Boxing Show at The Arena features an abundance of memorable fights

To open the proceedings on Saturday, the following were introduced (l to r) USA Amateur Boxing’s LBC 44 President Hondo Fontane, USA Boxing Official Rick Ley, USA Boxing’s National Champion Julius Ballo, USA Boxing Official Melanie Ley plus Jack Ballo, proud parent/owner of the Bomber Squad Boxing Academy.

Before Saturday’s show began, USA Amateur Boxing’s local LBC 44 president Hondo Fontane praised the accomplishments of 13-year-old Julius Ballo who while representing LBC 44 and the USA National Team recently flew to Europe to compete against the Europeans – Germany first and then the United Kingdom. Ballo went undefeated in this sojourn. Mr. Fontane then followed up with the presentation of two commemorative plaques one for Melanie Ley and the other for her husband Rick Ley to honor their many years of service and commitment to the values of excellence and integrity as USA Amateur Boxing officials. 

At that point, the Arena’s latest USA Amateur Boxing Show, “When Worlds Collide” began and featured a long list of out of towners from as far away as Greenville, South Carolina, Calexico, Riverside, Indio and Garden Grove, Calif., Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tijuana, B. C., Mexico. Plus, their Championship Medal presenters were a virtual Who’s Who of Boxing, all winners: Heavyweight Mario Heredia, Super Flyweight Jose Toribio, Lightweight Bryan “The Kid” Figueroa from Tijuana, Super Middleweight Ulises Sierra and 2008 Olympian Luis Yanez.

Bout #1 featured a battle between 18-year-old Brandon Cruz (132 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Academy and 17-year-old Jason Meza (131.4 lbs.) from the host gym, The Arena. In the opener, it seemed every time Cruz got in a couple of hefty blows, back came Meza to match or exceed Cruz’s output. In the end, the five judges had Cruz ahead in this dynamite opening bout.

This was one of those Tit for Tat matches. You had Brandon Cruz (red gloves) landing a barrage of punches and then back came Jason Meza (red) aiming to exceed Cruz’s output. The difference maker? It had to be that Cruz kept better track of his punch count and knew when scoring he’d need to score in bunches.

Bout #2 featured 22-year-old Joshua Rivera from Tiger Smalls Boxing (154.8 lbs.) going up against 19-year-old Lucio Hirales (155 lbs.) from Romo’s Boxing, Calexico, Calif. Hirales seemed to be the more polished boxer and certainly had Rivera’s number to maintain his lead throughout the contest.

In Bout #2, it was Lucio Hirales (blue gloves) from Romo’s Boxing out pointing Joshua Rivera (red gloves) from Tiger Smalls Boxing.

At the conclusion of Bout #2, we see a smiling Lucio Hirales (l) having his arm raised by referee Hondo Fontane after he got the best of Joshua Rivera.

Bout #3 featured 17-year-old Ernie Cuevas (127.6 lbs.) from Greenville Boxing, Greenville, South Carolina going up against 18-year-old Brandon Ruiz (124.4 lbs) from Mariscal Boxing, Tijuana, B. C., Mexico. In Round one, Ruiz outboxed an opponent who appeared to be going solely for the knockout. In Round two, something of a repeat, Cuevas complained about something in his eye, perhaps Ruiz’s thumb. Ruiz ended this contest with a dandy overhand right to assure victory.

It took just minutes for Brandon Ruiz (blue) to get a handle on Ernie Cuevas’ feints and trickery and from that point on, the master boxer took control.

(top photo) At the conclusion of their hard fought match, veteran referee Rick Ley raised the arm of the victorious Brandon Ruiz from Mariscal Boxing.
(bottom photo) After their very entertaining match, who better to present the winning medal but an undefeated professional boxer from Dallas, Texas like 2008 Olympian Luis Yanez (right).

Often, you snooze, you lose. Bout #4 had 16-year-old Alfredo Martinez (133.6 lbs.) from Garden Grove Boxing, Garden Grove, Calif. taking on the very laid-back, almost blasé, 16-year-old Jose Chollet (131.8 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon, Calif. The knock on Chollet, the eventual winner, was how he passively waited for Martinez to throw a punch and then he’d react with a sharp counter. If Martinez had not brought the fight to Chollet, the majority of the patrons might have been comatose by the end of this bout.

(bottom) Jose Chollet from the Bomber Squad Academy has his arm raised in victory after defeating the game Alfredo Martinez from Garden Grove Boxing.

(photo left) At the conclusion of Bout #4, we were given a heads up on the reason for Jose Chollet’s slow-mo antics. His sister made the request so that her video of the fight could be clear. (photo, right) Jose Chollet is shown receiving instructions from his coach Berlin Kerney IV and fellow coach Jack Ballo.

Bout #5 featured 15-year-old Adan Palma (120.8 lbs.) from The Arena going all out against the taller 15-year-old Darius Winfrey (118.2 lbs.) from the Boxing for Christ Gym, Indio, Calif. gym. Palma won, as he usually does, by smothering his opponent and as they say, got in Winfrey’s grill, so Mr. Winfrey couldn’t capitalize on his reach advantage.

Adan Palma, red gloves, maintained his position on the inside to make certain Darius Winfrey had little chance of establishing his jab or landing his big overhand rights.

On hand to present the winning medal to Adan Palma was Mario Heredia (right), surely one of Mexico’s top heavyweights who currently has 13 wins with 12 knockouts.

At the conclusion of their entertaining match, Adan Palma of The Arena (l) and Darius Winfrey (r) from Boxing for Christ graciously posed for one last photo.

In Bout #6, they had 10-year-old Aaron Soriano (87.8 lbs.) from the Bear Knuckles Boxing Club (located just off the famed Route 66 Highway in Albuquerque, New Mexico) going up against the always tough 11-year-old Antonio Padilla (92.4 lbs.) who is trained locally in Chula Vista by Bobby Lopez.

Early on, both boxers, Aaron Soriano (red headgear) and Antonio Padilla (blue) got out their measuring tape to size up their opponent. As the bout progressed, Soriano made better use of those measurements. All photos: Jim Wyatt

(photo, top right) On hand to assist referee Dana Kaplan with the Medal presentation was San Diego Super Flyweight Jose Toribio.

At the conclusion of Bout #6, we had these future stars, Aaron Soriano (left) and Antonio Padilla (right) pose for one last photo. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #7 featured 15-year-old Victor Tiscareno (124 lbs.) from the Boxing for Christ Gym, San Jacinto, Calif. going up against 15-year-old Kevin Camacho (127.2 lbs.) from Intensity MMA, South San Diego.

After round one, Victor Tiscareno of Boxers for Christ Boxing (bottom, left) looked to be in charge and the sharper puncher. He was also using his jab well. Then, after Kevin Camacho (top, right) had a serious talk with his coach, Bobby Lopez, that all changed. Camacho went on the warpath and as a result of his hard-charging (not a punch) Camacho fell to the canvas. From that point on, the energized Camacho went full bore to gain the victory.

(bottom, right) This fully leveraged roundhouse right from Kevin Camacho landed square on Victor Tiscareno’s chin.

Knowing full well that he needed the third and final round to secure the victory, Camacho (blue gloves) kept up his pace and kept throwing the power shots.

At the conclusion of their match, referee Hondo Fontane raised the arm of the victorious Kevin “Macho” Camacho. On hand for the medal presentation was USA Amateur Boxing’s National Champion Julius Ballo (r).

Bout #8 featuring 15-year-old Cesar Hernandez (111.6 lbs.) from North County Boxing going up against 14-year-old Carlos Smith (118.6 lbs.) from the National City CYAC featured the most nonstop action, back and forth pummeling and was it ever bloody. In the end, it was Cesar Hernandez (red headgear) coming away with the dramatic victory.

“Possible Bout of the Day” The first task of the coaches was to wipe away the blood. Then, what can you say when your boxer has himself invested in an all-out war, “Keep your head moving and don’t stop throwing punches!”

After getting the worst of it in round one back came Cesar Hernandez (red) in round two to even things up. Panels two and three are showcasings his success – first the overhand right and then the powerful left hook to the midsection.

Hernandez maintained the pressure in the closing round to earn the victory. When there’s an outstanding, close match as this was, it’s not always a major concern in regards to who won or who lost. The mutual respect was earned and both boxers will always remember their struggle and the guy who brought out the best in them.

Bout #9 featured 26-year-old Maath Sulaimon “Max” Mashaleh (159.8 lbs.) from The Arena, Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. taking on 21-year-old Roman Lysenko (165.6 lbs.) a former Muaythai fighter who now trains at The Boxing Club, UTC, LaJolla, Calif.

In this match, “Mad Max” (red headgear) got off to a great start and the above overhand right to Roman Lysenko’s chin in round one sort of set the table.

(top) On hand for the presentation of the winning medal was pro boxer Bryan Figueroa (left) who hails from Tijuana, currently 11-0. (bottom) We have referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious Maath “Max” Mashaleh of The Arena after his defeat of Roman Lysenko from The Boxing Club, La Jolla, Calif.

In Bout #10 it was 17-year-old Aron Avila (123.2 lbs.) from Intensity MMA, South San Diego taking on 17-year-old Erick Hernandez (119.6 lbs.) from Gamez Boxing in Chula Vista, Calif.

Before mixing things up, Erick Hernandez (blue headgear) looks across at the more experienced opponent Aron Avila from Intensity MMA (red headgear).

If you sprinkle in several standing 8-counts for Hernandez, you get the jest of this one sided beatdown by the more polished boxer Aron Avila.

At the conclusion of Bout #10 we see veteran referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious Aron Avila of Intensity MMA.

Knowing you are going up against someone as polished as Aron Avila and you’re still willing to take the fight, says a lot about the courage of Erick Hernandez.

In Bout #11, it was 16-year-old Jonathan Mansour (114.2 lbs.) from the Bomber’s Squad, El Cajon, Calif. going up against 17-year-old Jorge Chavez (119.6 lbs.) from the National City CYAC.

Mansour may have had his moments early, but that soon changed after Chavez got in close and started working over not only Mansour’s midsection but Mansour chin with these solid uppercuts.

Chavez is shown having his arm raised in victory by referee Dana Kaplan.

After being checked out by the fight doctor, Jonathan Mansour (l) from the Bomber’s Squad, El Cajon, Calif. and Jorge Chavez from the National City CYAC graciously agreed to pose for one last photo.

Bout #12 featured 28-year-old Ernesto Solano (170.6 lbs.) from The Arena taking on 27-year-old Carlos Velasquez (167.4 lbs.) Unattached.

Before long, a fierce battle erupted and someone yelled out, “Heh, can someone please tell him (Solano) to turn it down a notch?”

Throughout their contest, the combatants continued to bang away.

In the end, it was Ernesto Solano (r) having his arm raised in victory by referee Dana Kaplan.

Truth be known, no one was going to beat Mr. Kaplan with his Mom in the audience.

Bout #13 featured 13-year-old Sebastian Camberos (90.2 lbs.) from Intensity MMA going up against 12-year-old Michael Romero (95 lbs.) from Bear Knuckle Boxing of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Michael Romero, from the Bear Knuckle Boxing Gym only knows one way of fighting and that’s full throttle.

To quote onlookers, “What a banger this guy is!”

At the conclusion of Bout #13, we see referee Hondo Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Sebastian Camberos from Intensity MMA.

In the final bout of the day, Bout #14, saved for last because of the quality of the combatants, 22-year-old righty Anthony Franco (157.2 lbs.) from The Arena, Pt. Loma facing 23-year-old southpaw Rashiid Johnson (157.6 lbs.) from the CEE Greenville Boxing Club, Greenville, South Carolina. With their skills, the Pros, especially middleweights, should definitely have them on their radar. Both are now competing at the National level and from the opening bell on Saturday, the punches being thrown were scary and before long both boxers had bloody noses. As far as power, most likely Johnson held the edge while Franco excelled in ring savvy, hand speed and accuracy to come away with this notable victory.

(bottom photo) Just when Rashiid Johnson (r) thought he had Anthony Franco corralled, under control, bang comes this surprise package from underneath.

(photo bottom) It didn’t take long before Anthony Franco (red headgear) had a tremendous respect for Rashiid Johnson’s straight left hands.

Now we ask who is the bravest person in this photo? That would be the ref.

In the end, it was Anthony Franco having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane. On hand to assist in the presentation of the championship medal was well respected MMA/Muaythai coach Vince Salvador (r).

The fast and furious staff of volunteers who helped set things up for the show and then tear them back down included Anthony Franco, Jason Meza, Basheer Abdullah, Juan Herrera, Joe Vargas, Ernesto El Mayimbe Solano, Michael “Loyalty” Liera, Cisco Vargas, Jose Toribio, Mario Heredia, Damian Hernandez and Louis Rodriguez.

At this time, the next scheduled show is the Boxing Champions of Tomorrow Show to be held Saturday, July 15th which will begin at 1 p.m. at the brand new Alliance Training Center facility in San Diego’s Logan Heights, just up the way from Petco Park. See you there.

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