Calexico hosts final USA Amateur Boxing Show of 2015

On Saturday, Erik West of the Lee Espinoza Bout #12 featured 18 year-old Erik West (122 lbs., 21 bouts) from the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella, Calif. going up against 17 year-old Angel Castro (119.6 lbs., 2-6) of the Baja Boxing Club, Calexico, Calif.

Talk about being on your game – this past Saturday, Erik West (red trunks) of the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club rarely if ever missed his target when facing the formidable Angel Castro of the Baja Boxing Club, Calexico. Photo: Jim Wyatt

The final USA Amateur LBC-44 Boxing show of 2015 took place Saturday, December 19, 2015 at the William Moreno Jr. High School in Calexico, Calif. The well attended 14 bout boxing card, hosted by Raul Lau and his troops from the Baja Boxing Club in Calexico, was just down the street from Donald Trumps’ favorite hangout, Tacos de Gordo and not that far from the residences of two boxing standouts 26 year-old Heavyweight Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (26-0, 17 KOs) who lives just north in Imperial, Calif. and the #23 ranked Super Bantamweight, 21 year-old Diego ‘The Golden Kid’ De La Hoya (13-0, 7 KOs) who lives in Mexicali. 

In Bout #1, they had 13 year-old Alejandro Mendoza (122.6 lbs., 1-0) of the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, San Diego, Calif. going up against 13 year-old Martin Mota of the San Luis Youth Center (PAL Boxing Gym), San Luis, Arizona (120 lbs. with 4 bouts).

After getting out of the shoots early, the fiery Mendoza never let up. Round one ended with Mota being issued an 8-count just before the bell. The following rounds were more of the same as Mota kept backing up and kept getting issued one 8-count after another until he had himself a trifecta.

In Bout #1, it was 13 year-old Alejandro Mendoza (122.6 lbs., 1-0) of the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, San Diego, Calif. going up against 13 year-old Martin Mota. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #1, it was Alejandro Mendoza (r) of the House of Boxing getting the decision win over Martin Mota (l) of San Luis PAL. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #2, it was 10 year-old Danny Hernandez of the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, San Diego, Calif. (77 lbs., 1-1) going up against 9 year-old Isaiah Bernal (79.4 pounds, 3 bouts) from Romo’s Boxing, El Centro, Calif. In this back and forth struggle it appeared Bernal was landing more of the punches square on the face and in the third and final round, Bernal had Hernandez backpedaling to win over the judges.

back and forth went the momentum in this hard fought contest, Danny Hernandez versus Isaiah Bernal

Back and forth went the momentum in the hard fought match between Danny Hernandez (blue trunks, red gloves) and Isaiah Bernal (blue gloves, black trunks).

In the end it was Isaiah Bernal getting the nod from the judges after his defeat of the game Danny Hernandez.

(bottom, right) In the end it was Isaiah Bernal (l) getting the nod from the judges after he got the best of the game Danny Hernandez. All photos: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #3, it was 15 year-old Santiago Renteria (143.8 pounds, 6 bouts) of the San Luis PAL going up against 16 year-old Cesar Castro (141 pounds, 4 bouts) from the host gym, the Baja Boxing Club. In round one, Castro proved to be more effective. However, the lead changed hands in rounds two and three as Renteria came on with the more powerful blows and Castro began to run low on petrol, especially in the final round when he had to resort to holding.Bt 3b

At the conclusion of Bout #3 we see Santiago Renteria having his arm raised in victory by referee Alberto "cookie" Ramos

At the conclusion of Bout #3 we see Santiago Renteria (r) having his arm raised in victory by referee Alberto “Cookie” Ramos after his victory over Cesar Castro.

In Bout #4, it was 17 year-old David Jimenez from the Vivero Boxing Gym, Mexicali, B. C., Mexico (126.4 pounds, Open Division) going up against 16 year-old Martin Ramirez of the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif. (126.6 pounds, 12 bouts).

When it comes to age and experience in the ring, that one additional year can make a big difference. While Ramirez went through his normal progression and followed the instructions of his coach, Jimenez always seemed to be one step ahead of him and landing punches with more power. The shiner under Ramirez’s right eye was an indicator that there is more work to be done. The same David Jimenez won “Boxer of the Show” at this year’s Lucky Invitational which was held back in August at The Arena.Bt 4a d jimenez ov Martin

(photo, left) Referee Alberto "Cookie" Ramos is shown issuing an 8-count.

(photo, left) Referee Alberto “Cookie” Ramos is shown issuing an 8-count to Martin Ramirez after he got clobbered several times by the menacing Mr. David Jimenez.

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At the conclusion of their hard fought contest, the winner David Jimenez

At the conclusion of their hard fought contest, the winner David Jimenez (l) and the runner-up Martin Ramirez (r) posed for one last photo. All photos: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #5, they had 15 year-old Jose “Twister” Ortega (117.2 pounds, 21 bouts) of the Guerrero Boxing Club, Heber, Calif. back seeking revenge from a match held in June of this year at the Ricochet Recreation Center in Imperial, Calif. against 16 year-old Ivan Guardado (122 pounds, Open Division) from Guardado’s Boxing Club, Ensenada, B. C., Mexico.

Even though the same one year age difference and same five pound weight advantage was still there, Ortega must have been working extra hard to plot his revenge because he add some new wrinkles in his offense. His punches came at Guardado from every angle. Check out the top left photo in the collage below. It’s likely that one, well placed, right uppercut did the most damage and surely impressed the judges enough to have Ortega out in front on the scorecards. What a thrilling match it was.

In the bout between Jose Ortega and Ivan Guardados there was this one moment where

(bottom photo) The eventual winner, Jose Ortega (l) and his opponent Ivan Guardado (r) await the announcement of the judges scores with veteran referee Will White.

At the conclusion of Bout #5, we see veteran referee Will White raised the arm of the victorious

At the conclusion of Bout #5, we see Will White raised the arm of the victorious Jose Ortega after he successfully defeated his arch rival Ivan Guardado.

In Bout #6, it was 17 year-old Lucio Hirales of La Gente Boxing, Brawley, Calif. (153.6 pounds, Open Division) taking on 19 year-old Juan Rangel of the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella, Calif. (150.8 pounds, 2-2).

With his experience, Hirales’ accuracy could not be matched. He stayed in close, worked over the body and used these shorts, brisk uppercuts, right crosses and sprinkled in an occasional left hook to dominate. With both young men digging-in in that final stanza, this was for sure a well fought contest.Bt6a Lucio Hirales ov Juan Rangel

At the conclusion of Bout #6, the victorious Lucio Hirales (r) and his defeated opponent Juan Rangel

At the conclusion of Bout #6, we see the victorious Lucio Hirales (r) and his defeated opponent Juan Rangel (c) hang around for one last photo. Photos: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #7, it was 19 year-old Noe Moreno from the Vivero Boxing Gym, Mexicali (125 pounds, 20 bouts) taking on 17 year-old southpaw Manuel Flores (124 pounds, 30 bouts) from the Indio Boys & Girls Club. With the boxers splitting the first two rounds, Moreno slightly ahead in round one and Flores taking round two, it all came down to who wanted it more in the final round.

In that final round, the southpaw Flores caught Moreno several times with hard lefts. The hard charging Moreno also walked right into a punch to cement the victory for Flores. Bt 7 struggles Mflores ov noe Moreno

At the conclusion of Bout #7, we see referee Rick Ley reach down for the winning trophy

(bottom, left) At the conclusion of Bout #7, we see referee Rick Ley reach down for the winning trophy to present to the southpaw assassin Manuel Flores who ended up defeating the always tough Noe Moreno.

Bout #8 featured Noe Moreno’s younger brother, 15 year-old Kevin Moreno (150.8 lbs., 11 bouts) from the Vivero Boxing Gym, Mexicali, B. C., Mexico going up against the heavy hands of 16 year-old Brandon Lee (151.2 pounds, Open Division with 120+ bouts) from the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella, Calif.

In the first round, Lee went through Moreno as if he were a knife slicing warm butter. The punches in bunches landed with a thud and after calling three successive stoppages to issue an 8-count, referee Hondo Fontan finally decided to call a halt to the match. With Lee, only 16 years of age, he still must wait at least another year before he can turn professional where it’s certain he will prosper.

brandon Lee ov Kevin Moreno

At the conclusion of Bout #8, we see referee Hondo Fontan raising the arm of the victorious Brandon Lee.

At the conclusion of Bout #8, we see referee Hondo Fontan raising the arm of the victorious Brandon Lee (l) after he defeated Kevin Moreno (r).

In Bout #9, it was 19 year-old Angel Villetran (154.2 pounds, experience unknown) from the Vivero Boxing Gym, Mexicali, going up against 17 year-old southpaw Jose Rodriguez (160.4 pounds, Open Division) of the Indio Boys & Girls Club. Committed to his strategy of boxing in close, Rodriguez smothered his opponent and won handily by landing the straighter, cleaner shots, especially to the head.Bt9a jesse Rod ov Angel Villetran

At the conclusion of Bout #9 we see referee Hondo Fontan raising the arm of the victorious

(bottom, right) At the conclusion of Bout #9 we see referee Hondo Fontan raising the arm of the victorious Jose Rodriquez after his defeat of Angel Villetran (red trunks).

Bout #10 featured 15 year-olds, southpaw Rozana “Roxy” Ortiz, (113.8 lbs., 7 bouts) from the Calexico Boxing Club, Calexico, Calif. going up against Karla Saldana (112.8 pounds, 7-2) of the Baja Boxing Club. In this one you had the game, but wild swinging, Saldana often missing her target while the more polished Ortiz seemed content to systematically break her opponent down by going to the body, landing an occasional right cross and then score big-time with her weapon of choice the powerful, overhand lefts to the side of Saldana’s head.

In Bout #10, Karla Saldana had no answer for this left hand coming at her from Roxana Ortiz.

In Bout #10, it seemed Karla Saldana (black trunks) had no answer for the steady stream of left-hands that kept coming at her from the on-charging Roxana Ortiz.

At the conclusion of her bout against Karla Saldana referee Alberto "Cookie" Ramos

At the conclusion of her bout with Karla Saldana (l), the joyous Roxana Ortiz (r) had her arm raised in victory by referee Alberto “Cookie” Ramos. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #11, it was 9 year-old Jesse “Chuyito” Bojorquez (63 lbs., 10 bouts) of the San Luis Youth Center (PAL Boxing Gym), San Luis, Arizona going up against 8 year-old Jahir Romo (61 lbs., 4 bouts) of Romo’s Boxing, El Centro, CA.

Both boxers utilized similar tactics of trying to keep their jab in their opponent’s face and then come over the top with the big left or right. In this nip and tuck battle, Bojorquez likely won out due to his experience level.640 Bt11 struggles begin

In Bout #11, it was Jesse “Chuyito” Bojorquez of San Luis Youth Center (PAL Boxing Gym), San Luis, Arizona going up against 8 year-old Jahir Romo (61 lbs., 4 bouts) of Romo’s Boxing, El Centro, CA.

In Bout #11, it was Jesse “Chuyito” Bojorquez (black trunks) of the San Luis PAL earning the victory over Jahir Romo of Romo’s Boxing, El Centro, Calif.

Of course when when someone from the Romo clan

Of course when you have Jahir Romo, Isaiah Bernal, Rene Martinez or Sergio Lopez pending on an upcoming bout sheet, you know you can expect a large following of supporters, especially from that Romo Boxing clan. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #12 featured 18 year-old Erik West (122 lbs., 21 bouts) from the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella, Calif. going up against 17 year-old Angel Castro (119.6 lbs., 2-6) of the Baja Boxing Club, Calexico, Calif. With West’s coach, Lee Espinoza, in his corner to pass along instructions it was like watching and hearing a famous orchestra leader conduct a symphony orchestra. The taller and rangier West was masterful as he delivered on every one of his coach’s requests which led to Castro being issued multiple 8-counts.640 Bout 12

At the conclusion of Bout #12, we had Erik West (122 lbs., 21 bouts) from the Lee Espinoza Coachella Valley Boxing Club, Coachella, Calif. going up against 17 year-old Angel Castro (119.6 lbs., 2-6) of the Baja Boxing Club, Calexico

At the conclusion of Bout #12, the winner Erik West (l) from the Coachella Valley Boxing Club poses for one last photo with Angel Castro of the Baja Boxing Club.

In Bout #13, it was 14 year-old Isael Quirarte (126.2 lbs., 7 bouts) of Brawley’s La Gente Boxing Club winning an all out slugfest against 13 year-old Anthony Cortez (126.4 lbs., 7 bouts) of the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif. From the opening bell, the punches came in rapid fire succession. Bottom line, since the busier and more aggressive Quirarte paid better attention to tracking the number of blows he landed, the victory was all his.640 Bt13a Quiararte ov ANTCortez

At the conclusion of Bout #13, it was In Bout #13, it was 14 year-old Israel Quirarte (126.2 lbs., 7 bouts) of Brawley’s La Gente Boxing Club winning an all out battle against 13 year-old Anthony Cortez (126.4 lbs., 7 bouts) of the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.

At the conclusion of Bout #13, we see Isael Quirarte (r) of Brawley’s La Gente Boxing Club having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan after he earned the victory over the tough Anthony Cortez (l) of the Indio Boys & Girls Club.

Bout #14, the final bout of the show, featured 16 year-old Jesse Guillen (118.2 lbs., 3 bouts) of the Indio Boys & Girls Club going up against 15 year-old Jonathan Lau (125 lbs., 7 bouts) of the Baja Boxing Club, Calexico, Calif. This was one of those bouts won by the boxer (Guillen) who threw the straighter punches while his opponent (Lau) often went wide and missed the shorter, more elusive Guillen who often ducking under many of Lau’s offerings.640 bt 14 a b

At the conclusion of his exciting contest we had pose for a phot with his coaches among them

At the conclusion of their contest, Jesse Guillen (c) poses for a photo with his opponent Jonathan Lau (l) and his well known coach, Antonio Diaz, a former pro boxer who not so long ago won titles in two divisions.

Now with the holidays upon us, local USA Amateur Boxing Shows usually go on hiatus until late January or early February. Meanwhile, the 2016 Junior Open and Youth National Championships return to Reno, January 3-9, 2016. The registration dates for this event have already passed. Age determination date: Youth Athletes had to be 17 or no older than 18 in the year of 2016. Juniors: Athletes had to be 15 or no older than 16 in the year of 2016.

Contestants check-in/arrival date: January 4, 2016

General Weigh-in: January 4, 2016

Event Dates: January 5-9 Departure: January 10, 2016

Venue: Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Reno, Nevada

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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.