facing a fighter making his debut in the ring? Sounds like a mismatch.
But in reality the main event at Fight Night 7 was anything but.
Nelson’s Ryan Lewis earned a razor-thin split decision against Victoria’s Donny Cornelius in a thrilling headliner Saturday night at the Nelson and District Rod and Gun Club.
Lewis, who captured a provincial championship last December, had to hang on after being bloodied by Cornelius in the third round of the 165-pound elite novice bout.
“He’s definitely bigger, he definitely had quite a bit of weight on him,” said Lewis. “I just tried to stay to the outside, but he was pretty good and cut the ring off.
“We took it to war a few times.”
Lewis controlled the first round by connecting on several jabs to Cornelius’s head. But the visitor, who hardly looked like a rookie in his first bout, found his feet in the second round and landed multiple punches to Lewis’s face before the bell rang.
Both fighters traded punches in the third, with Lewis focusing on body shots while the shorter Cornelius gave the crowd favourite a bloody nose and found success targeting the head.
“I felt like I definitely took the first round, but not in the second,” said Lewis. “In the third round he definitely came out, tried to make a comeback. I probably stole that round, for sure.”
Cornelius wore a smile after the fight and didn’t mind the result after nearly upsetting Lewis.
“I feel great,” he said. “Honestly I trust myself and I’m happy I was able to hang it out in there and bang with the guy. I’m really proud of myself. … It was a great experience.”
As entertaining as the main event was, the fight of the night was the penultimate bout between Nelson’s Riel Martinez and Calgary’s Ayde Meredith.
The frenetic 118-pound junior C open bout saw two fighters with history throw down. Martinez had previously lost twice to Meredith, but on Saturday he controlled the ring. Martinez’s performance was highlighted by knocking Meredith’s mouth guard out three times during the second round, and he was rewarded with a unanimous decision at the end.
Meanwhile, Nelson’s Brett Adams earned a stoppage against Nanaimo’s Pratiyush Sharma.
Fighting at 185 pounds elite novice, Adams opened the fight by knocking Sharma’s head gear off. Moments later he used a body-head combo that had Sharma repeating numbers to the official.
The fight was called off before the first round ended after Adams repeated the combo and landed a body blow that knocked the wind out of the crowd.
Other results included:
• Cranbrook’s Tom Jung earned a split decision against Nelson’s Marik Prisciak in the 195-pound junior C novice bout that saw both fighters struggling to make it to the final bell.
• Victoria’s Charlotte Harris earned a unanimous win against Spokane’s Jordan Willis at 152 pounds in the elite novice category.
• Nelson’s Elwin Langford won a unanimous decision against Cranbrook’s Dawson Canning at 140 pounds in the junior C novice category. Langford gave Canning a bloody nose early in the fight, and Canning appeared tired all the way until the end. Langford, meanwhile, didn’t appear to have broken a sweat.
• The towel was thrown in on an 80-pound junior B open fight between Nelson’s Stryder Sutton and Calgary’s Sonny Meredith after Sutton overwhelmed his opponent.
In exhibition bouts, Nelson’s Leah Eberle faced Calgary’s Ella Meredith, Nelson’s Makalu Babott took on Cranbrook’s Connor Ferrier and Nelson’s Caeden Rennie fought Cranbrook’s Jarron Ewasiuk.