Fight Report: Bridge Battle II – June 18, 2009
By: Laura Zink
A capacity crowd of 1,000 people packed into Grandma’s Sports Garden last night to see two of their favorite and most accomplished hometown fighters, Andy “Kaos” Kolle and Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters. The Last time Twin Ports fans were able to see Walters and Kolle fight in Duluth was in 2005’s DECC Auditorium show “Truth in Duluth II.” Last night’s battle, dubbed “Bridge Battle II,” provided fans with an intimate and rowdy atmosphere to witness a critical transition in both fighters’ determined quests for world championships – a drop in weight class. After their fights, both fighters felt very confident that they are primed and ready for their respective campaigns.
Minnesota state middleweight champion, Andy “Kaos” Kolle (18 – 2), fought Indianapolis’ Anthony “Showtime” Schuler (20 – 5 – 1) in an 8 round bout. Schuler, coming off a 2nd round KO loss from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. back in
courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved.
2007, came into the fight ready to get back in the game after his layoff. And Kolle, coming off of a 3rd round knockout win against Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante last March, came into the fight wanting to test out his new weight class, light middleweight. (While Kolle came in at 155 the original weigh-in, Schuler came to the weigh-in at 167, and after a short trip to the sauna, could only make it down to 163.)
In the fight, Kolle was the first man to land a punch, but Schuler quickly adapted to Kolle’s advance and used his crafty slipping to dodge the next two shots.
“I knew coming in that it was going to take a couple of rounds to figure him out,” Kolle said, “I knew it was going to be a feeling out process, and I would have to be patient. And I knew that since his name was “Showtime,” he was going to be a little bit flashy and slick. And he was. He was hard to hit.”
Schuler’s maneuvering would be his theme for the next couple of rounds. Kolle would advance and Schuler would bob, weave, and work his counters at angles. Yet, in round one, Kolle broke through Schuler’s slick movement and landed a 1,2 combination that wobbled Schuler. Staying true to his ring name, “Showtime” dropped his hands and flicked his head upward with a quick nod to send Kolle the telegraph, “Hey, whatever” to your power, and “bring it on” to whatever else you got. But by the end of the round, Kolle knew that Schuler didn’t like the taste of those punches.
“I hit him with a shot and I could see it in his eyes that he didn’t like it,” Kolle said. “Eyes don’t lie. No matter what they are trying to do, eyes don’t lie. He was hurt, but he was still strong, so I didn’t want to rush in. I decided to land some body shots for awhile.”
Round two held a lot more by way of punches, both men trading shots, Kolle trying to work his way in with jabs to kick off his body shot campaign. Schuler answered Kolle’s shots with right hand leads and body shots, all thrown at strange and crafty angles, Schuler often skirting to the left and starting his counter attack when Kolle was in profile. But Schuler did not just attack from the side. In mid-round, he also landed a body shot right to the guts, which, to the crowd, perhaps looked a wee bit low, due to the chorus of boos which followed. It was clear that the crowd was very attentive to any onslaughts on their champion, but Kolle, himself a clinical showman in his own right, found his opening toward the end of the round and got Schuler on the ropes, landing some bruising shots which shifted the chorus of boos to cheers.
In round three, Schuler proved even more slippery and almost mathematical, countering and fighting from irregular planes. Schuler caught Kolle from profile early in the round and landed a short series of head shots, which riled the crowd and caused Kolle, in a clever but somewhat uncharacteristic move, to flash his tongue at Shuler. He wanted Schuler and the crowd to know that the advance did not hurt him.
“He wasn’t hitting me a lot of times as much as the crowd thought he was,” Kolle said. “I blocked a lot of those shots but the crowd behind me didn’t see it. The crowd on the other side didn’t ‘ooo’ and ‘aahh,’ but the crowd behind me did because they saw me go back because he smacked me in the gloves. Other than that, it was just average power…but he was slippery.”
In round 4, the curtain dropped on “Showtime.” It all began about one minute into the round when Kolle landed some head shots. Schuler, who up to this point had more energy to slip and counter, began to move less. Kolle, more than ready to capitalize off of Schuler’s exhaustion, charged, pressuring Schuler back into his corner and landing a right hook opener with a left hand finisher. Schuler fell back on his rear, his gloves grazing the canvas in a futile attempt to regain enough leverage to stand up. Schuler stayed on the canvas and the ref waved his arms over Schuler, making the winner Andy “Kaos” Kolle by knock out 2 minutes and 5 seconds into the 4th round.
“He cocked off to me a little bit just like Bonsante,” Kolle commented after the bout. “He was a little bit flashy the whole time with keeping his hands down, and it kind of got under my skin a little bit. I don’t like that stuff. I especially don’t like being cocked off in front of my home town. I guess I’m glad that he did it because it got the crowd really revved up because they like to see someone like that get hurt. They always like to see a cocky person get knocked out. He was a nice guy, but that was his style. He isn’t a cocky person. But I caught him with that right hook and, then I saw him stall a little bit. I thought, ‘All right, your head’s not moving anymore,’ and I wanted to land that left hand and put him to sleep…and that is what happened.”
Shuler is also noted for fighting Luis Ramon Campus back in 2004. Interestingly, also on his roster are 2 victories against his cornerman for the fight, Indianapolis’ Reggie Strickland (66-276-17). He also won a first round TKO of Strickland’s brother, Jerry Strickland (13-122) in his pro debut in 2000, a win which retired Jesse Strickland from the pro game. Looking back on the bout, Kolle was pleased about the opportunity to fight someone like Schuler for his light middleweight debut.
“I thought it was a good debut,” Kolle said. “He had a solid record. He was no joke. He came in to fight. He showed me a new look that I never saw before. Since he came in heavy, I think that the other guys that I am going to be fighting at 154 pounds will not be that big, so I figure that my size advantage will really pull me through a lot of it. This is where I need to be so I can compete at that next level.”
In the other professional bout of the evening, Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters (23 – 4) matched up against Lafayette Indiana’s “Jammin” James Morrow (11 – 12 – 3). Morrow also came into the bout rather heavy, weighing 178, where Walters hit his contracted weight. Walters was still game to take on the bigger fighter.
“I see this fight as my super middleweight debut even though my opponent was overweight,” Walters said after the
courtesy of Walters Photography, all rights reserved
bout, “The debut started in camp when I started cutting and shredding my weight down. This whole camp was geared towards a super middleweight debut. I was told earlier this week that my opponent would come in a bit heavier. I didn’t care. I just wanted to bring my weight down. I brought it down as far as I felt I needed to just to feel the difference, and it was great. But my opponent came in a lot heavier. That tipped the cards a bit in his favor because of his size and his game plan: the big punch.”
It was clear from the first round that Walters’ assessment was right. Morrow began the round with a body shot starter, trying to get Walters to bring his hands down.
“I saw with Morrow that he was banking his money on power. That was why he didn’t come down in weight. He wanted to set me up with a punch, a real big punch. He wanted to try to finish me off with one shot. So I came at him with combinations. I knew that I could time him right and catch him.”
Walters began working his jab, but he did not use it only to keep Morrow off. Walters sent out that jab with bad intentions, snapping Morrow’s head back and wobbling him by the middle of the round. Walters continued on with the jab, sending it out each time with equal force and setting Morrow up for a deadly combination. With 10 seconds to go, Walters landed a straight jab, right hand and overhand right, which sent Morrow to the canvas.
“I call that one the 218er. I dropped him with 10 seconds to go. I was so happy with that,” Walters said after the bout. “Andy and I have been 218ers since we started boxing, and for a lot of time, 218 didn’t get much respect. But now, 218 is on the map!”
In round 2, Morrow tried out his jab, which Walters answered with fierce hooks to Morrow’s body.
“Every time I would hit him to the body he would gasp out loud. ‘Uuuuugh!’ like that,” Walters said, “He would gasp out loud. So I would duck down, and he would bring his arms down to block the body. It worked great.”
With Morrow’s arms down, Walters moved in with what he dubs “the Jungle Combination.” Showing his quickness as a middleweight, Walters landed this combination twice consecutively, causing Morrow to deflate and sink to the canvas. After his second 8 count, Morrow looked weary, and he continued on until Walters got him up against the ropes again. After landing a few shots, the ref didn’t want to see any more and jumped in between the fighters, calling the bout at 1 minute and 46 seconds into the second round. Walters was victorious with a 2nd round TKO.
“The ref is there to make sure that the fighters do not get hurt beyond what is reasonable,” Walters commented, “but I wish I could have finished him off.”
Morrow did return to the ring after the fight. During intermission, Morrow asked one ringside reporter where the ring doctor was. He had a question for him. After having Jeff Davis pointed out to him, Morrow confronted him, asking: “Have any of you seen my tooth around here?” No confirmation as to whether the tooth was located before Morrow left that night.
But for the victor of the match, the bout solidified the wisdom of his decision to campaign at super middle.
“Coming down in weight, I’ve lost a little muscle in my legs, but I’ve put on a lot of upper body strength,” Walters said after the bout, “I have a lot more pop. My punches are harder and faster and more accurate. I feel dangerous at 168.”
This victory is the start of Walters’ journey down this new road, a road which may be paved with battles against fighters from both ends of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis’ Phil “The Drill” Williams and maybe even St. Paul’s Matt “The Predator” Vanda.
“Yeah, Matt can get some whenever he wants some.” Walters said. “Phil, he’s gonna get some when the time is right. And his time is coming real close here,” Walters said. “Matt Vanda is a veteran in the state. He has held pro boxing down for years. He was pro when I was an amateur. He’s a high time player in the game in Minnesota. And Phil, he came up and he’s been talking trash. He’s got some good game, but I don’t think he’s up to snuff when it comes to taking on me. But he wants this, so we’re gonna give it to him.”
Preceding the main pro bouts, were pro exhibitions. Dubbed as “Professional Development fights,” these two 4 round bouts included head gear, but excluded professional judges. For these fights, the winner would be determined by fan applause.
Fergus Falls’ Tyler Hultin (1-0) had his exhibition with Rochester’s Scott Ball (9 – 6). For Hultin, the opportunity to have an exhibition fight with Ball was an opportunity for him to settle scores from the past. Even though this bout was an exhibition, Hultin viewed the bout as a grudge match.
“The grudge actually started when I turned 17,” Hultin explained after the bout, “I was fresh out of silver gloves and trying to make a statement for myself. I had just had my 17th birthday and I was going to make my first Golden Gloves fight against a 27 year old. His name was Jeremy Kirshner, and he was out of the Cities. They kept telling me about how he has this power, how I had to be careful. I went in there and did what I knew and I actually stopped him in the first round. And Scott was there, and he was like, ‘All right. This little punk thinks he can handle the Golden Gloves. Let’s set up a fight.’”
“I had seen him [Ball] at the Upper Midwest when I was following Zach and Andy…and he was a great fighter. But I thought, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ So we set up an exhibition 2 or 3 weeks after that. The first three rounds were excellent, but Scott took it over in the fourth round. I didn’t have the experience fighting four rounds, so he taunted me a lot. He’d throw a couple of body shots and keep his arms down and kinda smile at me. I knew that I lost the fight, but he knew that I was in it to fight. I vowed that we would meet again, and that I would be ready for it this time.”
The exhibition was definitely an entertaining showcase for both fighters. The bout picked up steam in round 1 when Hutlin tagged Ball as they were being separated from a clinch. In the following rounds, Hultin matched his power against Ball’s crafty maneuvering. Ball showed craftiness in round 2 by countering Hultin’s 1,2 combinations by tossing in straight shots and hooks in after Hultin’s jab, halting Hultin’s deadly right hand. Hultin led the advance into round 3, showing Ball that he is tough enough to bull through Ball’s crafty countering, that he was willing to take shots if he had to in order to land shots of his own. In round 4, Ball used more angles to both get away from Hultin’s power and to set up deliveries. By the end of the round, Ball landed a very crafty hook after spinning out of Hultin’s range. And Hultin, though did not use as many counters and angles, proved to fans that he is a strong fighter, a hard puncher, and completely durable from head to toe. Both fighters gave a great showing, but the crowd’s vote, by deafening landslide, was Tyler Hultin.
Before that, Jorey Olson (pro with a cancelled debut against Anthony Wallace last month) had an exhibition with Dave “The Prodigy” Peterson (10-0). This exhibition was also a test of crafty angles vs power. In round I, Olson began the bout by moving in after Peterson with Peterson keeping Olson away with slips, angles, and crafty footwork. In round 2, Peterson added more jabs to those angles trying to lead Olson in. It worked. Later in the round, Olson began to put on the pressure, getting Peterson onto the ropes and lands some body shots. Round 3 had pretty even exchanges, both fighters using interesting angles on the inside as they tried to shove and reposition each other to set up a target for a shot. And in round 4, both fighters were landing more to the head, and both fighters were sending out jabs that landed mutually throughout the round. With 10 seconds left, the punches flew from all sides, both men trading shots until the final bell. The crowd cheered heartily for both fighters, but the cheers for Olson clearly reached a higher pitch, making Olson the crowd favorite for the evening.
“He’s got the best angles,” Olson said as he exited the ring, “That was fun!”