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Barber Zachary Bunce is cut above in Golden Gloves knockout

Wednesday, February 13th 2008, 4:00 AM

There was a recurring image last night at the Daily News Golden Gloves at the Hempstead Recreation Center in Long Island. Most fights in the 201-pound novice class were conducted at close range, as if a narrow chalk outline had been sketched on the canvas and no fighter could step outside the lines.

Call it a high stakes game of twister.

Zachary Bunce (Suffolk PAL) played the game better than most. The part-time barber from Wyandanch stopped Stephen Van Eron (BCBA) at 1:36 of the first round, landing a roundhouse right that forced the referee to wave things off the moment it landed. It was the second time he stunned his opponent in the round, and his swarming, dominant performance earned him the P.C. Richard & Son boxer of the night award.

Still, Bunce, 23, wished he had moved around more and used his jab instead of just throwing sleep-inducing punches.

"I could have done some things differently but overall I was happy with how things went," he said. "I got the job done."

The fighter who probably showed the most patience and skill on the card was Boris Zarate (Hempstead), who kept his distance while landing hard, accurate punches to his opponent, Jason Vargas (Suffolk PAL). His wily approach earned him a win in a 201-pound novice bout. Afterward, the 17-year-old student from Lynbrook High disclosed that he had just been boxing for a year and that he was not as experienced as he appeared.

Timothy Boutsikos (unattached) knew he was bleeding because the right glove of his opponent Peter Kokoszka (Titan Boxing) was smudged with red. Boutsikos admitted later that the sight of his own blood both startled and motivated him. He bolted out of his corner to start the second round, and almost immediately caused a standing-eight count with a straight right hand. The shot was hard enough to make the referee stop the fight at 56 seconds of the round, and it gave Boutsikos his first win as an amateur in a 201-pound novice bout.