Shimmell, James among Michigan contingent
headed to National Golden Gloves quarterfinals
by Jeff Chaney | The Grand Rapids Press
Thursday May 08, 2008, 4:00 AM
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GRAND RAPIDS -- Jordan Shimmell and his Michigan Golden Gloves teammates couldn't
help but feel the love. The Hudsonville heavyweight had a huge hometown cheering section
that roared loudly as he stepped into the ring Wednesday night at DeVos Place for his first
fight at the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions. Hudsonville's Jordan
Shimmell looks for an opening against Florida's Emmanuel Augustama during their National
Golden Gloves heavyweight bout Wednesday night at DeVos Place. Shimmell, who was
fighting in his third straight national tournament, didn't disappoint, as he defeated Florida's
Emmanuel Augustama 5-0. Neither did a Michigan team with seven quarterfinalists, most of
any franchise, followed by New York Metro and New England with six each. "I had the
crowd I was hoping for," said Shimmell, who was runner-up in the heavyweight division two
years ago in Omaha, Neb. "I had a lot of friends and family here cheering me on, and you
can't ask for anything more than that." Shimmell needed the encouragement, admitting that
he was a little rusty and nervous having to sit the first two nights of the tournament. "I was
ready to go on Monday," Shimmell said. "Not fighting until Wednesday I had a lot of rust to
work out. "He was definitely national caliber. I didn't know his style, and he had a lot of
power. I just did what I had to do to win the fight." Up next for Shimmell is a quarterfinal bout
against Texas' Craig Baker tonight. Baker, who resides in Baystown, Texas, was a
semifinalist at this year's U.S. Championships. Grand Rapids' Tyler James, right, looks to a
dodge a punch from California's Levon Kiradzhyan during their flyweight bout Wednesday
night. Michigan Golden Gloves teammate Tyler James also admitted to a little rust from
sitting the first two nights of the tournament. The 17-year-old Grand Rapids flyweight came
out and out-muscled California's Levon Kiradzhyan to a 5-0 decision. "I'm happy with how I
did," said James, who's been fighting for eight years. "I do need to box better. I need to calm
down. I was kind of too excited because for the last two days I've been watching our fighters
and I was too excited to get in the ring." James, who also is a two-time all-state wrestler for
Grand Rapids Central High School, needed to pull from some of his wrestling experience in
his battle with Kiradzhyan. "I was kind of glad it was physical, I'm use to that," James said. "I
thought it would be more boxing because he was from California and they are usually good.
I didn't expect it to be all the tying up." The referee noticed all the extracurricular activity,
deducting two points from Kiradzhyan, one for leading with his head and one for
unsportsmanlike conduct, and one from James for leading with his head. "I think I got in his
head," James said. "He was doing a little trash talking, and I think I frustrated him." James
next fights Colorado-New Mexico's Michael Herrera in a quarterfinal tonight. Shimmell and
James were two of seven winners (out of eight fights) on a very successful night of boxing
for the Michigan Golden Gloves team. Grand Rapids super heavyweight Ryan O'Neal won
his second fight in as many nights with a 4-1 decision over St. Louis' Jabril Temple. O'Neal
will face New England's Pedro Gonzalez in a quarterfinal bout. Holland's Johnny Garcia,
left, exchanges blows with Indiana's Joe Hughes during their light welterweight bout.
Holland's Johnny Garcia was a 5-0 winner over Indiana's Joe Hughes in their welterweight
fight, while a pair of Saginaw boxers -- bantamweight Ernesto Garza III and welterweight
Jose Bernal -- won by stoppages over Iowa's Zach Knox and St. Louis' Jherritt Stansberry.
respectively. Benton Harbor's Ben Williams had a tougher time in his middleweight fight,
winning a 3-2 decision over Keandrea Leatherwood, of Knoxville, Tenn. "I'm blessed to be
here," Williams said "I went from 190 to 165 in just over a month, so I'm just happy to be
here." Williams now will fight New Jersey's Denis Douglin, while Garcia fights
Kansas-Oklahoma's Jeff Strum, Garza battles Chicago's Darris Smith and Bernal goes up
against Pennsylvania's Sammy Vasquez in quarterfinal action. The only Michigan team
member to lose Wednesday was Battle Creek light heavyweight Kyle McNutt, 3-2, to Upper
Midwest's Michael Faulk.