Packin’ a punch

CAMPBELL – Though she’s only been a boxer for a few months, Struthers freshman Erica Barone isn’t new to getting physical.

She’s taken her hits as a softball catcher and used to run cross country.

Wait, cross country isn’t a contact sport.

“Well, I was sneaky with it,” Barone said. “Just kidding.”

The 14-year-old, who barely stands 5-feet, took on Amy Scarnecchia of Howland for the lightweight female division title in the 25th annual K.O. Drugs Boxing Tournament at St. Lucy’s Palermo Center in Campbell on Monday.

Scarnecchia held a distinct height advantage on Barone, but it didn’t cause much of a problem.

“I’ve been sparring with a girl who’s 22 years old at Burnside Boxing,” Barone said. “She had size on me, so I’m kind of used to punching up. Plus, I’ve gone up against guys. I’m always ready to take on anybody.”

Barone won in a split decision thanks to a series of body punches in the third round.

“There was no doubt in my mind that I won,” she said. “I was nervously freaking out for three days. It was, first of all, getting over the fact that I’m here now fighting. I just had to fight my own kind of fight.”

Brindza Davidson, a student at Union High School in New Castle, won the female featherweight title over Aubreanna Hayden of Campbell. From the start, Davidson was swinging and spun Hayden around three times before winning in the second round with a TKO.

“I was focused and had a good mindset going in,” Davidson said.

She’s been boxing for the past year after watching her stepbrother, Ryan Stitt, get involved in the sport two years ago. Stitt, a sophomore at Union, lost two fights in the tournament this year.

Their parents started dating a few years ago, so Davidson’s initiation didn’t start with friendly sibling rough-housing in the living room. She hit the ground running with competitive sparring.

“I just kind of followed him,” Davidson said. “We can go up against each other and make it fun.

“Now, I’m hooked on boxing. You get a cool rush when you’re in the ring. I’m definitely sticking with it.”

Cheyenne Novotny, a student at Newton?Falls, won her middleweight bout by default.