Showdown time for two of USA’s Top Lightweights

Photo taken of members of the Chula Vista Boxing Club as they were leaving the last USA Amateur Boxing Show held February 26, 2011 at the Escondido Fitness & Training Center. Photo: J. Wyatt

If you’re a local USA Amateur boxing fan, you know all about the fierce competition that exists. One classification in particular stands out and that’s the lightweight division which currently has 30 talented boxers training everyday.


Of the thirty, the one’s that standout in my mind are: 20 year-old Jose Vigil of North County Boxing, 19 year-old Jorge Ruiz of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, 18 year-old Idris “Prince” Tiger Smalls of the San Diego Combat Academy, 19 year-old Emmanuel Diaz and 16 year-old Rafael Gomez of Barrio Station, 18 year-old Jacob Martinez of Old School Boxing, Jorge Porras of the Porras Gym, 15 year-old Adrian Gutierrez of the Gutierrez Gym, 15 year-olds Victor Hernandez and Miguel Bracamonte of Escondido Boxing, 26 year-old Michael Tran of Undisputed, El Cajon, 18 year-old Nicolas Lopez and 17 year-old Ivan Ordaz of Pacific Coast Boxing, Josue de la Sancha and Ronald Locsin of City Boxing, 17 year-old Gerardo Lopez of Rhino Boxing and 18 year-old Anthony Quinones of Chula Vista Boxing. I didn’t mention Grant Heathcock of the U.S. Marine Corps team because he’s been transferred out of the area. Whenever any of these young boxers are involved in a show or tournament, the fans get to see flashes of greatness.

If we go by recent performances, Jose Vigil, trained by Tony Contreras at his North County facility would certainly have to be ranked number one. After all he’s defeated almost everyone to include both Jorge Ruiz and Idris Smalls. Then, based on past performances, we’d have to give the nod to Emmanuel Diaz.

Saturday, in Escondido, two of the challengers for that top spot are scheduled to face each other, Smalls and Ruiz.  Their first ever meeting took place April 23, 2010 at the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in San Diego’s Downtown. On that date, just about a year ago, both were novices making their first appearance in a USA Amateur Boxing Show.

Ruiz, who is trained by Sergio Melendrez at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, won that match by staying in close against the taller Smalls and overcame the sharpshooter’s reach advantage. At that time, Smalls, was being training by his dad, Priest Tiger Smalls, a former boxing great, at the Undisputed Gym in North Park. Since then the two have moved over to the San Diego Combat Academy on Mission Gorge Road.

A lot can change in one year, especially when you’re still growing, either with your eating habits or you might be adding a lot of muscle. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a scouting report.

Jorge Ruiz (left) poses for a photo with his father and grandfather after a recent victory in a USA Amateur Boxing Show held in Vista, Ca. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Scouting report on Jorge Ruiz:

In his last outing (February 26th, 2011), Ruiz lost in an all out war against the top guy, Jose Vigil. After Ruiz came out strong in frame number one, Vigil became the more dominate boxer in rounds two and three. The boxers traded blows until eventually Vigil wore his opponent down. Ruiz, who trains daily, has the benefit of sparring at a gym that is loaded with top talent. Melendrez, his coach, has helped to train many champions to include Chris Chatman, Mercito Gesta, and most recently Chris Martin.

Idris "Prince Tiger" Smalls poses for a photo after working out Thursday, March 31, 2011 at the San Diego Combat Academy. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Scouting report on Idris Smalls:

The son of the former boxing great is getting personalized, one on one attention from his father. Just recently, pop took him north to Freddy Roach’s Wild Card gym for a workout and made special arrangements to return for regular training sessions. As they often do in the pros, Tiger has someone videotape his son’s workouts and sparring sessions so they can study film together. A lot has happened since that first Idris Smalls versus Jorge Ruiz bout. The earlier mistakes have been corrected. Dad and son have set what they believe are attainable goals which include making either the Trinidad-Tobago (his mother’s native country) or the U.S. national team.

In other words, Saturday’s match-up at the Escondido Fitness and Training Center will tell us a lot about the progress being made by these two young prospects.



Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest