Rumble at the Rink a Hit

Published On: 2nd June 2015

Over a week has passed since ‘Rumble at the Rink’ at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo and fans where treated to a great, yet short, night of fights.

And the new CPBC western Canadian champion is..

Morrow becomes new CPBC middleweight king

In what was Gloved Up Promotions second event, things could have ran smoother. As the first bout of the night between Dashon Johnson and Chris Aucoin had gotten underway, the featured bout of the evening was thrown in to jeopardy.

While Johnson was finding his range with the jab and varying heavier blows to he head and body of Aucoin, promoter Terry Strawson was dealt a knockout blow backstage. “I was watching Dashon and Chris when the phone rang. I knew something was up,” he said.

Local Heavyweight legend Gordy Racette – now 63 years of age – was slated to face Sandy Pembroke in a fight that would have seen him become the first Canadian to compete in five decades. Only Roberto Duran and Sauol Mamby have managed the feat worldwide. A historic moment that was scuppered during the pre fight medical.

“As I headed toward the dressing room, I saw Wayne and Ed (from the commission) walking towards me and my stomach dropped to be honest,” said Strawson “I knew what they where going to say. We knew the doctor was monitoring him closely and, though it was obviously the correct decision, it was a bitter pill to swallow at the time.”

Meanwhile, Johnson and Aucoin where engaging in a fairly one sided yet interesting fight. Johnson was in control and operating behind a decent jab that he punctuated with hard looping right hands. Aucoin, as game as they come, was scoring at times when he decided to punch with the more athletic Johnson.

Aucoin found himself on the canvas in the fourth round as a result of one of those well placed right hands and he done well to regain composure. It was much of the same in the fifth. Johnson pressed forward with more purpose and scored another knockdown behind yet another big right hand.

No more than thirty seconds later and Aucoin had responded with a knockdown of his own. In a scruffy exchange, the onrushing Johnson was caught by a short punch that caused him to temporarily lose balance. Referee Joel Scobie had no choice to begin a count as the glove of Johnson touched the canvas.

Johnson regained control of the fight and cruised to a comfortable decision victory. All three judges scored in favour of Johnson. However, things where not going in favour of Strawson, Gloved Up Promotions and Gordy Racette.

“It was fucking brutal,” said a brutally honest Strawson “What are you gonna do though? His blood pressure was through the roof. It was just so devastating for everyone. I felt for Gordy more than anybody but the phone had been ringing endlessly for him so I knew many fans would be upset too. It didn’t do me any favours either, if you know what I mean?”

Following an announcement by promoter Terry Strawson – informimg the 1,100 fans in attendance of the cancellation – the show was continued with the excitement created by two CPBC Western Canadian title fights.

In the co-main event of the evening, a rematch between Alisah McPhee and Peggy Maerz, fans where treated to a technical matchup between two B.C natives. McPhee was on her toes, jabbing and moving in and out, firing combinations intermittently. Maerz, on the losing end last July, was the aggressor throughout and landed plenty of jabs that snapped back the head of McPhee.

The fight, once again, could have probably went either way. McPhee seemed to control the action but Maerz was certainly forcing it. As the latter never took a step back, the former never stood still. McPhee was probably the busier and although Maerz showed visible frustration, the decision was probably the right one. The unanimous decision was accompanied by the CPBC western Canadian bantamweight title.

In the main event of the evening, local knockout artist Aubrey Morrow was in tough against Paul Bzdel of Saskatchewan. The crowd reached fever pitch as ‘Bam Bam’ was announced by Don Andrews and the stage was set perfectly for the middleweight slugfest that was about to ensue.

Morrow began brightly in front of the hometown crowd, snapping jabs off his shoulder, dictating the pace early on. Bzdel, a two-time Canadian title challenger, was not impressing just yet, but he was pressing. Morrow was loading up on shots and displayed his variety from the outset.

Morrow was landing big at times and had wobbled Bzdel during an exchange in the first few rounds. The ropes appeared to hold Bzdel up at one time, though the challenger from Saskatoon regained his footing and began an onslaught of his own. The fight was heating up.

The momentum was ever so slightly shifting and although Morrow was still landing the flashier blows, Bzdel’s persistence was showing success. The right eye of Paul Bzdel was completely closed as he charged forward and a massive cut was opened underneath the left eye of Morrow. This fight had it all.

As the seventh round began, Morrow seemed to get his second wind. Bzdel was showing no signs of slowing but the swelling around his right eye was making it increasingly difficult to see the beautiful left hook of Morrow. As they engaged each other in the blue corner of the ring, Bzdel walked on to a wonderfully placed left-hook. As Bzdel fell in to the ropes, Morrow unleashed a barrage of heavy leather that saw Bzdel rendered helpless on the ropes.

Referee Joel Scobie intervened towards the end of the seventh round crowning Aubrey Morrow as the CPBC western Canadian middleweight champion. It was a back and forth, war of attrition between two fantastic fighters. Frank Crane Arena erupted as ‘Bam Bam’ recorded the technical knockout.

“It was a perfect ending really,” said Terry Strawson “From a promoters point of view, it was a dream fight. Aubrey is not signed with us, but we have known him for many years now so it was a proud moment. It was a tough fight, an important fight, and he showed what he is all about. I always say that if you watch him once, you become a fan. I think that fight certainly made him some new fans.”

‘Rumble at the Rink’ was presented in association with The Wolf 106.9FM and the Old City Stn. Pub.

Sponsored by Trend Diesel, Mazzei Electric and Financial Future.

Special thanks to Paramount Recreation and Fitness, One on One Fitness, Highway Four Rentals, Nanaimo Honda, Riptide Graphics, Coombs Junction Furniture, Kickstart Fitness and Wallpepper Sign Shop.