Combat sports notes: St. Pius alum Madrid to take on '21 Olympic boxer - Albuquerque Journal

Combat sports notes: St. Pius alum Madrid to take on ’21 Olympic boxer

Albuquerque’s Xavier Madrid, left, advances on Miguel Perez during Madrid’s pro-debut victory by majority decision last July. Madrid is scheduled to face U.S. Olympian Delante Tiger Johnson on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. COURTESY OF CAGEDMINDS.COM

Xavier Madrid was 24 years old before he ever laced on a boxing glove, entering a sport that typically doesn’t treat old newcomers well. If you haven’t grown up getting hit in the face, it’s a difficult “skill” to acquire.

But then, Madrid was no stranger to violent physical contact. In the almost six years since donning the gloves, the former St. Pius and UNM football running back has shown he’s an exception to the unwritten, latecomers-are-losers rule: three New Mexico Golden Gloves amateur titles, a 3-0 record as a pro.

Clearly, he’s done more hitting than getting hit.

Now, as he approaches his 30th birthday, Madrid has taken a fight almost no one believes he can win: a four-round welterweight bout in Tulsa, Oklahoma, against 2021 U.S. Olympian and highly touted pro prospect Delante “Tiger” Johnson.

Almost no one.

“They (Johnson and his team) don’t know what they signed up for,” Madrid said in a phone interview. “That’s kind of the blessing we have.”

At St. Pius, Madrid played football and basketball and ran track. His performances on the football field earned him an invitation to join the Lobos as a walk-on.

Madrid showed so well in practices that then-UNM coach Bob Davie awarded him a scholarship in 2013. But during preseason camp in 2014, convinced he’d never see the field for the Lobos as a running back, Madrid walked away.

Later, a tryout with the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos (now the Elks) produced nothing.

Nothing, that is, except a friendship and a professional association with Albuquerque fitness trainer and Muay Thai fighter Lisandro “Lee” Sillas – and, eventually, a new athletic career.

After leaving UNM, Madrid trained with Sillas in preparation for the Edmonton tryout. After the tryout came to naught, Madrid took a job in security but continued to work with Sillas.

First, Madrid tried his hand at Muay Thai but discovered “I wasn’t worth a damn kicking anybody. (Sillas) said, ‘You can punch pretty well, so let’s just try you in boxing.’ I had a fight about three months later.”

After an amateur career that took him as far as the quarterfinals at 2018 Golden Gloves nationals, Madrid turned pro last year. His 3-0 record includes an impressive victory by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Albuquerquean Cristian Castillo at the Kiva Auditorium in October, followed by a first-round knockout of Daniel Arriaga at the Inn of the Mountain Gods a month later.

The offer to fight Johnson, Madrid said, came through Hobbs promoter/matchmaker Isidro Castillo with an assist from Albuquerque promoters Aaron and Jordan Perez. When the offer came, Madrid did not hesitate.

“We just kind of accepted minimum (financial) terms, because I’m not worried about the terms,” he said. “I just want the fight.”

The payday, nonetheless, will easily be the best he’s gotten thus far.

As for the risk/reward factor, Madrid believes the latter easily outweighs the former.

“At my age and with my background, I don’t have time to wait around for things like this to happen or let things like this pass. So we had to take it.”

Though he and Johnson (1-0, one KO) were amateur contemporaries, Madrid knows of his opponent only on film and through his accomplishments in the ring.

“He’s a great fighter,” Madrid said. “I’ve got nothing but respect for him and what he’s done … It’s not easy to get where he’s got to, so yeah, I understand the task at hand.

“It’s a big deal.”

BORG IS BACK: Albuquerque MMA bantamweight Ray Borg (14-5) is scheduled to face Cody Gibson (18-7) Friday on an Eagle FC card in Miami.

Borg, who fought for the UFC flyweight title in October 2017, was released from that organization in 2020 after repeated failures to make weight.

He has fought just once since, defeating Jesse Arnett by unanimous decision on a UAE Warriors card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in June 2021.

Eagle FC is headed by Khabib Nurmagomedov, the now-retired UFC lightweight champion. Friday’s card will be the organization’s first in North America.

Home » From the newspaper » Combat sports notes: St. Pius alum Madrid to take on ’21 Olympic boxer


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Holm drops split decision at UFC Fight Night
Boxing/MMA
so many factors to weigh, so ... so many factors to weigh, so little time. Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, two of three official judges decided Ketlen Vieira's stinging counter right ...
2
MMA: Holm-Vieira notes
Boxing/MMA
Albuquerque MMA fighter Holly Holm weighed ... Albuquerque MMA fighter Holly Holm weighed in on Friday at 135.5 pounds for her bantamweight main event against Ketlen Vieira on Saturday (5 p.m., ...
3
Holm insists she is 'nervous in a good way' ...
Boxing/MMA
The last time Albuquerque's Holly Holm ... The last time Albuquerque's Holly Holm fought in a UFC Octagon, the average price of gas in New Mexi ...
4
MMA: Valdez, 27, isn't yet a pro, but he's ...
Boxing/MMA
It might have been the 2007 ... It might have been the 2007 fight between Georges St-Pierre and Matt Serra, won by Serra in a monume ...
5
Cerrone reschedules fight he missed due to illness
Boxing/MMA
Assuming Austin Tex-Mex is kinder and ... Assuming Austin Tex-Mex is kinder and gentler to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone's stomach than Phoenix taco ...
6
MMA: Fuller loses; Cerrone ready
Boxing/MMA
Friday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Albuquerque MMA ... Friday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Albuquerque MMA welterweight Jalin Fuller lost to Kyrgyzstan’s Myktybek Orolbay by unanimous decision on an LFA card. Fuller drops to ...
7
'Cowboy' hopes to end losing skid, prove he still ...
Boxing/MMA
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, that old softy, ... Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, that old softy, teared up during a Wednesday news conference when asked abo ...
8
Jackson's Make a Wish gift: Self-defense tips
Boxing/MMA
As the sport of mixed martial ... As the sport of mixed martial arts mushroomed in popularity, and as his stature within the sport par ...
9
MMA: Vannata, Blencowe lose
Boxing/MMA
For the first minute, 50 seconds, ... For the first minute, 50 seconds, Albuquerque MMA featherweight Lando Vannata looked to be on his way to an impressive showing and, perhaps, his ...