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Perez, an Olympic alternate, says he’s turning pro

Albuquerque’s Abraham Perez, a Golden Gloves boxer seen here in April of 2019, said he is turning pro. Perez, 21, won the Olympic Trials at 114 pounds in December of 2019. (Greg Sorber/Journal File)

For Albuquerque’s Abraham Perez, amateur boxing has had its rewards. Just in 2020, it has taken him to Bulgaria, Spain and France.

What amateur boxing did not do is send him to Tokyo, or afford him that opportunity — despite his having won the U.S. Olympic Trials.

So, he said on Monday, at age 21 he’s turning pro.

“I’ve already fought overseas,” Perez said in a phone interview. “I’m a silver medalist as well as a bronze medalist (in tournaments) over there.

“But for me not being chosen (for the Olympics), that’s kind of what got me (to the decision to turn pro).”

In December 2019, Perez won the Olympic Trials at 114 pounds. But USA Boxing selected Anthony Herrera, whom Perez twice had beaten at the Trials, as its Olympic candidate in that weight class.

Perez was the U.S. Olympic alternate at 114 but said he did not see further opportunities in the amateurs that he wanted to pursue.

This is, he acknowledged, not an ideal time to turn pro amid a pandemic that has essentially shut down anything other than high-budget, televised or streamed cards staged by a handful of top promoters.

Still, he says, he believes it’s time to join his older brother, featherweight Aaron Angel Perez (10-0, six KOs), in the pro ranks.

“Right now a couple of people want to sign me,” he said. “… But right now we’re kind of playing smart, doing a little bit of studying before we decide to sign with anybody.

“I’m hoping to fight early this year, but if not … I’ve been training, sparring and staying on top of my conditioning. As far as getting fights, I don’t think it will be much of a problem. But we’ll see.”

NEXT FOR SANCHEZ: Albuquerque featherweight boxer Jason Sanchez (15-2, eight KOs) is scheduled for a return to the ring on Feb. 13 against Californian Adam Lopez (14-2, six KOs) on a Top Rank, Inc. card in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The story was first reported by Jorge Hernandez of Southwest Fight News and confirmed independently by the Journal.

Sanchez last fought on June 23, losing by unanimous decision to Christopher Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs) in Las Vegas.

Sanchez and Lopez have two previous opponents in common. Both have defeated Jean Carlos Rivera, Sanchez by unanimous decision, Lopez by seventh-round TKO. Both lost to former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (who since has moved up to junior lightweight) — Sanchez by unanimous decision, Lopez by seventh-round TKO, though he dropped the still-unbeaten Valdez with a left hook in the second round.

The Feb. 13 card, headlined by a WBO light heavyweight title fight between Joe Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov, is scheduled to be telecast on ESPN.

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