By rick wright
Journal Staff Writer
It was a fair fight, but at the same time a fowl one.
After 10-year-old boxer Alejandro Castillo defeated fellow Albuquerquean Dominik Marquez Tuesday at the Albuquerque Convention Center, he was asked what won him the fight on the opening day of the USA Boxing Western Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships.
“My ducks,” he said.
Castillo’s father and coach, Alejandro, was quick to explain. The younger Castillo’s defensive movement, he said, set up his offense.
“His back-stepping,” the elder Castillo said. “His back-stepping and countering.”
Young Alejandro explained further.
“Defense and countering. I got (Marquez) pretty good with that.”
Castillo, a three-time New Mexico state champion, now moves to a boys Bantam division 65-pound title showdown today with Andrew Corona of Laveen, Ariz., who on Tuesday decisioned Jacob Rodriguez of Humble, Texas.
Corona, the elder Castillo said, is a national champion. “That’s gonna be a battle,” he said.
The younger Castillo said the victory over Marquez, clear-cut but highly competitive, gives him “100 percent confidence.”
Father gave son, a student at Edward Gonzales Elementary School, on Albuquerque’s West Side, high marks for his performance Tuesday.
“He’s good,” the elder Castillo said of Marquez. “But I knew we could do it. Alejandro trains hard, he’s dedicated.”
During Saturday’s afternoon and evening sessions, New Mexico boxers went 6- 12 against out-of-state competition.
Amery Williams’ victory over Alfredo Gonzalez of Racine, Wis., gave the Kirtland fighter the champion’s trophy in the boys Bantam 95-pound class. Williams and Gonzalez were the only boxers in the division.
Farmington’s Jermaine Nez is a champion as well, but wasn’t sure he’d get a trophy after his split-decision victory over Victor Rodriguez of Colorado Springs.
“He was already the unopposed champion at (boys Pee Wee) 70 pounds, so he moved up in weight class just to get a fight today,” said Rolyn Nez, his son’s father and trainer.
They’re called matched bouts, and the Nezes will be looking for another today.
Rolyn Nez was happy with his son’s performance but said there’s room for improvement.
“First round, second round, moving forward, putting punches together and getting low,” the elder Nez said. “The last round, he kind of had it rough because he was kind of standing up.”
Jermain, who attends Animas Elementary School, credited his work to the body for the victory.
Jermain’s older brother, Rolyn, fought in Tuesday’s evening session in the boys Junior 106-pound class. He lost to Floyd Schofield of Marietta, Ga.
Jermain Nez Las Cruces’ Joselyn Olayo-Munoz , Los Lunas’ Butch Bottini and three Albuquerque boxers, Adrian Cisneros, Abraham Perez and Anthony Bustillos, were winners against out-of-state competition.
Olayo-Munoz (girls Pee Wee, 55 pounds) defeated Colorado Springs’ Taylor Henry by unanimous decision. This was a matched fight, and Olayo-Munoz isn’t scheduled to fight again in the tournament.
Bottini (boys Intermediate, 106) defeated Ricardo Gonzalez of Racine. He’ll face Joel Iriarte of Bakersfield, Calif. today for the title.
Cisneros (boys Bantam, 75) defeated Rayquon Gardner of Flint, Mich. He’ll face Samuel Hale of Minot, N.D., in today’s semifinals.
Bustillos (boys Youth, 108) defeated Cuauhtemoc Vega of Colorado Springs. He’ll face Aaron Lopez of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., on Thursday in the semifinals.
Perez (boys Youth, 114) defeated Aron Hernandez of Fort Worth, Texas. He’ll face Sean Garcia in Thursday’s semifinals.
Like Castillo, Santiago Giron (boys Junior, 114) defeated a fellow Albuquerquean, Joseph Lajeunesse. Giron will face Jalen Moore of Irving, Texas, tonight in the second round.
Albuquerque’s Andrew Perez, one of the state’s better young amateurs, lost by unanimous decision to Jared Mendez of Houston in the boys Bantam 80-pound class. Mendez was the busier fighter, though Perez appeared to land the cleaner shots.
Perez belongs to one of New Mexico’s most prominent boxing families. His brother Abraham won Tuesday night. Another Perez brother, Aaron, is the second-ranked Elite 132-pounder in the nation. Elite division boxers who reach Saturday’s finals will earn berths at nationals, scheduled for December at a location yet to be determined.
The only New Mexico Elite fighter to compete Tuesday was 165-pounder Miguel Delgado, who lost by split decision to Joeshon James of Dixon, Calif.
Aaron is not competing this week because he already has qualified for nationals.
The tournament resumes today with sessions at noon and at 6 p.m., with the same schedule for Thursday. Friday is a day off, followed by finals Saturday night at 7.