2017 USA Boxing Western Regionals conclude

San Diego boxing trainer Joe Vargas from The Arena (second from the left) and boxers from his gym, (l to r) Anthony Franco, Adan Palma and Lazaro Lorenzana pose for a photo in front of the Albuquerque Convention Center, the site of this year’s USA Amateur Boxing’s Western Regionals Tournament.

Monday at noon, this year’s USA Amateur Boxing’s Western Regional tournament got off and running at the Albuquerque Convention Center at 401 2nd Street, N.W. Albuquerque, New Mexico, not far from the former home of boxing great Johnny Tapia, the five time world champion. Prior to the first bout, a Press Conference was held to inform the locals. In attendance were local boxing greats like Daniel Romero Jr., the former USA National Champion and three time World Champion, Marcus Ewing a current National Champion, Jesse Valdez, the 1972 National Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist, plus a gentleman who needed no introduction, Cam F. Awesome a six time National Champion. Awesome’s venturing into motivational speaking and stand-up comedy has been well-documented.


Boxing trainer Joe Vargas from The Arena was in town and he made certain that his athletes visited the Johnny Tapia memorial in Albuquerque.

Over his career, Albuquerque’s beloved Johnny Tapia (59-5-2, 30 KOs) had no less than 13 trainers. Even Freddy Roach gave it a shot. After each victory, this crowd pleaser would do these amazing back flips as part of his schtick.

Below is the USA Boxing schedule that we will be following right up till Sunday, March 26.

There were two surprises in the above grouping. The one that jumps out at you is the Jamil Cheatham of Las Vegas, Nevada losing to Ronny Edmonds from Nashville, Tenn. Also, Jorge Chavez, from the National City CYAC, lost a split decision in his opener to Nes jr. Tiburcio.

On Tuesday afternoon, March 21st, in Bout #14 in the intermediate 101 pound weight class, Diego Luna of San Diego faced Victor Ordonez from Newark, New Jersey. We are pleased to announce that Mr. Luna won a split decision victory and move up in the tournament standings. Next, a few more surprises, Jamil Cheatham’s brother, Akeem Cheatham also got knocked out of the tournament after losing to Steven Navarro of Los Angeles. Three bouts later it was Emiliano Vargas of Las Vegas getting stopped by Leonardo Rubalcava.

As they say, revenge is sweet. Back on Saturday, March 4th, these same two youngsters were battling toe to toe here in San Diego at The Arena gym and Vargas, the son of boxing great Fernando Vargas, the former WBA & IBF World Light Middleweight Champ, won that very, very close match.

In Tuesday’s Bout #2, Ring #2, it was Alfred Vargas from The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. getting the TKO-second round victory over Daniel Luna of Victorville, Calif. in the Junior/106 lbs. weight category. On Thursday, Vargas came through again soundly defeating Anthony Cabanyog who hails from Phoenix, Arizona.

After successive victories, Alfred Vargas posed for a photo with his biggest supporters, his Mom, Dad and sister.

In Bout #9, we’re happy to report Mario Ramos from the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, Calif. won a unanimous decision victory over Oscar Perez from Houston, Texas in the 132 pound Youth Division. Ramos followed up the decision win with a third round TKO victory of Terrence Williams from New Port Richey, Florida on Thursday. In Tuesday’s 6 p.m. group, Lucio Hirales from Brawley lost a unanimous decision to Alexander Thiel in the Elite/152 lbs. weight category.

The victorious Mario Ramos from the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista sent his regards from Albuquerque.

In Bout#10Lazaro Lorenzana from Spring Valley, Calif. versus Emmanuel Rojas from Las Vegas, Nevada, Rojas won a unanimous decision in the Youth/141 lbs. division. In Bout #15, Tyler Herberger of San Diego’s Old School Boxing won a unanimous decision victory over the tough David Sample Jr. from Las Vegas, Nevada. The following day, Herberger was matched up with Brandon Cruz, who won his first bout over Pablo Meiger from Los Angeles, Calif. Since both of these young men are from the same LBC-44, they had fought each other previously. A short while ago, Herberger lost a close decision to Cruz at Cruz’s gym, the Bound Boxing Academy. This time around it was Herberger coming through with a split decision victory.

The Bound Boxing Academy of Chula Vista brought seven boxers to compete in this year’s Western Regionals. Congratulations go to Diego Luna, Andrea Medina and Julian Rojas who destroyed the competition in their weight class.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gracen Hoopli from the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista, Calif. lost a hard fought battle to Andre Flores from Ceres, Calif. in their 65 pound Pee Wee Championship bout.

(top) We see the handsome trophies handed out to the winners. (below, left) Gracen Hoopli with his proud father and (right) head coach Juan Medina Jr. poses for a photo with his son Juan Medina.

In Bout #11, Diego Luna, from the same Bound Boxing Academy, returned to the ring to win his second split decision victory. The victim this time was Dominick Vega from Coachella, Calif.

In Bout #3 on Wednesday, Adan Palma from San Diego, Calif. and training at The Arena in Point Loma, lost a unanimous decision to Maximus Castro from Phoenix, Arizona in the Junior/114 pound weight class.

Joe Vargas’ thoughts: “Yesterday we (The Arena Boxing Team) had a good but tough day. Alfred (Vargas) got the win but we also suffered one loss. It’s part of the growing pains in amateur boxing. We have three boxers going today, Anthony FrancoAdan “Palmita” Palma, plus our number one draft pick little Aaron Soriano (from Albuquerque).”

Latest update, Friday morning, March 24, 2017 

After the USA Amateur officials changed Anthony Franco’s last name, reported he had fought three opponents instead of two and changed where he lived, you got to be scratching your head. As we understand it, Franco is from The Arena Gym in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. and currently lives in Temecula. Here is what you would find on the USA Amateur Boxing website if you went looking for the results of his bouts. 

After Thursday’s bouts, there were 38 boxers with a secured spot in Saturday’s finals of the 2017 Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championships. Four champions had already been crowned in the bantam and intermediate divisions before the semifinals of the elite division. Another of the big surprises in this tournament was learning Marcus Ewing, the former National Champion, had lost a unanimous decision to Marcus Davidson in his opening match. On Thursday, Cam Awesome, the USA Olympian won a unanimous decision victory over Eric Briggs in his opening bout. In Gabriela Fundora’s opening bout in the junior female/119 lbs. category, she won a split decision victory over Sarah Garrison from Rock Springs, Wyoming. Fundora, who trains at the Coachella Boxing Club, competes locally in LBC44 shows. 

List of Boxers from LBC 44 CAL Border who fought plus the boxers of note from Thursday’s matches:

Thursday, March 24, 2017:

Elite/201+ lbs.: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas, decision winner over Eric Briggs, Fresno, Texas, 5-0 

Youth/132 lbs.: Mario Ramos, San Diego, Calif., winner by TKO over Terrence Williams, New Port Richey, Fla., TKO-3

Elite/132 lbs.: Tyler Herberger of Old School Boxing, San Diego, Calif., split decision victory over Brandon Cruz of the Bound Boxing Academy, Chula Vista, Calif.

Snapshots of the boxers representing LBC 44 CAL Border. (top down, l to r) Anthony Franco (l) with his opponent, Alfred Vargas (r) with his opponent, Gabriela Fundora (l) with her dad (r) and USA Amateur Boxing’s Executive Director Mike McAtee, then boxers Juan Medina and Julian “Mexican” Rojas with their coaches and finally Tyler Herberger (bottom right) from Old School Boxing in San Diego.

Also, on Thursday, in the Elite/152 lbs. category, it was Anthony Franco of Temecula, Calif. and training at The Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. earning a split decision victory over Joey Borrero, Las Vegas, Nev.

Junior/145 lbs.: Brendon Torres, Denver, Colo., earned a split decision victory over Angel Munoz of El Centro, Calif.

Junior/106 lbs.: Alfred Vargas from San Diego, who trains at The Arena in Point Loma earned a unanimous decision 5-0 over Anthony Cabanyog of Phoenix, Ariz.

At the close of this year’s USA Amateur Boxing Western Regional Tournament more than a few hung winners are shown but certainly the majority of them took part in this photo

Saturday, March 25 finals:

Junior/90 lbs: Ray Johnson, Whittier, Calif., dec. Izak Carlos, Olathe, Kans., split

Junior/95 lbs: Jose Gonzalez, Hillsboro, Oregon, split decision win over Juan Medina, Chula Vista, Calif.

Junior female/ 101 lbs: Jolene Bottini, Los Lunas, N.M., 5-0, unanimous decision win over Estrellita Iturrade, Los Lunas, N. M.

Junior/101 lbs: Esteban Rojas, San Diego, Calif., split decision win over James Avila, Colorado Springs, Col.

Junior/106 lbs: Braden Reed, Dyersburg, Tenn., 5-0, unanimous decision win over Alfred Vargas, San Diego.

Junior/110 lbs: Omar Estrada, Hillsboro, Oregon, 5-0, unanimous decision victory over Ricardo Garcia, Adelanto, Calif.

Junior/114 lbs: Garrett Rice, Flint, Mich., decision victory over German Lopez, Arlington, Texas

Junior female/119 lbs: Gabriela Fundora, Coachella, Calif. unanimous decision victory over Alexandra Fernandez, Splendora, Texas.

Junior/ 125 lbs: Luis Joe Ybarra, Colorado Springs, Colo. unanimous decision victory over Ram Gandara, Houston, Texas

Junior/132 lbs: Aaron Aponte, Hialeah, Fla., unanimous decision win over Sergio Martinez, Mills, Wyoming.

Junior/138 lbs: Elija Martinez, Kirtland, N. M., won by way of a third round TKO over Josue Reyes, Albuquerque, N.M.

Junior/145 lbs: Oscar Cordero, El Monte, Calif., split decision victory over Brendon Torres, Denver, Colo.

Youth/108 lbs: Issac Martinez, Conroe, Texas, 5-0 decision win over Aaron Lopez, Land O Lakes, Fla.

Youth/114 lbs: Jorge Carlos, Olathe, Kansas, split decision victory over Sean Garcia, Victorville, Calif.

Youth/123 lbs: Santos Ortega, La Quinta, Calif., 5-0 unanimous decision victory over Ronnell Johnson, Columbus, Ohio

Youth female/125 lbs: Destiny Jasson, Dallas, Texas, won a first round TKO victory over Aiyonan Williams, Kirtland, N.M.

Youth female/132 lbs: Andrea Medina, Chula Vista, Calif., 5-0 unanimous decision win over Jessica Juarez, San Diego, Calif.

Imagine how tough this must have been. Photo left shows (l to r) Jessica Juarez and Andrea Medina, close friends. They ended up having to box each other in the finals on Saturday. (right) Andrea Medina, the eventual winner is shown with her father and coach, Juan Medina, Jr.

Youth/132 lbs: Christopher Zavala, Bellflower, Calif., 5-0 decision victory over Mario Ramos, San Diego, Calif.

Youth/141 lbs: Bre’yon Gorham, Houston, Texas, split decision victory over Emmanuel Rojas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Youth female/152 lbs: Sharahaya Morue, Albuquerque, N.M. won by a first round TKO of Nayrija Yellowman, Shiprock, N. M.

Youth/152 lbs: Israel Alvarez, Spokane, Wash. won split decision victory over Alex Donis, Cypress, Texas.

Youth/165 lbs: David Kaminsky, Reseda, Calif., won by disqualification (DQ2) over Derrick Coleman, Detroit, Mich.

Youth/ 201 lbs: Daniel Gates, Dyersburg, Tenn. won a unanimous decision victory over Angel Young, Gilbert, Ariz.

Youth/201+ lbs: Drake Banks, Shawnee, Kansas won a split decision victory over Ethan Hailey, Stark City, Mo.

Elite female/106 lbs: Mia Valadez, Los Angeles, Calif., split decision victory over Kayla Ann Carvaalho, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Elite female/112 lbs: Kristyn Juarez, Los Angeles, Calif. won by way of a 3rd round TKO over Monica Lazadale, Kearns, Utah.

Elite/114 lbs: John Atiles, Cypress, Texas, won by unanimous decision over Michael Angeletti, Spring, Texas.

Elite/123 lbs: Dominique Crowder, New York, N. Y.won by unanimous decision over Isaac Martinez, Las Vegas, Nev.

Elite/132 lbs: Jemiah Richards, Kountze, Texas, 5-0 unanimous decision over Tyler Herberger, San Diego, Calif.

Elite female/141 lbs: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif. won by a unanimous decision over Annalicia Sustaita, Houston, Texas

Elite/141 lbs: Israel Rodriguez, Humble, Texas won by a unanimous decision over Charlie Sheehy, Brisbane, Calif.

Elite female/152 lbs: Dominique Barrios, Racine, Wisc., won by way of a TKO in round two over Rachel Etcitty, Round Rock, Ariz.

Elite/152 lbs: Marcus Davidson, Kansas City, Kans., split decision victory over Anthony Franco, Temecula, Calif.

Elite/165 lbs: Austin Williams, Fresno, Texas, won by virtue of a walkover over Joeshon James, Dixon, Calif.

Elite/178 lbs: Kiante Irving, Ambridge, Penna. won by way of a first round TKO of Suray Mahmutovic, Vallejo, Calif.

Elite/201 lbs: Adrian Tillman, Colorado Springs, Colorado won by a unanimous decision over Mario Hernandez, Sparks, Nev.

Elite/201+ lbs: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas won with by virtue of a second round TKO of Michael Graves, Las Vegas, Nev.

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