Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some Famous Family

Duncan fighters slug it out

Kick boxer Corey Gower and boxer John Williams pose at their Duncan home gym, Final Round, after winning their respective bouts Saturday night at Victoria's Western Speedway. Both fighters won by unanimous decisions.

By Mike D'Amour

Aug 21 2007

A pair of Duncan fighters — one who kept on scrapping to a win after being badly injured in the ring — shone during the Summer Slugfest.

Boxer John Williams and kick boxer Corey Gower won their bouts by way of unanimous decision Saturday night at Victoria’s Western Speedway.

Williams, who turned 20 Aug. 2, was most impressive with his win over Victoria’s Jeff Hawkes under dark skies that threatened — but never produced — a downpour.

It was a different Williams than the one who stepped into his first challenge last April for a lazy three-round exhibition during Saturday Night at the Fights at Si’em Lelum Gymnasium.

The fighter who turned out Saturday in front of more than 2,000 rabid fight fans displayed the countenance and abilities of a much more seasoned scrapper.

Williams dominated the first round and was the aggressor throughout the fight.

He came on like a pro in the first and in the dying seconds turned into a buzz saw when he threw a series of lefts and rights that stunned his opponent.

The ref stopped the action to give Hawkes a breather and a standing eight-count moments before the bell signaled the end of the round.

Possibly buoyed by the first two minutes of the scheduled three-rounder, Williams again came out swinging in the second and rarely let up during the next 120 seconds.

Hawkes threw a few half-hearted punches, a couple of which found their mark, but none with the power to phase the local lad.

The action slowed in the last round until the 10-second signal was heard.

Again Williams took his cue from the pros — who often finish strong during the dying seconds of a round to impress short attention-spanned judges — when he threw a flurry of punches to end the fight.

Kudos must go to trainer Wally Petrovic, the 50-year-old owner of Duncan’s Final Round Martial Arts Centre, who seemed to have worked magic with Williams during the past few months.

Williams is a kid fight fans will definitely want to keep their eyes on in the coming months.

As they will Corey Gower who, if things go the way they should, could one day be a formidable presence on the national scene.

Gower, already a powerhouse at 21, took on tough Dylan Palmer of Vancouver during the tenth bout of the night.

The local fighter came out sharp, fists and feet both landed with pinpoint accuracy.

Palmer took a number of shots to the head and was quickly bleeding from the nose.

However, during the round — in a move missed by most fans and even Gower’s trainer — the kick boxer took a hard, bowel-liquefying shot to the groin.

“I think it happened in the clinch,” Gower recalled a couple of days after the fight.

The ref apparently missed it too and with Gower weakened, the fight was ordered to continue.

“I saw (Gower) grab himself, but the ref said, ‘Go,’” said Petrovic, who was working the corner.

“I knew as soon as Corey came back when the round ended something was wrong.”

Gower, admitted he briefly thought about quitting the fight because he was in such great pain.

“It was like a two-way door,” he said.

“I thought I can either finish and be a winner, or I can stop and get a nice safe feeling.”

To his credit, Gower showed what he is made of and fought through the next two rounds.

Gower seemed to get a little sloppy in the second round of the three-round contest and took a couple of shots to the head. But he quickly rallied and showed his champion’s heart when he dominated his opponent for the rest of the fight.

Palmer’s heavily-tattooed body showed every shot, from his reddened torso to his mashed face.

“He was a tough guy,” Gower admitted after the fight.

“I hit him with great shots and he took them all.”

Gower is still suffering the effects of the accidental low blow, but is confident he’ll be well by November when Petrovic is planning to hold his second Duncan-area card.