WCB hit the road on the fourth of July and I’m NOT a holiday traveler. I have no desire to become a stat. I traveled to New Temple Park in S. El Monte to check on the up ‘n comers, the future of boxing, our ‘stars of tomorrow’. I was first amazed at how smooth the traffic was on the notorious 5 freeway, especially around the Griffith Park and Burbank areas but it was smooth sailing, for a minute, I thought I was lost. It was a beautiful day about 92 In S. El. Monte. The park looked spectacular with plenty of rides and food for the families. There were even displays on good health and safety info. It seemed like the entire park had something going on. There was a live band that knew what they were doing and as usual, I got to see a lot of my old fight friends, including a boxing mainstay, Mr. Ben Lira. Lira was looking healthy and in great spirits. Also saw Christie Rosario whom I hadn’t seen in ages, she NEVER changes.
There were about a dozen pre-matched bouts and there was some serious talent on display. You will notice that when WCB covers the local amateur shows we don’t focus on the wins and losses, these are kids for the most part and it’s just NOT that serious. WBC got a chance to interview tsome of the kids and for most of them this would be among their first interviews. I consider it good preparation for the future. Here are some of the comments we got from the boxers.
WBC ok, young man give us a little background on yourself.
B.L. My name is Brian Lopez, I started boxing when I was about 16 which was three years ago. I work out of the Teamsters gym in South El Monte and so far I’ve had only three fights, and so far I’m loving the sport.
WCB: What drew you to the sport?
BL: Well, I’ve always loved fighting and I’m just training myself to go pro one day.
WCB: Were you the type that got into a lotta’ street fights…
BL: I never really had a lotta’ trouble in the streets but I grew up with a brother so I always had to defend myself against him, you know how THAT goes (laughing).. I grew up watching boxing all the time, Oscar DeLaHoya, Mayweather. My dad (Michael Ponce) trains me.
WCB: Speaking of Mayweather, what’s your opinion on this upcoming clown show?
BL: Well, I’m not too fond of it, we already know who’s gonna’ win but its two different sports but I guess it’ll be good for both sports. It’ll bring attraction to both sports, that’s the way I see it.
My name is Carlos Ponce, I’m eight years old. I’ve been training for three years.
WCB: Where do you train?
CP: Ponce Boxing, my dad trains me there.
WCB: What weight class are you in…
CP: 55 and I’ve had Seven fights, I fought last week.
WCB: What do you like the most about boxing…
Next up were a pair of identical l twin sisters.
What’s your name and how did you and your sister get into boxing?
KS: My name is Kayla Sandoval, my sister and I started boxing on the same day. When we got home from school, we never did nothing so my dad said he was gonna’ put us into boxing.
WCB: So, you guys weren’t into the video games or anything?
WCB: What made your dad think you two would like boxing?
KS: He just said, we’d really like it and we’ll be good at it when we get older.
WCB” How many matches have you girls had?
WCB: This is my first and her second.
(To her twin, Leah). WCB: Now, I know twins often think a lot but somebody had to come up with the idea first…
LS: Yeah, my dad. Whenever we’d turn on the tv and watch sports, we always thought boxing looked cool so my dad thought he’d have us try it.
WBC was impressed with 6’4” light heavyweight Antoine Thornton who after a shaky opening minute came back to stop his opponent.
WCB: Good job man, give me a little background.
AT: Well, I’m from Chicago Illinois, originally, lived all over Chicago, went into the service at 18. Boxing has always been my passion. I have a family and a great career and now I wanna’ give this my all. I’ve only had three fights, I’m 2-1. I fought in a tournament last week and the guy I lost to won the tournament. I’d been training myself but now things are different and I’m in a lot better shape and you see what happened.
WCB: He came at you pretty hard in the first round but you checked him pretty quick.
AT: Yeah, I knew he was gonna’ come out pretty excited, I tried to touch gloves and he hit me .So that taught me a lesson, next time I’ll just come out blazin’.
WCB: Yeah, the ref doesn’t say ‘touch gloves and come out and touch gloves’.
AT: I wish I’d had a video of this.