Results from USA Amateur Boxing Show at Victory Outreach Church

The all out battle between "Johnny Boy" Juarez (left) and Emmanuel Diaz (right) had to be the top bout of the day.

When the USA Amateur Boxers travel about southern California and stop at a venue near you, you, as a boxing fan, have an opportunity to see a Boxing Show that resembles if not surpasses the entertainment value of a championship bout you’d see on Pay Per View TV for $49.95. The only difference is the price. At your local USA Boxing Show you might end up paying $10 – $12.  In no way do I intend to demean the professional ranks, but it is a fact of life that many of the bouts I witnessed Saturday at the Victory Outreach Church right here in San Diego could back up that claim.

What you missed if you weren’t there:After an opening prayer was offered for the safety of the athletes by pastor Al Valdez of the Victory Outreach Ministry, Melinda Darling gave the sizeable crowd a glorious rendition of the Star Spangled banner.

Bout #1 featured 20 year-old Fernando Rojas of the FIGHTS Boxing Program taking on 22 year-old Emanuel Robles of Old School Boxing in San Diego. Robles, who had planned to turn pro last month, lacked the usual pop in his punches. Although he won quite handily, it appeared to this observer that the former National Pal Champion treated his opponent more like a mate in a sparring session. This development gave Rojas confidence enough to land some big left hands, 10 alone in the first round. Although Robles was the busier and more accurate of the two boxers, there remained up till the very end of the bout that glimmer of hope that Rojas might still pull it out by landing a knockout blow.

The FIGHTS Boxing Program, like the Victory Outreach Ministry and the National City CYAC is an outreach program for troubled youth run by a group from an Ecclesia Christian Fellowship in one of San Bernardino’s worst neighborhoods. The acronym stands for Faith In God Heals Troubled Souls. Like the other organizations, this program started out with humble beginnings, in the garage of Ian Franklin, a member of the congregation. In his youth, Franklin competed in the Golden Gloves competition and his son was anxious to learn the same sport. Franklin agreed under the proviso that his son promise to not fight outside the ring, keep his grades up, and stay out of trouble. In time, young Ian’s friends wanted to learn to box too. Franklin agreed and held all of his students to the same contract he’d made with his son. The popularity of the program grew and so did its benefits to the local neighborhood.

Bout #2 featured 17 year old Ivan Ordaz, Unattached, facing 18 year old Jorge Ruiz of the Alliance Training Center of Chula Vista. Ordaz got himself in trouble early by swinging wildly while the more disciplined Ruiz worked hard to get inside and land the straighter and more accurate punches. With the punishment Ordaz was taking, the referee issued one standing eight count after another until finally calling for a stoppage in round three.

Bout #3 featured 17 year old Abel Guzman of the Gutierrez Gym in his debut going up against 16 year old Horatio Cortez (2-2) of the FIGHTS Boxing Program of San Bernardino. At the outset Cortez came on like gang busters trying to intimidate Guzman. Guzman, with the better footwork and more polished closed up stance, stood his ground and countered beautifully. Except for Cortez’s occasional mad barrage of punches, it was Guzman doing the majority of the scoring with a straight left followed by the right hook.

Bout #4 featured 21 year old Grant Heathcock, a very fit U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, going up against the more polished 17 year old Nicolas Lopez of Pacific Coast Boxing in Vista. Even though he’s four years younger, it was Lopez who took Heathcock to school. Being the taller of the two, Lopez stuck his opponent, landed the great combinations, and then moved just out of harm’s way. Heathcock’s bright moment came at the outset of the second round when he became more elusive and his attacking offense involved moving in and out.

Bout #5 featured 11 year old Israel Caballero of Barrio Station going up against 12 year old Oscar Hernandez of the Rhino Boxing Club in Vista. As in past bouts, these two came out swinging for the fences and went non-stop toe-to-toe. Since Hernandez managed to land more straight shots to the head in round one and two, it was obvious he was ahead on the scorecards going into the final round. As he did earlier, Caballero unleashed his arsenal, but came up short.

Bout #6 featured 15 year old Rafael Gomez of Barrio Station in his debut, securing a come from behind victory over 16 year old Jonathan Gonzalez of Temecula. In round one it was Gonzalez in complete control as he stepped inside to successfully land his solid straight lefts. In round two, Gomez came out with a vengeance, backing his opponent up and then landing eight unanswered punches. After the referee called for a standing eight count, Gomez forced him to call a second. Gomez’s dominance continued into the third round. The referee called for a point deduction on Johnson after several mouthpiece violations and then came yet another standing-eight-count. In the end, the boxers who gave the crowd quite a show were completely spent.

Bout #7 featured 19 year old John “Johnny Boy” Juarez from the FIGHTS Boxing Program of San Bernardino challenging a local favorite, 19 year old Emmanuel Diaz of Barrio Station. Since the two amateur champions hadn’t faced each other since they were youngsters, this was by far the most anticipated bout of the show. Incidentally, Juarez won that earlier match.

Beating Diaz, a lightweight, would be quite a feather in Juarez’s hat, since he hadn’t fought anyone in over two years and had just recently returned to the gym after a two year sabbatical. For Diaz of the famed Diaz family, one of the more dominate boxers in the lightweight division, this would bring closure to that earlier loss.

Round one went to Diaz who was the aggressor, got off first and appeared to land more of the cleaner shots. Juarez was tentative and preferred to counter. Round two most likely went to Juarez, whose amazing jab started to set up the lightning fast combinations. Call it what you will but twice after the bell sounded to end the round, Juarez was caught throwing numerous late blows. In the final round Juarez landed not only the harder blows, but more of them to get the victory.

Bout #8 with 16 year-old Ismael Beltran of the Victory Boxing Academy had to be cancelled.

Bout #9 featured 22 year old Carlos Alvarado of the Gutierrez Gym facing 21 year old Ronald Locsin of City Boxing, downtown. It didn’t take long for Locsin to figure out the best strategy. All he needed to do was get off first and then sidestep the bull rush of Alvarado who was the aggressor. Alvarado’s strategy was basic, he wanted to get inside and then work the midsection. After one standing eight count and countless pleas from his corner to throw more punches, the bout mercifully ended for Alvarado who was getting the worst of it.


Many have tried, but no one has succeeded.

Bout #10 featured minimum flyweight champ 14 year old Tristan Alvarado of North County being challenged by 15 year old David Gonzalez of Temecula. Everyone has been trying to knock Alvarado off, but no one has succeeded. From the opening bell he just goes at his opponent full bore and never lets up. That’s just what happened with Gonzalez who decided to stand in front of him and trade blows. As a result Gonzalez never got out of the first round. After delivering three standing eight counts, the referee decided to call for an early stoppage.

Bout #11 featured another classic battle between a lefty versus a righty and usually the lefty comes out on top. But not on Saturday as 16 year olds Gerardo Lopez of Grace BC (orthodox stance) and Abraham Rios (a southpaw) from the USIAA faced each other.

In round one Lopez scored particularly well off counters and after one big overhand right landed flush, he landed three more in succession to bloody Rios’s nose and register a standing eight count. Rios made it out of the first round, but not the second after Lopez started to mix in some brutal uppercuts.

Bout #12 featured 16 year olds Elias Diaz of Barrio Station and Mario Cuin of Temecula. In the first round, Diaz, who enjoyed a height advantage, was masterful as he circled to the right, blocked, slipped and threw punches from every angle. Instead of maintaining the status quo of round one, Diaz decided to mix it up even more in rounds two and three. From that point on, this battle royal became non-stop between the two power punchers with Diaz clearly winning the bout by landing more of the cleaner shots.

The next scheduled USA Amateur Boxing show:

July 31 (Saturday)

USIAA US Institute of Amateur Athletics

190 N. Woodman St.

San Diego 92114

Contact: Robert Coons (619) 501-3759

Weigh in: 9 a.m.

First Bout: 1 p.m.

Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest