Hernandez vs Garcia, “Bout of the Night” at the House of Boxing

(second from the left) Pro boxer and House of Boxing co-owner, David Barragan, co-owner of the House of Boxing in Paradise Hills, a neighborhood in the southeastern end of San Diego, poses his top performers (l to r) Gabrile Hernandez, Fabian Zarco and Jorge Garcia. Photo: Jim Wyatt

(second from the left) Pro boxer and House of Boxing co-owner, David Barragan poses for a photo with the top performers from Saturday’s show at the House of Boxing (l to r) Gabriel Hernandez, David Barragan, Fabian Zarco and Jorge Garcia. Photo: Jim Wyatt

November 9, 2013,

Whenever the House of Boxing in Paradise Hills hosts a USA Amateur Show, you can be sure of several things. There will be a packed house of rabid boxing fans, notables making a guest appearance, great tunes from DJ Carlos Barragan Jr. the Master of Ceremonies, giveaways, yummy food, and fireworks a plenty inside the ring. From the opening bell at 6 p.m., you had these 26 anxious pugilists raring to go, chomping at the bit to impress family and friends.

The results are as follows:

In Bout #1, it was 12 year-old Jaime Galindo from the host gym, the House of Boxing, going up against 12 year-old Ivin Colon (2-0) of the Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, CA in the 90 pound weight division.

To negate Galindo’s reach and height advantage, Colon remained inside Galindo’s grill, often pinning Galindo in his corner or against the ropes. He then went nonstop with the body attack.

On occasion Galindo would free himself of the smothering attack and land his own combinations or the big overhand right. In the end, it was Colon winning over the judges by landing the majority of punches in this action packed bout.

(top right) Young Mr. Colon is joined by his mates from the Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, CA.

(bottom, right) Young Mr. Colon is joined by relatives, coaches and mates from Bell, CA.

As an introduction to the Azteca Boxing Team which represented the city of Bell, CA on Saturday, that’s the city that’s been in the news for quite a while now. First of all, they’re population of 37,000 makes it one of the smallest and poorest municipalities in Los Angeles County. The city is so small, the “Welcome to” and the “You’re now leaving” signs are almost back to back. Earlier this year, five former officials of Bell were convicted on corruption charges after they were accused of overpaying themselves by millions of dollars.

Like the House of Boxing, the Azteca Boxing Club of Bell, established in 1980, has been used as a training facility for many boxing greats, such as Julio Cesar Chavez, Genaro “El Chicanito” Hernandez, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, Jorge ‘Maromero’ Páez, Kina Malpartida, Alfonso Gomez, Miguel Vazquez and Giovanni Segura to name just a few.

The following photos were taken of the boxing icons who trained at the storied Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, CA.

The above photos taken at the storied Azteca Boxing Club at 3718 Gage Avenue in Bell, California show three gents who need absolutely no introduction.

Bout #2 was another tightly contested match between two experienced lightweights, 14 year-old Noel Diaz of Pinzon Boxing of Escondido (5-0) and 15 year-old Israel Caballero (10-3) of the United Boxing & Fitness in Chula Vista. 

In this almost too close to call match, the nod went to Diaz who proved to be more elusive and kept ducking under punches. He worked better on the inside while Caballero clobbered Diaz from long range.

Noel Diaz of Pinzon Boxing of Escondido (5-0) and 15 year-old Israel Caballero

(bottom, right) Noel Diaz (left) of Pinzon Boxing, Escondido improves his USA Amateur boxing record to (5-0) with the win in Bout #2 over Israel Caballero of Chula Vista, CA. (left) Pastor Victor Schloss III of San Diego’s Body Church was on hand to deliver an opening invocation plus hand out the winning trophy to Diaz. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #3 featured the return of the 21 year-old, super lightweight sensation Scott Torres who spent almost a year rehabbing from three separate injuries. The first of which occurred last December when he was forced to pull out of the finals of the Boxers for Christ Tournament here in San Diego when he fractured in his left hand in an earlier semi-final win. Then, while out jogging, a motorist hit him while rolling through a stop sign. From the looks of his performance Saturday against the more than capable 23 year-old Michael Ortega (13-4) of the Azteca Boxing Club, Torres hasn’t missed a beat.

In Round #1, the southpaw caught Ortega square and down he went. To his credit Ortega was back up in an instant. Before the round ended, Torres again caught Ortega and staggered him.

For Round #2, Torres showed an even different look and began mixing things up. He’d begin with the right cross and then follow with the left hook.

By Round #3, Ortega appeared to be holding his own. That was until another onslaught forced referee Will White to stop the action and issue Ortega an 8-count. It came as no surprise that White was holding Torres’ arm up at the conclusion of the contest.

Bt 3 a Scott Torres over Michael Ortega

at the conclusion of Bout #3, Scott Torres of Temecula Boxing has his arm raised in victory by referee Will White over Michael Ortega

(top left) Michael Ortega receives an 8-count from referee Will White. (bottom) At the conclusion of Bout #3, Scott Torres of Temecula Boxing (l) has his arm raised in victory by referee Will White after defeating the always tough Michael Ortega of Azteca Boxing.

Bout #4, in the 119 pound category, featured 16 year-old Brian Pazuengo of the ABC Mongoose Gym in his debut going up against 17 year-old Jerwin Agarao (1-0) from the House of Boxing.

From the outset, Agarao demonstrated he had the better leverage on his punches while Pazuengo threw more arm punches. As the bout progressed, Agarao was all ears as his coach shouted out instructions which led to the head snapping jabs followed by the solid left hooks.

In Round #3, despite being issued two 8-counts and being far behind on the scorecards, Pazuengo kept pressing forward to give it everything he had.

Jerwin Agarao over Brian Pazuengo

At the conclusion of Bout #4, the local VFW post commander Scott Langhoff from the neighborhood Veterans of Foreign Wars post #11387 presented the winning trophy to Jerwin Agarao of the House of Boxing after he managed to defeat Brian Pazuengo of San Diego’s ABC Mongoose Gym. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #5, in the super flyweight division, was a rematch of a bout held two weeks ago at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista between Mario Ramos of the Undisputed Fitness & Training Center in North Park, a San Diego neighborhood and rival Jovani Contreras of Barrio Station in San Diego’s downtown. A match won by Ramos. 

In this one, Contreras, in revenge mode, gave it everything he had and then some. In Round #1, he threw punches nonstop at the beleaguered Ramos. His rival came right back in Round #2 to even the score.

This made the third and final round an all out war. A war Contreras vowed not to lose and he didn’t. At the end of Round #3, Contreras was completely exhausted from throwing more of the well honed punches to get the win.

Jovany Contreras over Mario Ramos

(bottom, right) In a revenge match, Jovany Contreras (l) gets the win over Mario Ramos (r).

Bout #6 featured the featherweights, 20 year-old Robert Lopez (4-0) of the Golden Hands Boxing Club and 19 year-old Kenneth Vado (2-2) of the Azteca Boxing Club.

From the git-go, this one was all Lopez as he mixed up his combinations, became more defensive minded and enjoyed the benefits of a stiff jab.

Bt 6 a Robert Lopez over Kenneth Vado

(bottom) At the conclusion of Bout #6, Robert Lopez has his arm raised by referee Hondo Fontan after defeating Kenneth Vado.

(bottom) At the conclusion of Bout #6, Robert Lopez (l) has his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan after he defeated Kenneth Vado (r).

Bout #7 featured 16 year-old Adrian Sanchez of Bound Boxing in Chula Vista, CA taking on 15 year-old Roberto Maldonado (0-3) of North County Boxing in the 15-16 year-old, 147 pound division.

In Round #1, the two boxers pounded each other from pillar to post. It wasn’t until midway through round #2 that Sanchez took control by getting inside Maldonado’s long reach advantage. Soon, we saw referee Rick Ley stopping the action to issue Maldonado an 8-count. Next up, Maldonado’s nose started bleeding.

All three judges had Sanchez winning.

Adrian Sanchez over Roberto Maldonado

Adrian Sanchez has his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan after he defeated Roberto Maldonado (r). On hand to present the winning trophy was pro boxer Israel Arellano (7-1, 6 KOs) who recently signed a promotional contract with Thompson Boxing Promotions.

Adrian Sanchez over Roberto Maldonado

(top) At the conclusion of his bout, Roberto Maldonado (c) is joined by his coaches. (below) Adrian Sanchez (c) is congratulated by his coach Juan Medina Jr. (l) and fellow boxer Andrea Medina (r). Photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 in the 110 pound classification, saw 14 year-old Jason Meza (1-3) now working with trainer Joe Vargas of the Undisputed Downtown gym, facing off against 15 year-old Daniel Andujo (4-1) of Temecula Boxing.

Meza faired well in the early exchanges of Round #1 but by the end of the round, Andujo had the fight in cruise control. Simply put, his hands were quicker, his defense better and Meza couldn’t handle his aggressive style.

Daniel Andujo over Jason Meza

In Bout #8, it was Daniel Andujo (r) getting the win over Jason Meza (l).

Bout #9 may have been the most anticipated match of the night since it involved 18 year-old Gabriel Hernandez of Undisputed Fitness, El Cajon, CA going up against newcomer 17 year-old Jorge Garcia of Tijuana who for the last three months has been training with Luis Lorenzo at Intensity MMA in South San Diego.  

On hand to watch the bout was the well respected female trainer, Monica Abedith Rico, who for years has worked hand-in-hand with her father, Kid Melo, a trainer of note in Tijuana. Rico, who showed more than a passing interest in the tall, rather slender Garcia, at one time trained the prospect at her gym in Tijuana. She wanted to see how he’d fair against Hernandez who is known for his power and being a member of Berlin Kerney’s lauded “Bomber Squad.”

Hernandez’s domination lasted for all three rounds. To his credit, Garcia showed he could take the heavy shots to the midsection and chin and on occasion he did land some heavy blows himself. However, by the close of Round #3, Garcia was completely spent while his opponent appeared fresh enough to continue on for an additional seven rounds.  

The bout, won by Hernandez, turned out to be so entertaining, the organizers deemed it the “Bout of the Night.”

Gabriel Hernandez over Jorge Garcia

In Bout #9, the punches from Gabriel Hernandez (white trunks) and Jorge Garcia (black trunks) were of the fierce variety.

Gabriel over Jorge Garcia

(bottom left) At the conclusion of Bout #9, we see referee Rick Ley raising the arm of Gabriel Hernandez after he defeated Jorge Garcia. (bottom, right) Garcia and Hernandez pose for photos with coaches Monica Abedith Rico (l) and coach Luis Lorenzo (r). (top right) Local business owner and show sponsor, Joe Stidman of Heartland Meats ended up presenting the winning trophy to Gabriel Hernandez. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #10, in the welterweight division, had 23 year-old Johnny Ballesteros (0-1) of Intensity MMA taking on 23 year-old Armando Tovar (2-0) of the House of Boxing.

Round #1 was as even as you could get. In Round #2, Ballesteros appeared to be the busier boxer. Then in the closing round, Tovar came on, stayed busy and landed the majority of the telling blows. Picking the winner in this one must have been a real chore. In the end, it was Tovar being awarded the victory.

Johnny Ballesteros (0-1) of Intensity MMA taking on 23 year-old Armando Tovar (2-0) of the House of Boxing

At the conclusion of Bout #10, Armando Tovar (r) of the House of Boxing had his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley after he defeated Johnny Ballesteros (l).

Bout #11, in the super lightweight division, saw 30 year-old Tin Bui (1-0) of the Art of Eight Training Center in Kearny Mesa taking on 25 year-old Jorge Andres Rivera of North County Boxing who was making his Amateur debut. 

Since Round #1 was a free for all with each taking their turn being the punching bag, it was very difficult to score. Round #2 went to Bui who was so persistent and actually showed some dandy defense by ducking under several of Rivera’s offerings. Justifiably, Round #3 went to Rivera who landed the hard shots while Bui resulted to arm punches. When checking later with the judges, it was discovered the scoring in this match was super tight.

Tin Bui (1-0) of the Art of Eight Training Center in Kearny Mesa taking on 25 year-old Jorge Andres Rivera of North County Boxing

At the conclusion of Bout #11, we see referee Rick Ley (c) raising the arm of Jorge Andres Rivera (r) of North County Boxing after he defeated Tin Bui (l) of the Art of Eight Training Center in Kearny Mesa. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #12, in the super lightweight division, featured two 17 year-olds, Ryan Soliven (record unknown) of Undisputed North Park taking on Fabian Zarco (8-1) of Barrio Station.

Simply put, Zarco got his ninth win by being the aggressor throughout and never permitting Soliven to get off a meaningful, well leveraged punch by constantly smothering him and making him fight on the inside.

Ryan Soliven (record unknown) of Undisputed North Park taking on Fabian Zarco (8-1) of Barrio Station

(bottom, left) At the conclusion of Bout #12, referee Rick Ley (c) raises the arm of Fabian Zarco (r) of Barrio Station after he defeated Ryan Soliven (l) of Undisputed North Park. (bottom, right) Joining Zarco at the conclusion of his bout is boxer David Barragan and one of the show’s sponsors representing RootsofRiches.com.

At the conclusion of Bout #11, we see referee Rick Ley (c) raising the arm of Jorge Andres Rivera (r) of North County Boxing after he defeated Tin Bui (l) of the Art of Eight Training Center in Kearny Mesa.

The closer, Bout #13, featured two lightweights, 24 year-old Hai Tran (0-2) of the Undisputed Gym Downtown taking on 21-year-old Jaime Suazo (a first timer) who trains at G. Boxing in Vista, CA with coach Hector Gil Jr.

Tran’s strategy of shooting in and out to do his scoring worked to perfection. With his wife and daughter present, you had the feeling nothing could prevent Tran from coming away with his first victory. Whenever Suazo had an opportunity, he let his hands go but in reality his downfall became his inability to cut off the ring.

(top) In Round #1, Hai Tran (white trunks) and Jaime Suazo (black trunks) face off in the center of the ring.

(top) In Round #1, Hai Tran (white trunks) and Jaime Suazo (black trunks) face off in the center of the ring.

(top photo) At the conclusion of his bout with Jaime Suazo, Hai Tran has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley.

(bottom, right) At the conclusion of his bout with Jaime Suazo (l), Hai Tran (r) has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley.

Years down the road, Hai Tran will be able to show his grand children this photo and brag. "Yes, I did box for a while. Here's a photo with Coaches Santillan, the father of pro boxer Giovani Santillan and ex-champ Danny Perez.

Just imagine! Years from now, Hai Tran (l) will be able to show this photo to friends and acquaintances, his children and their children and boast, “Yes, I did box for a while. Here’s a photo of me with my coaches Memo Santillan, the father of pro boxer Giovanni Santillan and Danny “Dynamite” Perez, an ex-welterweight and light middleweight champion.

Final photo of the top fightersSponsor and a photo of the crowdMessage of appreciation from David Barragan and his father Carlos Barragan Jr.: The “Fight Night @ the House” turned out to be a huge success. What a great night of amateur boxing, music playing, people cheering and punches flying and to know it could not have happened without the dedicated coaches, boxers, officials, supporters and fight fans. For that and more, everyone at the House of Boxing joins me in Thanking You for the continued support from Dolores Greenwald Barragan, Low Low, Victor Schloss Diante Clark, Damian Viciouz, Berlin Kerney IV, Daniel Morales, Genaro Gamez, David Barragan, Jorge Agiss, Luis Lorenzo, Juan Medina Jr., Peter Moreno, Leticia Valdez, Carlos Esme Vega, James Wyatt, Jessie Ramirez, Victor Ortega, Isaak Arellano, Israel Arellano, Jessica Barragan Diaz, Armando Tovar, Michael Guevara and Abraham Gomez.

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About the Author

Jim Wyatt, a 1970 graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has written weekly sports features for several Military newspapers, WCKMuayThai.com, SportofBoxing.com and Examiner.com as their San Diego Boxing Examiner. He was one of the four "Wise Guys" who predicted winning football selections versus the Vegas spreads. Some of the people he enjoyed meeting: Earvin "Magic" Johnson, WWF Wrestler Lita, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nate Kaeding and Darren Bennett of the Chargers, Tony Gwynn and Jake Peavy of the Padres, soccer stars Shannon MacMillan and Julie Foudy, Mixed Martial Artists Cris Cyborg, Junior Dos Santos, the Nogueira brothers plus the many great people involved in boxing and Muaythai.