For the Register
Mateo Segura of Al Amanecer Boxing Club took home gold at the Silver Gloves Region VIII tournament on Saturday with a dominant win over Enrique Girón-Gómez of Colorado in the 165-pound, 13-14 age division.
The tournament, held at Oscar De La Hoya Gymnasium in Compton, featured champion boxers from Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Segura, an eighth-grader at Unidos Middle School, has been training for just over a year but has had a tough time finding opponents in his age and weight bracket. He had his first bout in November and is currently 3-0.
“Mateo came out and boxed the way we as coaches know he can box,” said Al Amanecer assistant coach Jesús Martinez. “He is very mature for his age and is very smart in the ring. He boxes at a distance and throws very powerful punches for a kid his age.”
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Al Amanecer head coach Jesús Solís said Segura showed “great growth and maturity” in his bout against Girón-Gómez.
“Mateo not only took control, but you could tell he was thinking about how to best address his opponent’s strengths. He wasn’t just reacting,” Solís said. “Girón-Gómez was hungry and he wasn’t about to roll over easy. Mateo was just one step ahead of him.”
Segura was pleased with his performance.
“I think I boxed very well, not letting him get me on the ropes, and pressing him very well when I had the chance,” he said. “But I give much respect to Enrique and his coaches.”
The win secures Segura a berth at the Silver Gloves National Championships alongside teammate Yumalay Rodriguez (60 pounds, 11-12 age division), who was unopposed at the Region VIII tournament and is currently 3-1. She is a fifth grader at Browns Valley Elementary.
“I want to thank my coaches, Jesús Solís, Jesús Martínez, Juan Martínez and my dad, Coach Billy. They are a big part of my boxing accomplishments,” Rodríguez said. “I feel like I have grown a lot in the past year. My teammates and coaches make me push harder and harder every day. I can’t wait to experience what this year will bring me into the ring.”
Added Solís, “Yumalay is a tough competitor. Don’t let her size fool you. She trains with the bigger kids and goes toe to toe with them. She brings a great energy to the gym and pushes her teammates to work harder. I expect great things from her.”
Martínez, a former Napa High football coach and currently an officer with Napa Police Department, explained the level of commitment the boxers need to be competitive.
“I can’t say enough about the work that has been put in by both Mateo and Yumalay, going into the Silver Gloves tournaments, especially regionals,” he said. “They have put in a tremendous amount of time in the gym and have pushed themselves to new levels. It’s nice to see their hard work pay off by their performance. Yumalay, unfortunately, did not get that match she wanted, but she will be challenged in Missouri at nationals.
“It has been a fun process the past year watching these kids grow in the sport of boxing and, as coaches, grow with them. We demand a lot from our kids, but we also demand a lot from ourselves as coaches. I’m extremely proud of our program and where we are headed,” he said.
As does Solís, who founded and ran the club from 1992-2002.
“In 1997, Al Amanecer Boxing Club was selected as the Best Team in Region VIII. These champions are continuing the club’s legacy and we anticipate continued success in and out of the ring,” Solís said. “It’s a team effort and our club couldn’t have this success without our volunteer coaches, Officer Jesús Martínez, conditioning coach Juan Martínez, Billy Rodríguez and Steve Solís.
“I also need to acknowledge the parents. Ernesto and Vicenta Segura have been very supportive and are often in the gym to encourage Mateo, in addition to making the long trips to tournaments. Billy and Lala Rodríguez are major club supporters both personally and through their business, Rancho Uva Blanka Family Wines. Billy is in the gym five days a week and has recently completed the training to become a certified boxing coach.”
The Silver Gloves National Championships will be held Feb. 8-12 in Independence, Mo. The club is seeking the community’s support to defray travel expenses for the boxers and volunteer coaches. The club is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and contributions are tax-deductible.
The club offers boxing classes for youth ages 7 to 18 as well as adult classes. The program is offered year-round and new members may join at any time.