One night, three knock out wins for the Iron Pit Fight Team
Iron Pit Fight Team fighters Chuck McCloughan, left, Sparky Lively, Auttumn Norton, Chad Brewer and Mike Morales pose together with their belts before working out at Iron Horse Gym on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Aarason Perry (not pictured), Norton and Morales each won fights on Saturday, Aug. 24. Perry is still undefeated, 4-0, Norton won her first title belt and Morales won his first professional heavyweight fight. Photo by Maddie Musante
Sept. 11 — The Iron Pit Fight Team is enjoying the sweet taste of victory after three of its fighters won their fights Saturday, Aug. 24.
The fight team, based out of Iron Horse Gym in Susanville, sent Auttumn Norton and Aarason Perry to fight at the Reno Events Center, while Mike Morales traveled to San Francisco to compete in his first professional heavyweight fight.
Perry took on Jerry Hickman at the Ultimate Reno Combat 43 and won the matchup with a TKO in less than three minutes during the first round. According to Rudy Valentine, coach of the Iron Pit Fight Team, Perry was originally scheduled to face another fighter, but was matched up with Hickman when his original opponent dropped out due to family issues. Neither Perry nor Valentine knew what to expect from Hickman, as his record was 0-0 going in against Perry.
“They said he didn’t have a lot of experience, but when he got in the ring it was obvious that he had quite a bit of experience,” Valentine said, “It’s hard to track these amateurs and the experience they have, so it’s all about training hard. Luckily, you know, we train real hard.”
All the hard work and training paid off for Perry who is still undefeated, 4-0.
“It was a real tough fight for him in the beginning, but he ended up catching the kid with some good shots, hurt him, then finished him with a knee,” Valentine said.
At the same event, Auttumn Norton fought against Brieta Carpenter, who had previously been undefeated, for a title belt. Norton came away with the belt, knocking out Carpenter in 18 seconds.
“(Carpenter) was actually on a website — they predicted, like, 75 to 25 that she going to win the fight,” Valentine said.
According to him, both fighters came out aggressively. Carpenter began the fight by catching Norton with a right hand that bloodied her nose, but Norton recovered quickly, responding with a right hand that nearly dropped Carpenter to the ground.
“She staggered her backwards and hit her with another combination and with a leg kick that dropped her to her hands and then Autumn kind of swarmed her and caught her with a couple left hooks and then she stumbled out of that and then (Auttumn) threw her right hand to finish her … it was real exciting,” Valentine said.
Norton now boasts a title belt and a 4-1 record. She may be competing in another title fight in November.
While Norton and Perry were hard at work in Reno, Morales represented the Iron Pit Fight Team in his first professional heavyweight fight at the Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. Morales’ opponent, Josue “Junior” Lugo, was predicted to win the fight and had been training at a well-known gym in the Central Valley with a UFC welterweight fighter. However, Lugo’s reputation and training methods didn’t intimate Morales, who won the fight in the second round with a technical knockout/doctor stoppage.
A few weeks before the fight, Morales said one of his strategies in heavyweight fights is to be faster and more agile than his opponents because he is normally smaller.
“I just work on trying to be faster and more on point than they are because they’re going to be bigger and a little slower,” Morales said.
According to Valentine, it’s a strategy that worked well against Lugo.
“(Lugo) was a big guy and everything … to be honest with you, if they ever rematch, I think (Morales) will go through him a lot quicker than he did … the guy was used to bullying guys because he’s a big guy, and the pace of the fight was too much for him,” Valentine said, “(Morales) is very agile, very quick for heavyweight. All these guys, they try to use their weight to bully guys around and stuff and he pushes the pace to where it’s real difficult for them to keep that pace up.”
Valentine, who attended Norton and Perry’s fight in Reno, says he was confident in Morales getting the win.
“He works hard, he’s a great kid and he’s a got a heart as big as his body,” he said.
Overall, the night was nothing short of a whopping success for the Iron Pit Fight Team, which now boasts a record of 353-43.
“It was a great night for us. We did really well … I’m just really proud of all of them,” Valentine said.
After the triumphant night of knockouts, the team will continue to train hard for future fights. Norton plans to share her love of MMA with others by teaching a women’s kickboxing/MMA fitness class at Iron Horse Gym twice a week, while continuing to hone her skills in the gym.
For more information on the Iron Pit Fight Team, call Iron Horse Gym at 251-4985.