USA Boxing Show, Fallbrook, April 18, 2010

Jorge Porras of Porras Boxing poses for a photo with boxers Guadalupe Yanes (right) and Araceli Tinoco (left).

With so many people in town for the 24th Annual Avocado Festival, it was a given the show at the local boxing gym on North Main Avenue would be a huge success as well. The Avocado Festival is one of those unique fun-filled experiences that mere words can not describe. Suffice it to say, this small town USA community nestled in the rolling hills of North County was the place to be on Sunday, April 18th.

Bout #1 featured 9 year-olds Destiny Ruiz of Steel Boxing versus Heaven Garcia of Century Station Boxing Gym. It was quite an opening act for a boxing show that featured 32 boxers. Early in round one Ruiz used her jolting jab and combinations to keep Garcia at bay. As the round progressed and she found her range, Garcia managed to even things up. Though caught flush with two booming left hands in round two, Garcia never stopped advancing. With Garcia being the busier of the two boxers in the final round, she got the nod.

At first glance, Bout #2 appeared to be a mismatch. An undersized nine year-old by the name of Raymond Otanez (60.8 pounds) of Bell Gardens was slotted to face the more experienced Ruben Vasquez (65.4 pounds) of Real Deal in Hemet, Ca. who is not only a year older but much taller. To the amazement of everyone except for his coach and proud parents, the mighty mite was the aggressor throughout and even scored a first round knockdown.

Bout #3 featured 12 year-old Anthony Sanchez of Bell Gardens taking on 11 year-old Silvestre Valenzuela of Porras Boxing of Fallbrook. From the opening bell, the fearless combatants were never more than 12 inches apart as the gloves flew at a dizzying pace. It was Sanchez’s left hooks that turned the tide. Before long, the referee had to step in and issue Valenzuela a standing eight count. Soon after he stopped the bout altogether after seeing that Valenzuela’s nose was bloody.

Bout #4 was a very entertaining match between 15 year-old Omar Briseno of Bell Gardens and 14 year-old Estevan Vasquez of Real Deal. There were several momentum swings early until Briseno backed Vasquez up and sent him through the ropes. Fortunately, the ring announcer and fight doctor were there to prevent Vasquez from dropping to the floor. From that point on it was Briseno’s relentless pressure and combinations that insured victory.

Bout #5 was another most entertaining bout between 13 year-olds Jesus Gonzalez of Real Deal and Balfred Gallaro of the host gym. In round one with Gonzalez chasing, Gallaro did his best impression of Mohammad Ali when he got on his bicycle to evade Sonny Liston. When catching up with his elusive opponent, Gonzalez was sharp especially on the inside and threw short punches from all angles. After losing round two and being issued a standing eight count, Jorge Porras, Gallaro’s coach gave his boxer an earful. The pep talk must have made an impression because in round three it was Gallaro on the offensive and registering an eight count. Since I felt Gonzalez had won the first two rounds, this observer was amazed to learn the decision had gone to Gallaro.

Bout #6 featured 13 year-olds Eduardo Vasquez of Real Deal in Hemet, Ca. going up against Homer Palomino of the Gutierrez Gym of San Diego. As was expected these two veterans showed respect for one another and used the first round to measure their opponent. With Palomino being the more aggressive of the two and landing more punches, I’m sure he took round one. By round two, Palomino’s confidence had grown, and his superior footwork and sharper punching reigned supreme. Twice Palomino’s left hand caught Vasquez square as he was coming in. By round three there had been two stoppages, both to give the ring physician time to look at Vasquez’s bloody nose. The referee finally stopped the bout ruling a RSD.

Bout #7 featured 15 year-old lefty Abraham Zamora of the Coachella Valley Boxing Club going up against 14 year-old Daniel Garillo of Real Deal. From the opening bell Zamora came out with a cocky attitude and often dropped his hands down by his side. I suppose if you can get away with it, and don’t mind the repercussions from your corner, alienating a judge or two, the people in the crowd, why not?

On this particular Sunday, the Paulie Malignaggi imitator had the skills to back up his coolness. After measuring his opponent, he started leading with a snapping jab and following with lightning fast combinations. With Garillo’s nose bleeding and perhaps broken, the referee called for a stoppage.

Bout #8 featured 11 year-old Manuel Rodriguez of Coachella facing 12 year-old Jesus Balderas of the Penacho Boxing. Balderas used his height advantage and better boxing skills to out point the scrappy Rodriguez. In the final round after an eight count was issued to Rodriguez, the referee called for a stoppage.

Bout #9 featured 16 year-olds Edwin Monterroco of Indio versus Ivan Ordaz of Pacific Coast Boxing. This was one of those bouts where the judges had to decide whether to give the decision to the brawler who was less accurate but busier or give the decision to the boxer who landed the cleaner shots. Ordaz, who was completely spent at the end of the bout was awarded the decision.

Bout #10 featured 12 year-old Ramon Aguilar of Indio facing 11 year-old Adrian Hernandez of Pacific Coast Boxing. Early on both boxers showed a total disregard for their own safety as the fist flew. Hernandez’s pre-fight strategy: be more aggressive, stay in close, throw uppercuts and keep my jab in his face. That very strategy, won him the bout.

From out on the street Bout #11 must have sounded like a high school football rally as the two factions on either side of the room began chanting the name of their favorite boxer. The Real Deal boxing team of Hemet had lost every match (0-5 on the day) and were hoping 17 year-old Arek “the Russian” Granic of Real Deal could pull out a victory. Fat chance of that happening.  Their last boxer in the tournament was going up against the son of the gym’s owner, Jorge Porras and everyone knows how tough Jorge Porras Jr is. He rarely if ever loses. Granic gave it everything he had, but he was no match for Porras.

Bout #12 featured 11 year-old Michael Santiago of Riverside versus 10 year-old Eric Puente of Penacho. Rippley’s Believe or Not crew should have been on hand for this match. In all my days I have never seen two boxers throw as many punches. Since Puente’s accuracy was far superior, he won the decision.

Bout #13 featured 22 year-old Jesus Lopez of Pacific Coast Boxing in his debut versus 17 year-old Ethan Roeder of Riverside. The way the first round started it was clear somebody was going down for the count. After Roeder was knocked off his feet, the fight doctor was called in to look at his right eye. As a result the referee called the stoppage.

Bout #14 featured 14 year-old Daniel Morales of Gutierrez Boxing going up against 13 year-old Leo Ordonez of Porras Boxing in his debut. The two boxers may have gone toe to toe in the first round, but by the second round it was clear Ordonez had begun to take control and use his leverage to land the more powerful blows. After two straight eight counts were issued to Morales, the referee called an end to the bout.

Bout #15 featured 10 year-olds Lazaro Lorenzana, unattached, and Gerardo Gasparino of Porras Boxing. Round one had many furious exchanges. With Gasparino constantly pressing the attack, Lorenzana was at a distinct disadvantage since he was always throwing punches off his back foot. Both boxers gave a supreme effort in the final round with Gasparino being declared the winner.

Bout #16 was thought to be the featured bout of the tournament since it involved a rematch between 16 year-old Guadalupe Yanes of Maywood and 16 year-old Araceli Tinoco of Ramona. In an earlier match Yanes at 124 pounds knocked the lighter Tinoco out in the second round. Since that time, Tinoco went on to win several big tournaments to include the 2009 National Pal tournament in San Antonio.

In order to be ready for Yanes’ Sunday punch, Tinoco altered her training regime and even volunteered to come up in weight. However, gaining weight comes with a price.

From the opening bell, Tinoco, who had been considered more of a flashy stand-up boxer than a big time puncher, played right into the hands of Yanes’ strength, her in-fighting. In other words, Yanes was once again able to capitalize on her short rights and lefts and occasionally an uppercut to impress the judges who in the end awarded her the very close decision.

As far as the competition between gyms, Bell Gardens and Pacific Coast Boxing, faired best at 3-0, Penacho boxers went 2-0 and Porras Boxing, the host gym went 4-2. Real Deal of Hemet went 0-6; both Indio and Riverside went 0-2.

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