USA Amateur Boxing Results, Saturday, July 3rd in Fallbrook

Just prior to his ring entrance for Bout #9, boxer Rodolfo Ortigoza of the Penacho Boxing Team (right front) and dressed in traditional Mexican attire is surrounded by family, friends and his coaching staff.

As expected there was a large turnout Saturday, July 3, in Fallbrook for the latest installment of the USA Amateur Boxing Shows. This event was held at the popular Porras Boxing Gym on N. Main Ave. and featured many well known names, people like Carlos Balderas, the eight time national champion from Santa Maria, the well respected team from the Real Deal Boxing Club of Hemet, Leo Ordonez defending the home turf, and Richard Steele, who came down from Henderson, Nev. with several boxers from his 3,200 square foot gym in Las Vegas.

For those of you who might not be familiar with his contribution to the sport, Richard Steele has been in boxing for 40 years, first as a fighter and then arguably as the best referee ever. He began his boxing career while in the Marine Corps and was “All Marine Corps Champion” and competed in the 1964 Olympic Trials. One of his teammates on that Marine Corps team just happened to be Ken Norton, who went on to become the World Heavy Weight Champion.

Steele began refereeing in the 1970’s, and went on to referee in 167 world title fights around the globe, more than any current or past referee. In 1983, he refereed his first major fight, when Aaron Pryor knocked out Alexis Arguello in their rematch. He also refereed the epic battles between Marvin Hagler and Tommy “the Hitman” Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor and the fight where Sugar Ray Leonard made his comeback after a three year lay-off to defeat Hagler in 1987. In addition, he’s refereed five title bouts for a guy by the name of Mike Tyson. In 2000, Steele was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

And now for the results from Saturday’s epic battles:

Bout #1 was to feature 16 year-old Mario Cuin of Temecula but it was cancelled after 15 year-old Luis Vargas, his opponent from Lompac, became ill.

Bout #2 was a hard fought battle between eight year-old Miguel Briseno of Undisputed Fitness and Training Center battling the always tough, 9 year-old Oscar Arenas of Bell Gardens. In the opening round Briseno was on the offensive and had Arenas backing up. It’s quite possible the judges may have awarded him round one. But from that round on, it was all Arenas, who landed the harder and sharper blows to easily win the bout.

Bout #3 featured two eight year-olds with unbelievable stamina, Blane Serno of Indio, all of 50 pounds, who has been boxing for three years and Giovanni Delatorre, 55 pounds, who’s been training at the Richard Steele Las Vegas Gym for a year. Just prior to his bout, DeLatorre’s boxing coach paid him high praise: “He’s like a freight train. You just can’t stop him.”

Serno couldn’t stop Delatorre’s bull like tendancies but he was able to sidestep them and land more of the heavier blows. With so many shots to the head, the referee finally called for a standing eight count. The outcome was never in doubt, as Serno proved to be the more polished boxer.

Bout #4 featured 16 year-olds, Omar Briseno of Bell Gardens and Anthony Briones of Real Deal. Briseno showed uncommon accuracy as he countered off each Briones miss. He’d slip punch after punch and then catch Briones with a left. After a while the accumulation of left hooks took their toll and Briseno registered an eight count. All three scorecards had Briseno ahead.

Bout #5 featured two very skilled in-and-out boxers, 15 year-old, Javier Padilla of Indio and Carlos Balderas of Santa Maria, the eight-time National tournament champion who has a record of 37 wins and only 3 defeats. In round one, Balderas found himself ducking and countering under Padilla’s power punches. In round two it was more of the same with Padilla throwing more punches but not being as accurate. Padilla continued to go all out in the final round and caught Balderas flush on his nose. With the blood streaming from his nose, the referee called for a stoppage and fortunately for Balderas who was way ahead on the scorecards, he was allowed to continue on and earn victory number 38.

Bout #6 featured 13 year-olds, Edward Vasquez of Real Deal and Jacob Lerma of Indio. From the outset, the boxers were unloading as if they had machine guns in their hands. Since Vasquez had Lerma backing up in that first round, his punches appeared to have more pop. To gain the upper hand, Lerma started holding and hitting in the second round. Then one of his solid shots caught Vasquez flush and made his nose bleed. In the final round Vasquez went after Lerma with a fury and had him on the run throughout. After it was announced that Lerma was the winner there was a smattering of boos. One of the Lerma backers responded by saying: “The fickle crowd only remembers the final round!”

Bout #7 featured 15 year-olds, Edgar Valerio of Century and Cesar Lopez of Real Deal. Lopez was solid throughout and did well countering the myriad of looks, angles and punches coming his way. It appeared Valerio’s constant switching from righty to southpaw and back again, although done effortlessly, may have thrown him off his game rather than confuse his opponent. The resulting unanimous decision is proof of that.

Bout #8 featured 14 year-olds, Miquel Bracamontes of Escondido and Estevan Vasquez of Real Deal in a back and forth hotly contested slugfest. In round one, Vasquez ducked under an overhand right to land his own right flush on Bracamontes’ nose. Just as in the book Red Badge of Courage, the bloody nose made Bracamontes even more daring. By the end of round two, Bracamontes was in control and it was rare when he didn’t land a solid punch. With both boxers bleeding from the nose in the final stanza, Bracamontes benefitted by getting inside on Vasquez which led to a domination of the punch count.

Just prior to his ring entrance for Bout #9, boxer Rodolfo Ortigoza of the Penacho Boxing Team is surrounded by his supporters. Bout #9 featured 10 year-old, Ruben Vasquez of Real Deal versus 11 year-old Rodolfo Ortigoza of Penacho. After Vasquez made an impressive ring entrance, Ortigoza, dressed in the typical dress of the Mexican Charros, blew him away. From the efforts that went into planning their entrances and subsequent limbering up prior to the opening bell, you knew these two youngsters came to put on a show and they did.

Since rounds one and two were so even, I’m sure everyone was hoping either boxer might come up with a strategy to break the tie in round three. Vasquez was that individual. After leading off with a furious barrage of punches, he then grabbed and held Ortigoza until he caught his breath. By landing the majority of his punches in this manner, the judges must have been forced to give him the nod.

Bout #10 featured 15 year-old Diego “the Elusive Cougar” Sotelo of Richard Steele’s Las Vegas Gym facing 14 year-old Jesus Gonzalez of the Real Deal in Hemet. Except for a slip in the first round, that was mistakenly ruled a knockdown, Gonzalez had no problem hunting down and destroying the Cougar. His single and sometimes double jabs befuddled Sotelo who had trouble getting in close. And when he did venture too close, Gonzalez made him pay with solid left hooks. Gonzalez scored his own knockdown late in the second round to insure the easy victory.

Bout #11 had most people flabbergasted. It featured 14 year-old Colby Skaug of Real Deal facing 13 year old Jose Galvez of MTC of San Bernardino. When Galvez and his boxing coach first looked across the ring and saw Skaug, they must have thought they had come out of the dressing room too early. Skaug, who recently turned 14, is this man-child who has matured very quickly. It’s possible he could end up being the same size as the Klitschko brothers. Who knows he may have grown another couple inches over the weekend.  After a very short time, Galvez’s corner threw in the towel.

After Bout #12 was reshuffled, the organizers went on to Bout #13 featuring 12 year-old Ray Gamez of Gamez Boxing, a boxer with above average hand-speed, facing 11 year-old Manuel Reyes of Escondido. Although Reyes came out firing at the start, all that changed when entering the second round. He still countered well, but appeared to be winded and slowed down enough to lose the second and third rounds.

Bout #14 featured 14 year-old Jamie Cruz of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista going up against 13 year-old Leo Ordonez of Porras Boxing. Ordonez got rocked early with solid blows to the head, and then rallied back. After Cruz was issued one standing eight count near the end of the first round, he was issued another in the second round and his nose started bleeding. Each time Cruz swung for the fences, Ordonez made him pay. Soon two of the ringside judges were calling out for the referee to either stop the bout or at least have the ring doctor look at Cruz. After the doctor’s examination, the stoppage was called.

Bout #15 featured 14 year-olds, Victor Hernandez of Escondido and Genaro Gamez of Gamez Boxing in the fiercest bout of the day. After each boxer got hit flush, there were two more bloody noses to contend with and two additional stoppages were called to wipe away the blood. They weren’t throwing punches to score points; they were throwing punches to put their opponent on his back. After Gamez was knocked off his feet, his corner threw in the towel. The way the boxers were punishing each other, it didn’t make sense for them to continue. Gamez could have been even or even slightly ahead at that juncture, but it didn’t matter.

Bout #16 featured Anthony Porter from Escondido, a 24 year-old, 168 pound super-middleweight with a Clark Gable moustache, going up against the much taller, 25 year-old Rigoberto Venegas, a 176 pound Cruiserweight giant from Pride & Glory. Porter’s success came when he jettisoned in and out to land the more telling blows against the much taller standup boxer. After catching Venegas with a big left hook, the referee actually issued a standing eight count to the big guy.

When the bell sounded for round three, Venegas came out of the box as if he had just been given a magic elixir. Someone remarked, ‘Wow, imagine that, big guys throwing hands like the little guys.” Venegas was more aggressive, his jab had snap to it and he started throwing successful combinations. However, Porter still found success with his left hook and as it turns out Venegas’ rally came far too late.

In the final bout, Bout #17, 15 year-olds, David Gonzalez of Temecula faced Jose Baldera of Santa Maria. After the back and forth struggles of the first two rounds, the third round was fought quite differently. They both threw everything they had at each other and then held; another wild and crazy flurry and then they held again. More than likely Gonzalez got the nod after his successful countering on the inside. Several people, including myself, were surprised by the outcome.
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