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USA Amateur Boxing show at Old School Boxing and Fitness Center

On Saturday, it was Old School Boxing’s turn to host the latest USA Amateur Boxing Show. Their gym, located in the shadows of San Diego State University, has always had a reputation for producing the top talent. Under the direction of the gym’s owner, Ernest Johnson, a former professional boxer, along with his devoted staff, that standard has never wavered. As in past shows, the Old School boxing team won the majority of Saturday’s contests.

View slideshow: Old School Boxing Show

Bout #1 featured nine year-olds, Jose Fernandez (73.4 lbs.) of Cital Boxing, San Diego going up against Julius Ballo (70.2 lbs.) of the Undisputed Fitness and Training Center in El Cajon. Unbeknownst to many of the patrons is the fact the two have regularly sparred each other.

The nonstop, often chaotic, first round appeared to be a toss-up until Ballo, the shorter of the two, settled in and started landing the dandy counters.

Fernandez, though unrelenting, had more trouble hitting his target. His punches tended to be more looping, while Ballo’s punches were harder and straighter. The following rounds continued in the same manner favoring Ballo whose energy level was simply amazing.

Bout #2 featured 16 year-old Elijah Dashea (130 lbs.) of the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista going up against 15 year-old Anthony Villanueva (135.2 lbs.) of the host gym, Old School Boxing.

This was one of those “Wow!” bouts with both boxers landing and taking KO blows. As far as who was doing the best, that distinction goes to Dashea and it appeared it was only a matter of time before the referee would begin to issue Villanueva eight counts. In the final seconds of Round #1, Villanueva surprised his opponent with a hard shot to the head which buckled Dashea’s legs.

In round two, Dashea was clearly landing the majority of the blows and after a short time, Villanueva’s nose was bleeding profusely. Twice, the referee stopped the bout to have someone look at his nose. The heavy hitting continued on until the final bell with Dashea maintaining his overwhelming point lead.

Bout #3 featured two cruiserweights in the classification known as Masters, 40 year-old Jeff Railey (172.6 lbs.) of the USIAA going up against 43 year-old Shawn Woolery(179.2 lbs.) of Old School Boxing. Three years ago, the two fought at the old USIAA facility on Skyline Drive; a decision won by Woolery.

In Saturday’s bout, Woolery did even better. His head movement was better and his punches were more accurate.

At times the bout got pretty heated with Railey being warned several times for his low blows. Then, at the close of round two, Woolery landed a punch at the bell. Railey, visibly upset, responded with a punch well after the bell.

Round three was a repeat of the earlier rounds with Railey doing a lot of clinching, holding and working over the midsection, while Woolery gave Railey a steady diet of the old one-two, solid jab then straight right.

Bout #4 featured 21 year-old, southpaw Tony Henry (138.6 lbs.) of the Encinitas Fitness and Boxing in Encinitas making his debut against 18 year-old Anthony Villanueva (145.8 lbs.) of Old School Boxing.

In Round one, Guerrero continued to frustrate his opponent by peppering him with the jab and occasionally landing the straight right. After a hard combination landed, the referee, Hondo Fontan, stepped in to issue Henry an eight count. Aside from landing the left hooks, Villanueva was losing big time in the points column.

In Round two, Guerrero maintained his earlier dominance and out-landed Henry by a three to one punch count. Again, the referee stepped in and issued Henry an eight count to give him a respite from the unanswered blows.

Clearly exasperated by the turn of events, Henry turned to the referee and said, “Why don’t you just stop the bout?” Talking to a referee in this manner is a no-no in Amateur Boxing. The referee responded with a RSC, referee stops the contest.

Moments later, Henry got an earful from his coach and he fully understood the errors of his way. In a young boxer’s first contest, they often get so caught up in the moment, the excitement, the high expectations, that if things go poorly, they get so aggravated the regrettable occurs.

Bout #5 featured 32 year-old Jiael Brownell (183 lbs.) Unattached going up against the crowd favorite 18 year-old Hassan Fakhreddine (183 lbs.) of Old School Boxing.

If you’ve ever been ringside to witness a heavyweight bout with its “get your head out of the way, devastating punching” then you have an appreciation for what happened in this bout.

When it comes to punches, Brownell doesn’t throw many of the light variety, his punches are designed to break someone’s jaw. The young Mr. Fakhreddine came into Saturday’s contest ready to box; Brownell came to slug it out and to insure victory he’d use his arsenal of thunderbolts.

You would have to award Brownell round #1, solely on the power behind each punch, punches that had Fakhreddine falling back into the ropes. Late in Round #1, after referee Will White called out, “Break!”, Brownell hit Fakhreddine behind the head. Infraction? Yes! Point deduction? No! From that point on, the crowd became very loud, uproariously loud and animated.

After exerting so much energy in Round #1, Brownell, with his body builder’s body, became more restrained in Round #2. Surviving all the fireworks directed at his head, Fakhreddine did likewise. For all but 20 seconds of round two, there was little or no action, very few punches thrown. As soon as Fakhreddine heard the tapping of the canvas to signal 10 seconds left, he went full bore at Brownell and landed at six punch volley.

The expectations for round #3 were out of this world. Brownell left his stool with fire in his eyes and immediately tried to land one of his wide power shots. After Fakhreddine ducked under the punch, the crowd gasped. The excitement went right up until the final bell with our young hero getting the best of the final exchanges.

Crowds can be fickle, and turn on you in an instant. It’s my opinion, after that late blow behind the head in Round #1, there was no way Mr. Brownell could win over the crowd.

In the end, Fakhreddine’s output in punches thrown and punches landed, was considerable. In a professional bout, Brownell may have been given more consideration.

The next USA Amateur Boxing show will be on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at the Legacy Training Center

1304 N. Santa Fe Ave. #B, Vista, CA 92083

For bout match-ups, you can call Ivan Puente (760) 586-0011, weigh-ins are at 9 a.m. with the first bout to begin at 1 p.m.





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