Photos by Michael Ramirez
King City Boxing Club's Julio Martinez (left) tries to get through the defense of Angel Alfaro of the Rock Boxing Club from Salinas. Below, sparring partners Andy Lopez (left) and Alvaro Pantoja were the main event at Saturday’s Battle of the Coast; and attending the Battle of the Coast Boxing Show were boxers (from left) Jose Celeya, Jose Rodriguez and Ramon Morales. Celeya and Morales fought many televised boxing cards.
KING CITY — Hot weather and hot boxing took place in King City for the Battle of the Coast Boxing Show hosted by the King City and San Ardo Boxing Clubs. A total of 13 bouts were fought, including four matches that featured members of the local clubs.
The event featured boxers as young as 8 years old to seasoned veterans of 27 years of age that fought in the KCHS Mustang gym.
“A lot of work goes into putting on a show like this one,” said King City and San Ardo Boxing Clubs coach Rodolfo Tapia. “I was very happy to receive so many compliments on how well everything went on how important it is to have more shows like this one for our kids and the communities. We had just a couple of fighters now show up but we were able to make a few things happen so we could have 13 fights that the people that attended could enjoy.”
The main event ended up being a fight between two teammates, as former San Ardo Boxing member Andy Lopez fought fellow member Alvaro Pantoja at 157 pounds. The boxers had trained together leading up to the King City show but fought against each other when their scheduled opponents did not show up.
“Andy Lopez had been coming down from Shandon where he lives to spare with Alvaro Pantoja,” said Coach Tapia. “People in San Ardo were coming down to our gym to watch them spar because it was so competitive. Those guys left my mats and towels all bloody after they sparred.”
“When their opponents didn’t show up, I asked them if they would fight each other in the main event,” Tapia added. “Andy trained at our gym for two years and now he is running his own boxing club in Shandon. We knew it could be a very good fight.”
During the bout, Lopez came out hard and looked to be trying for a knockout against Pantoja. The 24-year-old Pantoja avoided the hard shots by Lopez and worked hard to jab and score point. Pantoja won the fight by decision.
The first fight for a local boxer took place in the seventh match when 9-year-old Ivan Almanza of the King City Boxing Club fought Andres Mariscal of the Red Shield Boxing Club of Modesto at 60 pounds. In the 11th match, 8-year-old Miguel Hernandez of the San Ardo Boxing Club fought Angel Balderas of the Balderas Boxing Club of Santa Maria at 55 pounds.
“Ivan Almanza won by split decision but I thought he had dominated the fight but that is the decision by the judges,” said Coach Tapia. “I felt he threw more punches and was always backing up his opponent. Miguel Hernandez fought well and won by decision because he fought a smart fight.”
After the Almanza fight, the crowd welcomed pro fighters Jose Celaya and Roman Morales. Celaya was a contender at 140 pounds and fought many main events, including a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Morales fought at 122 pounds and won the WBC Latino Championship. Morales fought fights on Showtime and ESPN. Jose Rodriguez of Orosi, Calif., fought at 135 pounds and was recognized as a boxer and coach.
In the 12th match of the show, 15-year-old Julio Martinez of the King City Boxing Club battled Angel Alfaro of the Rock Boxing Club of Salinas at 111 pounds. The fight featured flurries of punches by both fighters, with Martinez winning by decision.
The next boxing show for the King City and San Ardo Boxing Clubs will be Saturday, July 14, in Hayward. Fighting for the local clubs will be Ivan Almanza, Kevin Perez and Alvaro Pantoja.