Walters, Kolle capture belts

Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters considered Saturday's bout at Wessman Arena the first fight where he felt more like the hunted than the hunter. Walters passed that test in dramatic fashion, beating Aaron Norwood of Hattiesburg, Miss., with a technical ...

Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters considered Saturday's bout at Wessman Arena the first fight where he felt more like the hunted than the hunter.

Walters passed that test in dramatic fashion, beating Aaron Norwood of Hattiesburg, Miss., with a technical knockout at 2:08 in the second round of their scheduled 10-round bout for a North American Boxing Association light heavyweight regional belt.

The fight capped off a night of bouts at "Playing for Keeps," a six-fight card held before about 2,600 spectators at Wessman Arena

Walters (23-2, 18 knockouts) made it apparent in the first round that part of his strategy was to go to the body, and he landed some hard shots that started to wear out Norwood (25-10-2, 13 KOs), who came into the bout on a three-bout winning streak.

Norwood hit the canvas in the second round after an unintentional low blow, but he was given time to recover and came back aggressive. That aggression was brief, however, as Walters landed a massive right uppercut to put Norwood out on his feet. Walters appeared to stop in anticipation of the referee jumping in. The referee didn't, and Walters resumed the assault until the referee called the fight. Norwood was out of it.



Jonathan "Reid Dawg" Reid came into Saturday as one of the most vilified opponents to fight in the Twin Ports recently, but after going 10 rounds with Horton's Gym boxer Andy "Kaos" Kolle, the boxers walked away with mutual respect.

Kolle was the aggressor, and he simply landed too many jabs and other punches for the boxer from Nashville, Tenn., to sway the judges in his favor. Kolle (17-1, 12 KOs) won the NABA regional middleweight belt with a unanimous decision, 98-92, 100-90, 99-91. Reid (34-10, 19 KOs), who was criticized for pre-bout trash talking, landed some nasty counter rights but they were too far and few between.

After the bout, Reid wrapped his arms around Kolle's legs and lifted him to cheers from the crowd.

"This isn't the end of Jonathan Reid," said Reid, an alumnus of the first season of "The Contender" boxing reality series. "You have a champion in Andy Kolle, and keep supporting him. I love you guys."

Armannsson winsprofessional debut

Boxer Skuli Armannsson stood silently in a corner of the ring as the bell rang 10 times Saturday at Wessman Arena.

Armannsson, of Mosfellsbaer, Iceland, was paying tribute to Gudmundur Arason, his longtime trainer who passed away last week.


Arason would have been proud of the performance his student put on as Armannsson earned a technical knockout of Caleb Nelson of Hayward at 1:40 in the second round of their heavyweight bout.

Armannsson was the more polished of the heavyweights, who were both making their professional debuts. Armannsson returned to Minnesota on Sunday after a failed bid to make Iceland's Summer Olympic team, but his Duluth trainer, Chuck Horton, believes the big Icelander is better suited to pro boxing, which rewards punching power more than points.

Armannsson showed plenty of power against Nelson, who has a background in mixed martial arts and looked the part, with an intimidating glare, thick neck and bulging shoulder muscles. He even remained standing in his corner between rounds.

While Nelson's bullish style may lend itself well to UFC-type fighting, the late replacement on the card struggled with the sweet science. Armannsson tried to keep Nelson away from his body with his superior reach, and he tried to land uppercuts when Nelson led with his head.

Much to the chagrin of a large Nelson contingent that drove up from Hayward, Armannsson stopped Nelson with a straight right to the head.

"Nelson was very strong inside. Lots of power," Armannsson said. "But I wasn't intimidated. I just had to keep working the uppercut."

When asked if his old trainer would have been pleased, Armannsson nodded and said "yes."



With tie-dyed feather boa shorts and lime green boxing shoes, Duluth boxer Gary Eyer is a fan favorite for his flamboyant style. If that wasn't enough, Eyer entered the ring to Culture Club's 1980s tune, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"

Eyer proved he wasn't as soft as the music he played, dispatching of Terrance Trottier Jr. of Bismarck, N.D., with a technical knockout at 2:20 in the first round of their light welterweight bout.

In other bouts, Duluth's R.J. Laase earned a majority decision over Mike Davis of Grand Forks, N.D., in their welterweight bout and Jon Schmidt of Minneapolis stopped Tim Taggart of Hinckley, Minn., with a TKO at 1:53 in the fourth round of their bloody super middleweight bout.

Jon Nowacki is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune
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