By Michael Peters
The college boxing club practiced Feb. 4 for this year’s regional San Antonio Golden Gloves tournament.
The tournament is for amateur boxers featuring boxers ages 17-34.
Based on a fighter’s experience, boxers are placed into one of three divisions.
Sub-novice boxers have no fight experience while novice boxers generally have fewer than 10 fights to their name.
The open division features fighters with the most experience.
It is the division where the winners can move on to the state tournament.
The team is currently in a tryout phase under the watchful eye of decorated amateur boxer Hector Ramos.
Ramos’ boxing career includes 193 amateur bouts, 156 victories, 51 by knockout and two years as USA Boxing’s No. 1 ranked light-welterweight.
Ramos allows boxers to miss one day of practice each week.
“Sometimes, they have to miss a day because of work or class so I let them slide a little bit, but at the same time I have to be strict because boxing is a full-time sport,” Ramos said.
Ramos began holding conditioning practices last week to weed out anyone who wasn’t fully committed to boxing.
“We started with heavy conditioning last week to see who really wanted to be here,” Ramos said.
Practice this week started with conditioning at the park.
The boxers split into three separate half-mile races around the park. The losers have to do a jumping exercise between races.
“I have them race one round to get their heart rate up. I give them a minute to get their heart rate down, and then they go again,” Ramos said.
After running three races at the park, the boxing team continues practice at Loftin Student Center.
The boxers line up next to one another repeatedly throwing straight punches as Ramos goes down the line holding punching pads.
“Got to have them continuously working their shoulders,” Ramos said.
Next up, the boxers work in pairs with one holding a 14-pound medicine ball while the other tries repeatedly to punch it out of their grasp.
The boxers pair up for light sparring with the main focus being reflex testing.
Station training is next up, including forearm punches, power punches, lunges with hands raised and punching-weaving, to train the boxers in vital areas.
The boxers then work in pairs on extending their arms by passing a medicine ball back and forth with two chairs between them.
Continuing with medicine ball training, the boxers then stand back-to-back while bringing the medicine ball down to their stomach and back over their head for their partner to receive.
The boxers continue with two more medicine ball drills before finishing with push-ups, sit-ups and stretches.
“The countdown begins,” Ramos said. “Fifteen days until the Golden Gloves.”
Criminology sophomore Mario Gutierrez is fighting for redemption.
Gutierrez was scheduled to fight at last year’s tournament but he was disqualified for not making weight.
“I was supposed to bring something back for the family, and I messed it up because of discipline,” Gutierrez said.
“Training with Coach Ramos and these guys, I feel like I can take on the Great Wall right now,” Gutierrez said.
Music business freshman Antonio Brown is fighting with a chip on his shoulder.
“They said I’m too small and my reach is too short,” Brown said. “I want to prove the doubters wrong.”
Criminal justice freshman Nadya Cano is aiming to reach a childhood goal.
“Fighting professionally is a goal I’ve wanted to reach since I was little,” she said.
Liberal arts sophomore Sean Engleka is fighting for the experience.
“I’m not going pro or anything; I’m training to get into shape, maybe knock some heads and get my head knocked around a little bit,” Engleka said.
Ramos said, “By the end of the week, we’ll know who’s competing at the Golden Gloves and in what weight class.”
Weigh-in for the tournament and physical examinations are scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio Eastside branch.
Bouts will start at 6 p.m. Feb.19-21 at Woodlawn Gym, 1103 Cincinnati Ave. Admission is $10.
This college’s boxing team practice weekdays 4 p.m.-6 p.m. in Loftin.
For more information on the Golden Gloves, visit sagoldengloves.com.
For more information on the boxing club, call student life at 210-486-0125.