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San Diego Area Boxing season gets off to a rousing start

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Here we are with another promising year ahead for local boxers in San Diego County and Tijuana. On the past weekend, six of our young pugilists got themselves off to a fabulous start.

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In the pro-ranks, a sizable amount of local boxing fans plus fellow members of the House of Boxing Gym in Paradise Hills accompanied their hero, 26 year-old, junior welterweight Antonio Orozco (18-0-0, 14 KOs), as he traveled north to face the 35 year-old southpaw and 15 year veteran Miguel Angel Huerta (27-11-1, 18 KOs) of Mexico City on Friday. The scheduled 10-rounder at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA headlined a Golden Boy Live! telecast on Fox Sports 1.

After a brief feeling out process, Orozco and Huerta got themselves caught up in a wild and wooly slugfest. Then it was Orozco who got nailed by a solid left hook on the chin that visibly shook him to the core and almost dropped him in his tracks. Huerta's hard, looping uppercut came up from his knee. This attack of left hooks plus one solid right continued to rock Orozco as he took refuge against the ropes. Rather than grab his opponent and tie him up, Orozco then threw caution to the wind and immediately fought back. It was one of those times when the Orozco faithful were wishing and hoping for an early bell or perhaps a parachutist to land from the heavens. In dramatic fashion, Orozco fought on to weather the remaining two minutes.

Come the second round, the cannons continued to fire away, but this time Orozco was clever enough to take that one, small step back to avoid another of Huerta’s looping lefts and then counter with his own well placed, fully leveraged, lightning fast left hook to Huerta’s chin. Immediately following this surprising knockdown, a knockdown that had the veteran falling face front with both feet lifted off the canvas, Orozco, a great finisher, wasted no time and capitalized on this turn of events. His unanswered blows came at Huerta from every angle, especially the in-your-face uppercuts which gave cause for an early stoppage by referee Pat Russell.

If you watch the video on YouTube, you'll see the Huerta backers plus Huerta himself felt the stoppage came prematurely.

After getting rocked by those devastating hard lefts, Orozco (now 19-0, 15 KOs) demonstrated how really tough he is, how resilient. At this point, he appears to be the only, bona fide, professional boxer from the area that has an opportunity of getting a shot at a title in 2014. Currently ranked as the 35th best junior welterweight in the world, he still has a number of gents standing in his way. From Danny Garcia to Lucas Matthysse, from Pablo Cesar Cano to Humberto Soto, from Ruslan Provodnikov to Juan Manuel Marquez, from Thomas Dulorme to Mike Alvarado, from Jessie Vargas to Lamont Peterson, from Viktor Postol to Amir Khan, from Khabib Allakhverdiev to Antonio DeMarco, from Selcuk Aydin to Henry Lundy, from Cesar Rene Cuenca to Karim Mayfield, from Johan Perez to Dierry Jean. With so many great fighters within a single weight division, it's like visiting one of those fabulous smorgasbords. Where does one begin?

We also had three local boxing camps traveling north to the state of Washington to compete in the 2014 USA Amateur National Boxing Tournament which ended Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, friends and family of lightweight Genaro Gamez were at the United Boxing & Training Center in Chula Vista watching their hero compete live in the finals held at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, Airway Heights, Washington.

In Saturday's opening round Gamez jumped all over Jousce Gonzalez of Glendora, CA to earn the early TKO victory and the 132 pound Elite title which makes him the new USA National Champion in that weight class, a development which almost assures, that he’ll be the U. S. representative in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

Also, female welterweight Danyelle Wolf of San Diego, earned her second straight championship on Saturday afternoon by taking an unanimous decision victory over Melissa Kelly of Somerville, Massachusetts to retain her number one status.

On Tuesday, in the 152 pound/male category, Adrian Gutierrez of Chula Vista ended up losing by decision to Javaune James of Miramar, Fla.

Then, on Saturday, January 25, 2014, the Bound Boxing Academy of Chula Vista, CA hosted the second USA Amateur Boxing Show at their gym on Broadway. Having an extremely dedicated force of volunteers to support his efforts, Juan Medina Jr., the gym's owner, had a packed house. While the turnout was substantial, the number of bouts on the docket fell to a disappointing three after two of the earlier scheduled bouts had to be cancelled.

Results from that local LBC 44 show at the Bound Boxing Academy:
In Bout #1, it was baptism under fire for rookie, 14 year-old Roberto Hernandez of the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, CA, (106.6 pounds) as he had to face the 15 year-old veteran Daniel Andujo of Temecula Boxing (110 pounds). With Hernandez only having six months of training, it was a huge step up to face someone of Andujo’s stature.

In Round #1, the gritty Hernandez kept getting hit repeatedly with these well leveraged shots to the head which resulted in the referee issuing two early 8-counts.

Even though Hernandez was issued a third 8-count in Round #2, he showed more poise and the heated exchanges became less one-sided. When the bell sounded to end Round #2, Andujo, out of respect, made certain to tap his opponent on the back to acknowledge his gutty performance.

The end came by way of an early stoppage in Round #3, after Hernandez was issued his fourth 8-count. As they say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” In his debut, Hernandez demonstrated he has a lot of heart and it’s likely we’ll be seeing a much improved boxer the second time around.

In Bout #2, the local favorite, 17 year-old Adrian Sanchez of the host gym, Bound Boxing, (137.2 pounds) was surprised big time by the much improved 16 year-old Carlos Remigio of The Boxing Club, La Jolla, CA (133.8 pounds) who had only been training for nine months.

In Round #1, with both boxers neglecting to use their jab, it was open season with the overhand rights to the head. Still, it appeared the taller Sanchez, with his upright stance, better head movement and footwork would prevail.

Round #2 was pretty much a toss-up until the closing seconds when Remigio landed three straight right hands to steal the round.
With Sanchez taking round one, and Remigio round two, the final round became critical in deciding the contest.

With so much riding on just one round and the crowd whooping it up, the exchanges became intense. Then out of the blue, Sanchez got caught by an overhand right and went down. An 8-count followed. From that point Remigio was in his grill and repeatedly landing the solid left hooks, almost at will. With Sanchez beginning to tire, Remigio became even more assertive with his right and left crosses which resulted in a second 8-count being issued. In the end, this was a major upset as Remigio came away with the championship belt.

Bout #3 was to feature 24 year-old Kesse Okeke of the Gladiator School of Boxing in Spring Valley, CA (199.6 pounds) taking on Salam Alchi, the 25 year-old General Manager of The Boxing Club in the UTC area of La Jolla, CA (192 pounds).

After additional medical clearance papers were requested, the Okeke boxing group from Gladiator decided to pull out of the bout just a few hours prior to their match. On Friday, a similar situation forced another bout to be cancelled.

Customarily, it’s an unwritten rule in boxing that you have a minimum of five bouts on a fight card or in the professional ranks a minimum of 24 rounds scheduled. In the host gym’s defense, it appears Bound Boxing had the cards stacked against them. Being the first Amateur Show of the year, after the long Holiday season, it’s always difficult to get sufficient boxers who are in shape and then be able to match them up.

Plus, on the same day, there were several additional local shows (non-sanctioned boxing/grappling exhibitions) which had signed up boxers to perform at their show. Adding to the problem you had the many boxing gyms who wanted to watch their mates compete in the USA National Tournament plus the other faction still returning from the Orozco show in Indio, CA,

Bout #4, featured 25 year-old Kyle Olson of City Boxing, San Diego trained by Vernon Lee, going up against 27 year-old Francisco Ramirez of the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, CA being cornered by MMA standout Danny “The Gremlin” Martinez (recently signed by the UFC to fight February 1 on the UFC 169 fight card: Barao vs. Faber) plus trainer Sergio Melendrez who trains top pro prospects like Chris “Marvelous” Martin and Jorge “Tito” Ruiz.

Like the Hernandez versus Andujo match, Bout #4 turned out to be a mismatch. In round one, Ramirez, who has only been training for a year, got caught by two of Olson’s left hooks which led to a standing 8-count. In round two, it was more of the same as the persistent Ramirez kept coming straight forward and in response, Olson kept delivering the well leveraged shots to the head. After a third round knockdown and the resulting 8-count, referee Hondo Fontan called a halt to the match - RSB - referee stops the bout.

So that’s the gist of it - our first big week of Boxing in 2014. The next USA Amateur Show is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, 2014 at the National City CYAC. The next pro boxing show will be on Friday, January 31, 2014 in Tijuana and feature "Reyes y Reinas" at the Caliente Racetrack. On the fight card they have Kenia Enriques (8-0) vs. Selene Lopez (6-0), female flyweights; Dario Sargento Garibay (8-1-1) vs. Omar Rudo Morales (0-2) welterweights; Sandra Robles (6-1) vs. Mariposita Gastelum (4-1), flyweights; Erick Martinez (10-0) vs. Manuel San Miguel, super featherweight; Brenda Flores vs. Mireya Ochoa, flyweight; Victor “Sina” Fonseca (6-2-1, 4 KOs) vs. Gerado Mendoza (1-2, 1 KO), welterweights; 26 year-old Brian Jones (9-1-0, 4 KOs) vs. Jesus Gonzalez (0-1), super welterweights; Jose Torres vs. Kid Martinez. The five boxers set in bold type are locals of some note.

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