March 9, 2013
Everyone and their brother wanted to be involved in this one. The second, local USA Amateur Boxing show of the year, was staged Saturday afternoon at The Rock Church in Point Loma, San Diego, CA. The Rock Church is a Protestant, evangelical mega-church founded by ex-Charger defensive back, now pastor, Miles McPherson. The newly refurbished 210,000-square foot facility has a state-of-the-art sanctuary seating 3,500, a huge 1,600 square-foot, high definition picture screen to enhance your experience, plus a congregation which has to be one of the largest if not the largest in the state.
Without further ado, here are the results from Saturday’s USA Amateur boxing show:
Bout #1 featured 14 year-old, Anthony Leathan of the Fontana Boxing Club and 15 year-old Juanito Garcia of the Heber Boxing Club (both weighing 102 pounds) going at it from the opening bell.
In this contest, Leathan landed the heavier blows in Round #1 and followed up with an even better performance in Round #2. Garcia finished strong but couldn’t catch up in the scoring.
In Bout #2, it was 15 year-old Jesse Quesadas of Victory MMA (118 pounds) taking on the more experienced Danny Ruiz of the Escondido Fighting Club (122 pounds) who is 16 years-old.
In Round #1, Ruiz landed more of the telling blows, especially in close. His sharpshooting continued throughout Round #2. After several blows had Quesadas’ head snapping back, referee Hondo Fontan stopped the action to issue Quesadas an 8-count. A second 8-count soon followed and then Fontan deemed it necessary to stop the action permanently with a RSB (referee stops the bout).
Bout #3 was a hotly contested match between 14 year-old Danny Ramirez of Victory MMA (114 pounds) and 13 year-old Jovanni Gonzalez of the Escondido Fighting Club (113 pounds).
For the first half of the match, it was Gonzalez, the much shorter of the two, doing most of the throwing and chasing, while Ramirez appeared content to back-peddle and fight off his back foot. Of the two, Ramirez was more accurate and occasionally landed a big shot to the head.
In the second half of the match, Gonzalez continued to be the aggressor, but by this time he was walking right into punches and Ramirez was getting better and better with his counters.
In Bout #4, it was 25 year-old Frank Sanchez of Victory MMA, a brawler, taking on 20 year-old Jose Ponce of United Boxing Club in South San Diego, a boxer. Both young men weighed the same, 155 pounds.
Sanchez’s game plan involved pummeling his foe nonstop in the midsection for the full nine minutes. This is a strategy not-unlike putting every cent you have on either black or red when playing Roulette. It’s often pooh-poohed by coaches because the boxer eventually throws so many punches that he’ll punch himself out.
With Sanchez being in such great shape, he went longer than most, but in the third round he eventually tired which gave Ponce an opportunity to impress the judges. The other consideration with that back and forth windmill like pounding, the certainty of the white of your gloves hitting an opponent is called into question. If a judge can’t see that portion of the glove connecting, they will ignore the blows.
If this were a pro-bout, we would have likely seen the referee raising Sanchez’s arm, instead of Ponce’s who received the decision.
In Bout #5, it was 18 year-old Valerie Ontiveros of Main Street Boxing in South San Diego (145 pounds) taking on 23 year-old Mercedes Van Buren of The House of Boxing, San Diego (140 pounds).
At first it appeared Van Burn, a member of the Team Unified boxing team that competes in the yearly Battle of the Badges, might control the match with her circular movement and height advantage. Ontiveros would have none of it and pressed forward to eventually land the stiff jabs which opened Van Buren up for Ontiveros' combinations.
In the second round, after three straight 8-counts were issued to Van Buren, referee Will White decided it was time to stop the match.
In Bout #6, it was 25 year-old TJ Setzer of Victory MMA (160 pounds) getting a boxing lesson from 19 year-old Nick Carrico of Old School Boxing, San Diego (155 pounds).
Setzer was no match for Carrico who slipped nearly every punch and landed his punches almost at will.
In Bout #7, it was 19 year-old Robert Lopez of Golden Hands Boxing, South San Diego (118 pounds) taking on 18 year-old Thair Ramirez of the Gladiator School of Boxing, Spring Valley, CA (115 pounds).
For someone who has only been training for eight months, Ramirez came out fast and furious. His punches came from every angle. The more experienced Lopez covered up the best he could. He must have felt he was in there with some sort of alien with eight limbs. No work in the gym could prepare him for such an onslaught.
After the Tsunami of unorthodox but effective punches let up, just a bit, Lopez returned fire. Once he had his opponent backing up, Lopez landed this straight left hand to Ramirez’s face landing square on his nose. Even though he was jolted by the perfect punch, his head was clear in an instant.
As referee Rick Ley approached to give him a standing 8-count, he focused on Ramirez’s eyes. After completing the 8-count, he decided it was best to stop the bout.
The stoppage angered several patrons, thought to be family members. After airing their thoughts, they stormed out of the building.
Early Monday morning Thair Ramirez texted me and here are his comments: “My head did snap back slightly but I quickly recovered. I guess the referee (Rick Ley) felt it was enough to give me an 8 count. I didn’t feel like disputing it, so I just kept my composure and put my hands up when he got to 8. To be honest I was shocked and in complete disbelief when it happened (the referee's stoppage) and so was everybody else. But I truly have no hard feelings. I take it as a learning experience.”
In Bout #8, it was 26 year-old Francisco Garcia of United Boxing & Fitness Gym (220 pounds) taking on 30 year-old Ricardo Soto of Victory MMA (230 pounds).
In Round #1, it was an energetic Garcia landing the cleaner shots, mostly off counters. In Round #2, it was as if the boxers had traded mitts, because now it was Soto landing the cleaner punches. By Round #3, it was established Soto was in better condition and in turn landed the majority of blows from there on out.
In Bout #9, it was 14 year-old Omar Nelson Salazar of Fontana (106 pounds) taking on 13 year-old Eric Puente of the Legacy Training Center, Vista, CA, (110 pounds).
This was perhaps the most competitive bout of the day, as it featured two boxers who truly know their craft. At the end of the second round, the two warriors touched gloves out of mutual respect.
With the bout being so hotly contested, only the totals on the judges’ clickers could decide the contest in Nelson’s favor.
Bout #10 featured 17 year-olds Abdullah Nematjanov of Old School Boxing (122 pounds) taking on Steven Mendoza of Fontana (the same 122 pounds).
After an even first round, the match became rather one-sided. Mendoza became more aggressive in Round #2 and kept getting off first. Mendoza’s stock went way up after he caught Nematjanov with three solid left hands in Round #3.
In Bout #11, it was 15 year-old Jon Vasquez of the Heber Boxing Club (118 pounds) taking on 16 year-old Tyler Herberger of Old School Boxing (116 pounds).
At this point in the show, the majority of the patrons were getting listless and doing more watching than untempered cheering. This could be the reason the judges, crowd and possibly the boxers, became enamored by the coaching or should I say heckling by a damsel sitting front row, center.
With the comatose crowd and bout up for grabs, she screamed, "Don't let him do that!" followed by “Tyler, get in there!” Two seconds later she changed her mind, “Tyler, get out of there!” The respectful crowd couldn’t help but laugh. They were suddenly reinvigorated and chuckled with each of her directives.
Then came the wake-up call for all concerned parties. After being warned for holding, referee Dana Kaplan stopped the action and issued Herberger a two point penalty for holding. From that point, Herberger was a dynamo throwing all sorts of leather. Did he make up for the two point penalty? Most assuredly.
In Bout #12, it was 25 year-old Ronald Locsin of City Boxing (125 pounds) taking on 21 year-old Miguel Sanchez of United Boxing and Fitness (130 pounds).
In this one, coaches Manny Melchor and Vernon Lee devised a brilliant plan for Locsin. What they had him do was circle around the bigger, stronger, power puncher and then suddenly spring forward and back to deliver the quick combinations. To his credit, Locsin performed admirably and got the best of most exchanges to get the win
In Bout #13, it was 22 year-olds Jessica Ramirez, another member of Team Unified and training at House of Boxing plus Tish Smith from Victory MMA. Both weighed the very same 140 pounds.
Within a short time, the young ladies had the crowd back to a fever pitch. Smith stood tall and used her jab to keep Ramirez at a distance. Meanwhile, Ramirez charged forward to work over Smith’s midsection. While the first two rounds went to Ramirez, Smith finished strong.
In Bout #14, it was 25 year-old Brian Nevarez of Rhino’s Boxing, Vista (159 pounds) taking on 21 year-old Christian Olivia of Tijuana, B. C., Mexico who trains at Main Street Boxing (155 pounds).
Whereas Nevarez got out of the shoots early, Olivia was much more tentative. For the remainder of the bout, it was Olivia going for the KO punch and the more active Nevarez racking up the points.
Bout #15 featured two 17 year-olds, southpaw Hussein Fakhreddine of Old School Boxing and righty Gabriel Hernandez of the El Cajon Undisputed Gym both super welterweight bangers.
While circling away from Hernandez’s right, Fakhreddine’s left kept reaching pay dirt to snag Round #1. In Round #2 and #3, it was a whole different story as Hernandez became sharper and kept racking up the points. At one point, Fakhreddine’s corner began to plead, “Get the points!!” In the end, the close decision victory went to Hernandez.
In Bout #16, it was 21 year-old Alexander Robinson of the Gladiator School of Boxing taking on 20 year-old Nico Cortez of Rhino’s Boxing. Both weighed in at 145 pounds.
This was another great example of how the little guy, Robinson, can defeat a much taller opponent, Cortez. It was amazing to watch the fit Robinson slip and duck under punches, get inside and then pound away at Cortez’s midsection.
Not to give Cortez an excuse, but he was out of action for an entire year after having major knee surgery. He will be back and barring another injury, he’ll be better than ever.
In the final bout of the show, Bout #17, it was George Gonzales, a featherweight, from Capital Punishment in Riverside, CA taking on 17 year-old Daniel Morales of Bound Boxing, Chula Vista (123 pounds).
Simply put, Gonzales was the busier boxer and definitely the more accurate puncher.
When asked about the possibilities of having another boxing show at the same venue, the show’s promoter, Rudy Silva, said they were looking to do a similar show in six months. During Saturday's show, they mentioned that 100% of the profits would be going to a Wound Soldiers' Foundation.