The U.S. Army team from Fort Bragg, N.C., and the defending-champion Washington, D.C., team continued their impressive showings in semifinal bouts of the second annual Mayor's Cup Invitational amateur boxing tournament at Howard University's Burr Gymnasium last night.
After three days of competition, Fort Bragg has a 13-1 record and the Washington team is 12-1.
In the finals tonight, which will determine the tournament champion, the teams will go head to head in four bouts. The 10-bout card will get under way at 7:30.
In last night's only bout between members of the two teams, Bandele Hinton of Washington stopped Elden Woodlawn with a right hook at 2:30 of the second round.
It was Fort Bragg's first loss of the tournament.
"There's definitely a rivalry between Fort Bragg and us," said the 17-year-old Hinton after his victory. "We're locked in a tight race for the first-place team trophy."
Most of the fans last night chanted, "D.C., D.C.," during the hometown fighters' bouts. A small Fort Bragg contingent countered with loud cheers for its boxers.
The Army team entered the tournament with impressive credentials. It features four boxers who were scheduled to compete in the Goodwill Games this week in Moscow, but were prevented from doing so when the Defense Department ruled the Games to be a profit-making venture and thus out of bounds for military personnel.
"There's no question we wish we could have gone to Russia and beat up on them in their own country," said Hank Johnson, coach of the Fort Bragg team. "There's really no competition like the U.S. and Russia. Our kids were ready. We were disappointed, but being in the military we accept the government's decision."
The four boxers named to take the soldiers' places on the U.S. team were Tyrone Washington, Ricky Royal, Lorenzo Wright and Michael Simon. If they had not gone to Moscow, all four would have competed for the Washington team in the Mayor's Cup.
In other matches last night involving local boxers, Jemal Hinton of Washington beat Boyd Gardner of Detroit at 119 pounds, Frank Payne of Washington beat Angel Gomez of Philadelphia at 125, Gerry Payne (Frank's brother) beat Anthony Ross of Alexandria at 139, Anthony Wilson of Washington beat Lemar Hicks of Newark at 112 and Darrin Rivers of Washington beat William Wise of New York at 147. All were decisions.