Saturday, May 28, 2011, the San Diego Combat Academy on Mission Gorge Road in San Diego hosted it’s very first USA Amateur Boxing Show. On hand to lend his support for the Boxing program and San Diego’s new combination MMA/Boxing gym was Paul Vaden, the former Light Middleweight Champion of the World. Vaden is a long time chum of Priest Tiger Smalls who heads the facility’s boxing program. The gym is also the home of several MMA Champions, one in particular, lightweight Liz Carmouche of recent Strikeforce fame.
Since Smalls has a reputation for putting on great boxing shows, I expected nothing less; and of course the former featherweight champ delivered with an outstanding lineup of boxers representing sixteen gyms.
Featured in Bout #1 was 23 year-old super middleweight Jesus Lopez of Tanos Boxing going up against 25 year-old Alfonso Medina of Tulare Boxing. The two way action in the first round was scary, with the much shorter Medina working to get inside to use his short rights and lefts while Lopez maintained a safe distance and landed the more accurate power shots from different angles.
The frantic pace continued into the second round with Lopez starting to dominate with powerful combinations which led to long sustained flurries. At one point it appeared Medina might go down.
In the third round, Lopez switched things up and went almost nonstop to the body. Both boxers left it all in the ring and proved they could take one heck of a punch.
Bout #2 featured super-welterweights, 21-year-old Ricky Hood of the host gym, San Diego Combat Academy, going up against 18 year-old Salvador Alvarez of Barrio Station. The first round went to Hood, who in the Mohammad Ali tradition, circled left around Alvarez while stinging his opponent with snapping jabs and occasionally stopping to land a nice flurry or two.
By the second round, Alvarez figured out how to cut off the ring and began to unload his full arsenal. He took Round #2 in convincing style.
Win or lose, the third round would decide the match. In that third round, the two went nonstop with Alvarez landing more of the telling blows.
Bout #3 featured 12 year-old Corey Snyder of City Boxing Downtown going up against 11 year-old Jose Bravo of Tulare Boxing. From the outset Snyder was the more accomplished boxer and had his way. He jabbed, then threw beautiful combinations, moved well, and parried anything that came his way. After taking both the first and second rounds, Snyder began Round #3 with some showboating. As in most sports, exhibiting an overabundance of pride angers an opponent and in this case could have upset Snyder’s apple cart.
Bout #4 featured two 18 year-old bangers, southpaw Adrian Mendivil of Real Deal and Mohammed Fakhreddine of Old School Boxing. Before the opening bell, one of the Old School Boxing coaches mentioned that Fakhreddine was making his return after being away from boxing for eight months. This revelation shed light on the fact that Fakhreddine looked out of sorts, rusty, while his opponent had his way in Round #1 landing the lefthand almost at will. For every Fakhreddine punch thrown, he’d receive three in return.
Round #2 was more of a toss-up, as Fakhreddine started to get his act together. In Round #3, the wheels came off for Fakhreddine. His poor conditioning had him running low on petrol and eventually the referee issued him a standing eight count.
Bout #5 featured two 8 year-olds making their amateur boxing debut, Xavion Douglas of Rhino Boxing and David Gutierrez of Golden Hands Boxing Club.
In USA Amateur boxing it’s traditional that the boxers touch gloves before the bout begins. Well, young Mr. Douglas had trouble getting the hang of it. Each time his opponent reached out with his gloves, Douglas pulled his back. This sequence repeated itself several times until the referee had to finally lend a hand.
Being small of stature and breaking into a smile, Douglas had won over the crowd. The business of rooting for Douglas ended quickly after they saw the disparity in the talent levels. Whereas Douglas’ punches were wild and looping, Gutierrez was more of an in-your-face puncher using the straight rights and lefts to much success.
Even though Douglas was game, the referee stepped in to call a halt to the bout in Round #2.
Bout #6 was another hotly contested bout featuring 15 year-olds Gabriel Hernandez of Undisputed El Cajon and Angel Hinosa of Rhino Boxing. In Round #1, with both parties dishing out punishment, it appeared Hernandez’s was landing the cleaner blows.
It got worse for Hinosa in Round #2, when Hernandez’s violent flurries produced what appeared to be a knockdown as Hinosa’s glove touched the canvas. The knockdown was ruled a slip. A short while later, in the same round, the referee called a halt to the action.
Bout #7 featured 17 year-old Jonathan Santos (163.2 lbs.) of Golden Hands making his USA Amateur Boxing debut against 16 year-old Joshua Rivera of Rhino Boxing.
The machine gun like firepower from these two plus their lack of defense made the scoring difficult. Those near me, believed the first round was dead even.
Santos did a better job of slipping punches in Round #2, especially after he started using his counter left hooks. Tough to believe but the rounds got even more frantic. It was like watching two lumberjacks frantically trying to knock down a big redwood. Back and forth they went hoping the other would be the first to fall.
Intermission; see Part II which follows