USA Amateur Boxing at Castle Park, a Celebration of the past

As in the past, another local high school auditorium was used to stage the latest LBC-44 USA Amateur Boxing show. Castle Park High School on Hilltop Drive in Chula Vista was the latest school to open their doors and offer their facility for the worthwhile event.


Since the school was so benevolent, so neighborly, it’s only fitting we give the school some props; after all, it’s the home of the Castle Park Trojans who won a ton of league championships, won three CIF football titles and of course that memorable state championship in 1996.

Did you know Castle Park sent five of their student athletes to the professional ranks? First, they had offensive tackle Steve Riley (Class of 1969) an All American at USC going to the NFL. He played 10 years for the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL football coach John Fox

Then, they have John Fox (1978) whose dad was a Navy Seal. Fox, who started his NFL coaching career in 1989, worked under the Steeler’s head man, Chuck Noll. Fox is currently the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

In the 2003 season, Fox led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII, losing 32-29 to the Patriots on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. In taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl, Fox joined Vince Lombardi as the only coaches to inherit a team that had won only one game in the season immediately prior to their hiring, and then taking that team to a NFL Championship game.

After Fox comes Benji Gil who graduated in 1991. Gil played second base and shortstop from 1993-2003 for two Major League ball clubs, the Rangers and Angels.

In the #3 slot, San Diego Charger fans were hoping Moses Moreno would move up in the rotation and replace the two characters ahead of him, Ryan Leaf and John Harbaugh.

Next comes the Moreno brothers who played for the San Diego Chargers. Moses Moreno (1993 graduate) played quarterback, his brother Zeke (a 1996 graduate) was a middle-linebacker.

In 1999, everyone was hoping Moses, a superstar quarterback in both high school and college, was going to be the savior for the struggling Chargers. He will forever be known in Chargers’ lore for coming off the bench to lead the Bolts to a win over the Broncos at Mile High Stadium. Apparently, his performance was one of those Doug Flutie like aberrations for he lasted just three years and then he was gone.

Outstanding middle linebacker Zeke Moreno

Zeke, a 6’2” middle-linebacker, was All-everything while playing for Castle Park and USC and did well in the NFL for the Chargers until the injuries started to mount up. He finished his career as a standout in the Canadian Football League.

After 40 plus years of serving the boxing community, Gilbert Lopez (L) was honored during the intermission of Saturday's USA Amateur Boxing Show at Castle Park High School. Standing next to Mr. Lopez is Bobby Lopez, his son, who aspires to follow in his father's footsteps. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After mentioning Castle Park’s past achievers, I should also note that on Saturday’s program was a trophy presentation from the Golden Hands Boxing Club to Gilbert Lopez, the patriarch of the rather large Lopez clan, the host of Saturday’s event.

As far as boxing coaches/trainers go, you would be hard pressed to name more than half a dozen boxing trainers that match his success and length of service to so many boxers. In his 40 some years of coaching he’s had Mexican National Team members, Jr. Olympians, State Champions, Golden Glove Champions, you name it.

And finally, it’s time to tout the stars of tomorrow, Saturday’s winners.

In Bout #1 Amador Ramirez (L) defeated Jonathan Espino (R).

Bout #1 featured 17 year-old Amador Ramirez of Ocean’s Boxing Club going up against 21 year-old Jonathan Espino of North County Boxing.

In both Round one and two, Ramirez was the busier of the two and his punches were far more accurate. Meanwhile, Espino’s corner would implore their boxer to be more aggressive and start throwing combinations.

By Round #3, the punches from both boxers were like sticks of dynamite. Espino and his corner must have realized they were behind, and were going all out for the much needed knockout. At this point it was Ramirez who was having trouble, and he began to hold. After the referee penalized him for holding, his corner starting cajoling him, “Get that point back!”

With the high tension, I heard several onlookers shout, “What a bout!” In the end, the decision went to Ramirez who insured his victory by taking the first two rounds.

In Bout #2 Jose Vigil (R) came out victorious over Contravis Stroziel (L).

Bout #2 featured two more heavy-hitters, 21 year-old Jose Vigil of North County Boxing and 22 year-old Contravis Stroziel of the Gladiator School of Martial Arts and Boxing.

Considering the time the boxers have been training, this one appeared to be a miss match in favor of Vigil, plus he had had three times as many bouts as the shorter Stroziel.

In Round #1, Vigil began and maintained a strategy of quick bursts of two and three punch combinations, then he’d pull back just out of Stroziel’s range. Before long Vigil had Stroziel in trouble, so much so that he landed eight unanswered blows. The referee acknowledged the flurry and stepped in to issue Stroziel a standing eight count.

At the start of Round #2, Stroziel displayed amazing courage as he came out swinging for the fences without regard for any defense. Once again, Vigil took advantage and landed a sufficient amount of firepower to have the referee issue Stroziel a second eight count.

Round #3 was more of the same, with Stroziel abandoning any semblance of defense, while Vigil, the more accurate boxer, landed the majority of the blows. All three judges gave Vigil the nod.

Bout #3, it was Valerie Outiveros (R) outpointing Mayra Barajas (L).

Bout #3 featured two young ladies, 16 year-old Valerie Outiveros of Ocean’s Boxing going up against 17 year-old Mayra Barajas of Team Heber.

This was another nonstop slugfest with Barajas standing tall and Outiveros, the shorter of the two, staying small and boring in with the straighter and more accurate punches, an irrefutable three punch to one edge.

In Round #1, Outiveros dominated with her stiff left jab followed by the right cross. Then after a big overhand right, the proceedings were stopped and the ref issued Barajas a standing eight count. In Round #2, the bout was again stopped for an eight count after Outiveros landed consecutive left hooks. In Round #3, Outiveros continued her attack and a third eight count was issued. Soon after, the referee stepped in to call a halt to the contest.

After their nonstop battle in Bout #4 with Eric Roja (R), Carlos Sanchez (L) has his arm raised in victory by referee John D’Angelo.

Bout #4 featured 9 year-olds Eric Roja of Team Heber and Carlos “Super Fly” Sanchez of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista. This one was clear cut from the outset as Roja kept catching Sanchez with the counter left hands. One wild miss followed by yet another punch right on the mark.

Then it went to the scorecards where the most unpopular decision of the day was registered. The loud Boos from the crowd said it all. One or more of the judges was not paying attention. Then I heard one judge say, “Well, it was very close.” Not even. When the announcement was made you could see the incredulous look on the boxers‘ faces. They knew who won.

In Bout #5, Jorge Ocequera (R) defeated Jose Chollet (L).

Bout #5 featured 11 year-old Jorge Ocequera of Team Heber going up against 10 year-old Jose Chollet of Barrio Station. These two mighty mites put on quite a show. The edge in punches being thrown and landing was so minute that only a ticker could judge this all out battle royale. In the end the decision went to Ocequera who appeared to have more velocity on his punches.

In Bout #6, Oscar Hernandez (L) was the clear cut winner over John Vasquez (R).

Bout #6 featured 14 year-old John Vasquez of Team Heber going up against 13 year-old Oscar Hernandez of Rhino’s Boxing in Vista. Despite their age difference, Vasquez’s height advantage, Hernandez, the more seasoned boxer, controlled the proceedings by staying in close to out-muscle, out-maneuver and out box Vasquez.

Figuring all he needed to compete were the hand wraps, this youngster approached Willie Kuhn, the head of the USA Amateur officials, to ask him sign off on his wraps. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After Vasquez and Hernandez left the ring, Willie Kuhn, the head of the USA Amateur officials was approached by a youngster that had his hands wrapped. He was eager to get in the ring and show his stuff. Kuhn took note of the Team Heber T-shirt and showed him every respect by making the regular notation on the boy’s white wrap. Judging from his size he appeared to be around five years old. The gentlemen allowed me to take their photo as proof of this momentous occasion.




After their entertaining bout, referee Will White raises the arms of both Michael Martin (L) and Luis Mayorga (R).

In Bout #7 20 year-old Luis Mayorga of Old School Boxing faced a 19 year-old Marine from the Camp Pendleton Boxing Team by the name of Michael Martin.

From the outset, Martin’s unconventional, awkward style gave Mayorga conniptions. There was no way to predict from which hand or from which direction the looping punches would come. To his credit, Mayorga remained calm, stayed in close and pressed forward, occasionally ducking under another of Martin’s rangy punches.

With his four inch reach advantage, Martin could have kept his distance and tried to outpoint Mayorga. But no, he allowed himself to get caught up in a brawl that favored Mayorga’s style.

By Round #3, Martin was gasping for air and started to grab Mayorga to keep in the clinches. After an earlier warning for holding, Martin was penalized a point. To further exasperate the problem, Martin started loosing his mouthpiece. After the mouthpiece fell to the canvas for a second time, he was penalized another point. The two points being added to Mayorga’s score made winning an impossibility.                

Brady Rein (C) is shown lining up his next blow to the head of Carlos Adams. Photo: Jim Wyatt

is powerful punch Brady Rein used his downward trajectory to try and finish off his opponent.

Brady Rein (R) has his arm raised in victory by referee Will White after he complete destroyed his opponent, Carlos Adams (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 featured 25 year-old Brady Rein (167.4 lbs.) of the Poway Boxing Club going up against 18 year-old Carlos Adams (162.2 lbs.) of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista.

When you look at the two young men, you can easily see this was a boy versus man matchup that should never have been made. Rein is hard of body, well schooled and ready to turn pro. Adams’ body is still developing and he doesn’t have near the experience of Rein who packs a wallop.

At the end of Round #1, just before the bell sounded, Adams got caught by a straight right that caused the ref to stop the bout and issue an eight count. Adams managed to finish out the round.

In Round #2, it was as if Rein had been told to tone it down a notch and get the benefit of a good workout.

All that changed in round three, when Rein came out with bad intentions. Just one of the three punch combinations that hit Adams, would have sent anyone to the canvas. How Adams managed to take Reins’ best shots will remain a mystery. The scoring of the bout favoring Reins was never a mystery.       

Miguel Andrada (R) has his arm raised in victory by referee Will White after he defeated Jesus Toro (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 had 18 year-old Miguel Andrada facing 20 year-old Jesus Toro of the U.S. Marine Corps Team of Camp Pendleton. The was another mismatch of a boxer’s talent level. Toro is new to boxing where as Andrada looked almost mistake proof.

Before the first round ended, two eight counts were issued to Toro. In round two, a third eight count was issued and Toro showed signs of running out of gas.

Soon after Round #3 began, Toro was issued a fourth eight count, which meant the referee was compelled to call an end to the match. Once again, this proves there are no short cuts when it comes to learning how to box.

In Bout #10, Terrence Hendricks (L) made quick work of Salvador Alvarez (R) to gain the victory.

Bout #10 featured the brawler, 18 year-old Salvador Alvarez of Barrio Station going up against the boxer/puncher, 22 year-old Terrence Hendricks of the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in El Cajon.

As you can imagine, the fireworks started early, within seconds of the opening bell. Pow-pow, and then Hendricks slipped an overhand right and caught Alvarez flush. Within the first stanza, Alvarez was issued two additional eight counts. Three 8-counts in the same round and the fight is forfeited.

In Bout #11 Oscar Iturio went down for the count after getting hit flush by Gregory Luckettfield. Photo: Jim Wyatt

azed from the knockdown punch, Oscar Iturio tries to clear his head. Photo: Jim Wyatt

When seeing the names of the competitors in Bout #11, Gregory Luckettfield and Oscar Iturio, I felt certain the bout wouldn’t get out of the first round and I was right. Within the first 30 seconds, the bout was over.

In this photo with Gregory Luckettfield to his far left, it appears Oscar Iturio (R) is still trying to figure out what just happened. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Luckettfield, a dynamic southpaw, is a 23 year-old phenom who is currently in the U.S. Navy. He hails from San Bernardino, CA. In comparison, Iturio is relatively new to the sport.

In late June, Luckettfield went up against a 34 year-old prison guard, father of three, Olegario Rivas-Carrillo from the R. J. Donovan Boxing Team in the Battle of the Badges. The difference in their skill levels was so pronounced, that the R. J. Donovan coach, Hondo Fontan, threw in the towel after his boxer was issued a standing eight count and got knocked off his feet.

Rivas-Carrillo was getting hit by some really hard shots to the head. Fontan was visibly upset by the difference in the skill levels and felt Luckettfield had mislead the matchmaker about his experience. Apparently, the coaches from Rhino Boxing were also misinformed because Mr. Luckettfield is special.

After training for just a month at the Poway Boxing & Fitness Club and now 10 months at Alliance, Luckettfield is ready to compete at an even higher level and possibly compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Melvin Rodriguez (R) is declared the winner over Alexander Robinson (L) in Bout #12.

After the whirlwind finishes of Bouts #10 and 11, it was quite an adjustment to settle back into the regular state of affairs. Bout #12 featured a 22 year-old Marine from the Camp Pendleton Boxing Team, Melvin Rodriguez, going up against 21 year-old Alexander Robinson of the Gladiator School of Martial Arts & Boxing in Spring Valley.

After Rodriguez, with his reach and height advantage, took Round #1, back came Robinson to take Round #2. Round #3 featured an all out blitzkrieg to decide the winner and it was Melvin Rodriguez getting the nod.

David Gutierrez (R) gets the decision over Jonathan Rodriguez (L) in Bout #13.

In Bout #13, which was announced as the Main Event, 9 year-old Jonathan Rodriquez (weighing in at 57 lbs.) from Oceans Boxing Team faced 8 year-old David Gutierrez (weighing 60 lbs.) of Golden Hands. This was their third meeting with both having won once.

Since both boxers delivered just about the same amount of punches, this one went to Gutierrez for his ring generalship, his ability to slip more punches and hit harder.

After his exciting TKO victory in Bout #10, Terrence Hendricks was joined by his coach, teammates from the Undisputed El Cajon gym and his friends. Photo: Jim Wyatt

The next USA Amateur Boxing Show is scheduled for Saturday, October 22 at the newly opened House of Boxing Training Center at 2304 Reo Drive, San Diego, CA 92139. The easiest way to get there, depending upon where your are, is to go either north or south on Interstate 805 or Interstate 5 and then get off at the Route 54 exit. The Rio Drive exit is off the 54. 

Weigh-ins are at 9 a.m. sharp, with the first bout scheduled for 1 p.m. Your contact person for further information or driving instructions is: David Barragan (619) 399-5898

Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest