Battle by the Bay featured national team and Puerto Rico boxers, with N.S. boxers as undercard
NORTH NOEL ROAD: Wyatt Sanford knew the pressure would be on, boxing before the hometown fans at Findley Park in North Noel Road on July 8. And the Kennetcook boxer delivered.
Sanford defeated his Puerto Rican opponent Omar Rosario handily 3-0, getting punches off and staying focused despite some subtle attempts by Rosario at trying to get Sanford off his game. The win came to the delight of the 500-plus pro-Sanford fans and friends who were on hand at the makeshift boxing ring that is more known as the home field for Hants North Jays baseball teams.
It was the third time the two had met, with Sanford winning the last two matches unanimously including the opener of the two match Battle by the Bay on July 6 at the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz.
“I know he’s a good fighter so what my strategy was today was to move my head around and duck down so when he throws over top of me and I can come back with a couple of shots,” said Sanford.
He said fighting so much against one another you do get to know each other’s tendencies.
“The thing about that is you have to learn different strategies to compete against each other,” said Sanford, who trains in Montreal. “If you fight the same way all the time, it’s easy to figure out what they’re going to do.”
Team Canada took six of the eight bouts from the two events—the first night was held at the East Hants Sportsplex.
He said he did have some nerves, especially boxing for the first time in his hometown. The extra cheering gave him a boost right out of the blocks when the bell rang.
“I came out to fight,” said Sanford.
Three hours before he was to fight, Sanford was mingling in some of the crowd that was arriving for the early afternoon start time, getting his photo taken with young fans from the Hants North region, and talking with supporters. Before bell time came he went to the tent where the Canadian athletes tried to stay cool from the sweltering heat from the sun.
“There’s no words to describe how it feels to have this support,” said Sanford taking a moment from signing autographs and having photos taken from friends and fans after his win. “It’s unbelievable the amount of support I have from the community.”
In North Noel Road, besides Sanford’s win, Team Canada’s Nickerson Denis beat Luis Rodriguez 2-1 in the 75 kg bout; Kevin Grimard earned the judges decision over Gil Iglesias in the 56 kg men’s match that could have went either way, 2-1.
The lone Puerto Rico win on July 8 was Ashlyann Lozada beating Canada’s Sabrina Aubin in a split decision 2-1 in the 57 kg women’s division.
The five undercard matches saw boxers from Hubtown Boxing in Truro; Rival Boxing club in Halifax; and Westville Boxing Club from Pictou County duke it out.