Ted Luzzi, our friend and Double Punches contributor, wrote an article about our most recent epic event:
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, 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.