LEWISTON — Amateur boxer Ilyas Bashir landed a key body blow to the stomach and immediately knew he had Canadian Riley Varlan on the ropes at the Lewiston Armory on Saturday night.

Bashir kept coming and delivered blow after blow, before putting away Varlan with a TKO to pick up his 10th career victory during a 12-card amateur boxing event that was billed as “Gettin Gritty in The City 2″ and featured boxers from Canada.

Lewiston-based Cugno Boxing Promotions staged the fights and there were several bouts that stirred a crowd of around 300 fans.

Glenn Cugno watched two of his boxers — Abigail Stratton and Crispin Kamundala — come away with victories against a pair of Canadians. Cugno’s Braden Littlefield lost to Daniel Marte in a split decision.

But it was Bashir who got the crowd’s attention with his swift moves and devastating blows to Varlan’s midsection. The Auburn native was excited to fight in Lewiston and not make a road trip.

“I opened the first round and I hit him with a straight body shot in the solar plex and all of sudden he started (struggling),” Bashir, who trains at the Portland Boxing Club and is sporting a 10-2 record, said. “The rest of the time, I was aiming for the body.


“I just want to thank Coach because it’s all Coach’s game play. I am doing the easy part getting in the ring.” 

That would be Portland Boxing Club owner Bob Russo, who just kept smiling as he discussed Bashir’s swift dispatch of Varlan.

“For one thing, he is super dedicated and committed to what he is doing,” Russo said. “He’s very tough. I mean, he looks thin, wispy, but he is very tough. The other thing is, he is smart and the smart boxers win. He is all about technique. 

“That body shot — he is a good body puncher, too. That was (Bashir’s) first open-class fight and that kid had twice as much experience as him, and (Bashir) blew him away. He is in fantastic shape. You can’t give him enough rounds in the gym to spar.”

Lewiston native Kamundala won by split decision against Canadian Josh Melivn in a three-round battle. He said he kept his distance and kept working his jab to fend off Melvin. 

“My coach said just punch, punch, punch,” Kamundala said. “My coach said I was in great shape and shouldn’t worry about getting tired.” 


Cugno said Kamundala managed to pull out a victory with some cool moves.

“He has some moves,” Cugno said. “He wasn’t as busy as I would like him to be. He spars a lot with pros, so he has got more of a pro style than an amateur style. He is trying to pick his shots and look pretty. (He is) looking like a professional and he needs to get back looking like an amateur, but he did a good job.”

Stratton and Stephanie Boyd went the distance before Stratton collected her second amateur victory. She pointed to her training for her success.

“It doesn’t matter who it is on the other side,” Stratton, of Augusta, said. “I train for just for the next person in line in my weight class. I am just very proud.”

“That was a tough fight,” Cugno said of Stratton’s bout. “It was a good fight. They were matched well.”

Littlefield shook off his disappointment and said it was a good fight between him and Marte.

“I felt like I landed more cleaner head punches, but I just let myself get on the ropes too much, and he was landing more of the body punches, scoring more points than I was,” Littlefield, 16, who attends Lawrence High School, said. “I just got tired, but it was a great fight.”

“He had a real tough fight,” Cugno said. “He has been out of the gym for a while. I mean, that was his first fight in a long time. He’s knocking the rust off … and we’ll see he where goes from there.”

In other fights: Yeniel Francois defeated Alex Theriault; Axel Lopez beat Nate Evans; Mike Gaudreau beat Elliot Dejeus; Matthew Nguyen defeated Max Kennedy; Abbas Ngoboka defeated Jaquan Davis; Gabriel Mercedes defeated Albert Porter; Wade Faria defeated Orion Clacher and Lamin Cotten knocked out Henry Rivera.

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