Boxers look to Golden Gloves finals

Trevor Pellerite

After two successful semifinal matches on Saturday, April 10, all the USOEC boxers are poised to make deep runs into the championship round of the Golden Gloves Regional competitions this weekend. USOEC senior Ricky Alvarez and freshman Chris Pearson each earned a victory in their semifinal bouts in Racine, Wisc. and will advance in the competition, while four other athletes all had byes to the final round.

Saturday’s semifinals were a return to formal competition for both Alvarez and Pearson. Alvarez had not competed since last June. He won by decision on Saturday, beating Duarn Vue from the Sheboygan Boxing Club in the 132 pound weight class.

“He looked sharp,” said head coach Al Mitchell. “He kept the space, he listened, he stayed to the game plan. What I liked about him, he stayed behind the jab and he kept his spaces. The athlete was shorter than him and kept pressuring him, but because he kept the space, every time the athlete came to him he hopped back. He had him leaning in, he would counter him. He outboxed him so easy.”

Alvarez said that he was happy to be back into the swing of competition.

Senior USOEC athlete Ricky Alvarez (left) throws a punch while sparring during practice. Alvarez won by decision in the Golden Gloves semifinals on Saturday, April 10. It was his first bout since June of last year. // Trevor Pellerite/NW

“It felt good to finally get the ring rust out of me and ready to keep fighting. It feels good to be back in the ring, it’s just a great feeling,” he said.

According to Mitchell, Alvarez has shown flashes of brilliance in the past but failed to stay consistent in the following fight. He tried to take steps to fix that this year.

“What I did this semester, I put heavier work on him. He’s 132 (pounds), so I put the 152 on him, and make him fight ‘em back, made him hold his ground, box him back. I could see the difference in him in the competition,” Mitchell said, adding that he was excited to watch Alvarez’s championship fight. “He should be ready to go. Now he’s got the confidence, he knows he’s better than he thinks he is.”

Pearson finished his opponent in the 152 pound class with a first round knockout. Pearson explained that he fell early in the match after throwing a punch off-balance and that it had counted as a knockdown. Since his opponent was from Racine, the crowd got excited.

“When it happened, it was funny, because I saw how the crowd reacted, and I knew what it really was,” Pearson said. “I was kind of anxious, but I had to be smart, because in boxing, if you’re overanxious, you can get caught and then really get hurt.”

Pearson came back with focus and knocked his opponent to the mat twice to end the bout. Mitchell was impressed with Pearson’s ability to bounce back from the fluke knockdown.

“That match that he got dropped and got up, he showed me pose, calm, and discipline. He didn’t panic or nothing. He’s ready for anything,” Mitchell said.

Up next for the USOEC squad is the championship round of the Golden Gloves regional meet. Alvarez and Pearson will compete, along with sophomore Rafael Santos, Manuel Lopez, Hasim Rahman and Marquis Moore. Mitchell expects all his athletes to have success.

“Next Saturday, it looks like everybody should be on point, and what I mean by that is each guy looked better and better and better, so that means they’re coming along at the right time for the championship,” he said. He added that he thinks every one of his fighters has the ability to win their weight class.

With just days left before the championships, Mitchell has his squad perfecting their technique rather than working on fitness.

“We’re working on balance, we’re working on stepping around, staying behind the jab, and working on the angles,” Mitchell said. “And the most important thing, listening to me.”