Dr. Richard Butcher honored on opening day of 2016 Boxers for Christ Tournament

On hand for the Opening of the 2016 Boxers for Christ National Tournament was the immediate family of the late Dr. Richard Butcher who for years assisted the organization by performing the duties of ringside physician.

On Friday evening, December 16, it was the San Diego Athletic Academy hosting the first day of their annual Boxers for Christ National Championship at the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista. As in the past, these young boxers came from near and far to compete and like other National Tournaments, winning in your age and weight division is quite an accomplishment.


Before the start of the first bout and after the customary invocation by tournament director Robert Coons, Coons mentioned the passing of a dear friend of our local USA Amateur Boxing family, Doctor Richard Butcher. “In remembrance of Dr. Butcher, we would like to dedicate our efforts in this tournament to him and honor our beloved friend’s family which have kindly joined us this evening. Dr. Butcher invested his time and passions into far more than just his Lincoln Park practice on Euclid Avenue. During his career, he also spent countless hours serving as the team doctor for local high school football teams and also as the ringside physician for our Boxers for Christ Tournaments. Dr. Butcher was a critical part of our organization’s mission. Despite his age, 77, and busy schedule, the good Doctor was ready and willing to assist us at this year’s event. He was always there for us. He was always there for the kids. As is the tradition, we will now have the timekeeper sound the 10 count.”

Dr. Richard Butcher’s daughter also added a few words on behalf of the family about her father’s dedication to the community and that wonderful smile.

On his passing, the San Diego Union Tribune wrote: “This family practitioner was venerated for his work with the poor and disadvantaged of southeastern San Diego.” Dr. Butcher is survived by his wife, Vickie, a well-respected local attorney, the couple’s five children: April Noble, Kelley Butcher, Langston Butcher, Crystal Butcher, Richard Butcher and foster daughter, Gina Clifton. The couple has six grandchildren. If we were to overlook his many accomplishments in the field of medicine and only key on his work as a ringside physician, the good doctor would be remembered as the doctor with the warm smile, an extremely kind and caring person, who would always go the distance to ensure all athletes were safe and given the utmost attention.

In Bout #1 of the two-day tournament, they featured a rematch between Anthony “El Indio” Padilla from the Legacy Training Center, Vista, Calif. going up against Adrian Mendez from the ABC Mongoose Gym, San Diego who were bracketed in the 10-year-old, 85-pound division. In their nonstop, three round battle of wills, the punches came from all directions. In the end, it was Padilla earning a unanimous decision victory.

(top) With his fists flying at record speed, Anthony Padilla threw one punch so hard that his momentum had him fall forward to the canvas.

(top) At the end of Bout #1, it was Anthony Padilla (right) having his arm raised in victory by referee Will White after defeating the always tough Adrian Mendez. (below) Padilla poses for a photo with his most loyal supporters.

Bout #2 in the 13/14-year-old, 119-pound bracket, had Moises Cardenas of Courageous Catholic Boxing Club, Yuma, Arizona going up against the more experienced Jabin Chollet of the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon, Calif. Since Chollet had been out of action for over a year with various ailments (a shoulder operation and then a badly injured thumb), the outcome of this match was thought to be up for grabs. But after the bell sounded, there was no sign of any ring rust as Chollet went full bore to force the referee to issue three standing 8-counts and end the bout early.

(photos right) The photos on the right show referee Will White issuing Moises Cardenas two of the three standing 8-counts. (photo, bottom left) we see Jabin Chollet winding up to the maximize his thrust behind each punch.

(photo right) And the winner is Jabin Chollet. With everyone so excited about Chollet’s return to boxing, we couldn’t help snapping this photo (l to r) the proud Mom taking a photo of her son, Jack Ballo, owner of the Bomber Squad Academy where Jabin trains and Jabin’s proud coach Berlin Kerney IV.

Bout #3 in the 123-pound novice division had Alex Celaya from the San Diego Athletic Academy going up against the highly touted Aron Avila from the Intensity MMA & Fitness Gym, South San Diego. This was another mismatch as Celaya had only been training for eight months while Avila had already being touted as a force to be reckoned with. Despite the obvious difference in their skill level, Celaya lasted well into the second round before the bout was stopped due to the issuance of three 8-counts.

Just as in Bout #2, the fists were flying in Bout #3. Aron Avila (blue trunks) demonstrated his tremendous accuracy and soon had his opponent Alex Celaya (black trunks) in big trouble.

After getting his head snapped back several times, veteran referee Rick Ley decided it was time for the ringside physician to take a look at the battered Alex Celaya. Coach Robert Coons (in red) is also showing much concern.

(top) After the referee’s stoppage we see Aron Avila (l) having his arm raised in victory. (bottom) Avila is joined by his proud coaches and stablemates from the Intensity MMA & Fitness Gym of South San Diego.

Bout #4, in the 152-pound Novice category, featured Eric Villanueva from Old School Boxing, San Diego going up against Jose Vargas Escogido from the Joey Tapia Boxing Club, Carlsbad who was making his amateur debut. With his edge in experience, Villanueva was in control from start to finish and kept peppering his opponent with the straighter, harder punches to outscore his opponent. from the outset, the never say never Escogido laid in wait for his opportunity to land that one big knockout blow but it never happened.

(l to r) Jose Vargas Escogido (blue trunks) in his debut had his hands full versus the more experienced Eric Villanueva (red trunks).

Eric Villanueva (red trunks) kept the combinations coming to discourage any retribution. Did you notice the product placement in two of the four photos above? If you haven’t heard, Coca Cola has now taken over the website.

After each of Jose Escogido’s all or nothing punches whiffed, back came Villanueva with his direct hits to take the round.

At the conclusion of Bout #4, it was Eric Villanueva (r) having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane.

Bout #5, in the 132-pound Open category, featured Andy Trigueros (19-4) from the Duarte Boxing Club, Duarte, Calif. going up against Brandon Cruz (25-15) from the host gym, the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif. In this one, both boxers left it all in the ring as the constant pummeling never let up. In the end, the close decision victory went to Cruz.

In round #1, both of these accomplished boxers Brandon Cruz (blue trunks) and Anthony Trigueros cautiously sized each other up.

It didn’t take long before the punches came with a heavy impact.

Work over that midsection became the directive from their coaches.

(top) When Brandon Cruz landed this left hook, it became a game changer.

At the conclusion of Bout #5 we see the victorious Brandon Cruz (l) having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane.


Bout #6, in the 141-pound female grouping, featured Crystal Flores from the Bound Boxing Academy in only her second bout going up against the more experienced Erika Sanchez from Duarte Boxing who had 15 bouts. As you might expect, Sanchez prevailed in this four round contest and secured a unanimous decision. That being said, it was a hard fought, battle royale.

At the outset, Crystal Flores (red headgear) held the upper hand by employing these rough-house tactics of holding and blinding Erika Sanchez with her constant jabs and having her gloves in her face.

Erika Sanchez recovered nicely in round two and began moving from side to side in close to time her punches better and land the counter left hooks to her opponent’s face. She soon had her opponent walking right into punches.

Erika Sanchez of the Duarte Boxing Club has her arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane.

Good sport that she is, Crystal Flores (r) of the Bound Boxing Academy poses for several photos with the victorious Erika Sanchez.

Bout #7 in the 165 lb., Elite Female grouping, featured 19-year-old Lauryn Garcia from Excel Martial Arts Academy’s Boxing Team of Oceanside, Calif. going up against 27-year-old Jill Stafford from the Bomber Squad, El Cajon, Calif.

At the outset, it was Stafford taking one blow and then issuing three in response. Once Stafford had Garcia backpedaling, she never let up in regards to the momentum in this contest. Photos: Jim Wyatt

At the conclusion of her bout versus Laurynn Garcia (r), Jill Stafford had this thoughtful expression on her face, that read, “Wow, what a rush that was!”

After raising Jill Stafford’s arm in victory, veteran referee Rick Ley begins to reach down for Stafford’s winning trophy. Meanwhile, good sport that she is, Laurynn Garcia continued to clap for her opponent.

Friends/stablemates like young Nico Sanchez, a Junior Olympic Champion, rushed to have their photo taken with the oh-so-popular Jill Stafford.

Bout #8 featured Jose Chollet from the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon going up against Chris Harris Jr.  Once again, the Chollet family of boxers came through with the victory. His footwork, faster hands and defense helped Chollet stay in control from the opening bell.

At the conclusion of Bout #8 we see referee Hondo Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Jose Chollet.

Stay tuned for the results from Day 2 of the 2016 Boxers for Christ National Championship

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