Mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Casillas Salas (second from the left) goes above and beyond the call of duty and shows her support for the San Diego Athletic Academy’s Annual Boxers for Christ National Tournament held December 16 and 17 at the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, Calif.
In contrast to Day 1 of this year’s Boxers for Christ National Tournament at the Bound Boxing Academy, Day 2 had even more entertaining bouts, more surprises, plus a guest par excellence. For the icing on the cake, they invited the Mayor of the host city, Chula Vista, the honorable Mary Casillas Salas to present the winning trophies.
Imagine being a young athlete and getting congratulated by the Mayor of the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, the seventh largest city in Southern California, the 14th largest in the state, and 76th-largest city in the U. S. and then having your photo taken with her and our LBC 44 president, Hondo Fontane? This alone made the tournament a memorable experience for all concerned.
Bout #1 featured a battle between Antonio “El Indio” Padilla from Oceanside, Calif. who trains at the Legacy Training Center, Vista, Calif. (10-years-old, 81.8 pounds) going up against Gael Meza from National City, Calif. who trains at the host gym, the Bound Boxing Academy (10-years-old, 85 pounds). Early on, Padilla was able to hold his own by relying on his counter punching but as Meza became more and more comfortable, there was no way to stem the tide of punches coming at Padilla.
(photo, left) Gael Meza (blue trunks) is on the attack versus the shorter Antonio Padilla. Before long, Padilla was being issued a standing 8-count.
At the conclusion of Bout #1, we see veteran referee Will White raising the arm of the victorious Gael Meza from the Bound Boxing Academy.
In Bout #2 it was Danny Hernandez (76.2 lbs., 11-years-old) from San Diego who trains at the San Diego Athletic Academy going up against the always tough Jan Carlo Meza (80 lbs., 12-years-old) from National City, Calif. who trains at the Bound Boxing Academy (12-years-old, 80 pounds).
Bout #2 was another all action bout and while Danny Hernandez (red trunks) should be given credit for being busier, it was Jan Carlo Meza (blue trunks) who hit harder and landed the more damaging blows. All photos; Jim Wyatt
At the conclusion of Bout #2, referee White raises the arm of an elated Danny Hernandez from the San Diego Athletic Academy. All photos: Jim Wyatt
Bout #3 featured Lizzette Corrales (4-5, 108.8 lbs., 16-years-old) from San Diego’s ABC Youth Foundation Mongoose Boxing Gym going up against Bernadette Malendrez (3-3, 111.8 lbs., 16-years-old) from Merced, Calif. who trains at the 51/fifty Livingston Boxing Club in Livingston, Calif.
In this bout, you had the patient Lizzette Corrales (red trunks) hanging back to allow her opponent, Bernadette Malendrez (black trunks), to come forward, get off that first punch and then Corrales would retaliate by going full bore with her smothering tactics. To her credit, Malendrez did land eight head-snapping counters that for sure got Corrales’ attention.
(photo bottom) At the conclusion of Bout #3, we see referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious Lizzette Corrales.
Bout #4 was another great match-up featuring Mariah Malendrez (117.4 lbs., 14-years-old) of Merced, Calif. who like her sister Bernadette trains at the Livingston 51/Fifty Boxing Club, Livingston, Calif. going up against Summer Mendoza (122.2 lbs., 15-years-old) from Visalia, Calif. who trains at the Vaya Con Dios Boxing Club in Tulare, Calif.
Banging away from the outset, Summer Mendoza (blue trunks) could not refrain from taking this all or nothing shot at her opponents head. She swung with such force that she lost her footing and both of her gloves touched the canvas. Photo, bottom left, indicates Mariah Malendrez’s left hook (actually a shove) to the back of Mendoza’s head may have helped send Mendoza on her merry way. The alert referee ruled it was not a knockdown, only a slip.
In the end, it was Summer Mendoza (l) earning the unanimous decision win over the game, never say quit Mariah Malendrez (r).
Bout #5 had Eddie Chollet (73.8 lbs., 12-years-old) of San Diego who trains at the Bomber Squad Academy in El Cajon, Calif. going up against Luis Lopez (69.4 lbs., 12-years-old) from Delhi, Calif. and now training at the 51/fifty Livingston Boxing Club in Livingston, Calif.
(photo, top) In Bout #5, it was the tall lefty, Eddie Chollet, trying his best to maintain his reach advantage, while the shorter Luis Lopez would have none of it and hung in close to fire away with blows that came from every angle. (photo, bottom) At the conclusion of Bout #5, Eddie Chollet poses for a photo with his proud father, Jack Ballo and older brother Julius Ballo.
At the conclusion of Bout #5, we see referee Hondo Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Luis Lopez from the 51/fifty Livingston Boxing Club.
Bout #6 featured super middleweights David Gates (164 pounds, 21-years-old) from San Diego who trains at the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif. going up against up and comer Joshua Harris of San Diego, a U. S. Marine currently stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (168 pounds, 24-years-old) who trains at The Arena Gym in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif.
After an even-steven first round, the more experienced David Gates (red trunks) started coming on. (photo bottom) Even though Gates is shown taking a solid, stiff jab from the much improved Joshua Harris, he maintains his forward momentum which had to intimidate his opponent.
Good sport that he is, Joshua Harris (l) shows respect for his more seasoned opponent by clapping for David Gates (r) as referee Hondo Fontane raises his arm in victory. All photos: Jim Wyatt
Bout #7 had Mario Garcia (85.4 pounds, 13-years-old) of San Diego, currently working with Bobby Lopez at Golden Hands Boxing, going up against Esteban Inzunza (84.6 pounds, 12-years-old) from Buckeye, Arizona and now training at the Fighters First F1 Boxing Gym in Goodyear, Arizona. Interesting to note, Inzunza was recently recognized as his gym’s “Rookie of the Year.”
The way this matchup of naturals began, Mario Garcia (red gloves) from Golden Hands Boxing and Esteban Inzunza (blue gloves) from F1 Boxing, it had everyone’s attention.
After a first round of where did he go, where did he disappear to, Mario Garcia (right) must have felt he was fighting an illusionist. In the second stanza, the Magic man began popping up and surprising Garcia.
(top photo) After cornering Mario Garcia, we see Esteban Inzunza boldly standing in front of him in an all out attempt to close the show.
(photo, bottom) After his exciting victory over the game Mario Garcia, Esteban Inzunza (r) is joined by his sister and oh-so-proud father.
In Bout #8 it was the explosive Jaime Suarzo (126.6 lbs., 24-years-old) from Vista, Calif. who trains at North County Boxing going up against the always tough Phillip Villanueva (132.8 lbs., 20-years-old) from San Diego who trains at Old School Boxing, San Diego.
(top photo) Like two bulls at the rodeo, Jaime Suarzo (red gloves) and Phillip Villanueva (blue gloves) came charging out of their corners ready to unleash their fury on the opposition.
This battle royale had the hands flying at record speed.
In the end, both young men knew they had been in a war and showed immeasurable respect for their opponent’s toughness.
Here we have boxer Andrea Medina (l) checking in with Sayri Cruz (r) for any last minute instructions before warming up for her bout with Erika Sanchez of Duarte Boxing. The only person we know with more world titles, more championships, more medals than Andrea is Olympic diver Greg Louganis who is currently showcased on the front of the Wheaties cereal boxes.
Bout #9 featured Andrea Medina (132.2 lbs., 17-years-old) from Chula Vista, Calif. who trains at her family’s gym, the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, being challenged by Erika Sanchez (139.2 lbs., 19-years-old) from Azusa, Calif. who trains at the Duarte Boxing Club, Duarte, Calif.
It took a while for her to settle in but the over-matched Erika Sanchez performed admirably against the all-everything champion.
Andrea Medina shows us she’s a good listener: During a break in the action, Andrea sits calmly on her stool and listens attentively to the instructions of her father, the well-respected boxing trainer Juan Medina Jr.
To her credit, Erika Sanchez (r) was able to weather the storm and go the distance against the much taller, multiple-champion Andrea Medina.
At the conclusion of Bout #9, we see Andre Medina having her arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley after defeating the game Erika Sanchez (l).
In the Main Event, Bout #10, the organizers paired two of the slickest lightweights in the Amateur ranks, Brandon Cruz (131.8 lbs., 18-years-old) of San Diego who currently trains at the Bound Boxing Academy and Tyler Herberger (132.6 lbs., 20-years-old) from San Diego who trains at Old School Boxing, San Diego.
(top) In round one, Tyler Herberger (blue gloves) was in charge and was beating his opponent, Brandon Cruz, as they say from pillar to post. Cruz’s head was on a swivel as Herberger had him pinned against the ropes and appeared to connect on every punch. You would think all three judges scored the bout the same – a 10-8 round for Herberger but as it turns out they didn’t.
Come the second round, Tyler Herberger did not finish his opponent off as most had expected. The scoring in that round had Brandon Cruz winning 10-9 and in the final round, the scores were once again very close.
In the end, the close decision went to Brandon Cruz. The look of disbelief on Tyler Herberger’s face says it all. Was this a lesson learned?
Interesting to note: Brandon Cruz has been training for less time than Tyler Herberger and is two years and four months younger than Herberger. Mental note: The USA Amateur gym or pro boxing promoter who has the smarts to secure the rematch of these two exceptional boxers will likely need a larger venue to hold all the boxing fans interested in watching that fight.
Since the number of photos with the honorable Mary Casillas Salas are many please forgive us for not having a caption under each.