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May 28, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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I CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, May 28, 2015 SECTION 2 SPORTS up By AL STOVER Staff Reporter Cheney residents who Walk by or through Sut- ' ton Park in the afternoon may notice professional boxer Daryl Gardner running laps around the block or hitting the mitts in the pavilion. Gardner is preparing for his May 30 rematch against Jason Davis at the Emerald Greens Casino in Tacoma, Wash. The first fight between Gardner and Davis was on March 28 at the same venue• Gardner, who had taken the fight on three weeks notice, caught Davis with a couple of clean rights, then knocked him down in the first round. As the fight went on, Gardner became winded and Davis started coming back, enough for the judges to ruleit a draw. After the fight, Gardner went to the doctor's room where the seed for the rematch was planted. "This guy (Davis) was mad," Gardner said, "He was screaming 'you know what, let's do a rematch•' The matchmaker standing next to me thought I had won the fight• He asked if I wanted a rematch•" Gardner has trained at Sutton Park with former professional boxer and Cheney resident Nalo Leal for the last year and a half. He currently wOrks at All Pak Containers in Cheney, and used to live at the Reno Nugget Apartments• He recently moved to a house close to Spokane with his girlfriend and is expecting a child this summer. "A lot of people will come up and talk with Nalo and me while we're training," Gardner said. "Sut- ton Park is a big area and the pavilion provides us with shade and protects us from the rain and other elements• Gardner, 32, started boxing 10 years ago while he was living in Monticello, Ark. One day he saw a flyer that read, "Fight Night tournament, winner takes $500." He purchased a pair of gloves, dug out his father's training bag and started training himself. continued from page 1 view. "I hope they do it sooner than later• We all do. Our fanbase does." Others have been questioning McClendon's recent shifting of the bat- ting order, moving left- handed Logan Morrison to the seventh spot in the lineup. Morrison is seventh on the team in batting (•234). One recent experi- ment that seems to be working for Seattle is Brad Miller,.who began the season as the starting shortstop after Chris Tay- lor broke his wrist during spring training. After Miller made four field- ing errors, Taylor was called up to the starting position. Miller was put in a "super-utility role" and has played in vari- ous positions, including the outfield. He earned the "AL Player of the Week" honors earlier this month. The Mariners have experienced other posi- tives early in their season, most notably Cruz. After Cruz signed with the Mariners in 2014, critics questioned if he would be an asset to the team and cited his age and previous use of performance enhanc- ing drugs as reasons for their doubt• Not only has Cruz delivered at bat - currently leading the American League in batting (.343 average), home runs (17) and RBIs (35), but also he's getting more playing time in the outfield.. Cruz seemed to be Photo by AI Stover Professional boxer Daryl Gardner, who works at All Pak Containers in Cheney, spends his afternoons training at Sutton Park. "In the tournament, in the first round, my opponent's corner threw in the towel," Gardner said. "I won the second fight by knockout. My fine with the move, say- out, becoming the fourth- ing that"DH (designated youngest player to reach hitter) is boring." that milestone. Another Mariner who It's still early in the is doing well in his first season for the Mariners. season with the team is They'll will get plenty of Happ, who is 3-1 on the chances in the summer mound and is becom- and early fall to move ing one of Seattle's most up the AL West ladder. consistent starters behind I don't think they'll win Hernandez. every game, but there's And let's not forget still hope for a playoff King Felix, who is 7q. berth• On May 10 against the AIStovercanbereached Oakland Athletics, he re- at al@cheneyfreepress. corded his 2,000th strike- com. third opponent didn't want to fight me and I won my fourth fight by decision." Gardner started sparring with professional boxer Willie Simpson and later Jim Poole. He moved to Spokane and began working with the Welliver brothers - Rick, Chauncy and Dewey - at the Spokane Boxing Club. It was there he met Leal, who had started an amateur club at the gym. "T h i s g u y In 2012, Gardner made his professional debut (Davis) was against John Jay Mount mad. He was and finished his oppo- nent in 93 seconds• He screaming'you won only one of his next know what, six fights before his first let's do a re- match against Davis. One thing Gardner has learned match.'" is boxing takes a lot of dis- Cheney boxer cipline and training. Daryl Gardner "You've got to be will- ing to tough it out," Gard- ner said. "In the pros, you don't have head gear. It's like being in a street fight, 'exceptthese guys are trained." After moving to Cheney, Gardner met with Leal at Safeway and the two started training together• Although Leal recognizes Gardner's strengths, he is working on adding "style" tohis fight game. "We're working on little changes," Leal said. "He's not a Floyd Mayweather. He's not a defen- sive fighter• Daryl has a tendency to attract people because he tends to knock people's heads off." Gardner feels he's gotten "10 times better" since he started training with Leal. With more prepara- tion under his belt, he said the match with Davis will be a "better fight" this time. As for his goals in boxing, Gardner just wants to leave his mark on the sport. "If I would have stuck with boxing, I would have been one those guys with winning records," Gardner said. "In the short time that I've been in boxing, it's not that bad, but I want to do as much as I can." Al Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress. com. Denny's Harvest Foods proudly sponsors Medical Lake• CARDINAL Athlete of the Week / Noah Kroeze & Domenic Rehm Track Denny's We Honestly Caret 299-3251 Athlete of the Week - Track Ledi l Lake Owl I harmacy Cheney Athletes of the Week from the Cheney Federal Credit Union Co "a ltga oH, 0 to the 2015 Cheney Federal Credit Union Chen 520 First Street, Cheney 509-235-6533 In Medical Lake call: 509-299-6533 Everyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in the Cheney and Medical Lake School Districts is eligible to join Cheney Federal Credit Union. Call, click or come in to find out more. Lady B lackhawks on a great and memorable season/