No other area of San Diego County holds boxing in higher esteem and supports their local boxers the way San Diego’s South Bay does. Every time there’s a show at the local gym, such as the one hosted Friday night, August 7, at the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, you can be certain every chair in the place will be filled and everyone present will be a diehard fan.
In Friday’s opening bout, they had 10 year-old Jan Carlo Meza (0-1, 73.2 lbs.) of the host gym, Bound Boxing Academy, going up against 9 year-old Danny Hernandez of the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, a 77.4 pounder who was making his Amateur debut.
With Meza having an edge in experience, he exploited his earlier exposure to the sport and scored more of the better leveraged punches on Hernandez, especially to his head. Hernandez, trying his best to go nonstop, would land punches to Meza’s head and midsection but he would often forget any thoughts of slipping a punch or covering up. Hernandez’s lack of defense made the judges’ decision easy.
In Bout #2, it was 9 year-old Gael Meza (0-0, 78.2 lbs.) of Bound Boxing, the younger and yet taller brother of Jan Carlo Meza, making his Amateur debut against fellow debutant 8 year-old Sergio Lopez (0-0, 82.6 lbs.) of Romo’s Boxing and Training Center, El Centro, Calif.
While Lopez was catching Meza with these beautifully timed, short left hooks, he too, like Hernandez, would often forget any thoughts of defense while Meza used his height advantage to pummel Lopez repeatedly.
In Bout #3, it was 16 year-old Jorge Romo of the Axteca Warriors Boxing Team from the San Ysidro Community Center, San Ysidro (106.2 lbs.) in his first appearance, going up against 16 year-old Eduardo Lopez (0-1, 106.8 lbs.) from Guerrero’s Boxing Gym, Heber, Calif.
In this bout it’s difficult to put a label on Romo’s awkward style. To quote one judge, “I like the way he moves, but the way he throws his punches, it’s like he’s chopping wood.” Referee Will White would agree and soon interrupted the first stanza to issue Lopez an 8-count.
Even though Lopez was the more technically sound boxer, Romo appeared to be the better conditioned athlete. How he moved as fast as he did without eventually slowing down? A mystery. He’d land his awkward punches from a myriad of angles and then he’d be gone. For Lopez to slow the elusive Romo down, he would have needed a large butterfly net with a long handle. By the end of the bout, Lopez’s nose was bleeding and the judges had Romo ahead.
Bout #4 featured 13 year-old Michael Negrete (8-0) of Guerrero’s Boxing Gym, Heber, Calif. (74 lbs.) going up against a late replacement 12 year-old Juan Medina III (77.4 pounds, with nearly 30 bouts) from the Bound Boxing Academy.
From the start, this was a mismatch as it pertains to experience level. Unlike Negrete, Medina already had an advantage of traveling near and far to seek out the toughest opponents. Negrete, though slightly older, is still working himself up that ladder. That being said, both Negrete and Medina gave a terrific performance. Near the close of round one, both youngsters fell to the canvas at the same time. Throughout the remainder of the bout, both were loading up to land that one, big, knockout blow.
When it was announced Medina had won, you could see Negrete had become unglued. “I am beatable?” He was beside himself, hopping mad. When you’re expectations are so high, that first loss can be a tough one to take.
Bout #5 featured two more debutants and both were 15 years of age. Kennedy Ruiz (128.2 lbs.) of City Boxing, Downtown, faced Aron Avila (126.8 pounds) of Intensity MMA, South San Diego.
At the outset, Ruiz forced the action and went darting in and out looking to end the bout early. Avila weathered Ruiz’s fast and furious waves of offense and soon settled in to give his opponent a boxing lesson. With the tide turning, so did the judges scores in both rounds two and three.
Bout #6 featured the third meeting of southpaw Pedro Bernal (18 years of age, 124.8 lbs.) of Old School Boxing and orthodox boxer, Nico Marchan (22 years of age, 126.2 lbs.) from the House of Boxing. Both boxers, being very heady individuals, have that all important adjunct career path if boxing turns out to be just a passing fancy. Bernal has been taking classes at City College, Downtown while Marchan is a student at San Diego State.
Bernal won in their first meeting. Then Marchan exacted his revenge by being more Mike Tyson-like. This was the rubber match and throughout Bernal was as clever and elusive as you can get. Floyd Mayweather Jr. couldn’t have done any better. While Bernal’s left hands were landing, Marchan’s rights were flailing in the wind.
Bout #7 had 32 year-old Timothy Jenkins (151.2 lbs., unattached, who claimed to have two matches to his credit) going up against a 17 year-old, 158.2 pound novice by the name of Keegan Ruiz (Kennedy Ruiz’s older brother), again from City Boxing.
Not knowing how the bout would play out, with Jenkins supposedly having more ring savvy and Keegan having youth on his side, the officials wanted to keep a close eye on this one.
It ended up they didn’t have a worry in the world as Ruiz spent the majority of his time backing Jenkins up and occasionally landing sufficient punches to win the round. After so many wild, action bouts, this one almost put the crowd to sleep.
Bout #8 featured 19 year-olds, Tyler Herberger (128.2 lbs., 30 plus bouts) of Old School Boxing going up against the less experienced but always game Ernesto Verdin (8-3, 127.2 lbs.) of Guerrero’s Boxing.
From the sleeper, we went right back into a thriller. In the first and second rounds, Verdin hit Herberger so hard his head actually spun around. Both were throwing and landing scary punches. By the third round, Herberger had established his superiority and the punch stats, mostly power shots, had begun to turn in his favor.
The final bout of the evening, Bout #9, had 35 year-old Andrea Iniguez (1-3) going up against a young lady half her age, 17 year-old Jazmin Valverde (111.6 lbs.) from Romo’s Boxing. Iniquez accompanied by her biggest fans, her two daughters, now trains at the ABC Mongoose Gym on Market Street in San Diego. her opponent, Valverde had been a Karate student for five years, then switched over to boxing for the last 12 months. Valverde is what you’d call an all around, natural athlete.
As the matchmaker predicted, this was another very competitive bout as the ladies went back and forth matching each other’s output. In the end, the much improved Iniquez couldn’t keep up with the younger Valverde who exhibited tremendous stamina.
When is the next USA Amateur Boxing show? This coming Saturday, August 15, 2015, The Arena, 3350 Sports Arena Boulevard, Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. 92110 will host their annual Lucky Invitational in memory of Phineas “Lucky” Nhlengethwa who most likely one of the most popular boxers/trainers that ever lived. What people remember most about him was his disposition. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word to pass on. A great many people are expected to attend this show and at present they’re expecting to have 20 bouts on tap. The first bout is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Price of admission – a whole $10.