No wonder Bianca Noriega won on Saturday at La Gente Boxing’s 25th Anniversary Show, look at all the supporters she had. All told, 30 members of her fan club were in attendance cheering her on. Photo: Jim Wyatt
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, 60 plus boxers from Arizona, Imperial Valley, San Diego and Coachella Valley got up very early to travel to Brawley, Calif. to represent their Boxing Club. They came from as far away east as Phoenix, Arizona, as far north as Chino and Coachella, Calif., as far west as San Diego and south to the Border. Eighteen boxing clubs were there to show their support for a boxing club that has been servicing the local youth of Imperial Valley since 1991. With the help of his tireless staff, the calm, cool and collected Pablo Cortez of La Gente Boxing had all his ducks in a row at the local Lions Recreation Center in Brawley. They had a 20-foot ring, great lighting, a top notch ring announcer/master of ceremonies, a DJ offering the best music, delicious food and beverages, and more than enough boxers to end up with 18 competitive matches.
Now here’s an off-the-wall – COINCIDENCE or WHAT? Look closely at the photo that was sent to me early Saturday morning from a dear friend in Pennsylvania who I have known since childhood. The email arrived just prior to my leaving my house for Saturday’s big show in Brawley (9:20 a.m East Coast Time, 6:20 a.m. Pacific Coast Time). Take into consideration that after looking at the photo, I then had to drive to Alpine to meet up with the 84-year-old head of officials Willie Kuhn who was adamant about driving his car on the two-hour trek through the Laguna and Cuyamaca Mountain ranges which no doubt has its share of steep inclines and treacherous turns. Be advised, Mr. Kuhn has this proclivity, natural tendency, to drive his car over the posted speed limit. So, off I go. While driving through El Cajon to Alpine, I soon discover we’ll be driving most of the way directly into the early morning sun. Before leaving El Cajon, I almost ran over a furniture dolly that must have fallen off a truck. In my lane of this four-lane highway, I see it and swerve to the right to avoid trashing the undercarriage of my car. Continuing on, I get to Alpine at 7:05 a.m. after agreeing to meet Willie at 7 a.m. On arrival, I see Willie about to drive passed me to get on Route 8. As luck would have it, Willie sees me, makes a U-turn and goes back to our arranged meeting place so I can park my car and go with him. After getting in Willie’s car, the first thing I notice is his front window has this opaque film on it that greatly reduces his visibility especially when the sun shines directly on it.
Again, I’d like you to look at the above photo. You can see where the driver broke through the guardrail on the right side of the culvert where the people on the road are standing. The pickup truck was traveling at about 75 mph when it crashed through the guardrail, then flipped end-over-end bouncing off and across that culvert to land right side up on the left side of the culvert and facing the opposite direction from which the driver was headed. The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were unhurt except for minor cuts and bruises. This happened just outside Flagstaff, Arizona on U. S. Highway 100. Now, I’d like you to scroll down to the very bottom of this article to view the second photo of the same accident.
Meanwhile, here are the results from the 18 bouts on Saturday, April 16:
The opening bout was a thriller, full of momentum swings. Every time you thought Mansour (red gloves) had the upper hand, back came Lopez with a dandy equalizer, especially his left hooks and this one dandy left uppercut.
In Bout #1, it was 16-year-old Eduardo Lopez (left, blue trunks, 113.4 pounds, prior experience: 2 bouts) of Calexico Boxing, Calexico, Calif. coming away with the victory over 15-year-old Jonathan Mansour (right, 106.4 lbs., prior experience: 3 bouts) of the Bombers Squad in El Cajon, Calif.
In Bout #2 it was 13-year-old Dorian Khan (right, 95.6 pounds, prior experience: 60 bouts) from F1 – Fighters First Boxing Academy, Buckeye, Arizona coming away with the victory over 12-year-old Julius Ballo of the Bombers Squad, El Cajon, Calif. (91 pounds, prior experience: Open). People questioned why the Ballo camp had accepted this fight against Khan who at this time has many advantages over the shorter Ballo – not only in height, weight, age and the fact that he is a southpaw, but he’s also well versed in keeping his opponents, like Ballo, at a distance while he systematically picks them apart. With only three, quick, two-minute rounds to decide a winner, it just wasn’t fair to either boxer. While Ballo’s output and speed of hands matched Khan’s, what likely swayed the judges to give the decision to Khan was the fact Khan made a more noticeable impact when he delivered his straight lefts to Ballo’s head. Both are amazing boxers.
According to the F1-Fighters First Boxing Team, the victorious Dorian Khan (c) shown here with his father (r) and fellow coach (l), is now ranked #1 in his weight class. His performance on Saturday backs up that claim.
In Bout #3 it was 15-year-old Jose Ortega (blue trunks, 119.2 pounds, prior experience: 22 bouts) of Calexico Boxing, Calexico, Calif. coming away with the victory over 14-year-old Carlos Sanchez of the Bombers Squad, El Cajon, Calif. (118.6 pounds, prior experience: 48 bouts). This bout got crazy in a hurry as both boxers were loading up with the big bombs. There was hardly any jabs to speak of – almost every punch came with mean intentions.
At the conclusion of Bout #3, Jose Ortega has his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan while Carlos Sanchez (r) contemplates his loss.
The Guerrero Boxing team is happy after both Jose Ortega (r) and his stablemate Eduardo Lopez (l) leave the premises with victories. The ride home is always pleasant when you have those victories to mull over.
Bout #4 between 15 year-old Brennan Macias (110 lbs., prior experience: Open) of F1-Fighters First Boxing Academy, Buckeye, Arizona (red gloves) and 16-year-old Anthony Clark (blue gloves, 105.8 pounds, Open) from San Luis PAL was another terrific scrap featuring Macias, the brawler, and Clark, the boxer. For whatever reason, the judges ended up favoring the brawler when in fact it was the boxer who controlled the fight, slipped the majority of punches while landing the dandy counters. All photos: Jim Wyatt
(top, right) At the conclusion of Bout #4, we see referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious Brennan Macias (r) of F1-Fighters First Boxing.
In Bout #5 it was 14-year-old Rene De La Pena (red trunks, 95 pounds, experience: 15 bouts) from F1 – Fighters First Boxing Academy, Buckeye, Arizona coming away with the victory over 14-year-old Blane Serna from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif. (91.8 pounds, experience: 25 bouts). The game Serna could not overcome Del La Pena’s height and reach advantage.
(l to r) Rene de La Pena of F1 – Fighters First Boxing Academy in Buckeye, Arizona and Blane Serna of the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.
A few of the outstanding volunteer men and women who make the USA Amateur Boxing program work (l to r) Dr. Arturo Garcia Iniguez, USA Amateur Boxing’s LBC 44 CAL Border President Hondo Fontan, official timekeeper Melanie Ley, and the head of officials Willie Kuhn.
In Bout #6 it was 9-year-old Cayden Griffiths (left, 69.6 pounds, experience: 18 bouts) from Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.coming away with the victory over 9-year-old Sebastian Mitry (right)from F1 – Fighters First Boxing Academy, Buckeye, Arizona(69.4 pounds, experience: 7 bouts).
When the victorious Caydeen Griffiths grows up he mentioned he wouldn’t mind being real strong just like his dad. Photo: Jim Wyatt
In Bout #7 it was 12-year-old Brannon Lobatos (red trunks, 108.6 pounds, experience: 20 bouts) from F1 – Fighters First Boxing Academy, Buckeye, Arizona coming away with the victory over 13-year-old Francisco Rodriguez (107 lbs, experience: 9 bouts) from Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.
After Brannon Lobatos’ victory in Bout #7, F1-Fighters First Boxing Academy had four victories and just one defeat. Photo: Jim Wyatt
In Bout #8, between Jesus Bojorquez of San Luis PAL (right) and Diego Nunez of Indio (left) there was almost a simultaneous knockout when both youngsters landed their money punch, the left hook at the same time.
(bottom) In Bout #8 it was 10-year-old Diego Nunez (left, 68 pounds, experience: 10 bouts) from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif. coming away with the victory over 10-year-old Jesus Bojorquez (65.2 pounds, experience: 10 bouts) from the San Luis PAL, San Luis, Arizona.
Diego Nunez: “Nothing is more gratifying than impressing your father.”
Early on in Bout #9, Leonardo Juarez (red gloves, 113.2 lbs., experience: 10 bouts) from the Courageous Catholic Boxing Club in Yuma, Arizona was very much in this contest and then things started going sour after Marco Trinidad (blue gloves, 114.6 lbs., experience: 11 bouts) landed four solid uppercuts.
Referee Hondo Fontan is shown giving Leonardo Juarez a standing 8-count after he saw Juarez get walloped big time by a looping punch to the face.
In the above photo, it appears Marco Trinidad’s patented boxing stance makes it look like he throws his menacing punches from a pitcher’s wind-up.
At the conclusion of their contest, we see Mario Trinidad (l) having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontan.
And finally, the boxers are congratulated by Raul Lau, the Owner/Director of the Baja Boxing Club in Calexico, Calif. All photos: Jim Wyatt
In Bout #10 it was 13-year-old Kayleen Segovia from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif.(red trunks, 103.4 pounds, making her debut)earning the victory over fellow 13-year-old Daisy “The Black Widow” Medina (blue trunks, 103.2 lbs., also making her Amateur debut) from the United Boxing & Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif.
In the beginning, with their straight, accurate punching, this was a textbook back and forth struggle.
When it came time to hear the announcement of the decision, it’s clear Daisy “The Black Widow” Medina (l) was upset at her performance.
After the bout, the young ladies posed for photos. Daisy Medina (l) with her coach Marcel Acevedo and Kayleen Segovia (r) with her proud family.
In Bout #11 it was 12-year-old Bianca Noriega from the host gym La Gente Boxing, Brawley, Calif., who had been training for one year and three months, making her Amateur debut. In her debut, she surprised a great many people byearning the victory over the undefeated, 13-year-old Christa Aquino (2-0)of the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif. who has been training for three years.
For the majority of the bout there was a lot of strategy being played out with Christa Aquino (red gloves) preferring to do her work in-close.
In her debut, it was Bianca Noriega (l) of La Gente Boxing earning the decision victory over Christa Aquino (r) of the Chula Vista Training Center.
The proud father poses for a photo with his daughter, Bianca Noriega.
In Bout #12 it was 20-year-old David Gates (154.8 pounds, experience: 4 bouts)from the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.coming away with the victory over 23-year-old Anthony Gronich of Calexico Boxing, Calexico, Calif. (150.4 pounds, who was making his amateur debut).
Bout #12 featured two gents who throw punches that can cave in a wall. In the end, it was David Gates who earned himself a unanimous decision victory.
After their brutal contest, David Gates (l) of the Alliance Training Center and Anthony Gronich (r) of Calexico Boxing posed for photos. Photo: J. Wyatt
In Bout #13 it was 15-year-old Roxana Ortiz (120.8 pounds, experience: 12 bouts)of Calexico Boxing, Calexico, Calif.coming away with the victory over 14-year-old Gabriela Fundora from Coachella Boxing, Coachella, Calif. (113.8 pounds, experience: 12 bouts). Here we not only had a disparity in the weight, Ortiz was 7 pounds heavier (the maximum allowable is 7 pounds) and Ortiz is one year and 8 months older (the limit being 2 years difference). That being said, Fundora, who towers over the petite Ortiz, had won both of their previous meetings. On Saturday, Ortiz’s master plan worked to perfection. Even though it made for a dull fight, Ortiz would always wait for her opponent to throw the first punch, duck under it, and then counter. The point totals ended up being lopsided in Ortiz’s favor.
The Gabriela Fundora (red gloves) and Roxana Ortiz (blue gloves) battle royale involved a great deal of strategy.
Cunning is described as the skill of achieving one’s end by deceit or evasion. Still friends, Gabriela Fundora (r) the victim of Roxana Ortiz’s cunning on Saturday poses for a photo with her arch rival who just finished outfoxing her.
Bout #14 it was 9-year-old Javier “El Popeye” Garciafrom United Boxing & Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif.(70.8 pounds, making his Amateur debut)coming away with the victory over the shorter 8-year-old Manuel Valenzuela from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif. (67.4 pounds, who was also making his amateur debut).
In round one of Bout #14, Manuel Valenzuela (blue gloves) had a difficult time dealing with Javier Garcia’s hard left hooks plus his height and weight advantage. As a result, Valenzuela was given a standing 8-count and was advised by his corner that it would be best to call it a day.
In his debut, it was Javier “El Popeye” Garcia coming away with the victory.
In Bout #15 it was 15-year-old Isael Quirarte of La Gente Boxing (126.8 pounds, experience: 9 bouts) getting the win over 13-year-oldAnthony Cortez (130.8 pounds, experience: 12 bouts) from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif. After Quirarte took both rounds one and two with 10-9 scores, Cortez then pulled out all the stops and dominated his foe in the final round and was awarded a 10-8 round which involved the standing 8-count issued to Quirarte. With the judges’ scorecards dead even after three rounds, referee Hondo Fontan was then forced to go one by one to the judges and ask them to choose which boxer they felt did the best throughout the match and that is the way the winner, Quirarte got the decision.
(bottom, right) The winner of Bout #15 Isael Quirarte (left) and Anthony Cortez (right) pose for photos after their nonstop slugfest.
In Bout #16 it was 16-year-old Jessie Guillen (120.8 pounds, experience: 5 bouts)from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.coming away with the victory over 15-year-old Jonathan Lau of Baja Boxing, El Centro, Calif. (127.4 pounds, experience: Open).
There’s too close and too far in boxing. Once again the better strategist won. After a difficult first round, Jessie Guillen (red gloves) managed to get inside Jonathan Lau’s stiff jab and powerful, overhand right to work over his body and thus secure the win.
(bottom, left) At the conclusion of Bout #16, we see referee Hondo Fontan raising the arm of the victorious Jessie Guillen of the Indio Boys & Girls Club who like Roxana Ortiz outfoxed his opponent, Jonathan Lau of Baja Boxing.
In Bout #17 it was 11-year-old Ricardo Aquirres Jr. (73.6 pounds, experience: 6 bouts)from the Indio Boys & Girls Club, Indio, Calif.coming away with the victory over 12-year-old Isaiah Torres of Westmoreland PAL, Westmoreland, Calif. (69.4 pounds, experience: 10 bouts).
Another of the really close matches involved the back and forth struggle between Ricardo Aguirres Jr. (red gloves) and Isaiah Torres (blue gloves). In the end, it was Aguirres securing the victory.
The two young pugilists, Isaiah Torres (l) and Ricardo Aguirres Jr. (r) show off the plaques they received.
Once again there was a proud father nearby who wanted a memento of the occasion. Ricardo Aguirres Sr. was delighted by his son’s performance.
Bout #18, a late add-on rounded out the boxing card.In this one, you had14-year-old Moises Cardenas Ortiz of the Courageous Catholic Boxing Club, Yuma, Arizona(118.4 pounds, who was making his debut, red gloves)going up against 13-year-old Alejandro Casarez of the Calexico Boxing Club, Calexico, Calif. (123.4 pounds, experience: 4 bouts, blue gloves).
The final battle royale of the day featured another nonstop slugfest between Moises Cardenas Ortiz (red gloves) and Alejandro Casarez (blue gloves).
With Alejandro Casarez being the aggressor throughout and landing more of the head-snapping punches, the decision seemed elementary. Still, you have to give a lot of credit to Moises Cardenas Ortiz who never wavered and kept coming forward.
Holey, moley! Here’s the second photo of that accident. ENOUGH SAID? Be safe and drive to stay alive, especially when traveling from San Diego to Imperial Valley and then back again.
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.
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