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Ring return

Sonya Lamonakis is getting back in the ring for her first boxing match since suffering her first professional loss in April.

It’s not exactly the bout the Turners Falls native was hoping to prepare for, however, as she will still have to wait to get her illusive first title shot.

Lamonakis will step into the ring for a scheduled six-round bout against Taren Pennell on Aug. 14 at BB King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.

Lamonakis had hoped she would be preparing for a title bout in the fall but that had to take a backseat for the time being after losing a controversial bout to Martha Salazar in California on April 13. The reason for the controversy was that the women fought three-minute rounds instead of the two-minute rounds that are typical of women’s bouts. Salazar won by unanimous decision but Lamonakis protested the fight, only to come up empty when the California State Boxing Commission ruled against her.

“If anything, it helped me,” Lamonakis said of the loss. “It made me realize that I’m not the best out there. It humbled me.”

Lamonakis’ promoter Lou DiBella decided that instead of lining up a title fight following her first loss, she should instead get back in the ring and try to get back on track. It was not the decision Lamonakis had hoped to hear, but she realized it was for the best.

“At first I was a little upset,” she said. “But I went home that night and realized he was right.”

In Pennell, Lamonakis will be taking on a fighter who’s just beginning a professional-boxing career after much experience in other fighting styles. The 30-year-old Pennell has a significant background in Muay Thai and kickboxing but has just two professional boxing matches to her credit. Pennell won a four-round unanimous decision in her first career fight, but suffered a defeat by unanimous decision in her second fight, which came nearly a year ago, on Sept. 12, 2012. This is Pennell’s first scheduled fight of six rounds in her young career, and Lamonakis figures to be a heavy favorite.

“She’s never been hit by anyone like me,” Lamonakis said.

Lamonakis has continued her feverous workout regimen, which began when she traveled to Thailand in January and February to work at the Tiger Muay Thai facility. She said she picked right up where she left off when she returned to her home facility of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., with trainer Marcos Suarez.

“I’ve been training really hard,” she said. “I’m still working on the same diet and exercise and I’m in really good shape. I’m down to 210 pounds and I want to get down to 190. It would be good for me. “

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One person who’s expected to be in attendance for Lamonakis’ fight in two weeks is a man made famous in the Rocky movie franchise. Burt Young, better known as Rocky’s brother-in-law and best friend Paulie, spent some time with Lamonakis recently. She said the time with him was memorable and put up a picture of the two on her Facebook page.

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Turning away from boxing, Michael Townsley and his daughter Meredith Townsley made it a three-peat Saturday at the Chunky Dunk Duathlon at Lake Wentworth, in Wolfeboro, N.H.

The father-daughter team won the Team Division of the Duathlon for the third consecutive season, giving them a perfect 3-for-3 record when competing in the event.

The two began competing because of family vacations in the area. Meredith, one of Michael’s four daughters, is a 15-year-old student at Pioneer Valley Regional School. Michael said his daughter is a good swimmer and usually emerges from the half-mile swim in around 15th place of roughly 80 competitors (overall), and leaves him in good shape.

“She swims in the summer to keep in shape for the other sports that she plays, and she is a good swimmer,” he said. “I only have to chase down about 15 runners or so.”

This year, Meredith swam the half-mile in 15 minutes, 35 seconds, which was the fourth best among the eight teams, and 17th overall of the 81 total swimmers. Michael then proceeded to blow away everyone in the 5k (3.1-mile) run, finishing in 17 minutes, 53 seconds, which was well over three minutes faster than any of the other team runners, and over a minute faster than an overall winner. Team Townsley finished with a combined score of 33:43, finishing 1:40 ahead of the second-place team, which clocked in with a time of 35:23. The winning individual was Mark Hecox in a time of 34:09.

So, will the two put their three titles on the line next summer? They sure will.

“It’s just one of those things that we do together,” a beaming Michael said. “It’s a good chance at some bonding.”

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Finally, if you have taken in a Greenfield Post 81 American Legion game at Vets Field in Greenfield this season, you may have noticed that a young bat boy has been helping out. Who is he, you ask?

Well, it’s Jeff Buck, the 9-year-old younger brother of Post 81 center fielder Mark Buck. Jeff, who is entering fourth grade at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School this fall, said he asked the team if they needed a bat boy this season and offered to fill the role.

“It’s good,” he said of the job.

One day Jeff may be lacing up the cleats to play for the team. This season, playing on the Rowe Rookie League team, he pitched and played shortstop.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com.

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