Monday, September 30, 2013

The Draw for PAL Nationals

"They had to come all the way to California just to fight each other?" says Coach Sosa, throwing up his hands in disgust.

JayQuran Hazel (L) and Jose De la Rosa (R) both fight out of Atlas Cops and Kids, but they will meet tonight on the first night of competition in the men's 152-pound class. Them's the breaks.

The two fighters are opposites in almost every way. Jay is a 6'2", slick southpaw who boxes behind a razor-sharp jab and entertains the team with his supremely confident banter. Jay is ranked third in the country at 141 pounds, but has been having great results at this weight. He looked spectacular in the recent New York Tournament, overwhelming every opponent he faced.

The reigning NYC Golden Gloves champ, De la Rosa is an orthodox slugger who relies on grit and conditioning to wear his opponents down. He is a quiet worker who leads by example. His brother Pablo has been volunteering his time to put our fighters through grueling circuit training workouts in preparation for this competition.

"I smoked him out easy both times," JayQuran says of their previous two meetings, but De la Rosa sees it differently.

"The first time, he beat me, but the second time I won and everybody knows it. And that was before I was with Sosa."

"He's a cool dude, but it's gonna be easy," says Jay. "I got Benny in my corner, and I'm gonna beat his a**. Write it however you want."

The trash talking will continue until the opening bell.


It is beautiful here at the Oxnard Best Western. On my way to breakfast, I saw a hummingbird.

Almost everyone else fights tomorrow:

Alexis Chaparro, 114 lb, 13-14 yr
Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington, Jr., 114 lb, 15-16 yr
Chris "B-Hopp" Colbert, 114 lb, 17-18 yr
Jordan "Peewee" Roriguez, 114 lbs, 19-40 yr
Brenda Roman, 119 lbs, 15-16 yr female
Christina Cruz, 119 lbs, 19-40 yr female
JJ "Iron Boy" Gonzales, 123 lb, 19-40 yr
James Wilkins, 123 lb, 17-18 yr
Danny Sanchez, 123 lb, 19-40 yr
Christian "Kike" Bermudez, 132 lb, 17-18 yr
Richardson "Africa" Hitchens, 138, 15-16 yr
Julian Sosa, 141 lb, 17-18 yr
Jose De la Rosa, 152 lb, 19-40 yr
JayQuran Hazel, 152 lb, 19-40 yr
Edgar Berlanga, Jr, 154 lb, 15-16 yr
Obafore Bakore, 165 lb, 19-40 yr
Ali Salim, 178 lb, 19-40 yr
Earl Newman, 201 lb, 19-40 yr
Nkosi "Big Black" Solomon, 201+, 19-40 yr

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BOXER OF THE MONTH: Alvaro Roman Flores

Each month we will highlight the achievements of one of our young athletes. 

For our first installment, we're chatting with Alvaro "Chiquito" Roman Flores, featherweight, who just won the Title Tournament of Champions.

Q: How did you get into boxing?

A: I used to fight in school. I came here from Puebla when I was twelve, and I got picked on a lot, because I was short and didn't speak the language. My first gym was K-2 Boxing.

Q: What do you love about boxing?

A:  You can hit somebody and not get in trouble. And when you box, it doesn't matter how bad you did or how good you did, you still get respect.

Q: You've won two tournaments in a row. Suddenly you made a huge leap up in performance. How did that happen?

A: It was working with Sosa.

Q: What did Sosa teach you?

A: He tries to always make me a better boxer. He said my combinations were perfect, but I just needed to move my head more after I punch.

Q: What gives you your punching power?

A: I was born with it. It's a gift.

Q: Are you religious?

A: I believe in God. I don't go to church very often though. But I pray.

Q: Do you like school?

A: Not very much. But I want to graduate to make my mother proud and make her think that she did a good job at raising me.

Q: What else do you love besides boxing? 

A: My family. Here and back in Mexico.