History was made over the weekend at the 82nd annual Golden Gloves State Boxing Tournament in Fort Worth by Mission’s Esmeralda Navarro.
Navarro became Texas’ first female boxer to win a Golden Gloves state championship and qualify for nationals, which are in May in Omaha, Nebraska.
Never before had females fought at the Fort Worth event.
The 2017 La Joya Juarez-Lincoln graduate defeated Destiny Jasso of Dallas on a three-round decision in Saturday’s 125-pound final of female fighters. It was Navarro’s third victory of the tournament.
Two other female boxers won titles in the 141- and 152-pound weight classes, but Navarro was the first to do it.
“It’s a big honor to actually win (it all at state) and represent the Valley,” said Navarro, who also received a sportsmanship award at the tournament. “I thank God, who is always there for me, and my family, my fans and my coaches.”
Two other boxers from the Valley came away with state titles over the weekend. They are Omar Juarez of Brownsville (141 pounds) and Miguel Rodriguez of Weslaco (201-plus pounds). Navarro and Rodriguez fight for Almighty Boxing Team of Mission, while Juarez fights for RGV Elite out of Brownsville. Juarez fought for the Austin team at the state tournament.
Also representing Almighty Boxing Team was Hector Ferreyro of Laredo (178 pounds). He fought for the RGV squad and won a state title.
Juarez is a veteran amateur boxer with multiple appearances and titles in national competition.
“I’m happy to represent Brownsville,” Juarez said. “I feel I fought with pride and I’m happy to be on the ‘Wall of Fame’ (for winning) at the Texas Golden Gloves building.”
Added Rudy Juarez, Omar’s father, “I’m very proud of my son. He’s very dedicated and he will keep working hard.”
Meanwhile, Navarro was asked what she felt was the difference in her matches at the state tournament.
“What helped me was hearing my mom’s voice in the crowd giving me encouragement,” said Esmeralda, whose mother is Elizabeth Navarro. “Her voice pushed me and made me want to do better.”
Navarro started boxing six years ago and has two younger sisters — Ruby, 14, and Diamond, 8 — who are also boxers, although Diamond is in training but not yet competing.
“My grandpa loved boxing and that’s what attracted me to it,” Navarro said. “I got into it to learn self defense and for the competition.”
Navarro and her Almighty Boxing Team teammates took a flight to New Mexico on Sunday to box in this week’s U.S. Western Elite Qualifier Tournament.
Robert Aguirre fought a heavier John Herrera to a unanimous draw in the 150-pound main event of Friday’s STFC 45 mixed martial arts cage fighting show at McAllen Convention Center.
In the co-main event matching 160-pounders, Eli Rodriguez improved to 5-0 with a second-round triumph via rolling knee bar against Eduardo Bustillos (5-4).
Weslaco bantamweight Brandon Lee “Heartbreaker” Figueroa (14-0, nine KOs) is scheduled to fight Giovanni Delgado (16-6, nine KOs) on the undercard of Saturday’s boxing show at San Antonio’s Freeman Coliseum. The headline fight matches Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) vs. Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs).