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Fairbanks police officer wins Golden Gloves match

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Fairbanks police officer Pearl Turney laid down the law in Tacoma, Wash., in late January and she used her fists to do it.

Turney came back from Washington with a new Golden Gloves leather jacket with a championship patch for winning the district's 156-pound women's boxing title.

Turney has only been a member of the Fairbanks Boxing Club for nine months, but she won one of the toughest matches in the Northwest District Golden Gloves tournament that featured fighters from Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

''My fight was very close, very intense with a lot of punches thrown,'' Turney said. ''It's probably the toughest fight I've ever had, even including some of the sparring I've done with the guys. She was just so quick.''

After three stirring two-minute rounds Turney wasn't sure who had won the championship bout.

''When we got done I went to have my gloves taken off and (FBC teammate) Megan (Gerson) was in my corner and I told her I didn't think I had won. She said 'I think you did,''' Turney said. ''We went to the center of the ring and they had this big long spiel about how this was the closest match of the tournament and went on and on so that even if I had lost I would've felt OK. It was decided by a point and I won.''

Going into the ring as a police officer hasn't made any difference in how her opponents have approached fights against her, Turney said.

''In Kansas City the girl I fought was also a police officer, so there wasn't any intimidation there,'' Turney said of a previous bout. ''This gal in Tacoma I didn't talk to, so I don't think she had any idea what I do.''

Turney was one of four Fairbanks Boxing Club members to attend the Golden Gloves tournament, but the only one to come back with a title. Gerson fought at 165 pounds, Chris Holm fought in the men's 156-pound division and Vince Zamora fought in the super heavyweight division.

Gerson ended up placing second to a boxer named Willow Ryan from Washington.

''I got outpointed, but I feel good about the way I fought,'' Gerson said. ''That was my second fight and I felt I was technically improved from my first so that was good.''

Gerson's first fight was in a tournament held at Lathrop High School last year, which she won.

Gerson and Turney thought they might end up having to face each other in the Golden Gloves tournament.

''They were going to move me up a class,'' Turney said. ''But then we had another fighter at 156.''

''We've had some tough sparring matches and it would've been a good fight, but it is hard going in there against a good friend. In a real fight you have to take it to another level, and then Pearl would've taken it to another level too and it would've been painful for both of us,'' Gerson said.

While Turney doesn't envy the competition Zamora faces, she was jealous of one benefit Zamora receives by fighting in the super heavyweight competition.

''He doesn't have to worry about making weight,'' Turney said. ''We went to Olive Garden down there and he was eating everything. It was just killing me.''

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Distributed by The Associated Press



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