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Noel Salwan Vs. #1 Rydell Booker

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Published on May 16, 2007

The reason why I posted this video has come to pass but it's gotten some hits so I'll leave it up for now. It's what makes USA amateur boxing fun. I got to fight 2 different USA #1 boxers during my time in the amateurs. This fight is against one of them in 1999, one of my last boxing matches. He was the #1 light heavyweight amateur in the United States and the Under 19 World Champion. He later went on to be the #1 heavyweight amateur in the United States and also carried a professional record of 23 wins and his only loss coming in a Heavyweight Championship elimination match (against James Toney). In other words: This guy is as good as they get. He stops opponents at will with his slick maneuvers and lightning punches. After winning a decision against me (The Northeast Ohio Champ) he handily stopped his next opponent, a champ from another area in the great lakes region.
It is customary to exchange well wishes or congratulations after the match and neither of us initiated the customary exchange. A few weeks later we ran into each other at the Eastern Olympic Trials and we both rushed to say hello. I wanted to give a delayed congratulations and it appeared that he wanted to express a thank you for giving him a hard fight. He told me that he had only two hard fights all way to the Championship final in Colorado, one from me and another from an Army gentleman.
Amateur boxing is a great sport. You can compete you heart out and it makes you appreciate your opponent for providing the opportunity. It's about digging deep and overcoming self limitations. Once you are in that ring all the running and training and sparring is on the line. It's go time. That's an amazing feeling and I'm glad I got to experience it. I was blessed to be the best boxer, in my weight class, from Northeast Ohio on two occasions, 1993 Golden Gloves Champ and 1999 Lake Erie Association Champ. Boxing requires a lot of time and I'm blessed that I was able to do it with full commitment at periods in my life. I had goals in work and education that were more valuable to me but I truly value my time in the gyms and in competition. I know many people who make boxing a top priority and I respect and admire their particular commitment.
It was an honor for me to represent my region in the US championships and Eastern Olympic trials. It would have been nice to capture the ultimate national prize but I know that I represented the competitive spirit of my sporting city well. Posting a loss is kind of odd by most standards. Certainly I can sift through my mother's videos and find matches where I won by decision or stoppage but that's not a point I'm interested in making. This video is of a well fought, tactical match against one of the best amateur boxers on the planet. That's it.
Boxing was a tool to develop at a time in life. Playing organized basketball or soccer develops competitive characteristics that last a lifetime. The tactical and gauging approach of Chess also develops characteristics. Boxing can be looked at in regards athletic and strategic. It all adds up to our own personal experiences and the lessons and value we draw from those experiences applying in forward motion. It is also about community. The friends and acquaintances I've made from the amateur boxing community are the most honorable and good hearted I could ever know. There are many other communities in my life: Volunteer communities, Faith Communities, Heritage Communities, Professional Communities, City Communities, Peer Communities. We are all mosaics of the people with whom we share experience and personal growth. All of these communities play a role in my life as I'm sure your communities play a role in your life.
Thanks for searching my name on Google and thanks for reading my thoughts.
Noel Salwan

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