Tough Man tourney local challenge

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Six heavyweights and eight middleweights, 18 years old and older – of varied skill levels, mixed it up Saturday evening in 20 three matches at the Boot Camp Boxing Gym Tough Man Tournament. Any lack of skill on the part of some of the entries was balanced by competitive aggression. The fans’ enthusiasm showed they loved it.

Those contenders over 180 pounds fell into the heavyweight class and those weighing less than 180 pounds were middleweights. Opponents were determined by drawing names out of a hat then fighters were assigned their respective places on the brackets.

Obvious weight advantages often became non-issues once the fighting began. But, conditioning was very much a factor and matches were won or lost by those who could endure the pain of exhaustion through three one-minute rounds. Most fighters fought with an open throttle pace from start to finish. No rope-a-dope here, the young men competing were totally engaged fighting as if every round was the last moments of the last round.

The matches did not adhere to the formal rules of boxing. Concern for the boxers’ welfare appeared to take priority. The referee might pause a fight if one of the fighters was being overwhelmed and pummeled to give him a chance to decide if he wanted to go on with the fight or not.

Jesus Lorenzo Baeza won the championship match in the heavyweight bracket and Kenneth Alex Malone won the middleweight division. Baeza said he got involved because some of his friends were involved.

“I started training to help them train,” Baeza said. “My cardio is good so I wanted to improve it. Last year I got second when I trained for about a month or so but I put a little more work in it this year.”

David Castillo is primarily responsible for founding and running Boot Camp Boxing.

“I’ve been running it to try to keep the kids out of trouble,” Castillo said. “To help them find something positive in life. I thought for the Junior Olympics next week, we could do a fund raiser so the kids could go to Los Lunas next week at the high school.”

Castillo said that he himself is a professional boxer with over 46 professional bouts and is currently preparing for a fight in Phoenix, Ariz., in May.

“A lot of the kids here, they’re not trained in boxing or anything,” Castillo said. “They come out to fight and I thought they did excellent. The good part about it is that we had ex gang members that were rivals here from small towns and Albuquerque and everybody got along. They were showing respect for the community and the kids, that’s what they were doing.”

The first four fights were in the middleweight division. In the first match Jeremy Lopez defeated David Cuss y Leon. Kenneth Alex Malone defeated Jeremy Spence in the second match. Ray Vaiza defeated Ray Brawley in the third fight and Gabriel Krepf defeated Brian Tafoya in the third match.

In the heavyweight division Lorenzo Baeza defeated J. B. Chaves in the fifth bout and Luke Malone defeated Juan Vergara in the sixth fight. In the seventh and eight fight semifinalist Kenneth Alex Malone defeated Jeremy Brawley by a technical knockout then Ray Vaiza defeated Gabriel Krepf in the eighth bout. In the ninth fight Lorenzo Baeza defeated Luke Malone by a split decision. Heavyweight Oscar Guzman defeated Ramon Pino in the tenth fight. Ray Vaiza defeated Kenneth Malone to continue to the championship bout. In the heavyweight Championship fight Lorenzo defeated Oscar Guzman and in the middleweight championship fight Kenneth Alex Malone defeated Ray Vaiza.

For information and questions concerning Boot Camp Boxing contact David Castillo at 479-274-7187.