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Wednesday, April 16, 2003



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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jay Saribay connected on a punch to Travis Tandal last night. Saribay went on to win the fight in a TKO in his first pro fight.




Saribay wins
first pro fight

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By Dave Reardon
dreardon@starbulletin.com

Anyone considering making trouble at Washington Intermediate School today wasn't among the more than 2,000 to see Jay Saribay in action last night at the Sheraton Waikiki Ballroom.

Saribay, a school security guard making his pro boxing debut at age 33 and 135 pounds, quickly cornered and pummeled Travis Tandal of Kaimuki (also in his first pro fight) to win by TKO at 2:02 of the first round.

The fight was one of five prelims for the Brian Viloria-Valentin Leon bout.

It was Saribay's first boxing match since he fought in the 2000 national Golden Gloves championships in Detroit. He took up boxing as a senior at Farrington High School in 1988.

"I tried quitting, but it's in the blood," Saribay said. "I help out at the (Hawaii Youth) club with coaching the kids and end up doing it myself. I figured if I'm going to do all this sparring, I might as well get in there and do it myself."

Saribay credited coaches Wayne Irei and Don Tsark.

"I just listened to them, tried to do what they say," Saribay said. "I'm surprised the fight went so fast. I was just trying to warm up."

Tsark said he's been trying to get Saribay to turn pro for more than a decade.

"Jay's been with us a very long time. He's always had the talent," Tsark said.

Saribay's younger brother Jerry went six rounds with John Lopez (Hilo) last night, but lost a split-decision in a battle of journeyman lightweights.

"I know in my heart I won," Jerry Saribay said.

Lopez (7-6) beat Jerry Saribay (4-4) by TKO in the second round of Saribay's pro debut three years ago.

"I'll fight him again anytime and I'll beat him for sure," Saribay said.

Jerry, five years younger than his brother, said he started boxing after watching Jay.

"He's an inspiration to me, too," Jay said.

In the co-main event, Calvin Odom (Los Angeles) knocked out Eric Alexander (Kalihi) at 1:43 of the second round of a welterweight bout scheduled for six rounds.

Both fighters came out blasting, and Odom caught Alexander in a corner early in the second round. Odom wobbled Alexander with a right uppercut, and continued to rapidly worked his opponent's jaw from the bottom up.

"I hit him with that first one and it stunned him, so I figured I'd stay with the same punch," Odom said.

He chased the retreating Alexander to the opposite corner, uppercutting all the way. Then Odom knocked him out with a right cross.

"If I get to fight him again, I'll give him more air, box him," said Alexander, who said he has no plans of retiring at 33 and only three fights in the last four years.

Odom improved to 12-5 with his eighth knockout. Alexander fell to 18-8.

In the night's opening fight, Rodney Joseph (Waianae) took a heavyweight split-decision over Mark Mareko (Kalihi) that easily could've gone the other way.

Joseph and Mareko traded knockdowns in the first round. But as he did through most of the four-round fight, Mareko followed up with better combinations while Joseph landed some solid solo shots.

But Joseph made the best impression by clearly landing more punches in the last round against the tiring Mareko.

In another heavyweight fight, Tali Kulihaapai (Honolulu) dropped a unanimous decision to John Clark (Los Angeles). Kulihaapai, 37, didn't challenge the bigger Clark until the late rounds, and Clark answered by talking, dancing and holding on to the victory since he won the first four rounds so decisively. Clark (3-3) knocked Kulihaapai (8-4) off his feet 15 seconds into the fight and pressed him the rest of the way.



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