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Tubandt has five Class A boxers ready for region tournament March 30-31

Photos by Brian Hansel Kevin Harper is a defending Upper Midwest champ at 114.1 / 3
John Johnson trades punches during a January fight at the Wadena Armory.2 / 3
Photo provided T.J. Steward, left, Cole Cottrell and Jose Perez will be three Class A boxers fighting under the Wadena banner March 30-31 in the Region IV tournament at the Wadena Armory.3 / 3

Wadena Boxing Coach Bob Tubandt will be sending five of his Class A boxers into the ring March 30-31 when the Region IV tournament is held at the Wadena Armory.

Putting their boxing skills to the test will be Kevin Harper, John Johnson, T.J. Steward, Cole Cottrell and Jose Perez.

Harper is the defending Upper Midwest champ. Tubandt called his 114-pounder from New York Mills a "good, tall, straight" boxer in the ring.

Johnson is also a New York Mills boxer who saw action in last year's region tournament. Johnson will be boxing at 141.

"He's a much improved boxer," Tubandt said. "He's got better boxing skills."

Tubandt has one of the area's veteran boxers in Steward.

"He's always a threat," Tubandt said of his 152-pound fighter. "He's a busy boxer. He comes out to go all three rounds. He doesn't stand and look at you."

Cottrell will be boxing for the first time in the open class. The second-year boxer is a 165-pound southpaw who Tubandt considers "very much improved from last year."

Perez will be shooting for his second straight Region IV superheavyweight title.

"He hits like mule," Tubandt said. "He's very young, very fast and very strong from a young superheavyweight."

Tubandt is preparing for two 7:30 p.m. bouts. The Wadena team will be joined by boxers from Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Willmar, Leech Lake, White Earth, Moorhead and St. Cloud. Fighters will draw their opponents March 30. The Region IV winners advance to the Upper Midwest tournament.

Junior, novice and female bouts will also be held during the two days of boxing.