CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The outcome of last night's semifinal bout in the Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions was never in doubt for Qa'id Muhammad.
The 112-pounder from Ventnor, N.J., grabbed a tremendous lead over Stephon Young of St. Louis in the first and second rounds. Muhammad was able to back off in the third and fourth rounds but finished with a flurry of rapid-fire combos to the body and head, winning by unanimous decision at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Muhammad, who fights for the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves franchise, earned his third win over Young in three tries. In tonight's final, he will face 23-year-old Aaron Alafa of Visalia, Calif.
"I was proud to see him win," said Abdur Rahim Muhammad, the 18-year-old's father and coach. "He showed patience, he showed his skills, and showed that he should be here."
Alafa, who defeated Chattanooga's Joseph Francisco last night, has a few years on Muhammad and is a two-time Golden Gloves champion, in 2001 and again in 2006.
In a 141-pound semifinal, Philadelphian Tahree Carroll recovered after being battered by the straight lefts of Jessie Vargas in the first round but could not make up the difference and lost by a 4-1 decision.
Vargas, who is from Las Vegas, has about a four-inch height advantage over the diminutive Carroll. In the second round, Carroll got in tight and was able to hide from Vargas' reach, but that made it harder for him to deliver good punches. Carroll looked strongest in the fourth, taking control with a combo to Vargas' face that put him on the ropes, but it was not enough.
The championship bouts begin at 7 p.m.