December 21, 2013
After two days of boxing, on Sunday, we were down to just 26 boxers in the final 13 matches of the 2013 Boxers for Christ National Championship Tournament at the San Diego Combat Academy in Kearny Mesa, San Diego, CA. For some boxers, like Fabian Zarco of Barrio Station and Ray Diaz of Steele Boxing, this was their third straight day of competing.
Here are the results from the final day:
In Bout #1, in the 11 to 12 year-old, 70 pound weight class, Off-tourney group, it was Adrian Estrada (66.2 lbs.) an orthodox boxer from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, CA going up against southpaw Fernando Diaz (70.6 lbs.) of Steele Boxing, Las Vegas, Nevada. Diaz, who added sound effects while delivering his punches, dominated Estrada from the opening bell, “Bop! Bop! Bop, bop, bop! Bop, bop!” Since it was a rare occurrence when the overmatched Estrada got off a punch, Diaz won the bout easily.
Bout #2, in the 13 to 14-year-old, 106-pound weight class, featured two very serious, what you might call pokerfaced competitors, Anthony Reyes of Coachella and Ray Diaz of Steele Boxing. As mentioned above, this was Diaz’s third bout in the tournament. Plus, the two competitors had some past history. In their previous match, Reyes defeated Diaz by the slimmest of margins. At their morning weigh-ins, the boxers weighed in at the same, exact weight – 103.6 pounds. The three rounds played out like a chess match. After one boxer delivered a punch, the other made certain to match his efforts. The imbalance came about when Reyes used this tactic of hitting, then holding. After a while, the difference in punches delivered started to mount in his favor.
Bout #3, in the 123 pound, 17 and over, Novice division, featured Carlon Johnson of the UFC Gym (119.2 lbs.) going up against Hai Tran of the North Park Undisputed Gym (121.5 lbs.). This was the one result that your loyal, boxing pundit disagreed with. It appeared Johnson held the edge in both rounds one and two. He held his ground while delivering the cleaner and certainly more accurate blows. In the final round, Tran pulled out all the stops and went with the bullying tactics that impressed the judges enough to earn him the questionable win.
Bout #4, we were back to the ladies, featuring Jessica Corral (129.4 lbs.) of the National City CYAC going up against Renata Ramirez (129.6 lbs.) of the Duarte Youth Boxing Club in the 17 and up, 132 pound Novice division.
The strategies in this one were clear, especially since both demonstrated they had above average footwork. Ramirez, with her reach advantage, needed sufficient space to box. Her opponent, Corral, needed to get in close to land the shorter straight rights, left hooks and work over Ramirez’s midsection. In summation, while Corral took round two, it was clear Ramirez, the eventual winner, did the better job in Rounds one and three, especially when landing her fully extended power punches.
Bout #5: Since Raul “Rolly” Meza’s final opponent was unable to compete on Sunday in the 17 and up, 132 pound division, Meza, a long time member of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista and now boxing instructor at the newly opened UFC Gym in San Marcos, became this year’s champion.
Bout #6, in the 132 pound, 17 and up, Novice category they had Fabian Zarco (131.8 lbs.) of Barrio Station in his third straight tournament bout going up against Rene Flores (132 lbs.) a well-schooled boxer/brawler from the Coachella Boxing Club. With Flores, seemingly bigger and stronger, you had to figure Zarco had finally met his match. The bout started out like an Ali/Frazier match-up, with Flores on the perimeter circling to his right while using his jab and occasionally stopping to deliver a combination while Zarco, in Frazier-like form, kept pressing straight ahead. Halfway through the second round, Flores’ perpetual motion slowed and that’s when Zarco began to land the straight one, two, left and right cross combinations. Amazingly, Flores kept his composure and on occasion returned fire even while back peddling. By the final round, Zarco’s unwavering advances had taken their toll on Flores who had been worn down by attrition.
Bout #7 featured Jose Ponce (151.6 lbs.) of the United Boxing & Fitness Gym in Chula Vista, CA going up against Jeremy Nichols (150.2 lbs.) of the legendary Johnny Tocco’s Boxing Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. In Round #1, the feeling out round, the heavy hitters, kept measuring each other in preparation for what many expected to be a war. Before the round ended, Nichols began switching (effortlessly) from righty to lefty. Baffled by this new development, Ponce allowed Nichols to score more than enough points to take round one. In Round #2, after feeling Nichols’ power, Ponce became more tentative, failed to use his jab and waited even longer to counter off any Nichols’ miscue. By the third round, an overconfident Nichols started to showboat, drop his hands and again switch back and forth from righty to lefty. Interviewed later, Nichols and his trainer told us he’s 23 years of age, has only been training (seriously) for a year, and his ability to switch back and forth from righty to lefty is owing to the fact that he’s always been ambidextrous. One never knows. Mr. Nichols just might be one of those diamonds in the rough and we’ll soon be watching him on TV.
Bout #9 featured two more, big bruisers battling it out in the 17 and up, 201 pound Novice division, Ben Rivera (190.4 lbs.) of Old School Boxing in the College Area of San Diego going up against Jesse Okeke (199 lbs.) of the Gladiator School of Boxing in Spring Valley, CA, two gentlemen who belong on the front cover of Muscle & Fitness Magazine. In Round #1, it appeared Okeke held the upper hand since he was the one who was delivering the big bombs, punches that could collapse a building. Rivera seemed just as happy to work his combinations and measure distance. In round two, Okeke, the brawler, found himself in a close-in scuffle featuring sneaky uppercuts, right crosses, and short left hooks. At that point, all the muscle in the world couldn’t help him as Rivera’s superior hand speed took over to secure the win.
Bout #11, another of the highly anticipated matchups, featured Tyler Herberger (121.2 lbs.) of Old School Boxing, San Diego, CA facing Jose Jurado (121.6 lbs.) from the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, S. D., CA in the Elite 123 pound division.
These are two of the best Super Bantamweights from the San Diego area and they put on an amazing performance. Even though the bout, round by round, featured continual momentum swings, you always saw Herberger just a notch better, a notch sharper with his combinations.
Then, late in Round #3, it appeared Herberger was tiring and Jurado would finish stronger. That’s when Herberger dug deep and back he came to wow his fans. I’m certain they would back me up on this claim, “Saturday’s performance was his best ever.”
In Bout #12, it was Joseph “Big Dog” Martinez (202 lbs.) of the Duarte Youth Boxing Club going up against Mario Jaquez (229 lbs.) of the World Gym, Ocean Beach, S. D., CA in a 201-pound plus, Off tourney match. The nickname of “Big Dog” was given to Martinez just after the match by his whimsical opponent who showed tremendous courage by finishing a bout in which he faced a much superior opponent who has obviously been training a lot longer. Jaquez’s strategy of getting in close and tying Martinez up worked for a time, but it never completely stopped the onslaught of heavy leather.
In Bout #13, it was Armando Tovar (140 lbs.) from the House of Boxing in the Paradise Hills section of San Diego, going up against Torryan Benjamin (138.8 lbs.) from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, CA in a 141 pound, Novice, Off tourney match.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed, I believe Benjamin’s speed and unique style may have confounded Tovar. It’s unlikely he’s ever faced anyone quite like Benjamin. First of all, it was his unusual stance. When facing his opponents he always stands sideways, never full frontal, which doesn’t give you much of a target to throw at. Secondly, Tovar got caught twice by Benjamin’s big overhand rights that came at him like a towering wave.
Team records for the Boxers for Christ National Tournament
LBC 44 Teams (San Diego County) (29-29)
Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista 6-4
Barrio Station, San Diego Downtown 4-1
Black Tiger Gym, Miramar, S. D. 0-1
Bound Boxing, Chula Vista 1-2
Chula Vista Boxing, Chula Vista 0-1
Gladiators School of Boxing, Spring Valley 0-1
House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, San Diego 1-4
Intensity MMA, South San Diego 1-0
Legacy Training Center, Vista 0-1
National City Community Youth Athletic Center 2-2
Old School Boxing, San Diego 3-2
San Diego Combat Academy, San Siego 0-1
Temecula Boxing, Temecula 1-0
UFC Gym, San Marcos 1-1
Undisputed Gym – North Park/El Cajon 3-2
United Boxing & Training Center, Chula Vista 3-5
USIAA (United States Institute of Amateur Athletics) 1-0
World Boxing Gym, Ocean Beach, S.D. 2-1
Visiting teams (26-14)*walk overs included
Aztec Pride, Bell, CA 3-1
Capital Punishment Boxing Club, Riverside, CA 1-0
Casillas Boxing Club, South Gate, CA 0-1
Coachella Boxing Club, Coachella, CA 6-1
Duarte Youth Boxing Club, Duarte, CA 9-2
Eddie Heredia Boxing Club, East Los Angeles 0-2
ICIW (I Can, I Will) 0-1
Johnny Tocco’s Boxing Gym, Las Vegas, NV 1-1
MTC (More Than Conquerors Boxing Club) San Bernardino, CA 2-4
Steele Boxing, Las Vegas, NV 4-1