Story last updated at 2:34 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2002

Hankins loses title bout to defending champion
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
Ben Hankins  
Ben Hankins battled through all three rounds Friday in the state heavyweight boxing title match in Anchorage, out punching his opponent defending champion Eddie Cavette in what the Homer native called his toughest fight yet.

Then, with his nose bloodied, Hankins and the 1,000-plus Egan Center fans listened in apparent shock as the 210-pound Cavette was awarded the title by unanimous decision. The chorus of boos chimed in immediately, said a disappointed Hankins by e-mail Sunday.

"He was the best fighter I've fought," Hankins added. "I don't really know what to say about the fight. I was definitely more aggressive and he was always on his heels or up against the ropes."

Hankins reached the championship bout after winning a decision over Jerome Walker in a preliminary bout Thursday. Weighing at least 260 pounds and sporting the nickname "Soul Taker." Hankins said Walker was the hardest puncher he's faced in his seven fights.

Hankins won a semi-final fight Friday by default because his opponent was injured the previous night.

In his first year of boxing, Hankins fought to a 6-1 record. Just the same, he said the loss was painful.

"I keep telling myself I've been fighting for six weeks, I've been taking boxing lessons for two weeks and I fought last year's champion and I did awesome," he said. "I really don't have anything to be disappointed with. ... But it still hurts a little in my heart."

Hankins, who will return to Homer to work the summer halibut charter season, said he was not sure yet whether he wanted to fight in next winter's series of Thursday Night at the Fights.