Sammy Burke Youth Boxing Center Hosted Amateur Boxing Card Saturday

by: Austin Killeen – Ringside – March 5, 2017    Photos by Olivia Pina – (Click on photo to enlarge) 

Sammy Burke

Saturday afternoon at the Sammy Burke Youth Boxing Center in Las Cruces, fans were entertained with a thirteen bout amateur card. Working in conjunction with the City Manager and the head of the Parks and Recreation Department, the Burke family and friends are keeping alive the memory of Sammy Burke. Sammy Burke had a dream when he started this gym, keep youth off the streets while teaching them the importance of discipline and goal setting. If some of these young people turned into good boxers, that was a bonus. The profits from these shows help defray the cost of day to day expenses of running the center. As with all amateur cards I cover, I’ll cover those contests that caught my eye first, with no disrespect to other contestants.


l-r, Smith, Ref & Ortiz

In bout #11, Joshua Camacho (Sun City Boxing) age 28/158 lbs. won by TKO over Patrick Ortiz (Independent) age 23/151.6 lbs. The well built Camacho was an imposing figure waiting for the opening bell to ring. If that was the only requirement for success in boxing then Mr. Universe would be heavyweight champion of the world. Unfortunately for Ortiz Camacho also possesses good fundamental skills. In the opening round Camacho landed some clean hard punches, but was content to just work. To his credit Ortiz had his moments but was unable to sustain his attack. In the second round Camacho got down to business scoring two standing 8-counts, prompting the referee to halt the contest. I don’t know what Camacho is doing on an amateur card; he looks like he could go pro immediately. 


Angel Vasquez

In bout #4, Angel Vasquez (House of Pain) age15/151.8 lbs. won by TKO over Avery Williams (Fight Factory) Age 15/154.8 lbs. Vasquez had too much skill for the game Williams, scoring with some brutal punches. Working on the inside, Vasquez landed a crushing left hook to the head, dropping his rival. The referee wisely halted the contest. I have no knowledge of Vasquez’s background, but any pro would be proud to deliver a left hook as nicely as he did on Saturday. It would be unwise to put too much emphasis on a single fight, but Vasquez looks to be a good prospect. Hopefully the House of Pain Gym will bring him to this years Golden Gloves Tournament. Although he might be to young for the Gloves, he could gain some experience boxing in a show  bout.


l-r, Muñoz, Ref & Bustamante

In bout #12, Fernando Muñoz (Sammy Burke Youth Boxing Club/Las Cruces PAL) age16/205 lbs. won by decision over Joe Bustamante (JD’s Gym) Age 15/174.4 lbs. Munoz enjoyed a big advantage in height, reach and weight and I held out little chance for Bustamante. At the opening bell Munoz rushed across the ring, giving up his reach advantage. In the process he also smothered his own attack. The shorter arms of Bustamante had no problem reaching his taller foe, and he answered each charge with clean punches. As soon as he scored he would move to the center of the ring, and the process would repeat itself over again all three rounds. Bustamante employed the only strategy which I felt gave him a chance to win. When the split decision was announced I was surprised to say the least. This is not meant to be a knock against Munoz, as he came to fight.


l-r, Santiago, Gonzales & Ref

In bout #5, Nicholas Gonzalez (fitness for 10) age 13/110.6 lbs. won by decision over Culin Santiago (Valdez Boxing) Age 14/111.2 lbs. This was a rematch of a contest they had three weeks ago in Albuquerque, with the same result. The opening round was entertaining with the taller Gonzalez wanting to fight on the outside and Santiago looking to get in close. In the second round Gonzalez took charge behind nice 1-2’s as Santiago tried unsuccessfully to close space behind a bob-n-weave. The final round was like the first with both boxers having their moments. I had no problem with the judges verdict, but this was a very competitive fight, with little clinching. Having seen both their bouts, it’s clear that their styles make for an exciting contest.


l-r, Garcia, Ref & Williams

In bout # 10, Isabel Garcia (JD’s Gym) age 18/135.6 lbs. won by decision over Aiyonan Williams (Cross Town Boxing) Age 12/88 lbs. The opening round was close with both girls electing to go head hunting. In the second round Garcia took change behind volume punching. Williams found herself on the defensive and couldn’t seem to get untracked. Williams was able to score some telling blows in the final round, but was outworked by the Garcia who was perpetual motion. Over the last ten years girls have been getting the same essential boxing training as the boys and it shows. This was an enjoyable contest. To call these young ladies girl boxers is unnecessary; just call them boxers.


l-r, Alamanzar, Ref & Moreno

In bout #1, Gabriel Almanzar (Cross Town) age 8/55.8 lbs. won by decision over Marcos Moreno (Independent) Age 8/52.8 lbs. Both boxers showed a great deal of composure for being so young. The difference in the bout was Almanzar’s ability to throw 1-2’s throughout the contest. Moreno was comfortable when trapped on the ropes, but failed to show much offensively. However he may have landed the best punch of the fight when he scored with a nice left hook to the head in the final round. 

Ref and Prieto

In bout #2, Oscar Prieto (Superior Boxing) age 16/129 lbs. won by decision over Joe Craig (Sammy  Burke Youth Boxing Club/Las Cruces PAL) Age 16/133.4 lbs. The opening round was fairly close but I favored Prieto because of his cleaner punching. In the second round Prieto scored with a flurry of punches, causing the referee to administer a standing 8 count to Craig. This seemed to energize Craig who carried the rest of the round. The final round Prieto was in control behind left jabs and overhand rights.


Lajeuenesse and Ref

In bout #3, Joseph Lajeuenesse (Duke City Brawlers) age 16/113.2 lbs. won by decision over Noel Bustamante (JD’s Gym) Age 15/115.2 lbs. Lajeuenesse carried the first round by using his height and scoring with a nice right hand. Bustamante had a difficult time getting inside. In the second round Lajeuenesse gave up his height advantage making it a difficult round because Bustamante was busy on the inside. Lajeuenesse won the final round, but made it difficult by constantly fighting in close. Bustamante is a tough kid who should do better as he gains experience.

l-r, Noriega, Ref & Lee

 In bout #6, Dante Lee (Sammy Burke Youth Boxing Club/Las Cruces PAL) age 15/135 lbs. won by decision over Jordy Noriega (Fitness for 10) age 16/137 lbs. Styles make fights and their styles did not mesh. The taller Lee is a southpaw and kept falling into clinches with Noriega when he tried to get in close. The second round was a repeat of the first, with neither boxer able to solve the other’s style. In the final round Lee seemed to find the proper distance at long range, landing some clean punches. Both boxers have a lot of energy and just need more experience in solving different styles.


l-r, Green, Ref & Almanzar

 In bout #7, Terry Green (Terry Green Boxing) age 8/63.6 lbs. won by decision over Roman Almanzar (Cross Town) Age 8/63.8 lbs. This was an interesting bout with Green using his height and reach to control the contest. But Almanzar wasn’t just standing around as he constantly tried to work on the inside. At times he was successful in landing body punches, but Green would quickly create space to get out of trouble. Although they are only eight years old they have some understanding of boxing fundamentals.


Andrew Sanchez

In bout #8, Andrew Sanchez (Sadistic Boxing) age 21/160.4 lbs. won by decision over Armando Quinones (Red Spider) age 20/167 lbs. Defense dominated the opening round, but Sanchez was able to penetrate the guard of Quinones at times and land some clean blows. In the second round both boxers went on the attack but Sanchez’s attack was more controlled and he repeatedly landed the cleaner punches. Sanchez dominated the third while Quinones appeared content to fight defensively.


l-r, Diaz, Ref & Almanzar

In bout #9 Daniel Diaz (Terry Green Boxing) age 9/67.4 lbs. won by decision over Chris Almanzar (Cross Town) age 8/72 lbs. Diaz opened the contest aggressively while Almanzar finished strong, making the job of the judges difficult. Almanzar continued to be the aggressor in the second round behind some clean scoring. In the third, Diaz displayed the better offense to carry the round. This appeared to be a close bout in which Diaz impressed the people who count; the judges. There’s a reason why officials are placed on different sides of the ring, their job can be very difficult at times.


l-r. Esparza, Ref & Marquez

In bout #13, Adam Esparza (Fitness for 10 Team Griffin) age 12/151 lbs. won by decision over Omar Marquez (Fitness for 10 Team Perez) Age 13/145 lbs. Esparza used his height and reach advantage to control the action all three round. Keeping Marquez on the outside he was able to land clean punches to the head and body. Marquez was game but couldn’t succeed in closing the gap and as a result could not mount a body attack. If Marquez works on his bob-n-weave technique he’ll make himself a formidable foe in future contests.