Ted Luzzi, our friend and contributor, wrote an article for us about last month’s Harvest Rumble:
Double Punches’ 5th Annual Harvest Rumble Amateur Boxing Competitions fight night in Santa Rosa this past Saturday, October 12th featured some great action fights—the kind that rain punches from all points of the compass, exciting the crowd. Often, the well-matched bouts were toe-to-toe, punch for punch. A big turnout had been anticipated due to the successful pre-event ticket sales alone; nonetheless, it was still gratifying to see every seat filled so quickly. At one point people lined the walls, standing where they could to see the fights. The complete card consisted of 13 matchups; the show ran over three hours. Over 200 people were in attendance. The audience cheered all afternoon, supporting their favorite boxers, certainly getting their money’s worth.
At 2:30 pm the ring announcer, Rafael Rivero—Community Outreach Specialist for the City of Santa Rosa—trotted to ring center and made the opening statements. He was followed by Major C. Joseph Murray, the commanding officer of The Salvation Army Santa Rosa Corps, to lead the Opening Prayer, adding dignity to the occasion. Richard Lopez, the Double Punches Boxing Club Program Director, welcomed everyone, while the President of the Northern California U.S.A. Boxing LBC #38, Robert Rodriguez, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.
The anticipation was building. My friend Scott looked at me and said his palms were sweating. I had initially told myself I wouldn’t let the excitement and emotions of the moment push me around; I would cheer only temperately and with restraint. What nonsense! My palms were sweaty too.
Here are some highlights from the riveting matches:
Martha Arroyo (13, Napa SAL) versus Ariana Garcia (14, Warriors 4 JC)
Voted Best Fight of the Night by the audience
Both these fighters seemed charged with predatory intensity as they attacked each other at the opening bell. Both girls were fearless, with a total disregard for danger, it seemed. They fought with fire; toe-to-toe, punch for punch. Garcia appeared to possess the faster hands initially, pulling ahead. She kept up a daring attack, landing more punches than Martha, seemingly winning the fight—but Miss Arroyo changed tactics, and began timing Ariana’s rushes perfectly; countering with fierce, accurate rights that shot straight through Garcia’s guard whenever she charged in.
Soon, you could see the toll on Ariana; it was only a question of how many more blows she could take. The crowd winced in sympathy. However, Ariana Garcia was not one without the will to win. She continued to throw powerful punches, as her determined opponent dug in hooks that made her back up. The girls punched everything but the spirit out of each other. In the end, Martha’s powerful punches gave her a fractional advantage, and she won the judges’ decision. Both fighters weren’t without glory, however; they received a standing ovation from the awe-inspired audience. Martha Arroyo went on to be voted Best Fighter of the Night.
Danny Cigarroa (9, Napa SAL) vs. Josue Velasco (9, Azteca DF)
Every second of this match was filled with action, the intensity so much that you couldn’t hear the bell over the roar of the crowd. Both boys rained rights and lefts to head and belly—or should I say, both men; they are thoroughly deserving of the word after this fight. After an all out war with a fusillade of punches, the win for this special fight went to young Josue Velasco.
Victor Aroche (8, Ring of Fire) vs. Noah Cotton (9, Corona Boxing)
Aroche smothered Cotton with punches to get a decision. Cotton from his part landed some cracking counters, but was ultimately outpunched. Young Victor Aroche’s swarming style set a tremendous tempo which Cotton just couldn’t match.
Luis Andrade (16, Double Punches) vs. Sergio Sora (17, Napa SAL)
If anyone had any question of who the Double Punches fighters were, the cheer that nearly blew the roof off the auditorium at Luis Andrade’s introduction made it quite clear. Andrade was scientific. He slipped by Sora’s punches and made him miss, coming back with his own swift, accurate punches whenever Sora was off balance. Sora began making faces of pain, but by round three he appeared to have learned from Andrade; you could see his style improve. It seemed it was too late by then, however—Andrade landed a barrage of lefts and rights to Sora’s head that brought the crowd to its feet. At one point, the referee gave Sora a standing eight-count. The fight had become a rout; in this writer’s opinion, Sora was lucky to last the distance. The decision for the win went to Andrade, who had lots of family and friends in the audience to scream their victory with him as he brought in a trophy for the host gym.
Miguel Chavez (21, Fat City Boxing) vs. Ronnie Chambers Jr. (19, In This Corner)
Before the fight, I had overheard Miguel Chavez comment that he hadn’t met Chambers Jr. before, so he was surprised at how tall he was—he wasn’t used to fighting guys at that height. Chavez however, did not disappoint: he had faster reflexes at the start of the fight, shooting lightning jabs followed by combinations and dancing away, reducing Chambers to a standstill at one point. Chambers did little the first round and a half, but his ability to take punishment gave him an advantage as Chavez eventually became tired—Chambers seized the opening to begin slamming away, moving in and whipping punches to Chavez’ head and body. While Chavez was the clear winner of round one and part of round two, both fighters now had a realistic hope of victory. As round three opened, Chavez performed but appeared winded, and lost some of the impressive agility he had in the beginning. Chambers on the other hand, was getting the better of every trade, still fresh, chasing Chavez around the ring. It was a very close match; the decision could have gone either way. People held their breath until Ronnie Chambers Jr. was announced the winner in an impressive comeback.
Anthony Guerrero (15, Double Punches) vs. Jose Vasquez (14, Fat City BC)
Guerrero came out very energetic and jumpy, landing combinations on Vasquez. Vasquez pushed to get Guerrero to the ropes. Backed into the corner and hearing shouts of “Hold the center!” from his coaches, Guerrero tried to evade Vasquez’ punches when, suddenly, he was seemingly knocked over by a right hand. There is some debate as to whether Guerrero merely happened to trip over his own feet at the precise moment he was hit by Vasquez’ right punch, or if his head even hit the ground (he appeared to land on his side)—nevertheless, the Referee stopped the match, perceiving Guerrero as wobbly when he got up, which, arguably, could be attributed to Guerrero’s nervous energy. As Vasquez triumphantly ran to bump fists with his coach at the corner, Guerrero’s reaction at being prevented from continuing was a study in frustration. Whether it was a bad call or unfortunate mishap, there will be another night for Anthony Guerrero to show his potential. He would be wise to remember that the all-time great, Joe Louis, was KOed in the first round of one of his early amateur fights. One victory does not make a career, and neither does a loss.
Dalton Floyd (21, Danny Rizzo BC) vs. Valentine Flores (19, King)
The promising fight was underway when Flores struck Floyd with a counter left hook that left him stunned and wobbling. It was over! The one punch KO by Flores prematurely ended Floyd’s night.
Sophia Chacon (17, Double Punches) vs. Ireri Bernal (20, In This Corner)
Chacon exhibited an excellent technique of straight punches, while Bernal seemed to favor roundhouse punches. Chacon managed to land hard punches of all kinds; straight right hands, good solid jabs—quick handed shots which jolted Bernal several times. To Bernal’s credit, not many fighters could have withstood the relentless slugging Chacon exhibited in the first round. Chacon was showing good form until Bernal suddenly landed a hard left hook to her jaw, which made the referee take pause and give Chacon the standing eight-count. This occurred again in round two. Bernal’s ability to come back with impeccably timed shots won her the fight.
Emmanuel Garcia (19, San Jose PAL) vs. Aram Yegiazaryan (21, In This Corner)
These two fighters were mirror images in style. Both men countered each other accurately and solidly. Their skill levels were very close, and thus it was a close fight, but Garcia took home the win by decision.
Donaldo Garcia (18, Pride Boxing) vs. Jose Rivera (20, Corona Boxing)
Garcia peppered Rivera with cool, two-fisted fire. Rivera was hit repeatedly as he looked for a big shot opportunity to turn it around. Rivera clipped Garcia a few times with flush rights but just couldn’t put enough together, and Garcia won the decision.
Meredith Glyn (17, Unattached) vs. Allison Bailey (20, In This Corner)
Glyn landed superbly timed left hooks to the body and right counters to Bailey’s head. While Glyn was able to bounce jabs off Bailey’s head, it was Bailey’s deadly right hands that dominated the fight. In one round, Glyn had to take a standing eight-count after a right hand knocked her in the chin. Another big right hand in round three had enough intended destructive effect to cause Glyn to take another eight-count; Bailey had a mean right hand that night. The last 20 seconds of the fight was all out war as both young women stood toe to toe and let everything fly. In the end, the win went to Allison Bailey.
Juan Carlos Gutierrez (21, Double Punches) vs. Luis Molina (19, Pride Boxing)
The fighter from Double Punches, Gutierrez, had few wasted punches or footwork. He had the coordination to pick apart his foe, jabbing and following up with smooth punches before slipping away. Molina needed to penetrate Gutierrez’ defense; doing so by whistling in rights that just slipped in to score on the few openings Gutierrez provided. Both boxed very well on offense and defense, showing a lot of skill and technique. It was a close call for the win, but Molina managed to fire faster, harder shots than Gutierrez for the victory.
Miguel Molina (20, Pride Boxing) vs. Brayan Benitez (18, A & B Boxing)
Both young men seemed determined to establish dominance and bully the other. Benitez appeared to have the heavier punches however; their power slowly took over the fight, and he won by a clean margin.
The Harvest Rumble was a real success. Every seat was filled for most of the event, with many more people standing where they could to get a good view, but they took it in stride, and the spectators as a whole enjoyed themselves immensely. The Double Punches family could not be more happy or grateful at the great turnout and support. Here’s to another great event like this in the future—most likely in a larger venue.
Written By Ted Luzzi
Edited by Andrea Cebreros