The 2019 New Mexico Golden Gloves amateur boxing championships saved their best for last on Sunday.
Jorge Madrid did the same.
Madrid, who hails from Columbus, N.M. with close family ties to Palomas, Mexico, just across the border, pounded out a victory by decision over defending state champion Codi Chavez in the 141-pound title bout at American Legion Post 13.
The victory in the final bout of the day earned Madrid a spot on the New Mexico team that will take on its Colorado counterparts on April 27, with berths at nationals at stake.
“It means a lot,” Madrid said after his hard- and well-earned victory “… I’m really proud of myself, my coach and all the people that support me all the time, every day.”
In other championship bouts, with regional spots at stake:
Abraham Perez, the defending champion at 114 pounds, stopped Fabian Mendez with a body shot in the first round.
Joseph Chavez, from Power Point Boxing, decisioned fellow Albuquerquean Charles Lewis at 165 pounds.
Santa Fe’s Estevan Segura decisioned Steven Trujeque at 132 pounds.
Damien La Riva, 152 pounds, decisioned Omar Montaño.
Heavyweight Trinity Fautanu stopped Paul De Herrera by second-round TKO.
Six more boxers, including defending female state champions Sharahya Moreu (152 pounds) of Albuquerque and Isabel Garcia (141) of Clovis, advanced to regionals via walkover (no opponent in their weight classes).
Madrid, who entered Sunday’s bout with just 12 previous fights, gradually turned a highly competitive fight – the best of the day – into a dominating performance.
The third and final round in the Chavez-Madrid fight, the last of the day, removed any doubt about the outcome. Madrid landed a series of big left hooks, with little response from Chavez, as the bout came to a close.
“I noticed he was dropping his hands, so I was just punching, punching, punching,” said Madrid, a student at Deming High School.
Leo Hand, Madrid’s coach, described his fighter as having deep roots on both sides of the border.
“He stays with his grandfather in Columbus, but his father is in Palomas,” Hand said. “… He’s a (U.S.) citizen, but his mother and father can never see him fight in the United States.”
Madrid’s work ethic, Hand said, is second to none.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in amateur boxing, maybe professional, who works as hard as he does,” Hand said.
Perez, the No. 2-ranked 114-pounder in the nation, made short work of the game but overmatched Mendez.
The Golden Gloves no longer serve as part of the qualification process for the Olympics, Perez’s ultimate goal as an amateur. But a Golden Gloves national title, he said, is a cherished goal as well.
“It would mean a lot to me,” he said.
In the 165-pound final, Joseph Chavez rode sharper punches and superior defense to a clear-cut victory over Lewis.
“Composure, and my jab,” Chavez said. “(Lewis) was really strong, really athletic. But it’s a boxing match, not an arm-wrestling match. I jabbed him, I kept moving, and I won.”
In a match between two fast-handed 132-pounders, Segura’s hands proved faster – and more powerful – than Trujeque’s.
“Body shots,” said Segura, 18, a Santa Fe Community College student who trains with Josh Herrera at Santa Fe Lights Out Boxing. “He was leaving his stomach wide open. … But he’s a tough competitor.”
La Riva, an Atrisco Heritage graduate who works with veteran Albuquerque trainer Sergio Chavez, outboxed and outslugged Montaño over three rounds.
“I think a big confidence-booster was the left uppercut and the jab,” La Riva said.
Fautanu won a tough-and-tumble heavyweight (201 pounds) bout. With both men nearing the point of exhaustion, Fautanu caught and dropped De Herrera with a haymaker. De Herrera got to his feet at the count of nine but was ruled unable to continue.