Posted at: 04/28/2013 10:50 PM
Updated at: 04/29/2013 1:34 PM
By: Dan Williamson
Duluth, Minn. - The word "champion" can mean different things to different people.
"Having an unrestricted path towards success," says Al Sands.
"I tried my best," says Gary Eyer.
"They have conducted themselves like champions through this camp and Al and Gary are both great professional boxers and great role models in the community," says Promoter/Trainer Zach Walters.
For Sands, he's had to wait as a scheduled shot for the vacant Minnesota Cruiserweight Title last February fell through. But, opportunity came knocking again to fight for that title against Lucas St. Clair (2-2) of Moorhead and the wait turned out to be worth it.
"It is a great feeling and it has been a long time coming, but we work hard and we have something to show for it," says Sands.
St. Clair can hit! "Like a truck (laughs), y'know," says Sands.
But, Sands sent him to the canvas about halfway through the first round and moments later, Sands stopped him by knockout.
"Bring the noise, I am ready for anybody who is ready to come and earn it," says Sands.
Eyer was recently away from boxing for military commitments.
"This is only my third fight back and I just got a good opportunity," says Eyer.
He'd face Blake Franklin (10-6-2) from Shreveport, Louisiana for the vacant North American Boxing Union Lightweight Title.
Franklin is no stranger to championships, having won the World Boxing Foundation's US Welterweight Title last October.
"He is a good fighter and he had good combinations and he is a good, slick boxer," says Eyer.
Long time trainer Chuck Horton came out of retirement to work with both Sands and Eyer.
"I like being part of it and I like being the wise guy and to come in and the older guy and help them with big fights," says Horton.
This big fight went the distance and would be decided by a split decision.
"It was a close fight, but I do feel that I won and I usually don't get the decisions," says Eyer.
For trainer and promoter Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters, his stable now includes two titles.
"One at a world regional level and one at a state level. Both of these guys are going places and I am thrilled to be part of their careers," says Walters.