Kings of the ring

CAMPBELL – A trio of champions returned to St. Lucy’s Palermo Center on Monday.

Josh Mango cruised and Nick Lardas bruised, but Mathews’ Colbie Tryon struggled to regain his form from an undefeated junior lightweight title in 2012.

“This is really the first time I’ve boxed since last May,” said Tryon, a 15-year old sophomore who fell to Joe Sefranko of Keystone (Pa.). “They moved me up to the upperclass division because I won last year. They didn’t want to put me down with the less-experienced kids.”

But two newbies to the sport made their mark in the 25th annual K.O. Drugs Boxing tournament.

Tyreek Daniels, a Hubbard freshman, and Andre Henderson, a Warren G. Harding junior, picked up wins over Tyler Sayers and Jesse Berkey, respectively. Sayers and Berkey are both Lakeview High School students.

“I only trained for about two weeks,” Henderson said. “It’s a lot more tiring than I thought.”

Henderson, a light heavyweight, also plays football and runs track for the Raiders.

“(The punches) don’t really hurt, though,” he said. “The glove gets you in the eye and it’s blinding. The headgear moves around, too, and makes it hard.”

Tryon moved to Trumbull County when he was 9 from Malone, N.Y., when his stepfather was transferred to the General Motors plant in Lordstown. He played football growing up but just wanted to give boxing a try.

“I just love to fight,” he said. “I train on my own and use some weights and a punching bag.”

Daniels was encouraged to sign up for the tournament by his friend, Mike Fasline. Daniels, who compiled a 34-13 record wrestling for the Eagles, knocked Sayers against the ropes in the first 10 seconds of round one.

“It just kind of happened right away,” he said. “I’m used to going up against big guys like that from wrestling. I’m like the smallest of the heavyweights.”

Daniels, a fullback who was hurt for part of Hubbard’s 8-4 2012 football season, stood a head shorter than Berkey. He was agile on the mat and landed four solid hits, causing Berkey’s nose to bleed, after he ducked out of the way of a punch.

“Timing is everything,” Daniels said. “I realize that there’s more that goes into it besides hitting the other guy. There’s a lot of stamina involved. We’re still throwing like a thousand punches each way and it wears you down.”

Mango, a Niles senior, beat John O’Toole of Keystone. He’s been boxing for over two years and got his start at the Lincoln Street Gym, owned by Rick Palmer.

“I became a completely, more-controlled boxer from this year,” Mango said.

Lardas, a Niles junior, beat Canfield’s Tom Kelley. Last year, he won the underclassmen title at the cruiserweight division.

“This was more of a challenge,” he said. “It’s hard to predict something like this, but I’m happy with the way I used my jabs to wear him down.”

Tryon and the rest of the prep boxers will get a second go-around in the ring on Monday, May 20.

“(Sefranko) had me stumbling,” Tryon said. “I’m going to take this as a learning experience into next time. He was in better shape than me, so I know that I have to put forth even more effort.”