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Firefighter, coach captures Masters Division boxing crown

Sometimes, those who teach can also do.

For seven years, Los Lunas’ David Adame has been coaching at the TNT PAL boxing club in his hometown – though he has no background in the sport and had never had a boxing match.

Never until Saturday, that is. In a Masters Division bout at the USA Boxing Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championships, Adame, 39, defeated Vernon Walter of Havelock, N.C., via second-round RSC (referee stopped contest).

The tournament was staged at the Albuquerque Convention Center for the second straight year. But in 2017, there was no Masters Division.

When he learned there would be Masters competition this year, he said after his bout, “I thought, hey, why not try it?”

His bout didn’t begin particularly well. Walter peppered him with jabs early in round one.

“I was trying to get the feel for him a little,” Adame said. “He’s a strong guy … I wanted to take my time just a little bit. I didn’t want to rush in and make a mistake and get stopped.

“I started to figure him out halfway through that first round and just kind of took over from there.”

After his victory, Adame was enthusiastically congratulated by his young fighters from TNT PAL.

“It’s fun that my kids came down to watch from the club,” said Adame, an Albuquerque firefighter. “What better way for them to see their coach in action, not just saying the words and telling them what to do but performing it as well.”

If the tournament returns to Albuquerque next year and if there’s a Masters Division, count him in.

“Absolutely,” he said.

DISPUTED DECISION: Albuquerque’s Sharahya-Taina Moreu lost Saturday night to Cleveland’s Morrelle McCane by split decision in the Elite Division Female 165-pound title bout.

After the bout, Yoruba Moreu, his daughter’s coach, said McCane’s coach told him he felt the decision should have gone to the Albuquerquean.

That’s certainly how the Moreus saw it.

“It wasn’t close at all,” Yoruba Moreu said. “(But) you win some and lose some.”

Sharahya-Taina said she was keenly disappointed but refused to be discouraged.

“I don’t know what to say anymore about this,” she said. “I love to be boxing, but there’s a lot of politics.

“I thought I really pressured her and got the best (of the action). I don’t know, whatever. I guess, just go back to the gym.”

The Journal scored the fight two rounds to one for Moreu, with McCane taking round two. In terms of scoring blows landed, Moreu appeared to have a decided edge.

For Moreu, all certainly is not lost. As an Elite Division runner-up, she automatically qualifies for December’s Elite National Championships in Salt Lake City.

“We’ll see her (McCane) at nationals,” Yoruba Moreu said.

Rio Rancho 152-pounder Jocelyn Shalayla Shade, Moreu’s primary sparring partner, lost her Elite Division title match by split decision to Jill Stafford of La Mesa, Calif. But Shade also has qualified for nationals.

THE PROS: In San Antonio, Texas, Albuquerque welterweight Hector Muñoz lost by fourth-round TKO Saturday night to Lithuanian prospect Eimantas Stanionis (5-0, four knockouts).

On Facebook, Muñoz (25-20-1, but 7-19 in his last 26 bouts) posted that he’d promised his wife he would retire if he lost on Saturday.

If he so chooses, he’ll remain in high demand as an aggressive, high-pressure sparring partner. He’s worked with, among others, Terence Crawford, Jamel Herring, Danny Garcia, Danny O’Connor, Adrien Broner and Lamont Peterson.