Early Sunday morning on May 22, 2016, the loyal crew of the Bound Boxing Academy on Palomar Street in Chula Vista were scurrying about their gym setting up for Day 2 of the Western Regional tournament. With 22 bouts decided on Day 1, and only six bouts being contested on Day 2, this would certainly be a walk in the park.
Bout #1: To start things off, it was Steven Navarro of Team Garcia Boxing, South Central Los Angeles, Calif., going up against Robert Meriwether III representing Las Vegas, Nevada’s LBC 49 in the 70 pound, 11/12-year-old division. As he did on Saturday, Navarro was the busier and slicker of the two and won easily on all three scorecards to earn a unanimous decision victory.
In Bout #2, it was Jan Carlo Meza of the host gym, the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif. going up against Akeem Cheatham (54-11) representing the KO Kings & Queens Boxing Club of Las Vegas, Nevada in the 75 pound, 12-year-old division.
In round one, both boxers went full bore with Plan A, exerting every ounce of energy to establish who was the stronger of the two. As they settled into round two, it was clear Meza preferred to slow things down and box while Cheatham stayed focused on going full bore to pulverize his opponent. By round three, it was clear Cheatham held the upper hand and was outscoring his opponent to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Bout #3 featured Art Barrera of Longbeach, Calif. going up against Emiliano “Savage” Vargas (18-3) of the Feroz Fight Factory, Las Vegas, Nevada in the 85 pound, 12-year-old division. In the end, it was Vargas winning by a split decision.
Bout #4 featured Amed Medina (26 bouts) of the Azteca Boxing Club, Indio, Calif. facing Daniel Morales of the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon, Calif. in the 85 pound, 14-year-old category.
Bout #5 was a rematch between two of the top amateurs in the country. It featured Fernando Diaz (47-4) of the Richard Steele Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada going up against “The Mexican” Julian Esteban Rojas of the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif. in the 14-year-old, 95-pound category.
In the final bout of the day, Bout #6, it was Jose Silva Ayala (50-7) of the Battle Born Boxing Club, Reno, Nevada going up against Alfred Vargas (28 bouts) of the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon, Calif. in the 101 pound/15-year-old division. On the previous day, Vargas had used this non-aesthetically pleasing strategy of hitting and then holding. Normally, the prevention of its use is left up to the presiding referee. If the head of officials feels the referee is being negligent, he or she can advise the referee to either stop it or issue a point deduction. On Sunday, the referee allowed Vargas to do the same thing he did on Saturday, hit his opponent and then smother or grab his opponent’s arms. In his split decision win over Raymond Otanez on Saturday, Vargas must have felt quite confident in this strategy. Sure enough, Vargas tried the same tactic on Sunday, but with an opposite result. We all saw Jose Silva Ayala land fewer punches than Vargas who was continually holding throughout the match. Question: Was this matter a major concern and was it discussed between the officials overnight? If so, then prior to Sunday’s bout, both Vargas and Ayala should have been advised.