In this Oct. 20, 2017 photo, Alonzo Leisholmn Jr., right, celebrates his win against Nathan Herbig in their MMA fight at the AK Beat Down at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this Oct. 20, 2017 photo, Alonzo Leisholmn Jr., right, celebrates his win against Nathan Herbig in their MMA fight at the AK Beat Down at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Season’s beatings: Crop of green fighters to test mettle at Beatdown

Female belt holder Carney still looking for challenger

Veterans and novices seem to ebb and flow in Juneau’s small fight scene. For Juneau fight promoters AK Beatdown, a change of tide might arrive Friday. Experienced pugilists and mixed martial arts practitioners are on their way out, making room for a flood of novices, according to announcer, promoter and organizer Jamiann Hasselquist.

Seven “solid” fights and possibly a few others are scheduled to start at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall).

Most contenders are young, hungry and unproven.

“The veteran people start falling out, and now the new faces are starting to come forward,” Hasselquist said. “I like to call them greenies.”

It’s such a mean green crop, Hasselquist said they couldn’t pick a headliner. AK Beatdown is a stepping stone to larger promotions in Anchorage and elsewhere, she said, and Friday could be the coming out party for some promising local talent.

[Local fighter makes statement with quick defeat of Anchorage fighter at AK Beatdown]

AK Beatdown hoped — and still hopes, even just hours before the bell rings — to find a challenger for 150-pound female belt holder Victoria Carney, who expected to defend her title in a headlining fight Friday, Hasselquist said.

But nobody wants to fight Carney. Promoters looked around the state for a challenger, but Carney is “too scary,” said Hasselquist, who herself has experience in the ring.

Carney, who trains with Capital City Judo, made quick work of her last Beatdown opponent in a fight last year.

“She’s a beast. There’s not too many women who scare me, and I’ll tell you what, this one scares me,” Hasselquist said.

Two of those seven fights will follow mixed martial arts rules: thin gloves, kicks and wrestling are all allowed.

Friday’s only visiting fighter, Hoonah’s Jose Rodriquez, will fight Terrence Wheat at 160 pounds in an MMA bout. John Lovey, 230 pounds, and Patryck William, 260 pounds, will throw hands in Friday’s second MMA match.

Fritz Ropati and Brian Lauth will square off in a 200-pound boxing match. Ropati won his only AK Beatdown event with an electrifying knockout. Lauth has several bouts to his name and comes off a loss.

Brothers Darrel and Erick Whisenant will both take to the ring for boxing matches. Darrel will face Seth Elisoff at 170 pounds, while Erick takes on Joe Alley at 160 pounds.

Heavyweights Michael Pitaro and James “The Beast” Roberts will pen the next violent chapter in the history of their “friendly feud,” Hasselquist said. The pair fought last in a grappling match, the first in Beatdown history, earlier this year.

William Milton and Cordell Searls (weights not available) round out the boxing card.

The next AK Beatdown event will be Feb. 16, 2019.

Friday’s fights

Boxing:

Erick Whisenant vs. Joe Alley, 160 lbs

Seth Elisoff vs. Darrel Whisenant, 170 lbs

Fritz Ropati vs. Brian Lauth, 200 lbs

Michael Pitaro vs. James “The Beast” Roberts, heavyweight

William Milton vs. Cordell Searls (no weight listed)

MMA:

Jose Rodriquez (Hoonah) vs. Terrence Wheat, 160 lbs

John Lovey, 230 lbs. vs. Patryck William, 260 lbs.

*Female belt holder Victoria Carney, 150 lbs, still looking for challenger.

Know and Go:

What: AK Beatdown

Where: Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall

When: Doors open at 7 p.m., fights start at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, 2018

Tickets: $25 general, $40 ringside can be purchased at McGivney’s Sports Bar and Grill, Hearthside Books or the JACC before the fight ($10 more at the door).


• Kevin Gullufsen is a freelance writer in Juneau. Contact him at kevingullufsen@gmail.com.