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Victory Outreach Church hosts the latest USA Amateur Boxing Show

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Things happened all too fast for Brian Aguirre (l) of Team Quest, Encintas, who got stopped by the much taller Xavior Betts (r) of the Wild Card Gym, Hollywood.
Jim Wyatt
At the conclusion of the final bout, the show's MC Pablo Flores and the show's organizer Junebug Mendivil together presented the "Top Boxer of the Show" award to Matthew "Good Night" Knight who destroyed Pablo Garcia in Bout #5.
Jim Wyatt

There’s one thing you can be certain of, when the Victory Outreach Church in San Diego hosts an event, it’s going to be run first class all the way. Tahisha Roberts of the Victory Outreach Church Choir used her extraordinary voice to sing our national anthem. They also had music for each ring entrance and two young gals fulfilled the duties of Ring Card Girls. From the comfortable, plush seating and top of the line ring, to the hiring of a professional ring announcer Pablo Flores, who has worked many boxing shows aired on Televisa, Fox Sports and Azteca, they had every base covered.

Without further ado, here are the results from Saturday’s contests that featured 16 boxers who traveled from near and far, from as far north as Hollywood, San Bernardino, Riverside, Vista and Encinitas all the way down to Chula Vista in the south, from the beaches to Spring Valley; some were big bruisers with the heavy artillery and others youngsters making their first start.

Bout #1 featured two 13 year-olds, Joseph “The Tiger” Landeros (95 pounds) of Rubidoux Boxing Club in Riverside, a veteran of 20 bouts, going up against Jose Chollet (91 pounds) of Barrio Logan in Logan Heights, a veteran of 15 bouts.

This one was won by the busier Landeros who never let up and for 80% of the bout held the upper hand by being the more aggressive of the two. Some might argue that Chollet landed the harder shots to the head, but over all, Landeros overwhelmed his opponent by winning the punch stat battle.

Bout #2 featured a giant among men, 21 year-old, 6’5” Xavier Betts (190.6 pounds) from Freddy Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood going up against a fearless 20 year-old by the name of Brian Aguirre (181 pounds) from Team Quest, Encinitas, a gym that is well known for producing great MMA fighters.

This being Betts’ second bout, you would figure he was still a raw talent but that notion went right out the window as soon as he started pounding the much shorter Aguirre. With his super size and fit body it makes one wonder who this kid spars with - perhaps one of the Klitschkos?

To his credit, Aguirre never gave up and stood his ground until referee Rick Ley issued that third standing 8-count which led to an early stoppage.

Bout #3 featured two 9 year-olds making their debut, Christian Rivera (66.5 pounds) of the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, and Eddie Chollet (61.6 pounds) from Barrio Logan in Logan Heights in a contest schedule for three-one minute rounds.

Instead of using his jab to set up his punches, Rivera went straight away to smother his opponent and concentrated on peppering the midsection.

In round two, Chollet did much better, after learning how to sidestep Rivera’s advances and unload his own arsenal to the head.

In round three, Rivera was right back to mimicking a machine gun. Before Chollet had a chance to respond or settle in, Rivera had unloaded his full clip.

Bout #4 featured 24 year-old, Walter Garcia (162.4 pounds) of the Gladiator Boxing Academy in Spring Valley going up against 32 year-old Ian Austin (161.4 pounds) of Team Quest, Encinitas. Austin was returning to the ring after losing his first outing, while Garcia was making his Amateur debut after training for almost a year.

Unlike Chollet in the previous match, Garcia was masterful at avoiding Austin’s advances. He’d either sidestep or duck under a punch as if he were an accomplished matador. He’d then strike back with his two and three punch combinations that rarely missed.

Mates from the Gladiator Boxing Academy became so immersed, so enamored by his performance that they couldn’t help but give a play-by-play commentary of the bout. Each time Garcia landed a punch to the head or multiple punches to the head, surrounding observers heard a grunt or several grunts of, “oooh, uh, UH, UUHH!!”

With the announcement of Garcia’s victory, I doubt one person in the building was surprised ... except for Garcia. His arms went up as if he had just won the lottery. Coaches and stablemates from the Gladiator Boxing Academy were also overjoyed to see how well their protégé had performed.

Bout #5 featured two guys making their Amateur debuts, 26 year-old, Matthew Knight (153.2 pounds) of the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, going up against 21 year-old Pablo Garcia (154.2 pounds) of the Gladiator Boxing Academy, Spring Valley. Garcia said he had been training for four months while Knight stated he’s now worked at Bound Boxing for a year and started training about eight months ago.

With their nervous energy and the way this one started, there was no way the bout would last long and it didn’t. As soon as Knight landed his first left hook, Garcia was in trouble. From that point on he tried weathering this barrage of lefts followed by the right crosses.

In the end it was a left hook that caught him flush that sent him to the canvas where he laid on his back. There was no need for a 10 count. Whether Matthew “Good Night” Knight is that good remains to be seen. His first KO victim was not in the mood to comment.

Bout #6 featured 14 year-olds, southpaw Erick Garcia (131.8 pounds) of the Rhino’s Boxing Club, Vista going up against righty Fernando Cabral (136.8 pounds) of the F.I.G.H.T.S. Boxing Program, San Bernardino, F.I.G.H.T.S. being an acronym for Faith In God Heals Troubled Souls.

After training for only 11 months, Cabral (1-1) had already fought twice, while the much taller Garcia (1-0) had been training for three years.

From the outset, Garcia had been the aggressor and enjoyed much success landing his straight lefts, while Cabral was content to counter with his oh-so-accurate combinations that gave him a two to one advantage. Even though Cabral was dominating on most exchanges, his coach saw something the fans didn’t and started calling out to Cabral, “Don’t get lazy! Move forward! Don’t be backing up!”

As the fight progressed and Cabral’s coach continued his haranguing, it appeared Cabral was slowing up even more and maybe to spite his coach. Still, as it pertained to the boxing skills, Cabral’s punches landed square and Garcia’s seemed soft and were often off target.

By the third round, you could see Cabral was stuck in low gear while the energetic Garcia still pressed forward like that Energizer Bunny.

As always, the decision was left to the judges, who felt Garcia’s continual aggression and his landing of these less powerful but more plentiful punches had given them the green light to award Garcia the split decision victory.

Bout #7, the Co-Main event, featured 28 year-old, Ivan Weston (178.2 pounds) of the host gym, Victory Boxing Academy, San Diego, with a 1-1 record, going up against 25 year-old Salam Alchi (178.4 pounds) of The Boxing Club in La Jolla, who had a record of 2-0.

From the outset, both men exchanged some heavy leather and since Alchi’s stance, punches and moves to deflect punches bore the closest resemblance to those in the professional ranks, you had to figure it was just a matter of time.

As round one progressed, Alchi caught Weston with several shots to the head that had his head snapping back and closed the round with a beauty of an overhand right.

The end of the line came in round two, after Alchi sent Weston to the canvas twice. The second knockdown came from another powerful overhand right that landed flush, as they say right on the button. Still, Weston treated the knockdown as if it were a flash knockdown and got right back up in an instant. This time, referee Hondo Fontan asked him if he was okay and Weston kept looking off to his right as if he were in a different world.

In Bout #8, the Main Event, they had 18 year-old, lefty Austin Brooks (130.6 pounds) of City Boxing Downtown San Diego going up against a 21 year-old orthodox boxer by the name of Christopher Anselmo (132 pounds) from Rhino’s Boxing, Vista (0-1).

After several good exchanges in round one, you’d have to say the more patient Brooks landed the better shots to the head, almost at will.

By round two, Brooks had himself in this groove of duck under Anselmo’s right, then land my left counter. He ended the round with three straight flurries to build up his lead.

In the final round, Brooks switched strategies and forced Anselmo to fight backing up. He soon had Anslemo’s nose bleeding and an 8-count was issued. A second 8-count was issued after Anselmo got caught flush again.

Since Anslemo had no intentions of rolling over and playing dead, he fought admirably right up until the final bell. The unanimous decision went to Mr. Brooks

Three additional boxers received trophies after their opponents failed to show up for their Saturday morning weigh-in. They are 15 year-old Teodoro Alonso (10-4) and 11 year-old Joey Abad (1-2) from Adrenaline, San Bernardino, CA and 12 year-old Jabin Chollet of Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, San Diego, CA.

The next USA Amateur Boxing show will be held April 5, 2014 starting at 1 p.m. at the National City Community Athletic Center on National City Boulevard. The show will include the regular competition “Battle on the Boulevard” plus the finals of the District Junior Olympics.

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