Saturday’s place to be: Champions of Tomorrow Show, Crumment Park, Calexico

With its warm-hearted, hard-working, forward-thinking people, Calexico, Calif. never fails to honor both its Mexican and American heritage.

Prior to Saturday’s Champions of Tomorrow USA Amateur Boxing show, the organizers made a list of concerns: 1) surpass the patron’s expectations as far as delicious food and make it modestly priced 2) the weather? No problem there, a glorious day had been forecast 3) Evenly matched bouts? The pre-matching of bouts would take care of that, 4) back in June came an announcement that it was “50 years ago today” that the Beatles had released their iconic album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in which they had a song mentioning the above band and when it had first learned how to play. With the organizers hoping to add that retro feel, they looked into the feasibility of hiring musicians to play some music from the late ‘60s, before, during and after their show. With the extremely high cost of assembling such a group as Buffalo Springfield, the Bee Gees, etc. or hire a Beatles Tribute Band, they soon realized they’d have to settle on a local group to charm the patrons with their own flashback music. However, it would be a treat if that local group could play some of the hits from that era, since “it was over 50 years ago today” when the same Beatles’ songs aired on the radio. At least the seniors in attendance would enjoy the novelty.

The big day came way too soon and there were still some minor glitches that needed fixing. One was the late arrival of the emergency medical team. After a rather late start, the Champions of Tomorrow USA Amateur Boxing Show was finally off and running.

In Bout #1, they had 8-year-old Jose Aruru (61.6 lbs., red gloves) from San Luis Boxing, San Luis de Colorado, San Luis, Arizona, who was making his Amateur debut against 9-year-old Alexander Mariscal (59.4 lbs., blue gloves) from the host gym, the Calexico Boxing Academy, Calexico, Calif.

Early on, Alexander Mariscal (l) of Calexico held the upper hand by utilizing his on-target, straight as an arrow, stiff jabs.

By the second round, the momentum had begun to switch back and forth right up until the final bell.

In the end, it was Alexander Mariscal (l) earning a unanimous decision victory over the very competitive Jose Aruru.

In Bout #2, they had 14-year-old Ignacio Lopez (140.8 lbs.) from Devil Dog’s Boxing taking on 13-year-old Damian Gonzalez (147 lbs.) from the Calexico Boxing Academy of Calexico.

The first direct hit, a hard right cross drew blood and sure got Damian Gonzalez’s attention.

After a competitive first round, it appeared Ignacio Lopez (red gloves) took over in the following rounds utilizing punches that were straighter and quicker.

(photo, left) Before long, we saw veteran referee Rick Ley stepping in to stop the bout and issue Damian Gonzalez (blue headgear) a standing 8-count.

At the conclusion of Bout #2, we see referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious Ignacio Lopez. On hand for the presentation of the trophy was boxing standout, Bianca Noriega.

Bout #3 featured 17-year-old Keven Monroy (124 lbs.) from the House of Boxing, Paradise Hills, San Diego, Calif. who was making his Amateur debut after training for eight months. Monroy, a former CIF Wrestling Champ, was up against 16-year-old Damein Vargas (118.2 lbs) from Devil Dog’s Boxing.

Before long Keven Monroy had his opponent pinned up against the ropes.

After an accumulation of blows, one very hard blow to the face, referee Andrew Moreno, stepped in to issue Damein Vargas a standing 8-count.

Before long, another solid left from Keven Monroy landed right on target.

What you see here is true saber-rattling. It’s when you have two knights of old swinging a saber with bad intentions but on the way to its target, the sabers intersect or get waylaid by an opponent’s equally, fearsome saber.

Moments later, Monroy decided that going to the midsection was a better idea.

At the conclusion of their contest, referee Andrew Moreno raised the arms of both combatants Damein Vargas (l) and Keven Monroy (r).

Before returning to their mates, we had Kevin Monroy (r), shown holding the winning trophy, pose for one last photo with the tough Damein Vargas.

Bout #4 featured 25-year-old Anthony Gronich (152.4 lbs.) from the Calexico Boxing Academy, Calexico, Calif. taking on 25-year-old Jose Luis Virgen (154.4lbs.) from Yuma, Arizona.

In the exchange to the left, we see Anthony Gronich (red gloves) landing a powerful right cross to the side of Jose Luis Virgen’s head.

Perhaps unnerved by the referee’s issuance of a standing 8-count, Anthony Gronich (r) goes all out with this big overhand right to the chin of his surprised opponent Jose Luis Virgen who then fell back into the ropes.

As a result of that big overhand right, referee Hondo Fontane then issued Jose Luis Virgen a standing 8-count. (bottom photos) As a result of that hotly contested third round, no doubt the blood was pumping. Photos: Jim Wyatt

At the conclusion of their match, Jose Virgen (r) and the winner Anthony Gronich (l) shook hands and congratulated each other on their memorable bout.

Bout #5 had 15-year-old Eliant Castellanos (131.4 lbs.) from the San Felipe Boxing Gym, San Felipe, B. C., Mexico taking on 17-year-old Diego Perez (130.8 lbs.) from the Pan American Boxing Club.

Bout #5: As in the previous bout, the Eliant Castellanos (red headgear) versus Diego Perez (blue headgear) battle was another terrific contest and almost immediately Castellanos (top, right) was issued a standing 8-count after getting walloped by a solid, overhand right to his face.

Back and forth, Castellanos (r) and Perez (l) went exchanging blows to the head.

At the conclusion of this all-out war, we see referee Hondon Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Diego Perez.

After being checked out by the fight doctor, the victorious Diego Perez (l) and Eliant Castellanos (r) posed for one last photo. Photo: Jim Wyatt

When you’re the star performer of this large clan, there is no such thing as one last photo.

Bout #6 featured 11-year-old Joshua Martinez (76.4 lbs., red headgear) from the Calexico Boxing Academy going up against 11-year-old Eduardo Castro (80 lbs.) from the Yuma Fight Academy. 

Early on, it appeared the exchanges were quite even with a lot of back and forth momentum swings.

At the conclusion of Bout #6, it appeared Joshua Martinez (l) had already added Eduardo Castro (r) to his list of opponents he would like to meet again.

In Bout #7, they had 15-year-old, Ruben Rubio (138.8 lbs.) from San Felipe, San Felipe, B. C., Mexico going up against 14-year-old Eduardo Bernardino (129 lbs., record 1-2) from La Gente Boxing of Brawley, Calif. The shorter Bernardino, a Mike Tyson fan, built up his legs playing soccer and running track and has plans to eventually join the Border Patrol.  

On Saturday, the 15-year-old, very tall and talented super lightweight Ruben Rubio gave the much shorter Eduardo Bernardino a boxing lesson. A lesson reminiscent of those the 6’7″ tall heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder gives to his opponents. As best he could, Rubio stayed away from the ropes and the corners while maintaining the ideal distance to benefit from his tremendous reach advantage. And once Rubio began his attack, the punches just keep raining down on the shorter opponent. All he needs now is more power in those punches and he should become a powerful force in the professional ranks.

Bitter/sweet: on hand to present the winning trophy for Bout #7 was Eduardo Bernardino’s stablemate from the La Gente Boxing Club, Bianca Noriega.

At the conclusion of Bout #7, we see Ruben Rubio having his arm raised in victory by LBC 44 President/veteran referee and judge Hondo Fontane.

Bout #8 featured 9-year-old David Silva (64.4 lbs., red gloves) from the Baja Boxing Club going up against 10-year-old Alecxander Aguilar (69 lbs., blue gloves) from Devil Dog’s Boxing in Calexico.

In Bout #8, the shorter David “Torito” Silva (red gloves) was quite elusive. So much so, that he kind of reminds you of the legendary Willie Pep. His only problem? He couldn’t muster enough offense against the taller Alecxander Aguilar who is a year older and outweighed him by almost five pounds.

At the conclusion of Bout #8, referee Andrew Moreno raises the arm of the victorious Alecxander Aguilar. Meanwhile, it appears the irritated David Silva (r) is busy plotting his revenge.

The final bout of the show, Bout #9, featured 14-year-old Juan Ramon Castenara (93.8 lbs.) from Gimnasio de San Felipe, San Felipe, B. C., Mexico taking on 14-year-old Isaiah Torres (93.2 lbs., record 14-6) from the Westmorland B.A.D. Gym, Westmorland, Calif. After sitting and waiting for the previous matches to conclude, you had to figure there was going to be some let-down in their performance. Afterall, nothing could surpass the previous battles. Not so, the performance of this pair would most assuredly be in contention for the “Bout of the Day”.

(photo top) The elusive Juan Ramon Castenara (red gloves, left) faces off against the wild-swinging Isaiah Torres (blue gloves).

At the conclusion of the final bout, Bout #9, we saw Isaiah Torres (r) of the Westmorland B.A.D. Boxing Gym/Physical Fitness Center getting the decision.

Note well: the next USA Amateur Boxing Show is scheduled for this coming Saturday, October 28, at the 10th Planet/One Training Center in Spring Valley, Calif. Before leaving home for the show, don’t forget to email your Happy Birthday wishes to Bill Gates, it’s his 62nd Birthday, actress Julia Roberts will be turning 50, actor Joaquin Phoenix will be 43 and the former Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner will be turning 68. See you at the next show.

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