Results from Thrilla in the Villa II at Undisputed

Saturday, the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in San Diego’s downtown, hosted their second USA Amateur Boxing Show. As they did in April of last year, the host gym called their show, Thrilla in the Villa and then added the Roman numeral II. The catchy title, a reminder of the Thrilla in Manila between Joe Frazier and Mohammad Ali, is meant to put added pressure on the organizers to insure nothing but thrilling bouts, and they delivered. After every chair was filled, it didn’t take long before the sparks began to fly.


Referee Will White (c) raises Julian Wary's arm (l) to proclaim his victory over D'Angelo Le Clair (r) in Bout #1 of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing event held at the Undisputed Fitness & Training Center in San Diego on February 5, 2011. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Featured in Bout #1 was 21 year-old D’Angelo Le Clair of the host gym, Undisputed. Last April, Le Clair made his debut at the same venue and when the bout turned out to be so exhilarating, the organizing committee declared it the Top Bout of the Show. In that classic battle Le Clair, the polished boxer, soundly defeated David Gutierrez of Barrio Station, the shorter brawler.

This time around, Le Clair faced Julian Wary of the nearby Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista. Wary’s fondness for the sport began when he started his training at the age of eight. The time since has certainly paid dividends.

As soon as Wary finished measuring his opponent, this bout was over. In round one, Le Clair, standing tall, got caught with two big overhand rights and a short left hook to end the round. In round two, Wary managed to get even smaller while Le Clair remained upright. As a consequence, Wary started pounding Le Clair’s midsection. When Le Clair’s hands started to drop, Wary caught him flush which prompted the referee to stop the bout and issue an eight count.

At the start of round three, Le Clair came out with guns a blazing. His reckless abandonment only made matters worse as he got caught again and again until the referee issued a second eight count. Le Clair’s heart was in it, but he became frustrated and just couldn’t penetrate Wary’s defense which was aided by the stiffest of jabs.

Referee Rick Ley (c) raises Ryan Gerrard’s arm (r) to proclaim his victory over Keith Zagornick (l) in Bout #2 of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing event held in San Diego on February, 5, 2011. Photo: J. Wyatt

Bout #2 featured a 23 year-old southpaw by the name of Ryan Gerrard from the Poway Boxing Club going up against 31 year-old Keith Zagornick of Undisputed. When you first look at these two gentleman, I believe you would come to the same conclusion that I did, Wow, that Zagornick is built. He has muscles on top of his muscles. And his many tattoos sure add to his intimidating look.

First round action supported my initial impression. Zagornick, who had Gerrard on the run, was throwing these big, powerful overhand rights and landing them. I thought, I hope this kid (Gerrard) doesn’t get carried out on a stretcher.

Zagornick’s coach yelled, “Stay in the middle of the ring! Make him come to you!” In other words, he didn’t want his boxer chasing after Gerrard and in doing so, run out of gas. At the outset of round two, with Gerard circling Zagornick, he began to land some solid left hands. Suddenly, the invincible warrior seemed to have some chinks in that armor. Then, just before the bell sounded to end round two, Gerrard doubled up with two solid lefts to possibly steal the round.

The finishing touches to the surprising comeback came in the third round when the referee had to stop the bout twice to issue Zagornick standing eight counts. On the second stoppage, the referee called for a towel to stop Zagornick’s nose from bleeding.

Referee Rick Ley (c) raises Adrian Ayala’s arm (l) to proclaim his victory over Angel Flores (r) in Bout #3 of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing event held in San Diego on February, 5, 2011. Photo: J. Wyatt

Bout #3 featured 25 year-old Adrian Ayala of Golden Hands Boxing in Chula Vista going up against 17 year-old Angel Flores of Undisputed. Even though this was Ayala’s debut, he held several trump cards over his younger opponent. Ayala was taller (three inches), heavier (five pounds), eight years older and he’s been getting special attention from one of the best trainers in the fight game, Bobby Lopez.

Within the first minute, there was a knockdown. Flores was being pummeled by what I would call pile-drivers. My first thought, They should check his gloves for concrete.

After he started using his left hook, I processed another thought, Seeing is believing. Both hands are lethal.

Before long, there was a second knockdown which eventually led to the referee’s stoppage.

Referee Rick Ley (c) raises Manuel Vasquez’s arm (r) to proclaim his victory over Joe Bouchard (l) in Bout #4 of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing event held in San Diego on February, 5, 2011. Photo: J. Wyatt

Bout #4 featured two bangers, 18 year-old Manuel Vasquez of the Chula Vista Boxing Club who weighed in at 161.2 pounds going up against 21 year-old Joe Bouchard of Undisputed who weighed 169 pounds.

Vasquez, who was late to report, began slow. At first he was like that band member who shows up late for practice. Unsettled and out of step, Bouchard caught Vasquez early. One punch caught him flush on the chin and sent him flying backwards. The surprise punch cost him his first eight count.

After the rocky first round, Vasquez came back in the second round. He did so well, his opponent felt the need to acknowledge his performance and reached out to touch gloves with the battler.

The final round was all Vasquez as he was the sharper and busier of the two.

Referee Will White (c) raises Alfredo Rodriquez’s arm (r) to proclaim his victory over Jose Toribio (l) in Bout #5 of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing event held in San Diego on February, 5, 2011. Photo: J. Wyatt

Bout #5 featured 18 year-old Alfredo Rodriguez of Alliance weighing in at 122.2 pounds going up against 18 year-old Jose Toribio of Undisputed who weighed 118.8 pounds. The two had boxed once before with Toribio coming out victorious. As in their past bout, this was another battle royale between the taller sharpshooter (Rodriguez) duking it out with the shorter puncher (Toribio)who wanted to stay in close, work the midsection and occasionally land that devastating short uppercut. Because of their skill level and the respect they have amongst their peers, far less noise was heard from the crowd as they fought their all out battle, a battle that ended with the judges split, but giving the nod to Rodriguez.

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