YMCA in Medina hosted 11 sanctioned boxing bouts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 February 2020 at 10:42 pm

Theo Irwin, Medina grad, wants to bring back more boxing events to Medina

Photos by Tom Rivers: Caleb Rivera is declared the winner in a bout against John Rondon. It was one of 11 sanctioned boxing matches by USA Boxing today at the Orleans County YMCA in Medina.

MEDINA – The Orleans County YMCA hosted 11 boxing bouts today, which were sanctioned by USA Boxing. These are believed to the first sanctioned boxing matches in Medina since the 1950s.

Medina native Theo Irwin, 26, served as promoter of the event. He also runs a boxing gym in Rochester and had five of his fighters in the ring today.

Irwin started boxing when he was 6 and fought in 29 sanctioned matches. He has been a boxing coach the past three years. This Tuesday he will begin leading a non-contact boxing class at the YMCA in Medina on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. That class is open to people of all ages.

Ellison Rivera, in red, lands a punch against Cameron Overton.

About 200 people attended the boxing matches today, which was considered a good crowd, especially at a new venue. Irwin would like to have Medina host boxing again in the future, at least once annually. He said the local Y is ideally located between Rochester and Buffalo.

Irwin runs a construction business, framing houses during the day. He is at the gym almost every day at the Montgomery Neighborhood Center on Cady Street in Rochester.

Theo Irwin coached five of the boxers today. He wears a green robe in honor of his Irish heritage. He also served as promoter of the event today in Medina. He would like to make Medina a regular site for boxing matches in the Niagara Region. He said Medina is ideally located between Rochester and Buffalo. The Niagara District of USA Boxing extends from Syracuse to Jamestown.

Sharee Smith, right, eyes his opponent, Javon Taylor of Lockport.

Sharee Smith, 15, has been training with Irwin the past three months. Today’s was Smith’s fourth fight. He lost in a technical knockout to Lockport’s Javon Taylor, who was making his debut in a sanctioned boxing match.

After the bout Sharee said he was eager to get back in the ring. The 150-pound fighter wasn’t discouraged by the defeat.

He said boxing is a great way “to blow off steam.” He also plays football. He likes training with Irwin, one of seven or eight regulars in the gym.

“He’s positive,” Sharee said. “He’s a good role model.”

Boxing takes discipline, and self motivation.

Sharee knows the biggest key for a boxer: “You got to have heart and lot of people don’t have it,” he said.

Theo Irwin, right, checks on his boxer, 15-year-old Sharee Smith. Sharee took some tough punches in the first round. Irwin gave him positive feedback, and encouraged him to move around more in the ring.

Shares Smith and Javon Taylor battle in the ring. Jimmie Phelps is the referee. Taylor would win the bout in the third round in a technical knockout.

Theo Irwin checks on Sharee Smith after the second round. The boxers fought for two minutes and then had a one-minute break in between rounds.

Irwin’s father Mark was active with USA Boxing for about 20 years, including seven years as the chief official. Irwin, a former Medina village trustee, also boxed in his early 20s.

“It’s conditioning and discipline,” he said about the sport. “A lot of it is mental toughness because a lot of the training is solitary. You have to be disciplined. A non-disciplined isn’t going to last long.”

About 200 people watched the boxing today at the YMCA in Medina. This photo shows Javon Taylor of Lockport vs. Sharee Smith of Rochester. Jimmie Phelps is the referee.

Joe Taylor, 35, of Lockport trained two of the boxers who fought today, including his son, Javon, 14. Javon won in his debut.

Joe Taylor is a top-ranked kick boxer. He competes for the world title on March 21 at the King of the Cage United States Cruiserweight Championship. The match will be the main event at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Fall. His father, the late Johnnie Taylor of Medina and Lockport, was a professional boxer who fought at Madison Square Garden.

Taylor takes time to train kids who want to try boxing. He said the sport demands focus and discipline, and that can be transformative to the teens.

“It makes kids want to do the right thing and not the wrong thing,” he said. “The kids love it.”

After the matches ended, Theo Irwin takes apart the ring, which was originally used at the former Boston Garden and now is owned by a gym in Rochester.

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