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Local fighters competing in PAL championships

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MASSENA - Three fighters from the Standing Rock Box Club are looking to make an impact on the national stage next week, when they travel to Toledo, Ohio to compete in the National Police Athletic League Boxing Championships.

Rorohonhakies aka Lolo, 15, of Massena, Michelle Cook, 20, of Massena and Ronnie Robidoux, 17, of Akwesasne will all be leaving for Toledo this weekend.

Their trainer, Atsiaktonkie aka Doogie, who owns and operates the club, will also be making the trip.

“This is one of the most prestigious tournaments there is,” he said. “If you finish in the top three here, you get an invitation to tryout for the national team.”

Those tryouts, he said, will be held this spring in either California or Colorado.

Lolo, who is Doogie’s son may only be 15 years old, but he’s already been boxing for five years.

“He won the New York State Regional Championship in his first fight when he was only 10 years old. The next year, in only his second fight, he knocked out a 15 year old while fighting at the New York State Fair,” he said.

That fight, Doogie said, earned Lolo a reputation across the region as a tough fighter, who will take on anyone regardless of their age and experience.

He’s been fighting kids older than him since he got started,” Doogie said, adding in Toledo, Lolo, who is a three-time New York State Champion in his age and weight division, will be entered in the 15-16, 132 to 138 pound division.

While it will be nice to fight people his age, Doogie said that doesn’t mean the trip is going to be an easy one.

“These are the best of the best,” he said, referring to the fighters who will competing in that tournament.

That being said both Doogie and Lolo said they’re confident.

“He’s fought everyone from national champions, losing by a split decision, to kids three years older than him,” Doogie said.

“I think I should do pretty good,” Lolo said, adding his interest in boxing stemmed from video games and watching fights on TV.

Ms. Cook will be fighting in the 17-34, 118 to 125 pound division, and although she only has seven fights under her belt Doogie said he’s confident of her chances in the tournament.

“In her first fight, she won the New York State Championship last year. In her second fight, she beat the two-time Ring Magazine National Champion who was 20 pounds heavier than her,” he said. “That girls had like 30 fights.

Ms. Cook also holds a victory over the five-time Canadian national champion and the only fight she’s ever lost came three weeks after giving birth.

“I like to train and stay in shape, and I like to box,” Ms. Cook said. “I was always a fighter, so I decided to start boxing.”

As a teenager, Ms. Cook said she could tell that her life was headed down the wrong path, and she credits boxing for helping to turn her life around.

“It really straightened me out,” she said. “I was going down a bad road.”

While a successful showing in Toledo would earn her an audition with the U.S. national team, Ms. Cook said she’s just looking for a solid showing.

“This could give me a name,” she said. “It would be good for when I go pro,” something she’s hoping to do this summer after getting a few more fights under her belt.

“We want to see how she does against fighters with 100 fights,” Doogie said. “We know how she does against people with 60.”

Mr. Robidoux will also be fighting in the 17-34 age bracket, although he will be competing in the 141 to 152 welterweight division.

As is the case with Lolo and Ms. Cook, Doogie said he likes Mr. Robidoux’s chances.

“He’s beat the two- or three-time Canadian national champion,” Doogie said, adding that fighter was an alternate for their Olympic team with more than 130 fights on his resumé.

“Ronnie only had 13 or 15 fights at the time and he pounded him into the ground.”

Mr. Robidoux actually began boxing after visiting the gym with his cousin.

“I was just going to do a year of boxing and then go to MMA, but I got hooked on boxing,” Mr. Robidoux said. “I love the adrenaline and the training.”

Heading into the tournament and what is surely his biggest fight so far, Mr. Robidoux admitted to having some nerves.

“It’s pretty nerve-wrecking. I’m nervous, but excited,” he said. “I think I’ve got a good shot.”

While events in Toledo begin on Saturday with clinics, Doogie said no actually bouts will be held until Monday. Once fighting begins, he noted bouts, from the tournament will be streamed live on-line at www.usaboxing.org.

“I think all three of them have a really good chance,” he said. “Lolo is super skilled with a tough punch. Ronnie is super skilled and Michelle is just deadly. They’re all really hard hitters.”

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