Results from the 2018 Battle of the Badges held on the USS Midway

A Who’s Who of boxers, trainers, politicos, ex-Military, etc. were on hand to show their support for this year’s National City CYAC fundraiser, the 2018 Battle of the Badges. Among the guests present were a two-time Light Middleweight World Champ, ex-Olympian Fernando Vargas plus interim IBF World Super Middleweight Title holder Jose Uzcategui. With Vargas’ IBF title being won in 1998, he became the youngest boxer in history to win a light middleweight world title and went on to hold the IBF title from 1998 to 2000 and the WBA title from 2001 to 2002.

Saturday afternoon, June 16, 2018, imagine you’re in the shoes of Clement Casillas, the coordinator of this year’s Battle of the Badges show. On board the floating fortress, the U. S. S. Midway Naval Air Carrier, he’s virtually walking around in circles nervously contemplating his limited options. Initially, he looks off in the far distance hoping to see a break in the clouds. Then, he looks up at the same foreboding clouds that appear to be stuffed with moisture and threatening to let loose with a downpour, a scenario that would surely threaten the success of the charity’s marquis fundraiser.


Early morning, there was a long, gloomy stretch when the clouds were actually spitting rain. Plus, it was on the chilly side, 62 degrees. Late afternoon, the clouds above were still holding back the potential downpour. Early evening, even after setting aside most negative thoughts, he was still conscious of some negative possibilities. Without the proper raingear surely the majority of the show’s patrons would up and leave. In the back of his racing mind, he thinks, ‘this is why so many event organizers shy away from holding an event outdoors, under the stars. In any event, the cards had already been dealt and the show must go on.’ Just minutes left till showtime, there was his ringside announcer climbing through the ropes, followed by the combatants and their entourage. Clear or not, wet or dry, it’s Showtime! Where’s my bout sheet?

2018 Battle of the Badges Opening Bout

At the conclusion of Bout #1, we see USA Amateur Boxing referee Rick Ley grabbing a hold of the excitable Tony “Mexicanito” Bernal’s left arm before the customary raising of the winner’s arm. In this match, Bernal won a close one over tough guy Whedy “Gunner” Ramila (r) of the U. S. Navy who Bernal managed to knock off his feet in round one. Without that early knockdown, this match was almost too close to call. After taking a look at Bernal’s support group, Team Bernal (right), was it any wonder that Bernal came out on top?

Bout #2: Using his height and reach advantage, Maxwell “The Chicago Type Writer” Reise (l) of the U.S. Marine Corps, stayed just out of Harm’s Way of the shorter Joey “Batman” Tapia to pepper his opponent with crisp shots to the head and gain the easy victory. Midway through the bout, a female in the audience took offense when Reise was peppering her favorite boxer and spontaneously yelled out, “Hey! Hey, HEY!” Like that fan, the crowd couldn’t help themselves and became animated as well – chuckling aloud.

Bout #3 had David “The California Kid” Hunt (red trunks) from the San Diego County Fire Department taking on Nicholas “Relentless” Garzon of the United States Navy (blue trunks). In another, very competitive match, it was Hunt eking out the extremely close victory. On hand to present the championship belt was the newly elected District Attorney Summer Stephan (r). When talking about big winners – after all the precincts had reported in the recent June election, this popularity plus candidate had received 63.7% of the vote.

At the conclusion of Bout #4, we see referee Hondo Fontane raising the arm of the victorious Shane “The Hunter” Landry of the Imperial Beach Lifeguard Agency who’s offense and defense managed to frustrate the relentless Brian “The Megaton” Petrella of the Pasadena Police Department.

Bout #5 With Dad’s boxing event being deemed far more important than any Quinceanera, Fernando “Sledge Hammer” Arechiga’s doting daughter made sure to attend his performance. The tears came to a lot of eyes as she and well known Boxing Promoter Bobby DiPhilippis made their way up to the ring for the presentation of the winning belt. The show’s promoter made sure Arechiga’s daughter received a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Bout #6: Not to put down the adult performances, but these two youngsters, Diego “El Inocente” Saucedo from the National City CYAC (arm being raised in victory by referee Andrew Moreno) and Anthony Cabral of Temecula Boxing proved to be extremely well schooled and exceptionally clever in their tactics – especially on the offensive side. In Round three, with Cabral being battered from all sides, most observers were expecting an 8-count to be issued. This is when Cabral showed his toughness and battled right up until the final bell.

Without a doubt, Bout #6 was one of the top bouts of the show and at its conclusion we see young Anthony Cabral (l) demonstrating good sportsmanship by clapping for his victorious opponent Diego “El Inocente” Saucedo.

During intermission, it was like one of those High School Reunions where everybody got up and out of their seats to mingle.

One of the many sponsors, the former owner of the Ocean Beach Athletic Club at 5032 Niagara Ave., Ocean Beach, San Diego, Calif. 92107, Luis Rodriguez was in attendance. This international playboy had invited some of his lady friends to attend. Knowing Rodriguez, these young ladies must be from some top modeling agency in Los Angeles.

Bout #7 featured a war of two punch combinations between two USA Amateur Boxing Champions, Jabin Chollet (left) from The Arena Gym in Point Loma and Jorge “El Sicario” Chavez from the National City CYAC. On this night, Chollet, hampered by his loose headgear, could not keep up with Chavez’s more accurate inside game which proved unbeatable.

In Bout #8, it was Ashley “The Flash” Bermudez (right) from the Law Offices of Sergio Feria, a Personal Injury Lawyer, defeating Annamarie “Manila Thunder” Francisco (left) from the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.

After doing such a magnificent job in the ring and forcing the ref, Rick Ley, to stop the bout early after three unanswered blows to Annamarie “Manila Thunder” Francisco’s head,  Ashley Bermudez had a more difficult time with the presentation of the runner-up medal.

In Bout #9 between Andrew “The Heavy Hitter” Ashford of the Otay Mesa Detention Center (right) and Christopher “El Guillen” Guillen from the County of San Diego Probation Department (left), we saw Ashford connecting on more of his power shots in round one. In round two, back came Guillen to take over and now he had Ashford’s nose bleeding. Between rounds, you could see both men were looking across at their opponent as if to say, “What is it going to take, to stop this guy?” In the final round, after a towel was employed to wipe away the blood, Ashford courageously fought on to break the tie.

In Bout #10, it was Jose Luis “American Guerrero” Lopez (r) of the United States Marine Corps battling Albert “Ybar” Ybarra (l) of the U. S. Border Patrol. After making some headway in round one, Lopez maintained his lead throughout round two until referee Hondo Fontane finally stopped the bout to issue Ybarra a standing 8-count. Then, after unloading these two big overhand rights, Lopez had virtually cemented his victory.

Bout #11 was a one of a kind thriller between two scrapers throwing these big bombs. You had Drue “The Technician” Ferguson, a U. S. Navy Veteran taking on Raymond “Ray Dog” Gomez from the U. S. Border Patrol. After two rounds, Gomez was well behind and had been issued one 8-count, which could have easily been three 8-counts after taking so many blows to the head. So, off they went into the final round with Gomez needing to put Ferguson on his back. Instead of the comeback, Ferguson ended Gomez night scoring another 8-count.

After the dust had settled it was Drue “The Technician” Ferguson (r) who had wowed the officials and earned himself the TKO victory over the never say quit Raymond Gomez.

The final bout of the show, Bout #12, began with these two powerful, hard-charging bulls, Maurice “K-Mo” Turman of the San Diego Police Department (blue corner) and Julio “Bubulbu” Arias (red corner) from the County of San Diego Probation Department making their Amateur boxing debuts. Within seconds both men were banging away at each other. From all appearances, it looked like someone was going to get hurt. With Turman landing the cleaner shots, it appeared he had taken both rounds one and two. The icing on the cake came in round three after the “Bubulubu” spokesperson was issued a standing 8-count.

At the conclusion of Bout #12, we see referee Rick Ley raising the arm of the victorious and powerful Maurice “K-Mo” Turman.

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