BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — After 16 months training, Thomas Curtis of South Thomaston came out swinging in his long-awaited boxing debut.

Curtis, a 2016 Oceanside High School graduate and three-sport athlete during his time with the Mariners, made his amateur boxing debut on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the 25th annual Rocky Marciano Tournament of Champions.

The debut was a successful one as he won by technical knockout (TKO) in the second round over Jeffrey DeJong of Zola’s Boxing Gym in Charlton, Mass.

It was the debut bout for the fighters.

“It was an amazing experience,” Curtis said. “I haven’t been that excited for something in my entire life and that includes a conference [football] championship at Husson [University] and a [Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference] baseball championship in high school. The mixture of the soldout crowd, all the hard work paying off and being one step closer to my goal, I couldn’t keep myself together.”

The event, put on my Carriello Boxing Gym in Brockton, Mass. and held at Bridgewater Vets Club in Bridgewater, Mass., is held on four separate days to determine winners in each division. It had separate cards in other divisions on Oct. 23 and Nov. 13 and will hold its final card on Saturday, Dec. 18, where champions of each division will be crowned.

Thus, Curtis will turn his attention to Dec. 18, where he will box for the super heavyweight (203 pounds and heavier) division championship against Pat Delehanty out of Bartolo’s Boxing in Winthrop, Mass.

Curtis said: “Rocky Marciano is a legend and it’s an honor to be fighting in a tournament in his memory.”

The former three-sport athlete at OHS added, “Before my grandfather [Bill Curtis] passed I promised him I would become a boxing champion and this is my chance to make that happen.”

Curtis fights out of Rolfe Boxing Club, run by Justin Rolfe, a Fairfield fighter who is the American Boxing Federation (ABF) Atlantic Heavyweight Champion.

Previously, Curtis trained at O’Leary’s Boxing/Fitness, also in Waterville and also with Rolfe.

Curtis said he was confident going into Saturday’s fight and his work between the ropes showed that.

“I train with the best around,” he said. “Not many people can say they spar with a pro champion like Justin on a consistent basis. I hope to go out there and make my team, family and community proud.”

Curtis got DeJong pushed against the ropes midway through the second round and hit him with a flurry of combinations, including a right hand that dazed DeJong and prompted the referee to step in. Moments later the referee called the fight and Curtis was declared the winner.

“My opponent was extremely tough,” Curtis said. “I had planned to come out patient, but the adrenaline hit and I rushed him right off trying to see how he’d react and he came out swinging. We work really hard when it comes to speed and I feel my uppercut speed made a huge difference in the fight. It opened up some holes for me to execute.”

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