(l) Before Saturday’s show began, MMA fighter/gym owner Andy Murad posed for a photo with his trainers and friends. (r) We also have (l to r, athlete/coach) Jose Gomez, (USA Amateur Boxing President) Hondo Fontane, and Saturday’s Master of Ceremonies Donal Sayles, posing for a photo. A wordsmith of sorts, Gomez added: “Ever since I began to compete on the USA Amateur Boxing circuit, I noticed how close the boxing community is and how you can go to any school in any part of San Diego as a participant or spectator and you will always feel welcome and right at home.” So very true and so very well said.
When this reporter was growing up, it was not uncommon for the head of household, namely your father, to be holding down two jobs. It was out of necessity to make ends meet. On Saturday, Andy Murad, one of today’s most celebrated mixed martial artists, plus owner/operator of the One Training Center in Spring Valley, celebrated the gym’s One Year anniversary by joining the fraternity of 33 gyms within San Diego and Imperial Counties who have hosted a USA Amateur Boxing show over the past 10 years. Only a week ago, on August 26, Mr. Murad was in the Bellator cage working at his second job, that of being a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter. In that fight at the Honda Center in Los Angeles, Murad battled Jonny Cisneros to secure his 14th victory against just two defeats. For his One Training Center Boxing show, he had arranged to have 14 boxing clubs on hand to compete. One in particular, the Wild Card Boxing Club of Hollywood, needs no introduction.
From 1978-1986, Freddie “The Choir Boy” Roach (40-13) was a major force in professional boxing. Every time he stepped in the ring, he put on a show. Later on, as a trainer, he guided 30+ boxers to a world title. The boxers plus support staff which came to Saturday’s show from his gym sang his praises. From their gym in Hollywood, this group had to travel 154 miles and of course stay overnight at a local hotel. They also had to get up extra early in order to be on time for their 8:00 a.m. weigh-ins. Unlike most gym owners, Roach gets personally involved in the well-being of his Amateur squad and will often help sponsor their trips when they are competing.
The mascot of the Wild Card Boxing Gym is “Sheba” who is positioned front and center in front of the team’s head coach Juan “Superman” Jimenez.
USA Amateur Boxing’s LBC 44 president Hondo Fontane joins the Wild Card Boxing team as they proudly display their medals and trophies.
In Bout #1, round one, Angel Gaytan of the Azteca Warriors Boxing Club, San Ysidro, Calif. (black trunks with gold trim, 12-years-old, 93.4 lbs.) got off to a thunderous start against Gael Soler (white trunks, 12-years-old, 98 lbs.) of the United Boxing & Fitness Gym of Chula Vista, Calif. So much so, that the referee felt obliged to stop the action and issue Soler a standing eight count. The tide turned and soon it was Gaytan being issued a standing 8-count. As round two progressed, Soler had gained the upper hand. After one of their fierce exchanges, Soler caught Gaytan flush on the chin and down he went, on his back. With Gaytan getting up ever so slowly, the referee was advised by a fellow official to end the 10-count and seek immediate medical attention.
After the second round stoppage of Angel Gaytan (r) by referee Will White, we see Gael Soler (l) of United Boxing & Fitness having his arm raised in victory.
In Bout #2, it was 18-year-old Kevin Alvares (134.4 lbs., 18-years-old) of the Wild Card Boxing Gym, Hollywood, taking on Gustavo Diaz (136.4 lbs., 24-years-old) from the host gym, One Training Center of Spring Valley.
At the outset, while keeping his distance, Kevin Alvares (left) was doing a bang-up job of hitting and moving to stay out of harm’s way. As the bout progressed and Alvares slowed down, Gustavo Diaz was right there to land the harder, straighter punches to dominate the closing rounds.
After it was announced that Diaz (l) had won the decision, we see referee Will White raising the arm of the victorious Gustavo Diaz.
Bout #3 featured 27-year-old Alberto Sanchez (155.4 lbs.) of the Wild Card Boxing Club going up against David Gates (155.2 lbs., 20-years-old) from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif.
After dominating the action for three straight rounds and only being hit, on average, about twice per round, the victorious David Gates is shown having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane. Photos: Jim Wyatt
Bout #4 featured 14-year-old Omar Said (104.8 lbs.) from the Wild Card Boxing Club, Hollywood, taking on 15-year-old Ismael Lagunes (103.8 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Academy of Chula Vista, Calif.
Bout #4 featured several momentum swings with Omar Said (r) being more elusive and able to pick his spots while the taller Lagunes, who featured the better-leveraged and harder punches would be swinging wildly. In this close match, the judges favored the power punching coming from Lagunes.
In Bout #5, it was 15-year-old Xavier Dozal (115.4 lbs., Unattached) taking on 16-year-old Francisco Vargas (115 lbs.) from Intensity MMA & Fitness, South San Diego, in another of the close, back and forth battle royales.
In the top panel, we see Xavier Dozal (green trunks, white trim) setting his opponent (Francisco Vargas) up for the fully extended right cross.
(bottom photo) One Training Center invited undefeated Pro Boxer Prince “Tiger” Smalls (10-0-1, 3 KOs) from Tiger Smalls Boxing, Mission Valley to present the winning trophy to Xavier Dozal.
In Bout #6, it was 17-year-old Alexander Marshall (147 lbs.) of the Temecula Boxing Club going up against 17-year-old Yoris Mura (149.4 lbs.) from Old School Boxing in the SDSU College Area. As you can see from the photo below, Marshall’s coach is instructing him to go all out with his trademark “uppercut”.
Bout #6 featured the master of the uppercut, Alexander Marshall (black trunks) going up against of the well-rounded Yoris Mura (red trunks). Being taller, Marshall kept firing away with these devastating uppercuts.
After awhile, Mura became more adept at countering the punches from Marshall. With their continual exchanges and many direct hits, this slugfest had everyone’s attention.
In the end, the close decision went to Yoris Mura (l) of Old School Boxing.
Bout #7 between 20-year-old John Ramirez (camouflage colored trunks, 127.4 lbs.) and 24-year-old Alberto Trujillo (blue trunks, 126.2 lbs.) was another extremely competitive match. Photo: Jim Wyatt
At the conclusion of Bout #7, it was John Ramirez (r) of the Wild Card Boxing Club having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane.
In Bout #8 it was 20-year-old Anthony Caballeros (123.6 lbs., red tank top) from the Wild Card Boxing Club earning the victory over 22-year-old Nico Marchan (122.2 lbs., black tanktop) from The House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, Calif. With Marchan’s rather long layoff from boxing, it was understandable that he would be rusty. That being said, I wouldn’t want to be Marchan’s opponent in his next go-around.
After the announcement of his victory over Nico Marchan (l) from the House of Boxing, referee Hondo Fontane raised the arm of the victorious Anthony Caballeros (right) from the Wild Card Boxing Club.
Bout #9 featured the return of 20-year-old Ali Fakhriddine of Old School Boxing (155.4 lbs.) who had been away from the gym for several months, taking on 25-year-old Hassan Hanza (141 lbs.) from the Wild Card Boxing Club. Fakhriddine was not only in great shape, his technique looked quite polished.
Here we see Ali Fakhreddine (white trunks) getting full extension on his murderous, overhand right in Bout #9 versus Hassan Hanza (red trunks).
After the announcement of his victory over Hassan Hanza, Ali Fakhriddine (l) is ecstatic. This was his first fight back after an unusually long layoff.
(l to r) Super featherweight Chris Martin, who in his last fight fought for the WBC International Silver Title versus Jhonny Gonzalez, next you have his trainer, head boxing coach Sergio Melendrez from the Alliance Training Center and Frank Barajas, head boxing coach from Mando’s Boxing Club.
Bout #10 was a classic back and forth struggle between 16-year-old Brian Aguilar (118 lbs., red gloves) from the Intensity MMA Gym and 15-year-old Javier Maldonado (115.4 lbs., blue gloves) from the Wild Card Boxing Club. After three hotly contested rounds, it was Maldonado earning the victory.
After the announcement of his victory, it was Javier Maldonado (left) almost jumping through the roof.
In Bout #11, it was 11-year-old Eddie Chollet (74.4 lbs.) from Mando’s Boxing Club, Spring Valley going up against 11-year-old JanCarlo Meza (111 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista. Meza (blue trunks) negated Chollet’s height and reach advantage by avoiding his jab and concentrating on getting in close where he could work over the midsection and also land several uppercuts.
Bout #12 featured 16-year-old Daniel Remigio (125.2 lbs., red trunks) from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif. taking on 16-year-old Aron Avila (121.4 lbs., blue trunks) from Intensity MMA. Simply put, Avila, with the better head movement and quicker hands, out-boxed Remigio.
At the conclusion of Bout #12, all of Aron Avila’s coaches and stablemates from Intensity MMA & Fitness gathered around for a group photo.
Bout #13 featured the big guys, 23-year-old Samuel Telfer (174 lbs., red gloves) from the Undisputed Downtown Gym taking on 25-year-old Ali Ahmed (164.4 lbs., blue gloves) from the same Undisputed Downtown Gym. For the longest while, it appeared both boxers were taking turns clobbering each other. By the end of the third round, it was Ahmed who was landing more of the cleaner, also brutal, shots to the head in this all or nothing contest. In the end, all three judges had Ahmed ahead in the scoring.
Next up on the docket is the Bi-National Tournament with Mexico to be held (9/29, 9/30 & 10/01) at the Gymnasium UABC, Tijuana, B. C., Mexico.