Rio Grande Valley fight fans were treated to some entertaining amateur bouts over the weekend at the inaugural RGV Gloves Tournament at the RGV Livestock Showgrounds in Mercedes.
The event, presented by the South Texas Amateur Boxing Association, featured 18 scheduled fights on Saturday and 18 more scheduled bouts on Sunday. There were one or two walk-overs.
Amateur boxers ages 8-26 participated. The majority of fighters were from boxing clubs in the Valley. There also were competitors from Houston, San Antonio, Laredo and Corpus Christi.
Among the winners Sunday were Eliazar “Eli” Quiros of Harlingen, Alexis Celis of San Benito and Jorge Martinez of Mission.
Quiros defeated Juan Mayorga on a three-round decision as did Celis, who prevailed against Simon Santiago. Martinez won against Ricardo Lerma on a second-round technical knockout.
Just like all the other winners Saturday and Sunday, Celis, Quiros and Martinez each received a trophy for his standout efforts.
““I can’t say it was an easy fight (against Santiago) because not all fights are easy, but I’ve been working out hard every day and being trained by a great coach (Alfredo Avila at Community Boxing Gym in Brownsville) and I have great sponsors behind me in everything I do,” said Celis, a 2014 San Benito graduate who is currently a sophomore at UTRGV. “Whether the fight is difficult or not, I’m proud to get in the ring with anyone and just try to show what I can do as I learn and progress in this (boxing) career.
““Even though I’m from San Benito, I started training two years ago (in Brownsville) at the Community Boxing Gym and I’ve continued there with my coach, Mr. Avila,” added Celis, whose matchup Sunday came at 178 pounds. “I did lose my first fight, so coming back from that and winning in my second fight in a tournament like this one means a lot. It shows I’m progressing each time I get in the ring. I hope to get better and better.”
Quiros, a sophomore at Harlingen High, was equally as pleased with his performance in a matchup of 135-pounders.
““I guess you could say it was out of the box — a good experience,” said Quiros, who trains at De La Rosa Gym in Harlingen. “I thought I fought a good fight. The guy I faced was throwing some fast punches and I just stepped in (and fought back).”
Some fighters weren’t fortunate enough to be paired with an opponent in the tournament. One of them was Fabian Diaz of Diaz Boxing Club in Mission. Diaz was a gold medal winner at the 2016 Junior Olympics and is ranked No. 1 in his weight division in the country.
Still, although Diaz didn’t fight, he could take some consolation from the fact that his teammate and sparring partner, Jorge Martinez of Mission, who also fights out of Diaz Boxing Club, won twice by TKO in the 103-pound weight class during the weekend action.
““It’s hard (to fight in a tournament like this),” said Martinez, an eighth-grader at Trevino Middle School in Mission. “You have to stay focused. To win makes me feel more confident as a boxer, and to see all the people here (cheering) makes me smile. I’ve been boxing and training hard since I was little, so I’m happy to win here.”
There will be additional major amateur boxing events in the Valley coming up in April and May.
For more information about STABA, call (740) 352-7298.
The Recon Jiu Jitsu Championships are scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds in Mercedes. For more information, contact Sarge at (956) 536-5287.
Weslaco super bantamweight Brandon Lee Figueroa (10-0, eight KOs) is scheduled to fight Feb. 21 in Houston against Raul Chirino (10-4, five KOs) of Florida. The bout is expected to be shown on Fox Sports Southwest.
Extreme Fight Night combining pro boxing and mixed martial arts matches is scheduled at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Golazo Soccer in Pharr. Among the fighters on the show are Raphael Murphy, Luis Castro, Pablo Ramirez, Josette Rodriguez, Roel Moreno Jr., Genaro de la Paz, Alexis Nino, Fernando Ramirez and Sonny Aguirre. The show is being presented by Texas Rage and South Texas Fighting Academy. For ticket information, call (956) 456-5786 or (956) 460-7808.