Contributors

Ted, pictured here with his wife

Ted, pictured here with his wife

Our friend, Ted Luzzi attends our events and writes pieces on them. Here are his articles:

2014 Regional Junior Olympic Championships

It’s two o’clock on May 17, 2014. It’s finally time for the 2014 Regional Junior Olympics, where the best of northern and central California are coming together to battle it out and see who advances to represent California at the U.S. nationals in West Virginia. The anticipation has been building for weeks since Richard and Maria Lopez announced that Double Punches actually won the right to stage this event—and event where Olympic dreams begin. The arena is packed with fans, waiting with bated breath for the first match, ready to blow the roof off the Santa Rosa Salvation Army’s arena as they root for their heroes. The action will explode live in front of the crowd.

While this is a boxing event, it is also a fundraiser. The funds raised will provide for extra ways for Double Punches boxing club to help local youth. The program provides ways of helping young people master themselves and their problems. For local boxing fans, especially those interested in reclaiming Santa Rosa youth from gangs, crime and drugs, this is an epic event.

It really says something about a young person’s character that they will train and study hard to be ready for events like this. They can see in themselves the potential to become a stronger, more confident person. They can use the Double Punches Program to empower their dreams. Win or lose in the boxing ring, these competitors are winning in the significantly larger, more important arena of life.

Ring announcer Rafael Rivera classily introduces the officials and makes the customary announcements. Double Punches singer Tom McIntyre shows his support and belief in his club by agreeing to sing the national anthem. As Tom’s voice soars over the crowd, people take off their hats and place their hands over their hearts. The anthem ends and there’s a moment of silence. Then the tension builds once more when the day’s fighters, dressed in their colorful trunks, are spotted. The crowd’s energy increases; you can almost feel the tightening neck chords and the belly butterflies flutter as the crowd gives off a roar at the opening bell!

 

Dominic Sierra, 10 (unattached) vs. Juan Guzman, 11 (Caballero BC)

In this intense first match, Guzman came out swinging. Despite his young age, he throws 5 and 6 punch combinations like a professional. Punching in combinations is one of the hardest skills to learn, but Guzman appears to be a natural at it. Sierra tried to counter punch with straight punches. He was very determined but Guzman’s blistering and relentless attack is too much to handle. Guzman wins the first two rounds, but somehow Sierra refuses to concede defeat, and the boys have furious exchanges as neither will give ground. The crowd roars its approval at the sensational ending. Guzman gets a deserved decision win. My friend Scott, with whom I attended the fight with, looked at me wide eyes and said, “Wow! That was exciting.”

 

Luis Espinoza, 22 (Danny Rizo BC) vs. Danny Carnero, 19 (Mateen BC)

Espinoza starts well, demonstrating excellent boxing skills. Carnero could not cope with crafty Espinoza’s style and counter punching in round one. During round two Carnero’s coach kept yelling to “throw the right hand over the jab!” Halfway through the second round Carnero began turning from Espinoza’s jabs and crossing rights over them. Big right hands by Carnero crashed home, stunning and hurting Espinoza. I gave Carnero Round two. Round 3 was a war: Espinoza’s boxing skills versus Carnero’s rights over the jab. Carnero landed and bloodied Espinoza’s mouth, and let loose a devastating barrage of right hands, knocking Espinoza and forcing the referee to give him a standing eight count. Many on the crowd were surprised when Espinoza got the decision. It was the surprise of the night and the crowd visibly disagreed.

 

Jonathan Rubio, 14, (Double Punches) vs. Javier Gradilla, 14, (Modesto PAL (CCA))

Local Santa Rosa fans of Rubio held up homemade signs and screamed and cheered for him. Jonathan Rubio did not disappoint, as he put on a dazzling display. The arena was rocked by the cheers of the fans. Nimble footed with classy, fast handed combinations, Rubio seemed to score at will and won going away over an ever determined but out-gunned Gradilla. Gradilla took a standing 8 count in round three. With this win, Rubio is champion of both North and South California in his age/weight class.

 

Andre Conway, 14 (South SF BC (NorCal)) vs. Marc Castro, 14 (Fresno BC (CCA))

This was another regional championship fight with little to choose between them. Both boxed with a high level of skill and it was like a nip and tuck chess match. Castro and Conway both closed fast, and Conway won a very close decision.

 

Luis Gonzalez, 15 (A&B Boxing) vs.  Ransis Dayways, 16 (Caballero BC)

Dayways had a very short reach and had to get inside. Gonzalez countered as Dayways charged in. The result was all action for three rounds. Gonzalez gamely mixed with Dayways who slammed away inside Gonzalez. Excellently timed counter punches gave Gonzalez the decision in an all out action fight.

 

Jose Gomez, 15 (South SF BC (NorCal)) vs. Derek Ochoa, 15 (Fresno PAL (CCA))

Despite Jose Gomez’ solid hard hitting build, Ochoa fought fast and aggressively. Both swapped punches evenly, then Gomez began to tire and Ochoa kept the pace better, receiving the judges’ decision.

Jose Ontiveros, 14 (Double Punches) vs. Alfonso Vasquez, 15 (Modesto PAL)

The contrast in size between the two was a little startling. Vasquez looked two weight divisions larger than Ontiveros. Vasquez pressed his foe hard. Bigger and stronger, he was winning the exchanges and the fight. The Double Punches rooting crowd was being taken out of the fight as Vasquez just seemed to be too much for Ontiveros. Then in round two Vasquez, squared up near the ropes, was hit squarely by Ontiveros, who swung a right that shot through Vasquez’ guard, causing him to hit the canvas. He was out! The crowd gasped in alarm and shock. People ran to help Vasquez but he was finally able to dazedly wobble up a couple minutes later. The fight was over! A one punch knockout for Jose Ontiveros! What a punch. Earlier in the week I was talking to Double Punches trainer Jovanni Rubio, who told me how he taught his fighters to put everything, “eyes-head-legs-thumb-everything” into their punches, like Bruce Lee used to teach in karate. It was intended to increase their punching power. During the event intermission I went up to Jovanni and said, “That was the punching method you were teaching, wasn’t it, that Ontiveros used on that knockout right hand.” Jovanni just raised his eyebrows, gave a little smile and said, “Let’s just say I taught him everything he knows.” Congratulations to Jose Ontiveros on an epic debut!

 

Diego Castillo, 15 (unattached) vs. Evan Sanchez, 16 (Fresno PAL (CCA))

Castillo took immediate control and never lost it; his hands were faster and he got off first with crisp combinations. Sanchez was fit and kept trying to be competitive but always just one step behind. Castillo took the win.

 

Charlie Sheehy, 15 (South SF BC (NorCal)) vs. Samuel Salas, 15 (E Stockton BC (CCA))

Sheehy showed good style, setting up Salas for combinations on the outside and using his advantages in height and reach to rock Salas several times. Salas, urged on by his coach, kept trying to charge in and land with both hands flying. However, Sheehy was too good for that to work and Salas never jabbed his way in, only charged and fired away unsuccessfully, getting tagged with a succession of punches in the process. Salas could be much better if he learned to work his way in instead. Sheehy was the winner of this fight by decision.

 

Noel Temores, 15 (Unattached (NorCal)) vs. Carlos Garcia, 15 (Fresno PAL (CCA))

Temores throws a great left hook to the body—it’s a fierce punch and Temores puts his whole body behind it. Temores has a superior technique, throws punches in the right way and is very fast-handed. However, he played into Garcia’s style by being too aggressive, while Garcia’s shorter arms kept landing short, fast counter punches as Temores went at him. Although Temores’ punches have much more effect, it’s an amateur fight and Garcia’s little inside combos caught the eyes of the official judges enough to give him a decision win. Temores has mastered the techniques of boxing very well, but he fought with too much abandon and it cost him a very close fight.

 

Brian Jimenez, 16 (Warriors 4JC), vs. Eden Lynik, 16 (Gladiators)

This one was very close, with both fighters showing good form. Jimenez appeared to have the edge until a big overhand right hand by Lynik knocked him down. Jimenez took another standing eight-count near the end of round two, and it seemed the referee might call it a night and a win for Eden Lynik. But no! The referee decided not to stop the fight! Round three was intense with both fighters demonstrating their warrior nature. Lynik ended up getting the decision.

 

Doris Picazo, 21 (Double Punches) vs. Liana Racine, 27 (Gladiators)

This was the only female fight of the night. Picazo is the type of boxer fans celebrate. From Double Punches Gym, she seemed to be the most popular fighter on the card. With her charisma inside the ropes she deserves the spotlight and certainly drew many fans to the arena to watch her perform. People were chanting her name when she was introduced, but there were also some worried faces in the crowd. Liana Racine bounced up and down in the other corner as Picazo “La Leona (The Lion)” stomped around the ring waiting for the bell. As they came out Racine looked to be about six inches taller and very fast. Doris leaned back and tried to counter Racine as she came in on attack. Racine would throw 4 or 5 fast punches, then got away before Picazo could counter punch, though once in a while Racine didn’t retreat fast enough and Picazo’s punches caught her, hard and hurting. In amateur boxing the amount of punches rather than the power count more. When Picazo attempted to cut down the range she was not jabbing her way in, which let Racine just step to the side and keep up her in-and-out technique.

Midway in round two, Doris began jabbing and attacking Racine. Suddenly it’s a different fight—when hit by a jab first, Racine backs up and Picazo’s punches catch her. Everyone in my section is on their feet yelling “Jab Doris JAB!” Picazo seemed capable of turning the fight her way. Near the end of round two for some reason Doris stopped jabbing, and again it’s Liana Racine’s fight. In round three Doris was looking to catch Racine as she came in but few jabs ended up emerging from Picazo so it was Racine’s round; and her fight by decision. Later after the show as fans file out many are saying Doris will get her next time. “La Leona” lost the fight but not her fans.

 

Oscar Tapia, 21 (Danny Rizo BC), vs. Mario Tirado, 27 (DF BC)

It was a brawl. First one then the other got pounded by blistering two-handed assaults to head and body. They just tried to outslug each other, matching each other toe-to-toe, punch-for-punch. Suddenly Oscar Tapia landed a savage combination. Tirado’s legs buckled and he was forced to take a standing eight count. The referee started to wave the fighters back together but Tirado was glassy eyed and out on his feet so the referee called it off instead—a KO win for Oscar Tapia.

Juan Garcia, 22 (A&B Boxing), vs. Jesse Martinez, 23 (Unattached)

In a fitting climax to tonight’s fight card, both fighters opened up with an all out offense. They exchanged power shots over and over as the crowd roared every minute. Neither would give ground; they just grit their teeth and winged punches. The fight was very intense and the last round found both fighters in close, whaling away. They received a standing ovation from the crowd, and the decision win went to Martinez.

 

With the day’s excitement at an end, people poured out of the arena, exhilarated by the fights and refreshed in spirit. Watching boxing is a normal experience, but seeing Santa Rosa youth and those who help them is just a little bit special. The last fight ended to tumultuous applause. Thanks to all the Double Punches and Salvation Army staff, who’s hard work paid off:

Richard & Maria Lopez

Jovanni Rubio

Jose Gonzales

Andrea Cebreros

Gina Meador

Robin Rugne

Randy Olson

Rubie Magallanes

Laura Shepherd

Juan Reyes and the Youth Group

Major C. Joe Murray

Special Thanks to

Dr. Stephen Spreiter, Ringside Physician

Rafael Rivero, Ring Announcer

Tom McIntyre, Double Punches

U.S.A. Boxing Officials

And all the volunteers!

Written by Ted Luzzi

Edited by Andrea Cebreros

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Harvest Rumble 2013

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 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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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Danny Cigarroa (9, Napa SAL) vs. Josue Velasco (9, Azteca DF)

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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)

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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.

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Luis Andrade (16, Double Punches) vs. Sergio Sora (17, Napa SAL)

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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.

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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.

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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

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Jose Tamayo 5th Annual Boxing Exhibition this August 2013:

 It was a happening; a real superb spectacle. The tables around the outdoor boxing ring were cluttered up with excited fans. Many more came prepared with fold-out chairs, as apparently they knew how the crowd would grow to fill up the Courthouse Square. A large banner spelled out that this was a Double Punches boxing show. “Rocky” music filled the air from the loudspeakers. Photographers seemed to be everywhere. A number of Santa Rosa VIPs showed up as well.

The high energy announcer, looking classy in his black tuxedo, announced what a great place Santa Rosa was to live. He not only introduced the fighters but provided lively commentary on the fights as they happened. The crowd responded to it all with roars of approval that intensified as the afternoon went on. But fans were not here just to see the boxing thrill-providers. The audience talked among themselves as much about the Double Punches mission as about the fights; serious discussions underlying the boxing fun.

Then the first fight was on! David Nuñez versus Jose Jimenez. They started out by looking each other over carefully. Nuñez jabbed, but Jimenez threw good combinations, forcing Nuñez to the ropes as he was hit by heavy right hands. At the end of round one, Nuñez suddenly could not go on, due to heat stroke or exhaustion—a short lived fight in the end.

Dante Moreno and Alexis Hernandez were up. Moreno was impressive; nimble-footed and mobile around the ring. He moved from side to side and was very elusive at avoiding Hernandez’ punches. Moreno threw heavy jabs, immediately followed by straight right hands, stinging Hernandez and moving away before Hernandez could counter. Hernandez seemed dead-set on throwing power shots, so he planted his feet—making him less mobile.

Moreno was confident enough to go toe-to-toe with Hernandez in the middle of the second round. At this point, Moreno had dazzled Hernandez and the crowd with his skill. Hernandez learned he could not just walk in and connect on Moreno. During round two, Hernandez started throwing right-handed body shots whenever Moreno jabbed. These began to have an effect, making Moreno more careful. In the third and final round, Hernandez finally came out, jabbing his way in to get to Moreno. Turns out, Hernandez has a heck of a fast, solid jab. He landed some drilling jabs which put Moreno off balance. He was now open to Hernandez’ punches, as Hernandez showed his athleticism and ability to adjust. The last 30 seconds of round three were a study in desire by both fighters; a slugfest with punches being thrown from all points of the compass, each fighter constantly attacking in an admirable willingness to punch ‘till the last bell. The crowd cheered in appreciation of their excellent efforts. Both fighters did themselves proud.

Aaron Sanchez and Abel Garcia were next. Sanchez started out by taking over the ring’s center. His riveting eyes displayed total concentration. “The eye of the tiger” phrase came to my mind. Somehow, Sanchez also seemed relaxed. He punched with accuracy and versatility to both head and body, putting together just excellent combination punching. At one point, I saw him hit Garcia with four straight punches to the head without pause, as Garcia attempted to move in. Other times, he would throw some rugged body punches. Sanchez has to be a very hard fight to cope with.

Abel “Hard Handed” Garcia is properly named. He threw right counters over Sanchez’ jabs; when they landed, they were hard and solid. Sanchez was not easy to get a good shot at and was punching so often that Garcia was tiring, opening his mouth more and more. As the last round was called, I wondered how much Garcia had left. However, near the round’s end Garcia changed gears and staged a furious burst of punching. He landed some prime punches. The crowd chanted Garcia’s name for his fine finish. Sanchez made a big impression and I heard many comments about his excellent skills.

Adrian Leon went against Anthony Guerrero. Leon came out with some aggressive boxing, ready to mix and make a fight of it. Leon found the shifty Guerrero a frustrating problem. Guerrero has excellent balance and a very quick-handed counter punch. A right and left punch thrown by Guerrero, quicker than expected, smacked into Leon’s face. A bloody nose stopped the fight. “Iron Fisted” Adrian Leon will have to wait until next time to showcase his talents.

Then it was the Main Event bout: Toni “The Tornado” Abraham versus Vanessa “The Hurricane” Fuchs. An ear-splitting cheer from the crowd greeted the announcer’s call that the main event was upon us. There was a pause as the crowd waited for the arrival of the fighters. Eye of the Tiger blasted from the loudspeakers and the mere appearance of Toni “The Tornado” Abraham incited a roar. Toni climbed through the ropes and started bouncing up and down in her corner. She looked all energy and menace, glaring across the ring at Vanessa Fuchs. Abraham was obviously here to make a statement. Vanessa “The Hurricane” Fuchs may be friendly to Toni Abraham outside ring hours, but she too projected a sense of fierce pride that captured the crowd. This confrontation in the ring caused the crowd to pay rapt attention. The atmosphere was electric. Tensions tightened—then the bell rang.

It was clear soon into the fight that Fuchs had learned the principles of correct boxing. She moved around the ring and circled Abraham using excellent footwork, never at a loss for a move, in command of herself with her hands in proper position. Her one and only real error was that she boxed with her chin way up. Fuchs jabbed solidly, then started dropping right hands on Abraham’s chin with shocking effect. Abraham clearly has loads of natural talent, but with only 7 weeks of boxing experience, she was going to have to dig very deep this fight. Toni was known to be a body puncher, but Vanessa’s height and reach advantage, coupled with her heavy jabs, was keeping Toni on the outside.

Toni had only one thing to do—she had to attempt to change the tempo of the fight and put Vanessa on the defensive. She could do this by keeping relentless pressure on Vanessa. She had to win with will. No matter how many punches Vanessa blocked or ducked, Toni had to throw more, and punches to the head were ones she had some luck sneaking through. It seemed Vanessa was still controlling the distance and getting all the better of it until late in round two. Toni had remained persistent and the pressure she put on Vanessa was tiring, both physically and mentally. Even if she was not landing many of her power punches to the head, Toni was wearing Vanessa down. Near the end of round two, Toni’s right cross stunned Vanessa. From there until the fight’s end, Vanessa was slowed down.

Round 3; the announcer comments on how both women are perspiring profusely. It was an exhausting fight for both. At the bell for the third round however, both came out with a fire in their belly, intending to close the show on their own terms. I noticed that both still had their hands up, as this had been stressed in their gym sparring; they had developed the habit. Vanessa tried to use her jabs to keep Toni away, while landing an occasional Right to slow her down. Toni was pressing for openings. It was a close round. Then Toni landed a right hand that changed the flow of the fight for the last minute—Vanessa seemed shaken and went on the defensive until the end of the round.

A boxer versus a pressure fighter often produces an exciting match. This proved no exception. It was exciting and interesting all the way, a featured event that lived up to expectations.

Then there was Jose Cruz (27, 179lbs) versus Jose Manuel Carreño (35, 165lbs). Carreño had a size and age advantage to Cruz. What wasn’t an advantage was how well schooled both fighters are. Both came out with similar punching styles. They threw crisp, hard punches but managed to stay erect, had fine defenses and good chins. There were brutal exchanges; both used combination punching. Aggressive boxers punch most effective when throwing combinations. Carreño, when backed to the ropes, knew how to step to the side and pivot back to ring center—a skill fighters used all the time in the 40’s throughout the 60’s, but which was lost around the 70’s, when televised fights prompted fighters to change their style, and they become sluggers with less focus on skill.

By round three, Carreño had started to tire. The fight kept the same pattern, but Cruz started working Carreño. The last 30 seconds of the fight were something! Both men gave it their all. Two rough guys fought with fire and provided the excited, cheering fans with what used to be known as a service: a “with-a-scowl” brand of fighting. Both fighters were enthusiastically applauded at the final bell.

Early in the day, I had seen Doris “La Leona” Picazo smile and chat with family and friends. But at the bell for round one against her opponent, Sophia “Punching Panda” Chacon, Picazo did a little quick step like Mike Tyson and faced her rival with a scowl that would have given a Marine pause in a bar fight. Apparently she only puts on her fighting face while fighting. Picazo patiently stalked Chacon for a while before clubbing away with combinations whenever she saw an opening. Chacon was not intimidated, and did not wilt when hit. In fact, she landed occasional right-handed bombs that kept Picazo honest. She engaged Picazo only in spots, and frustrated her. Picazo began weaving her body side to side as she moved in, reminding me of a lion carefully eyeing its prey. The fight built momentum, with Picazo weaving in and looking to land a big right hand, Chacon looking to stop her charge with counter punches.

“La Leona” Picazo was colorful and exciting; “Punching Panda” Chacon stood firm and did enough to keep Picazo from just charging in. It was an entertaining scrap with good technique shown by both fighters in their own way.

Thomas Madrigal versus Julio Vargas—Vargas came out, ducked Madrigal’s jab, and hit him with a straight right hand. This happened again and again, Madrigal counter punching. Vargas was just so fast he whipped in punches that showed off his quick reflexes, catching the fans and Madrigal by surprise. On defense he was hard to hit, easy to miss. Madrigal tried to lure Vargas into hard counter rights and set him up to miss so that he could counter, but Vargas was just too quick to be countered very effectively. In round three he threw jabs and counter rights, controlling the tempo. Madrigal was always dangerous, and did manage to get in a few right hand counters, sending the message to Vargas that he could not just run him over.

Luis Andrade versus Hernan Chavez—Andrade has been boxing for two years, we were told, and it looked like it, given his high skill level. He rarely threw a wasted punch, landing consistently on Chavez. Andrade did not over extend himself; he remained balanced, back in punching position after a flurry. Hernan Chavez did not seem hurt by Andrade’s punches—he is one tough guy. Chavez took shots and fired back with over-handed lefts, trying to nail Andrade during exchanges. Whenever Chavez did land he lived up to his nickname, “Heavy Handed” Hernan Chavez.

Anthony Guerrero (15) versus Jonathan “The Greatest” Rubio (13)—All day, the announcer had been telling us to wait for this “Big Match”, as we were to see Jonathan Rubio, ranked #2 in Northern California. At the bell, out came Rubio, a 13 year old who oozed class from every muscle. He had grace, style, and rhythm. Rubio impressively landed some ripping punches on Guerrero (on his second fight of the afternoon), then moved in for what seemed an easy fight. Guerrero, however, is a good counter puncher. While Rubio moved in with what looked like feet of air, his leads fell short. With no prior warning, Guerrero lashed out with a left and right combination that hit Rubio flush in the face!

I don’t think Guerrero realized how hurt Rubio was. Rubio retreated fast and hid the pain well. Seated at the right place ringside, I could see the effect of Guerrero’s punches. After he was jolted, Rubio no longer sailed straight into Guerrero; he began coming in at all angles, picking his spots. Rubio had to work hard for each punch he landed, getting into position first before the throw. Accustomed to easier fights I think, Rubio showed his frustration in his body language. Guerrero never really let Rubio take command, and he got in some good licks of his own. Whenever Rubio scored a punch Guerrero came back with countering salvos. Guerrero did very well, being competitive with the number 2 ranked Rubio.

Thomas Soto (17) versus Pablo Vasquez (14)—Soto looked a full head taller than Vasquez, with strong long arms. Soto launched a crisp and effective attack. He was able to tag Vasquez frequently, but Vasquez was having trouble reaching the tall, long-armed Soto. Vasquez tried to land one big shot to turn it around, lashing out with a left hook and stunning Soto. Vasquez was brave and tried to slug it out with Soto, but it was not to be; he could not land another big bomb.

A great event. Looking forward to next year.

Written by Ted Luzzi

Edited by Andrea Cebreros