La Gente’s La Batalla en Hidalgo, memorable for a lot of reasons 

For one, you can’t keep the Bomber Squad Boxing Academy of El Cajon, Calif. off the leader board. At Saturday’s USA Amateur Boxing Show in Brawley, their team went 4-0 in the competition, the best performance by any gym.

In Saturday’s opening bout, the matchmaker had slotted two 8-year-olds and both had the same surname of Garcia. As a matter of fact there were a total of eight boxers with that very same name on this fight card. Right away we just had to check and see if the matchamker was trying to start a family feud. As it turns out it was just a coincidence. In Bout #1, the matchmaker had “King” David Garcia (54.4 lbs.) from Avondale, Arizona with no club affiliation, facing the slightly taller Jacob Garcia (59.8 lbs.) from Adelanto, Calif., with no club affiliation. With Jacob Garcia having a distinct height and weight advantage, it had to give him a certain degree of confidence. Early on, his punches did land with more authority, especially in round #2. Then, in the final round, with both boxers landing these nonstop combinations, King David put on an undeniable spurt to the finish line. The question to be asked, ‘Was it enough to pull out the win?’ Many thought the match was too close to call.

In round one of Bout #1, we see David Garcia (red gloves) sizing up his opponent Jacob Garcia (blue gloves) before the fireworks began. With round being so close and Jacob Garcia clearly dominating in round two, back came David Garcia with some dazzling combinations to close out the final round.

Both were happy campers, but the look on the gentleman’s face on the right speaks volumes of the pride a father has in his son after a big accomplishment.

In Bout #2, they featured two Nationally Ranked USA Amateur boxers 19-year-old Jessie Mandapat (117.6 lbs.) from Anaheim, Calif. who trains at the Garden Grove Boxing Gym in Garden Grove, Calif. and 17-year-old Anthony Clark (110.8) from San Luis Boxing, San Luis, Arizona, two boxers with a ton of talent.

When they first met at center ring, it was like two gladiators playing a game of chicken to see whose hands would come up first, Jessie Mandapat (left) or Anthony Clark (right). If you’re wondering, it was Mandapat whose hands came up first but only after Clark rushed forward to press the action.

In this matchup, Mandapat, the southpaw, had a lot going for him when you consider he’s two years older, he enjoyed a seven-pound weight advantage plus he had to be benefitting from all that quality sparring at the Garden Grove Boxing Club, the gym where he trains. After the opening bell sounded, all of Mandapat’s pluses seemed inconsequential. Clark pulled out all the stops and never stopped chasing the elusive runner who when he did put on his brakes, peppered Clark with effective combinations and made him pay with solid lefts to the head. The one major blunder for Mandapat came in round two when he completely turned his back on Clark who then made Mandapat pay with a legal, solid, right cross to the side of Mandapat’s head. In Boxing, when you turn your back to your opponent it is on a par with taking a knee, it’s a sign that you’re ready to throw in the towel. This is likely, the moment when Mandapat’s lady friend called out to him, just like actress Talia Shire did when she played Adrian in the movie Rocky: “Win Rocky! Win!” Because from that point on, Mandapat was right back in the contest to earn himself a 2-1 Split Decision.

In Bout #3 they had 15-year-old Jabin Chollet (128 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Academy of El Cajon, Calif. taking on 13-year-old Fidel Samano (127.2 lbs.) from the San Luis Boxing Club, San Luis, Arizona. In round one, Chollet at first matched Samano’s output and then he exceeded it. In round two, Chollet was again the busier of the two and more elusive as he shuffled from side to side. With Samano behind, he personally made that third round an all out war.

At the conclusion of Bout #3, referee Hondo Fontane raises the arm of both Jabin Chollet (r) and Fidel Samano (l) to allow the crowd to acknowledge their gutty performance. In the end, it was Chollet (r) earning a unanimous decision.

At the conclusion of their contest, Jabin Chollet (r) of the Bomber Squad Academy and Fidel Samano of San Luis Boxing Club posed for one last photo.

In Bout #4 it was 17-year-old Jonathan Mansour (113.6 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Academy of El Cajon, Calif. taking on 16-year-old Ricardo Garcia (115.2 lbs.) from Adelanto, Calif. who trains at the Villegas Park Boxing Club, Riverside, Calif. In this one, both Mansour and Garcia had their moments but there was also a lot of inactivity. It’s likely the judges gave the decision to the Mansour since he was the one who most often ended the short rallies.

At the conclusion of Bout #4, we see referee Hondo Fontane (top, right) raising the arm of the victorious Jonathan Mansour from the Bomber Squad Academy after he defeated Ricardo Garcia from the Villegas Park Boxing Club.

In Bout #5, it was 16-year-old Jose Chollet (130.8 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Academy, in a rematch with 16-year-old Alfredo Martinez (135.6 lbs.) from Santa Ana, Calif. who trains at the Garden Grove Boxing Club in Garden Grove, Calif. As he did on the 8th of July at The Arena show in San Diego, the more experienced Chollet, now with even more confidence, prevailed. The round by round breakdown had Chollet taking round one. By round two, Martinez had figured Chollet out and won the round by working smarter than harder. That left the extremely close round three and you have to figure two of the three judges once again sided with the calmer, more polished boxer so he could win this 2-1 split decision.  

(bottom, right) At the conclusion of Bout #5, Jose Chollet (r) of the Bomber Squad Academy has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley after gaining the decision victory over Alfredo Martinez of the Garden Grove Boxing Club.

In Bout #6, it was the more seasoned 21-year-old Tyler Herberger (134.6 lbs.) from Old School Boxing, San Diego, Calif. setting the pace against the outgunned 18-year-old Tayden Beltran (133.6 lbs.) from Huntington Beach, Calif. who also trains at the Garden Grove Boxing Gym in Garden Grove. Beltran did well in the toe to toe exchanges but simply put he couldn’t keep pace with Herberger’s output of combinations that came at him while he was almost always backing up.

(l to r) The combatants in Bout #6, Tayden Beltran (l) and Tyler Herberger (r) await the judges’ decision.

After visiting with the fight doctor, the winner of Bout #6, Tyler Herberger (r) from Old School Boxing poses for one last photo with Tayden Beltran from Huntington Beach, Calif. who put up quite a fight.

Bout #7, had 11-year-old Francisco Adan (91 lbs.) from Parker, Arizona, and training at the DuckeyBoy Boxing Club in Parker, going up against a 12-year-old southpaw by the name of Alex Arturo Guillen (90.8 lbs.) from Calexico, Calif. and training at the Baja Boxing Club in El Centro, Calif. At first, Adan became the victim of a slip. Shortly after it was a knockdown which escalated into an early stoppage win for Guillen.

In Bout #7, Francisco Adan (red gloves) got off to a rough start, first with a slip and then with a knockdown which in the end led to the early stoppage (RSB).

After the early stoppage, we see Alex Guillen (left) having his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane. Francisco Adan (red trunks) looks on.

Nearing the halfway point of the show, the organizers featured one of their “star attraction” bouts. In Bout #8, they had 13-year-old Andrea Garcia (88.4 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Academy, El Cajon, Calif. facing Bianca Noriega (90.8 lbs.) from the host gym, La Gente Boxing of Brawley. With both young ladies getting more and more accomplished as they go, it seemed a lot of folks had their eyes glued to this match. Who was about to become the new Queen of the Minimum-weights? On September 2nd, Noriega had traveled to San Diego to face the Alliance Training Center’s Champion Christa Aquino and beat Aquino who had recently defeated Chantel Navarro. Now it was Garcia’s turn to go on the road and challenge Noriega, the recognized champion. 

(top, right) At the conclusion of their hard-fought contest, Bout #8, LBC 44 had themselves a new Female Minimum Weight Champion, 13-year-old Andrea Garcia (r). In a match that went back and forth, it was the Garcia who pulled off the upset and produced the point total to earn the close victory. 

You knew the Bianca Noriega support group and La Gente Boxing family was going to have something to say about this development. “We will be back!!!!!!”

Bout #9 featured 22-year-old Anthony Franco from The Arena Gym in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif., a nationally ranked super middleweight who weighed in at 161.8 lbs. going up against another veteran, 19-year-old Lucio Hirales (152.8 lbs.) from La Gente Boxing.

Not all that certain as to how long the injury will take to mend, or if the injury might require a hospital visit, the distraught Anthony Franco left the ring. Then, as a matter of procedure, Lucio Hirales reluctantly went to the center of the ring to have his arm raised in victory.

In this one, Franco quickly settled in and appeared to have the match well in hand. That’s when this inadvertent, freak accident occurred and Franco was soon holding his right arm and grimacing in pain, excruciating pain after his hyperextended arm had been jarred. For the layman, it appeared that Franco had broken his arm. What did happen was Franco was hit near the top of his right arm while the arm was fully extended and with the pain there was no way for him to continue. As a consequence, Hirales then became the winner due to an RSB ruling (referee stops the bout). 

Bout #10 between 18-year-old Yonis Muya (146.2 lbs.) from Old School Boxing, San Diego and 23-year-old Carlos Landa (141 lbs.) from The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. was another match that didn’t get very far. The shorter Muya now has all but perfected this Mike Tyson-like attack mode where he basically gets in his opponent’s grill and then bangs away with the straight shots either to the midsection or head. Sounds easy but it’s not.

Having Yonis Muya from Old School Boxing (red gloves) as an early opponent turned out to be a shocking turn of events for Carlos Landa. Photos: Jim Wyatt

(l) After the early stoppage, Yonis Muya had his arm raised in victory by veteran referee Rick Ley. (r) Three members of Carlos Landa’s support group from The Arena posed for one last photo before heading home to San Diego.

Also before heading home, members of the Old School Boxing Team posed for one last photo. (l to r) the victorious Yonis Muya, Muya’s Trainer Ernie “Too Slick” Johnson, a former boxing standout, and the victorious Tyler Herberger.

In Bout #11, it was 10-year-old Javier Garcia (79.6 lbs.) from the United Boxing & Fitness Gym, Chula Vista, Calif. going up against 10-year-old Jesus Ferrat (80.2 lbs.) from La Gente Boxing. In round one, both boxers went full bore. Then, in round two, Garcia took the controls with this strategy of darting in and out on offense. Not much changed in round #3, as the taller Garcia was able to maintain his lead by delivering the sharper, straighter punches.

(left) At the conclusion of Bout #11, we see referee Hondo Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Javier Garcia from United Boxing & Fitness. (photo right) Jesus Ferrat (l) shows us his good sportsmanship by putting his arm around the victorious Javier Garcia.

Bout #12 featured the swing for the fences approach of 15-year-old Jonathan Sanchez (142.2 lbs.) from Mexicali, Mexico who was taking on 16-year-old Renato Serna (143 lbs.) from the Yuma Fighting Academy, Yuma, Arizona, who unfortunately was making his Amateur debut against this raw talent with the heavy hands. As you might expect, the standing 8-counts being issued to Serna became the norm.

(top photo) Bout #12 winner Jonathan Sanchez (r) has his arm raised in victory by referee Hondo Fontane after he defeated Renato Serna from the Yuma Fighting Academy, Yuma, Arizona.

Bout #13 was a very competitive, battle royale between 9-year-old Raul Juarez Garcia (55.4 lbs.) from the Baja Boxing Club of Calexico, Calif. and 8-year-old Madden Huertas (56.8 lbs.) from the United Boxing & Fitness Gym in Chula Vista, Calif. Garcia got the best of Huertas on this day, but Huertas promises to be much better in their rematch.

You can tell by the look on their faces, Madden Huertas (l) and Raul Juarez Garcia (r), neither boxer was 100% certain of victory.

Then came that wonderful moment when father and son got to pose for a photo after the well deserved victory.

In Bout #14, it was 14-year-old Isaiah Garcia (124 lbs.) from Adelanto, Calif. and training at the Villegas Park Boxing Club going up against 15-year-old Adan Palma (123.4 lbs.) from The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. At every turn, you saw these boxers trying to outsmart each other, gain the upperhand and when they did out came the machine gun like punches. Coming out of each clinch, you could expect a punch in the face. With it being such a masterful performance, Palma, the winner, was later given the distinction of “Boxer of the Show”.

When you get to the level of Adan Palma (left) and Isaiah Garcia (right) a match like the one they shared on Saturday, becomes a lasting memory.

No doubt, these two gents will meet again, either in a USA National Tournament or in the Professional ranks. Both had come a long way for their meeting on Saturday. Palma traveled roughly 140 miles from Point Loma to Brawley while Garcia traveled closer to 200 miles from Adelanto, Calif. to Brawley.

In Bout #15 they had two 9-year-olds Alexander Mariscal (58.4 lbs.) from the Calexico Boxing Academy, Calexico, Calif. going up against Christian Garcia (1-2, 55.4 lbs.) from the El Centro PAL. This one had one of the most exciting finishes of the day as both boxers gave it everything they had right up until the final bell which is typical of the boxers from these gyms.

(photo collage) At the conclusion of Bout #15, we see boxers Alexander Mariscal (l) and Christian Garcia (r) awaiting the judges’ decision with Hondo Fontane, the referee of their match plus President of USA Amateur Boxing’s LBC 44 CAL Border. Until they discovered that Garcia had won, his first ever USA Amateur Boxing boxing match, the expressions on their faces were, how should we say… priceless.

Also, if there had been an addtional award given for the most photogenic boxers of the show than these two youngsters would have won, without a doubt.

In the final bout of the show, Bout #16, they featured two boxers rather than brawlers. 

After three well fought rounds, it was 13-year-old Francisco Zarate (right, red gloves, 88.4 lbs.) from the Yuma Fight Academy, Yuma Arizona, earning the unanimous decision victory over 12-year-old Alexander Meza (left, blue gloves, 90.4 lbs.) who they had listed as being from Mexicali, B. C., Mexico.


In regards to the “BOUT OF THE DAY Bout #8 was chosen. That was the Andrea Garcia vs. Bianca Noriega bout. And as mentioned: “THE BOXER OF THE DAY” went to Adan Palma from The Arena who defeated Isaiah Garcia.

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