Lucky V at The Arena, another success story

With each Boxing show, The Arena in Point Loma keeps raising the bar, setting standards by which they rate themselves. The cleanliness of the gym, the setting-up of 600 chairs, arranging music, match-making par-excellence, ordering of great food, taking care of the medical needs, setting up the officials tables, etc. It takes a slew of good people & that’s what The Arena has.

When you have so many quality athletes coming from near and far to compete, it’s a sign that you’re involved in something quite important. 

In Bout #1 they had 18-year-old Brandon Cruz (132.2 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Club of Chula Vista taking on 17-year-old Jamie Gomez (137.6 lbs.) from the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada. Since boxing promoters always like their opening bout to be a prelude of great things to come, this match was all of that and then some. In this back and forth struggle Cruz, the eventual winner, always made certain to land more of his power shots than Gomez, an opponent who would never let up.

Brandon Cruz (blue trunks) and Jamie Gomez (red trunks).

At the conclusion of Bout #1, referee Hondo Fontane raises the arm of the victorious Brandon Cruz after his defeat of Jamie Gomez (r). On hand to present the winning medals is former USA National Champ Andrea Medina.

In Bout #2, it was 16-year-old Amado Vargas (125 lbs.) from the Fernando Vargas Fighting Foundation, Las Vegas, Nevada, taking on 17-year-old Jorge Chavez (121.8 lbs.) from the National City CYAC. Vargas, the son of boxing great Fernando Vargas, the former WBA & IBF Light Middleweight World Champion, fought a cunning, toe to toe battle but in the final stanza it appeared he had run out of gas and finished the match doing a lot of hitting and holding. Still, the bout was close, so close that the referee had to go around the ring consulting with the five judges and head of officials to make certain of their scores.

In Bout #3, it was 12-year-old Emiliano Vargas (92.2 lbs.), Armado Vargas’ younger brother, from the same Fernando Vargas Fighting Foundation, taking on 14-year-old Leonardo Rubalcava (94.2 lbs.) from Whittier, Calif. and the Norwalk Sheriff’s Youth Athletic League. Despite their age and weight difference, Emiliano showed his toughness and won this extremely close match.

In Bout #4, it was 15-year-old Jesus Montano (120.4 lbs.) from the Fernando Vargas Fighting Foundation, Las Vegas, taking on 15-year-old Mario Salas (119.5 lbs.) from the host gym, The Arena, Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. You talk about someone going full bore and smothering your opponent, Estrada kept attacking and landing his punches from every angle.

In Bout #5, it was 15-year-old Krystan Ramirez (114.2 lbs., red gloves) from the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada taking on 15-year-old Alfred Vargas (109 lbs., blue gloves) from The Arena. To get the win, the slick, more polished Vargas used every trick in the book to hang in close, hold if necessary and land his punches to negate most every offensive maneuver of his opponent.

In Bout #6, they had 16-year-old Jesus Estrada (130.2 lbs.) from the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada, taking on 15-year-old Gil Garcia (135.8 lbs.) from Team Garcia, Los Angeles, Calif. In this one, Estrada eventually out-worked Garcia and got himself in so close that Garcia was unable to use his favorite weapon, the big overhand right.

In Bout #7, it was 17-year-old Angel Osorio (136 lbs.) from North Las Vegas, Nevada, representing the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club taking on 20-year-old Tyler Herberger (134 lbs.) from the Old School Boxing Gym in San Diego. In this chess match featuring two well schooled boxers, Herberger came out on top by landing more of the cleaner, more damaging shots to the head.

In Bout #8, it was 14-year-old Alexander Estrada (103.2 lbs.) from the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club, Las Vegas, Nevada taking on 14-year-old Julian “Mexican” Rojas (99.6 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif. Estrada’s plan involved muscling his way inside to avoid Rojas’ obvious reach advantage and then simply outwork Rojas with body shots and land an occasional windmill, overhand right to win this close match and that’s what he did.

In Bout #9, they had the always tough, always in your face 15-year-old Adan Palma (116.2 lbs.) from The Arena, taking on 14-year-old Christian Proulx (113.4 lbs.) from the North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing Club, Las Vegas. With both boxers accustomed to fighting taller opponents with the reach advantage, this must have been a real treat to fight someone their own size. Maybe not, as the two boxers were never less than a foot apart and banging away. With Adan, being the busier of the two,and having Proulx continually backing up, the unanimous decision verdict was never in doubt.

In Bout #10, they had 12-year-old Jayson Gallegos (99.8 lbs.) taking on 12-year-old-year-old Diego Luna (97.8 lbs.) from the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista. You talk about someone putting on a clinic, Luna was rarely hit as he darted in and out and caught Gallegos with his stinging punches. Hit and don’t be hit was the storyline in this match.

Looking good! The medal presenter for Bout #10 was none other than the popular MMA Instructor Charles Martinez, who just happened to get a fancy, GQ haircut that same day. No doubt his mates and fellow coaches in The Arena gym were making all sorts of wisecracks. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Bout #11, it was 19-year-old Steve Rodriguez (143 lbs.) from Garden Grove Boxing, Garden Grove, Calif. taking on 18-year-old Adrian Hernandez (150 lbs.) from Escondido, Calif. and training at the North County Boxing Gym. In this one, Hernandez, making his return to boxing after a three-year layoff, looked polished. It was as if he had never left the sport. Most notable was his counter-punching. It wasn’t until round three that Hernandez began to rally and by that time the victory was out of reach.

In Bout #12, they had 21-year-old Felipe Ruvalcaba (152.4 lbs.) from Garden Grove Boxing, coached by well-known trainer Henry Villegas taking on 18-year-old Richard Brewart (152.2 lbs.) from the Rain Cross Boxing Academy in Riverside, Calif. who trains under the tutelage of another well known Henry, Henry Ramirez who has trained some of the best in boxing to include heavyweight contender Chris Arreola. Brewart had a host of people pulling for him. In other words, losing was not an option and yet beating someone of Ruvalcaba’s stature would be quite a challenge.

What a match this one turned out to be. The highly touted Felipe Ruvalcaba (r) and his coach Henry Villegas of the Garden Grove Boxing Club went down to defeat at the hands of Richard Brewart (l) and his coach Henry Ramirez.

After winning his hotly contested match, Richard Brewart (blue trunks) and his troupe from Riverside, Calif., which included Richard Brewart, Sr., his Godfather Robert Brewart, coach Henry Ramirez plus Manar Razooki posed for this photo with our local LBC44 President Hondo Fontane.

In Bout #13, it was 10-year-old Anthony Gonzalez (65.4 lbs.) from the National City CYAC outworking 9-year-old Mateo Flores (67.6 lbs.) from Riverside, Calif.

Anthony Gonzalez (blue) is shown going on the attack against Mateo Flores.

After their non-stop battle it was Anthony Gonzalez (left) earning the victory.

In Bout #14, it was 16-year-old Joshua Anton (155.6 lbs.) from Palmdale, Calif. coming away with the surprise victory over 22-year-old Anthony Franco (157.2 lbs.) from The Arena. This was the one match that shocked onlookers who thought for sure Franco would win.

In Bout #15, 17-year-old Jessica Juarez (131.8 lbs.), who now trains with the Gamez clan in Chula Vista, outpointed 17-year-old Dariel Chavez (132.2 lbs.) who was visiting from Las Vegas, Nevada. Chavez may have finished strong in the final round, but Juarez clearly took rounds one and two.

In Bout #16, it was 12-year-old Richard Aguirres (80.8 lbs.) from United Boxing & Fitness, who just recently moved to San Diego from Coachella, Calif., earning himself a resounding victory over 12-year-old Manuel Tercero (83.2 lbs.) from Riverside, Calif. However, he did make one, huge mistake that could have cost him the match when he walked right into one of Tercero’s left hooks (see photo below).

Coach Marcel Acevedo (top) is shown assisting young boxer Richard Aguirres between rounds and in the opposite corner, there was well-known trainer Henry Ramirez discussing strategy with his young boxer Manuel Tercero.

Bout #17, another of the highly anticipated bouts, had the accomplished Samuel Contreras (92.4 lbs., a 7-time national champion who was ranked #1 in the country for 3+ years) from Palmdale, Calif. coming to town in hopes of knocking Julius Ballo off his high-profile perch. Only last week news came from the USA Amateur Boxing hierarchy in Colorado that the 13-year-old Ballo was now ranked #1 in the Nation in his age and weight class. On Saturday, Contreras (red gloves), took the first round but Ballo’s quickness and combinations had him ahead in both rounds two and three. 

(top, right) Julius Ballo has his arm raised in victory by referee Rick Ley. (bottom, left) After putting on quite a performance, Samuel Contreras was joined by his father and two brothers. (right). Waiting for her cousin to come down from the ring is one of Ballo’s biggest supporters, Mikayla Mansour, a superstar in her own right.

In Bout #18 it was 14-year-old Chase Stanley (107 lbs.) from the Bomber Squad Boxing Academy, El Cajon, Calif. going up against the more seasoned 13-year-old Gael Soler (108 lbs.) from United Boxing & Fitness in Chula Vista, Calif. Stanley had his moments but overall, Soler proved to be the more accomplished boxer/brawler.

After referee Andrew Moreno realized the punishment Chase Stanley was taking, he immediately slowed things down by issuing Stanley an 8-count.

In the end, it was Gael Soler (left) defeating the game Chase Stanley.

Coincidence or what? At Saturday’s boxing show three people came to The Arena Gym with similar hairstyles as the movie star Halle Berry who recently attended the Academy Awards Presentations. On that night, she looked marvelous. Looking good or cool like Halle Berry gives off a long lasting impression & will most certainly boost your confidence. So, just do it!

In Bout #19, it was 16-year-old Jonathan Mansour (111.2 lbs., red gloves) from the Bomber Squad Boxing Academy, El Cajon, coming away with a rather easy victory over 15-year-old Cesar Hernandez (108.8 lbs.) from North County Boxing. After becoming confident of victory, the older, more experienced and taller Mansour did the inadvisable. In the final round he took his fought off the pedal and began to coast. This is a no-no in the sport of boxing and you’ll often see a boxing judge or judges react unfavorably when a boxer takes his opponent for granted. In the final round, Hernandez took full advantage of this opportunity and most assuredly won the final round.

In Bout #20, it was 29-year-old Alex Jackson (184.2 lbs.) from the Gladiator Gym in Spring Valley, going down to defeat at the hands of 27-year-old Daniel “Danger” Popiel (187.2 lbs.) from Riverside, Calif.

In Bout #20 it was Alex Jackson from the Gladiator Gym in Spring Valley wearing the red gloves and Daniel “Danger” Popiel of Riverside, Calif. wearing the blue gloves. Photos: Jim Wyatt

In the final bout of the show, Bout #21, they had fan favorite Austin Brooks (131.2 lbs.) from City Boxing Downtown going up against the always tough Jamie Suazo (127 lbs.) from North County Boxing. Like the others who have faced Brooks, Suazo soon discovered he had no chance of getting to Brooks. Brooks is now so elusive, deceptive, plus he has remarkable power in both hands. Many believe he should seriously consider turning professional.

With the success of this show and passed shows, The Arena’s general manager Mike Liera stated they are now planning to have regular shows every three months. As far as raising the bar of our local LBC44 shows, the Arena has had 1) much better lighting for those of us taking photos, 2) a ton more of parking space, 3) no problem with the seating of their capacity crowds, 4) the ability to introduce their pro boxers to the visiting Amateurs and 3) no problem in getting the word out when they need to fill their venue.

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