At age 20, Peralta’s Alexa Garrobo is older than most amateur boxers with just 10 fights to her credit. Other pursuits – karate, soccer, her education – sometimes have interceded.
But don’t tell her, or her coach, that she’ll be in over her head when she steps into the ring against Colorado veteran and former national champion Lupe Gutierrez in Denver on Saturday.
“It’s a big challenge,” Garrobo acknowledged in a recent interview, in advance of her scheduled bout against Gutierrez at the Colorado-New Mexico Golden Gloves regionals. A trip to Golden Gloves Nationals (Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aug. 13-20) is at stake. “I just want to keep learning and growing, getting experience.”
Tony Rosales, Garrobo’s coach, thinks the timing is good, given that Garrobo likely will turn pro sooner than later.
“(Regionals) will definitely show what level she’s at,” he said. “She just fought another girl (Texas’ Naely Rodriguez) who was ranked fourth in the nation, and Alexa beat her. That was a rematch, and she’s beaten her twice.”
Garrobo is 9-1 through those first 10 fights, her only defeat coming by split decision at the 2021 Golden Gloves regionals against Colorado’s Heather Cirka.
The Cirka bout was contested at 132 pounds. Garrobo, who advanced to Regionals unopposed at 2022 New Mexico State Golden Gloves Championships in June, will face Gutierrez at 125 pounds. Rosales intends to eventually have her campaign at 119.
Garrobo, born in Mexico, came to the United States with her parents at age 4 and became a U.S. citizen two years ago. After starting combat sports in karate, she left to focus on soccer for a time before deciding to concentrate on boxing.
Now, she’s hooked.
“I like everything (about it),” she said. “I like the game. I like the drama. When you get in there and you both pick your shots, you know what I mean? It’s just a game, a chess game.”
An individual sport, she said, is more to her liking than team sports.
“It falls back on you, win or lose,” she said. “It falls back on you no matter what.”
In her pursuit of boxing and a likely pro career, Garrobo’s studying more than the Sweet Science. A 2020 Los Lunas High School graduate, she’s in her second year of online studies at UNM toward a hoped-for career in law enforcement.
Rosales likes the way she lays down the law in the ring.
“I think she could be as good as Holly Holm, eventually,” Rosales said. “I think she’s a natural.”
A comparison with Holm, the Albuquerque southpaw who won multiple professional boxing titles en route to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is the highest of praise. (Garrobo is right-handed, though she likes to switch her stance and turn southpaw on occasion.)
The Gutierrez fight, win or lose, will afford Garrobo a snapshot in time of where she is and where she needs to go. Originally from Sacramento, California, Gutierrez, 23, will compete for Colorado in Denver because she’s part of the U.S. Army team based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.
Gutierrez is listed on boxrec.com as having 42 amateur bouts but might actually have twice that many. She won the 119-pound Elite Division title at last week’s USA Boxing Junior Olympics and Summer Boxing Festival in Wichita, Kansas.
“This is a real test for (Garrobo), … and hopefully she’ll move on to nationals, and then we’ll go from there and hopefully she’ll turn pro,” Rosales said. “… She wants to be a world champion.”
FAREWELL AND REVENGE: In Wichita, Albuquerque’s Sharahya Moreu said goodbye to USA Boxing, the nation’s amateur governing body, last week with a victory by unanimous decision over Californian Jaime Betty at the Junior Olympics and Summer Boxing Festival.
This was an arranged bout that took place outside of the tournament proper, since both fighters had lost their previous fights at 139 pounds – Moreu by disputed split decision against Colorado’s Cirka, Betty against fellow Californian and eventual champion Daisy Bamberger.
Moreu is likely to turn pro before the year is out. First, though, she’s scheduled to get another shot at Cirka on Saturday at Golden Gloves regionals and, with a victory, a trip to GG nationals.
Moreu, 23, has fought in India, Bulgaria and all over the U.S. during her amateur career.