Sweet science displayed Saturday night

Rawlins Daily Times, Gavin Elliott Raven Abeyta sizes up her opponent, Destiny Small, of Billings, Montana, Saturday night at the Gladiators USA JO State Tournament.

Rawlins Daily Times, Gavin Elliott
Raven Abeyta sizes up her opponent, Destiny Small, of Billings, Montana, Saturday night at the Gladiators USA JO State Tournament.

By Chad Abshire

editor@rawlinstimes.com

RAWLINS — It was a busy night of boxing at Rawlins High School gymnasium Saturday night, with Gladiator Boxing’s USA Junior Olympics State Tournament.

The night saw 27 bouts from 10 clubs across the west and had five uncontested champions from Rawlins already advance to Regionals set for May 28: Roman Escobar, Jackaline Garcia, Lizbeth Garcia, Monica Garcia and Allen Ferrales.

Club President Bert Herrera said he was “pretty happy” with the event, saying that around 450 people came out to see the fists flying.

The club had its biggest 50/50 raffle, coming it at $1,060 and sold a signed Oscar de la Hoya glove for $1,800, as well as concessions.

“It was a big success overall,” he said. “I was having people telling me who’d never been to one, saying it was good and everyone was asking when we were having another.”

The bouts also offered good experience, Herrera said, and the show opened with developmental bouts.

Joseph Nugent, in 14-16 year old, 165-pound class “just dominated” his opponent from Billings, Mont., Herrera said.

“He put him down in the first round with a body shot,” he said. “But it was right at the bell and he got a minute’s rest.”

Local boxer Raven Abeyta also took on an opponent from Billings, “who has a hard time finding someone to box” in the second developmental bout.

“That girl was tough, but Raven has been boxing a long time,” Herrera said. “She’s gone to nationals for our club.”

Herrera sang the praises of Escobar, who took on a Fairview, Mont., opponent in the 9 year old, 85-pound class.

“This is his first year boxing,” he said. “When (Escobar) first started, he had a hard time doing the correct pushups, working out — a lot of kids had never been in shape before.

“He was determined. He never missed a practice and if he did, he had a legitimate excuse. We didn’t think he was going to box, but people were freaking out at how hard he worked.

“Winning, losing, it didn’t matter,” Herrera said. “It’s about improving as an athlete.”

That’s what it came down to for a lot of the bouts, Herrera said. Like Nikko Maes, Marcos Martinez, Marcellas Montoya, the Garcia sisters, Ferrales and Joe Schuele, who all represented Rawlins.

“Marcos is really determined to be a good boxer,” Herrera said. “His cousin Marcellas has been boxing before him and he wants to be as good as he is. He’s been training really hard and he was boxing in front of his home crowd. And he dominated.”

For Montoya, Herrera said he was moving around the ring and “looked what an amateur boxer should be, even for a young kid.”

“He ended up losing in a split decision, but it was close,” Herrera said. “That’s what you want from your kids. You want them to continue to improve.”

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