Herrera moves on to final

For a sport associated with brute force and personal endurance, Astoria’s Justine Herrera seems to counterbalance the misogynistic side of boxing with an irreverent attitude in the ring to match her personality.
The 30-year-old native Virginian, who works in administration at Columbia University, took up the sport three years ago as a way to keep in shape. Regardless of her initial motivation, Herrera has proven she belongs in the sport. She reached the finals of the Daily News Golden Gloves after her second-round TKO of Jill Carrabus at the 154-pound weight class last Wednesday night at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.
Carrabus’s corner threw in the towel with 38 seconds left in the second round after Herrera unleashed a barrage of punches, resulting in a bloody nose for her opponent.
“All my family came out tonight to support me,” said Herrera, a 2006 runner-up in the Golden Gloves. [My family is] usually very surprised because I’m so quiet but I guess this is a good way to get my aggression out.”
Herrera moved to Astoria in 2002 to become closer to other family members. She then began boxing solely to maintain superb fitness and now manages to work out four days a week for two hours at a time at famed Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn - the same place where 125-pounder Marcos Hernandez trains.
Hernandez gave up plenty of reach to Edilberto Barrizonte, yet the shorter fighter walked away with a 4-1 victory to advance to the finals.
The most anticipated and peculiar result of the night featured Joseph Smith Jr. and Stephen Frank in their 178-pound semifinal. The two exchanged heavy punches and displayed nimble athleticism for two bulky fighters over the course of the first round. However, that was before Smith tagged Frank with a solid left that dropped his opponent to the mat. Frank received a standing eight count before Smith charged across the ring with a vicious combo just as the bell sounded for the round.
The attack appeared to coincide with the end of the round, but not only did the referee not disqualify Smith for the questionable shots, he awarded him the victory via TKO after Frank wobbled momentarily.
The apparent victim of a bogus decision, Frank and his corner men dashed away from the ring prior to the public address announcement but Brian Adams, the amateur tournament’s director, raced toward Frank’s people and convinced them to stay despite the disputed call.
“I would have liked to keep going,” said Smith, a native of Shirley, Long Island. “[Frank] told the ref he wasn’t hurt.”
Smith’s trainer, Eddie Murphy, who works with the pugilist in Veteran’s Memorial Gym, was quite despondent last year as his prized stud lost in the finals of the Golden Gloves while he was away on business. With Murphy devoted completely to Smith, he predicts the fighter will earn the Sugar Ray Robinson Award for the best overall fighter in the Golden Gloves competition.
“He can knock anyone down,” Murphy said about Smith, who has won three of his four fights this year in the Golden Gloves by knockout. “He is the next Kelly Pavlik.”
In other fights, Kathleen Walsh controlled her fight against Nicole Ruiz by scoring a 5-0 majority decision. Nisa Rodriguez utilized her six-foot frame and pounded Kristen Ferreri before the ref stopped the bout at the 1:48 mark of the first round. Emmanuel Gonzalez demonstrated how to create space against an opponent by landing crucial blows and avoiding serious shots in a 5-0 win against Fernando Sandoval in a 125-pound bout.

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