Toka Kahn-Clary: the New Pride of Providence
By Stephen Tobey of MaxBoxing (Jan 16, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. – In each of the last two Olympics, a fighter from Providence, R.I. was on the U.S. team. In 2004, it was Jason Estrada. In 2008, it was Demetrius Andrade. Now Toka Kahn-Clary hopes to follow in their footsteps and make the 2012 team.

Kahn-Clary, an 18-year-old high school senior at E3 Academy, took the first step toward making the 2012 team on Saturday, winning a decision over Isaiah Melendez of East Hartford, Conn. at 132 pounds in the USA Boxing New England vs. Connecticut Box-Offs at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

A 2010 national Golden Gloves champion, he also earned the evening’s outstanding boxer award.

“I was a little overwhelmed with all my family and friends here,” Kahn-Clary said. “Now I get to move forward."

The winners of Saturday’s bouts advance to the regional tournament in Lake Placid, N.Y., next month with the winners from that tournament going to the nationals in Colorado Springs, Colo. in June.

Kahn-Clary trains in Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket, R.I. with Peter Manfredo, Sr. Manfredo was in Key West, Fla. working with his son, Peter Jr., and Edwin Rodriguez. “I called him and he was happy,” Khan-Clary said. “Peter won; Edwin won and I won.” He’s also worked with Manfredo, Jr. on occasion.

“He messes with me,” Kahn-Clary said. “He tells me what I do wrong and how to fix it.” He’s also crossed paths with Estrada and Andrade on occasion.

“I’ve sparred with ‘Boo Boo’ [Andrade],” he said. “He’s fast and slick. Jason and ‘Boo Boo’ have both taught me how to be humble.”

Estrada and Andrade, as well as Manfredo and Matt Godfrey, have helped establish Providence‘s reputation as a place that can produce top-notch fighters.

“Rhode Island is a little state,” Kahn-Clary said. “When I go to the nationals, they know Rhode Island isn’t there to play.”

Ultimately, Kahn-Clary hopes to make the trip to London in 2012. “That’s my goal,” he said. “I just have to keep working hard.”

Gerald Schifone of Brockton, Mass. out-pointed David Wilson of Meriden, Conn. at 165 pounds.

At heavyweight, Chris Aiello of Fall River, Mass. outpointed Ian Johnson of Hartford, Conn.

In the 152-pound bout, Jon Smith of Cranston, R.I. overcame a standing-eight count in the first round and two tackles to defeat Jair Ramos of Waterbury, Conn.

At 123 pounds, Tremaine Williams of New Haven, Conn. decisioned James Perella of Mansfield, Mass.

In the 119-pound women’s division, Amanda Pavone of Burlington, Mass. won a decision against Nephateria Miller of New Haven, Conn.

There were two non-tournament bouts. Luis Sanchez of New Britain, Conn. defeated James Quirk of Portland, Maine and the U.S. Coast Guard at 152. In a 132-pound novice contest, Justin Morales of New Bedford, Mass. decisioned Jeff Bobo, a first-class Cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

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