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Rush retains Toughman belt
By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
The young lion took down the king of the jungle at the Toughman Hawaii King of the Rings kickboxing gala Saturday night.
Dylan Rush employed a stick-and-move boxing strategy against Deutsch Pu‘u to retain his Toughman super heavyweight belt before 2,000 fans at Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium.
Rush, a 2006 Ka‘u High graduate, defeated Pu‘u, a K-1 fighter, in a five-round decision, showing a solid chin while catching a bunch of hard jabs from the Oahu challenger in the third round.
Whenever he went into the danger zone — close enough where Pu‘u could deliver something hard — Rush got in a few good licks and vanished back to the perimeter, looking for points instead of a knockout.
When Rush wakes up today, he’ll be a bit sore but will also have reason to celebrate his 25th birthday with accomplishment because it’s likely the last kickboxing event of his career.
He will turn pro in mixed martial arts with a fight on July 28 on Maui. His kickboxing record is now 3-0, the same mark as his MMA amateur record, which gets wiped clean.
Meanwhile, Pu‘u, who recently re-signed to fight for K-1 again, falls to 4-3 in kickboxing. He has a pro MMA record of 4-2.
Despite all the punches Rush landed, Pu‘u never went down, never wobbled and never looked in trouble. However, he couldn’t catch the young lion, who kept punching his way to victory.
End of grudge
Micah Abreu-Laybon defeated old-tattoo nemesis Petey Vital by a three-round decision, settling a hornet’s nest beef that brewed between the two during a prior Toughman.
At the referee’s instructions, both were respectful and offered not a hint of a mad-dog staredown. But the fireworks started right when the bell rang.
The two competitors were so jacked up to knock each other’s block off that neither could get into any type of fighting groove. They often tangled each other with takedowns, which is not allowed in kickboxing.
As far as action, in the first round, Abreu-Laybon missed on a spinning backhand, and Vital was waiting with a punch to the chin. In the second, Abreu-Laybon caught Vital with a flying knee to his face, sending him to the mat.
The third round disintegrated into bear hugs and takedowns. And after the decision was announced, the two shared a hug, putting to bed any bad feelings, at least until the next Toughman.
Leo takes title
Unlike the last time, Tyler Leopoldino made weight, and beat Theodore Brown, again, this time for the Toughman 120-pound flyweight belt, scoring a knockout 1:12 minutes into the second round.
In the first round, Leopoldino ripped two hard knees to Brown’s face. The only thing that stopped him from landing more was the bell.
Leopoldino smoked a left hook to Brown’s noggin, sending him crashing into the ropes. And the challenger followed with a knee. By then the Waianae champion was wobbly and Leopoldino went back to the same combination of knees and hard punches for the title-clinching victory.
In other bouts:
• Johnavan Visante defeated Lavelle Brown by first-round technical knockout, 1:22 minutes into the second round.
Brown came out with a pair of flying knees to close the gap on Visante’s length. But after that exchange, Brown went back in and Visante dropped two knees to the head.
Visante, from Waianae and a The Ultimate Fighter contestant, then had Brown trapped in a corner and unleased a pair of elbows to the head, stunning the Hilo fighter for the TKO.
• Donald Gonzales Jr. def. Conrado Martin by decision. In the third and most exciting round, the two fighters used each other as punching bags, absolutely teeing off and throwing nonstop blows. But Gonzales’ earlier work in the other rounds earned him the decision.
• Ashton Castro def. L. John Borges by decision. In the first round, Castro clinched and pulled Borges’ head down and pile-drived knees. Borges slammed a hard kick to Castro’s left fibula in the second round, sending Castro to the mat. The third round looked pretty even, but Castro did enough to score the win.
• Elijah Manners def. Keoni Rodrigues by second-round knockout, 28 seconds. In the first round, Rodrigues attempted a flying knee, but Manners countered with a clean body shot. In the second, Manners crashed a right hook to Rodrigues’ head. Then after a standing-eight count, Rodrigues missed on a right hook, and Manners returned a left hook for the KO.
• Matt Majamay def. Jai Troche by decision. Majamay attacked Troche and turned up the heat when he trapped him in corners. Majamay floored Troche at the end of the second round, but saved his best action for the third, blasting a pair of flying knees to Troche’s gut.
• Dustin Ah Chong def. Ikaika Rodrigues by decision. Ah Chong got the better of the exchanges in all three rounds, pressing the tempo and backing Rodrigues into corners. Once he got Rodrigues there, he threw more body shots and haymakers to the head.
• Nic Das def. Juanito Raquel by decision. Das floored Juanito three times, in the first round with a right hook, in the second with a Superman punch, and straight kick to the midsection in the third round.
• Kris Moniz def. Blayne Wagner by decision. The highlight was a second-round straight right by Moniz that connected on Wagner’s chin and made him backpedal a few feet.
• Haley Pasion def. Riechelle Silva by second-round knockout, 51 seconds. Pasion, from Oahu, caught Silva in a corner and fired left and right hooks, tagging Silva’s chin and dropping her for a KO. Earlier in the round, Pasion’s head buckled backward when Silva slammed a punch to her chin, but though the victor flinched she didn’t go down.
• Bunyart Kongmark def. Isaiah Ho by decision. Kongmark, from Thailand, went on all Muay Thai on Ho in the first round, clinching his head ad landing six straight knees to the stomach. Ho, the hometown boy, gave the crowd something to cheer about in the next two rounds, getting in a few good cracks, but not enough for a deciding vote.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald