Victory Outreach Church Boxing Show results

It was a big day in the Ballo household, 9 year-old Julius (bottom row, second from the left) won his USA Amateur boxing debut against Cesar Hernandez at the 3rd Annual Victory Outreach Boxing Show held Saturday, May 26. Photo: J. Wyatt

On Saturday, the Victory Outreach Church on National Avenue in the Southcrest section of San Diego presented their third annual boxing show. As in the past, the show was top notch with all the glitz you’re used to seeing on one of those ESPN, HBO or Showtime broadcasts. They even solicited the help of one of the top professional announcers, Salvador Arellano, to be the show’s master of ceremonies.


After an opening invocation by pastor Al Valdez, two young ladies from the congregation sang a most impressive version of the National Anthem.

Julius Ballo (R) has his arm rasied by referee Hondo Fontan after the show’s emcee Sal Arellano (rear) announced his victory over Cesar Hernandez (L) in Bout #1.

Bout #1 featured 10 year-old Cesar Hernandez of Rhino’s Boxing Club in Vista, CA going up against 9 year-old Julius Ballo of the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in El Cajon, the youngest member of the Berlin Kerny Boxing Team which is affectionately known as “The Bomber Squad.”

Ballo took round one with his in your face straight shots to Hernandez’s head. Even though Hernandez did noticeably better in round two, he was still no match for the windmill-like lefts and right crosses that Ballo delivered, the majority came off counters.

Things heated up in Round three and after Ballo landed three hard blows to Hernandez’s head, the referee issued Hernandez an eight count. For the remainder of the round, Ballo had Hernandez backing up in survival mode.

Trophies, medals and belts befitting a true champion were presented.

Jacob Sanchez (R) has his arm raised by referee Hondo Fontan after it was announced he had defeated Jose Gomez (L) in Bout #2. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 featured two veterans, 24 year-old Jose Gomez of 1 on 1 Fight Company in El Cajon, CA going up against 26 year-old Jacob Sanchez of Rhino Boxing in Vista.

In Round one, Gomez was the masterful sharpshooter from the outside and circled about his opponent landing the strong jab and then an occasional combination.

Sanchez turned the tide in Round two by working over Gomez’s midsection and occasionally landing a shot to the head after Gomez’s hands started coming down.

This left Round three to decide the match. It was a barn-burner as the two gents went full bore; both landed shots to the head that would normally put an opponent on his back. Then in the final 15 seconds of the round, Sanchez landed six solid shots to Gomez’s head. After checking with the scores, I discovered those six blows put Sanchez over the top to earn the Mixed Decision victory.

At the conclusion of Bout 3, Giovanni Avila (L) and Xavion Douglas (R) posed for a photo with referee Hondo Fontan. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Giovanni Avila (L) reaches for the rafters after getting the win over Xavion Douglas (R).

Bout #3 had 10 year-old Giovanni Avila of MTC in San Bernardino, CA going up against 9 year-old Xavion Douglas of Rhino’s Boxing in Vista, CA.

Early on, Avila employed the strategy of jettisoning in and out to land his blows to Douglas’ head. He soon discovered his height and reach advantage made him impregnable.

By round three, Avila had switched strategies and started to wait and counter. After the shorter armed Douglas threw a punch back came Avila with a right cross or the big overhand right.

Crystal Quinonez (L) has her arm raised by referee Dana Kaplan after defeating Ruth Allen (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

After her win, Crystal Quinonez posed for a photo with her fondest supporters. Photo: J Wyatt

Bout #4 featured 14 year-old Crystal Quinonez of MTC in San Bernardino, CA going up against 15 year-old Ruth Allen of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

In round one, the pace was incredible. You don’t usually see the young ladies throwing such hard haymakers. Something had to give, and it soon became clear that Allen was getting the worst of their exchanges. One 8-count followed another.

In Round two, it was more of the same and Quinonez once again had Allen backing up. Then, still early in the round, Quinones landed four additional shots to the head and the referee decided Allen had enough.

In Bout #5, it was Nicholas Carrico (L) defeating Ray Cota (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

After his fine performance, Nicholas Carrico was congratulated by his coaches.

After his match with Nicholas Carrico, Ray Cota poses for a photo with his father (C) and coach (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #5 featured 18 year-olds, Nicholas Carrico of Old School Boxing in San Diego’s College Area going up against Ray Cota of La Habra Boxing Club, La Habra, CA.

Cota, the shorter of the two, charged like a bull at Carrico to insure the two would be fighting at close quarters and Carrico acquiesced.

Unfortunately for Cota, this strategy benefitted Carrico who had the quicker hands and threw the more accurate blows. It appeared Carrico had taken every round and especially Round three, after the referee penalized Cota for a low blow.

Referee Dana Kaplan raises the arm of Oscar Hernandez (R) after it was announced he had defeated Teodoro Alonso (L) in Bout #6. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 featured 13 year-old Teodoro Alonso of the Adrenaline Boxing Club in San Bernardino, CA going up against 14 year-old Oscar Hernandez of the of Rhino’s Boxing in Vista, CA.

In this one, fury reigned. The exchanges became so hotly contested, I’m certain everyone present was on the edge of their seat expecting to see a knockout. After the brutal first round ended the boxers touched gloves as they headed back to their corners. The gesture demonstrated the tremendous respect boxers have for one another when they give 100 percent.

By Round two, you could see Hernandez was finishing his combinations better and these combinations had Alonso’ head snapping back. Still, Alonso was as persistent as a house fly and made it a contest to the very end.

In third round action from Bout #7, Salvador Alvarez (R) is shown getting hit by Taif Harris.

At the conclusion of Bout #7, Salvador Alvarez (L) was declared the winner over the very tough Taif Harris (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #7 featured middleweights, 19 year-old Salvador Alvarez of Barrio Station, San Diego, CA going up against 29 year-old Taif Harris of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

Once again, this was a real scrap. Both boxers had KO written right there on their gloves. In the latter stages of round one, Alvarez caught Harris with two solid blows that had him fall back into the ropes. That display of power most likely gave him the nod in Round one.

Round two was more difficult to score as Harris was right back in Alvarez’s grill and the exchanges were quite even. Who can say for sure, but it looked like this round was destined to go in the Harris column.

That left the all important third and final round to decide the match. For whatever reason, it appeared Alvarez caught a second wind and when he did, his blows started to land on target, on the chin, on the side of the head and to the midsection. As a result Harris was issued two eight-counts in that final round, enough to insure victory.

After the announcement came that he had defeated Alexander Calayo (R), Gabriel Cortez’s arms reached skyward. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 featured 11 year-old Gabriel Cortez of Barrio Station going up against 12 year-old Alexander Calayo of the USIAA.

There wasn’t much defense in this one, only continuous in your face punching. As it turns out, Cortez was the busier of the two and the boxer who landed more of the telling blows.

During intermission, the Victory Outreach Dancers performed one of their routines and after their performance Pastor Al Valdez (front) and Sal Arellano (Rear) posed for a photo with the agile young ladies, real show stoppers. Photo: Jim Wyatt

At intermission, the members of the Victory Outreach Dance Team entered the ring and put on quite a show.

At the conclusion of Bout #9, Eddie Lozano (R) awaits the judges’ decision along with one of his coaches. To his left is Junebug Mendivil, the show’s organizer. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After Sal Arellano (rear) announced the judges’ decision for Bout #9, there were contrasting expressions on the boxers’ faces. Eddie Lozano (R) looks mildly pleased to the point of utter – ho hum, while Alfred Vargas (L) is surely disappointed. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 featured 11 year-olds Alfred Vargas of Barrio Station going up against Eddie Lozano of Golden Hands Boxing in Chula Vista, CA.

While Vargas relied more on his wide looping punches and then constantly clinching, Lozano showed better boxing skills by countering well, using his jab and landing the straight one, two combinations to rack up the points.

At first sight, you would think David Rodriquez (R) was going to have a difficult time with the bigger, stronger David Davila but that didn’t hold true. “The Average Man” as he is known, simply outboxed his opponent. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After slipping under a left hook, David Rodriquez (L) lands his own left, flush on the chin of David Davila (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Boxing lesson ends as referee Hondo Fontan calls for the early stoppage in Round #3.

Bout #10 winner David “The Average Man” Rodriquez (L) has his arm raised by referee Hondo Fontan after his TKO victory over David Davila (R). Photo Jim Wyatt

Bout #10 featured two heavyweights, 28 year-old David Rodriguez, a San Diego Police Officer and three time Battle of the Badges Champion, who trains at the House of Boxing Gym on Reo Drive in San Diego going up against a 32 year-old U. S. Marine by the name of David Davila of San Marcos, Texas, now stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA.

On first appearance, you would think Rodriguez was in big trouble. Davila not only outweighed him, but he had the build of a NFL middle-linebacker. Unfortunately for Davila, being muscle bound doesn’t translate into being a good boxer. He managed to go hard for the first two and a half minutes, and then his blistering pace slowed considerably. Rodriguez weathered that opening volley and near the end of the round, you could see his punches  were starting to have an affect on the big guy.

By the second round, the body shots and blows to the head had Davila in trouble and the referee wisely stopped the bout twice to issue 8-counts.

Unmitigated courage had Davila answering the bell for round three. Referee Hondo Fontan, recognizing the difference in skill levels (Davila had been training for just four months) and the fact Rodriguez is so much more advanced, was quick to call for a halt to the bout at the very first sign of difficulty.

At the conclusion of Bout #11, referee Hondo Fontan raises the arms of both Arnulfo Ramirez (L) and Louis Pfeifer (R), the eventual winner, to acknowledge their outstanding effort.

Bout #11 featured 14 year-olds, Arnulfo Ramirez of Rhino Boxing in Vista going up against Louis Pfeifer of the Gutierrez Boxing Club in South San Diego.

Only last week, Pfeifer was competing in the 2012 Adidas National Challenge Tournament in Oxnard, CA. The PAL tournament had over 400 boxers competing from May 18 through May 20th. Some boxers came from as far east as New York and New Jersey. They even had one boxer from Alaska. In the finals on Sunday, Pfeifer defeated Saul Mendoza of Ten Count Boxing to win the 119 pound, 13/14 year-old novice class.

Coming off that victory, Pfeifer was pumped and regardless of Ramirez’s strong showing in round one, nothing could derail Pfeifer’s momentum. For all but eight to 10 seconds in that first round, Pfeifer was in complete control.

During that interval which I mentioned, Ramirez caught Pfiefer with two hard shots to the head as he was backing up. Pfeifer showed his resilience, and weathered that briefest of moments to end the round strong.

From that point on, Pfeifer was dominate. Note well, the Gutierrez camp has only been working with the young Mr. Pfeifer for four months. Great things are expected.

Hayato Yoshida (L) and Ivan Weston (R), the eventual winner, pose for a photo after their battle in Bout #12. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #12 featured 29 year-old Hayato Yoshida of the Art of Eight gym in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego going up against 26 year-old Ivan Weston of the Victory Outreach Boxing Academy. Both boxers are relatively new to San Diego, Yoshida is visiting from Japan and Weston is from St. Louis, Missouri. Their similarities end there.

Yoshida, a true sports enthusiast, is a complete novice who began to train about four months ago. Weston, on the other hand, looks to be a naturally gifted athlete and boxer. What the patrons saw on Saturday was a brutal beating. After being checked twice by the fight doctor, once at the finish of Round one and again at the end of Round three, it was determined that Yoshida was fine. How he lasted the full three rounds is simply amazing. More than once, his legs became wobbly. Nonetheless, he showed a tremendous amount of heart.

At the end of their clash, Yoshida, in a very positive mood, told me he would be back and I would see much improvement. This was just his first taste of what it’s like in competition.

On Sunday, I learned that Yoshida’s opponent had a ton more experience both Amateur and through multiple sparring sessions with local professionals. After competing in several USA Amateur Boxing shows and also a few MMA competitions here in San Diego and in his home state of Missouri, we realize why there was such a disparity in the boxers’ skill levels. 

So, whereas David Davila, the Marine from Camp Pendleton, was forewarned of the background and accomplishments  of David Rodriquez, his opponent in Bout #10, Yoshida, as green as you get, a novice, was basically blindsided by the more gifted and much better prepared Weston who will likely turn pro soon. 

At the conclusion of Bout #13, referee Dana Kaplan raises the arm of Jovanny Contreras (L) who outpointed Nicholas Pfeifer (R) to gain the victory. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #13 featured 13 year-old Jovanny Contreras of Barrio Station going up against 12 year-old Nicholas Pfeifer of the Gutierrez Gym.

Unlike his older brother, Louis, Nicholas Pfeifer had a much more difficult time when facing Contreras who has a granite chin and a reputation of going toe to toe with anyone.

After the all or nothing opening salvos, it was clear Contreras’ punches were more accurate and had more power behind them. An eight count followed and then came an actual knockdown to leave no doubt.

After becoming the victim of a Brian Fox knockout in Bout #14, Terrence Edwards (sitting) gets examined by the fight doctor as his support group looks on.

After his knockout victory over Terrence Edwards (R), Brian Fox (L) has his arm raised by referee Will White. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #14 featured two, 29 year-old veterans, Brian Fox of Rhino’s Boxing and Terrence Edwards a U. S. Navy sailor stationed in San Diego and training at Old School Boxing in the SDSU College neighborhood.

At the outset, it appeared their styles clashed and this might be an awkwardly fought bout. Then, out of the blue, Fox started catching Edwards with some clean shots to the head. Then came the dreaded overhand right that caught Edwards flush on the chin. After his knees buckled, down he went in the neutral corner.

More angry with himself for being caught by this sucker punch, what he considered a flash knockdown, Edwards walked ever so gingerly back to his corner after the referee called for the stoppage.

Jehmon Norris has his arm raised by referee Will White after he defeated Fernando Munoz (R) in Bout #15. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After their bout, Jehmon Norris (L) and Fernando Munoz (R) posed for photos.

Jehman Norris’ coach, Vernon Lee of City Boxing in San Diego’s downtown was beaming with pride after his protege won. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #15 featured 14 year-old Jehmon Norris of City Boxing, Downtown San Diego, going up against 15 year-old Fernando Munoz of the Community Youth Athletic Center in National City.

Back on February 18, 2012 the two fought a war at the Encinitas Fitness and Boxing Club in Encinitas, CA. On that day, Munoz was outpointing Norris, steadily outpointing Norris, right up until the closing seconds of round #3. Then it happened. Norris caught Munoz coming in and landed the knockout blow. You talk about an amazing comeback.

Now, he we are on Saturday with the rematch. This just might be the reason why the organizers scheduled this bout as their closing bout, their Main Event.

Round one was a bit of a mixed bag and you really couldn’t tell who held the upper hand. Then, in Round two, Norris demonstrated he had the quicker hands. He started landing much of his punches by countering off Munoz’s slower straight rights. In the end, Norris won this tactical battle and was well ahead on all three scorecards.

One of the three boxers chosen top performer of the day, Salvador Alvarez of Barrio Station receives his award from the show’s organizer, Junebug Mendivil.

The second of three boxers chosen top performer of the day, Brian Fox of Rhino’s Boxing receives his award. Photo: Jim Wyatt

The third of three boxers chosen best performer of the show, Ivan Weston, receives his trophy from the show’s organizer Junebug Mendivil.

Monse Mendoza (shown here) and Victoria Ramirez took on the responsibilities of Ring Card Girls for the event.


And so ends another outstanding USA Amateur Boxing show. Next up, we have the crew from Old School Boxing hosting a show Saturday, June 2, 2012. I strongly recommend you attend. These shows are a blast if you’re a boxing fan,


Father and son team from Rhino’s Boxing in Vista took home the coveted team trophy: Coach Bernie Nevarez (r), Coach Brian Nevarez (l). Photo: J. Wyatt

At the conclusion of the day’s festivities, those most responsible for the grand day posed for one last photo. Photo: Jim Wyatt

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