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2 More National Champions For Motor City

OSHAWA -- Johnny Rill wasn't going to be intimidated.
It didn't matter that he was giving up some 40 pounds and a few inches in height to his opponent in Duke Davis. It didn't matter that Davis entered the Junior National Championships with more appearances on that stage than Rill, the Motor City Boxing Club fighter, had wins under his belt.

Nothing was going to get in the way of Rill becoming the junior national champion in the 91-plus kilogram division. Not Davis. Not anyone.

"I was looking forward to it because I've never had a shot at a national championship before and he was last year's best pound-for-pound fighter and a national champion," says Rill of his thoughts prior to the bout in which he won on points, 27-19. "Before the fight I was trying to intimidate him. Staring him down. Following him around and stuff. I was being the bad guy and once I got into the ring, I knew what I had to do. My plan was to triple up on the jabs and give a straight right because the guy doesn't take well to pressure."

Clearly the plan worked, which came as a surprise to many, according to Motor City coach Don Nelson.

"Johnny was a huge underdog in this fight," says Nelson. "Nobody expected him to win the bout and as much as we wanted him to, I can't say we even really thought he was going to win. We hoped he would have a good showing and man he did. He had more than just a good showing. He really took it to Duke."

Nelson says the build up to the fight wasn't quite as impressive as with other bouts on the card due to the lack of depth within the division, but the fact Rill succeeded against all odds, certainly made a statement.

"(Duke) has fallen victim to our club three or four times now and he is starting to fear any time he has to meet someone from Motor City," says Nelson.

However, it appears Davis wants yet another shot, as Rill is slated to be flown out to Nova Scotia for a Feb. 7 bout with him at the Halifax Casino.

"They've asked that Johnny come down for a rematch with Duke. They wanted us to pay the airfare," says Nelson of how the impending fight came about. "But we told them 'hey, we've already beat him, so if you want Johnny come you'll pay for the flight'. So that's what's next."

Beyond that, Rill has his sights set on a possible appearance at the world championships in the fall.

"That's what I've got my eyes on right now," he says.

Rill wasn't the only prized member of Motor City to waltz away from nationals with a championship crown.

Colin Fish, a fighter Nelson believes is regarded as the best junior boxer in the country, annihilated his two competitors en route to capturing the 81kg championship.

Nelson wasn't exactly short on praise for his understudy after the event in which he retired Vincent Trepanier in the second round and did the same to Andrew Stauffer in the first round of their bout.

"Trepanier tried to make a game of it, but it was evident from the opening bell that Colin was going take the guy out," says Nelson. "It was just a matter of when. The guy was out on his feet, but the referee let it go on and I was a little worried. The referee should have stopped it on the eight counts he took."

As for the second fight, Nelson says: "They should have just let us win by walkover so we could have came home a day earlier. It was the second last fight in the whole event, so we had to wait around all day Sunday to have that fight and the guy didn't even last a round."