Super heavyweight Ronald Brown provided Washington with its margin of victory in the third annual Mayor Marion Barry Invitational amateur boxing tournament, which concluded Saturday night at Howard University's Burr Gymnasium.
But he did it from Howard University Hospital's emergency room. Brown earned his team's three title-clinching points despite having to withdraw from his final-round bout against Elton Wright because of an injury incurred in a freak accident early in the evening.
"He was coming into the gym through the back way," said Larry Williams, one of Washington's coaches. "The door back there is like one of those sliding garage doors and it was half way down. Well, Ronald came running up because it was raining and he slipped. He put a bad gash in his head."
That put Washington's chances in the hands of 156-pound Darrin Rivers, 165-pound Melvin Foster, 178-pound Mike Simon and 201-pound Jerry Ballard. Because three of New York's five finalists had won earlier, just one Washington loss would mean a tie for the team title that Washington had won in the first two years of this event.
Rivers gave Washington victory No. 1 simply by showing up. His scheduled opponent, Jerry Carlyle of Philadelphia, tore a shoulder ligament in the semifinals Friday night.
Foster, Williams' 16-year-old stepson, then earned a 3-2 win over Miami's Donald Gray.
Simon, a bronze medalist in last year's Goodwill Games, followed by devastating Chester Byrd of the Fort Bragg/Camp Lejeune, N.C., team. The fight was stopped at 1:03 of the second round.
Ballard then battered Steve Felton of Jersey City, N.J., around the ring before finally stopping him at 1:52 of the second round.
That gave Washington 21 points. (Five points were awarded to a team for a first place winner, three for second, one for third.) The three points Brown earned for finishing second in the super heavyweight division gave Washington a final total of 24 to New York's 22.
"I think the guys really won it for Ronald," Williams said. "His not being here I think made them fight a little tougher. Our guys just proved they know how to win. I'm so proud of them. I'm just sitting on top of the world."
Brown, however, was still sitting in the emergency room. "I'm feeling a lot better," said Brown, who, after receiving 11 stitches, was scheduled to be released last night. "I'm glad we won and that I was able to contribute."