‘Battle at Sparta’ boxing extravaganza raises money for Junior Olympian

EL CENTRO — The boxing extravaganza and fundraiser “Battle at Sparta” drew a crowd of fans to watch four solid hours of boxing competition as younger boxers and title contenders alike traded blows and punches Saturday evening in El Centro.


Twenty-six boxers in thirteen matches competed for honors and championship belts beginning with an exhibition match among the younger boxers followed by non-title bouts and later in the evening, the title bouts. The referee for the evening was Troy Loaiza.


Fernando Lara, founder of Sparta Boxing, talked about the first ever Battle of Sparta. “We are very fortunate that we had such a sold out event. It was a fantastic event. It was a great turn out,” Lara said.


Seats were at full capacity while other attendees stood or leaned against the fence of the arena. Cheering fans competed with the blaring of loud music and the more the boxers exchanged punches, the louder the shouts became. 


The highlight of the evening was the super heavyweight title bout between Richard “Killa Kam” Camarena of Sparta/Team Killa, against Phillip “Ninja” Green of Yuma, United Mixed Martial Arts. In the first round, Killa Kam was hit by Ninja enough to stop him for a few seconds. However, in the second round, Killa Kam regained his strength and threw a number of combination punches to knock Ninja down twice on the mat. On the third fall, Ninja did not recover. It was a TKO in the second round in 2:25 minutes. 


Supporters of both camps immediately rushed inside the ring and a heated exchange of words took place. But the secondary fight was foiled before it escalated. 


The first bell rang at 7:30 p.m. beginning with an exhibition match among the younger boxers including Esteban “Taco Tuesday” Price of Sparta Boxing versus Santi “El Torrito” Guijarro of Devil Dogs Boxing; Azalea “Chispita” Catalan of Home Team Boxing against Raechel Lerma of Devil Dogs Boxing; Geovonni “MT” Ortiz of Sparta Boxing versus Jose Luis Villagran of Yuma Fight Academy; Francisco “Cisco” Zarate of Yuma Fight Academy against Eric “El Gallo Negro” Lopez of Devil Dogs Boxing; and Hector “Zorrita” Velarde of Home Team Boxing versus Jesus “Chicali” Ramirez of Calexico Boxing Academy. 


Fighters in the four non-title bout competitions were as follows: Adam Gonzalez of 413 Gym/Romos Boxing versus Jose Virgen of Yuma Fight Academy; Eduardo “Striker” Jacobo of the U.S. Border Patrol El Centro against Steven Gonzalez of Borrego Springs Fire Department; Brian “Lefty” Grijalva of Sparta Boxing versus Damien “Ferocious” Vargas of Devil Dogs Boxing; and Cinthia “TNT” Garcia of Sparta Boxing versus Lizbeth Oceguera of Calexico Boxing Academy. 


In the remaining and final title bouts, Anthony “Bulldog” Gronich of Calexico Boxing Academy won against Jimmy “Pretty Boy” Puyot of Sparta/Garcia Boxing, while  


Ricky Calatayud of Robert Morales/Sparta Boxing won the lightweight title belt in a bout against Mario “Devil Dog” Valenzuela of Devil Dogs Boxing. 


Hector “Bill Collector” Manjarrez of 413 Gym/Sparta Boxing became the new middleweight title belt champion after beating David “Creature” Enriquez of Holtville/Team United, and as previously mentioned, Killa Kam won by TKO against Ninja to win the super heavyweight title belt. 


According to Lara, the professional ring announcer for the charity event, proceeds will be used to provide expenses for a boxer to participate in the 2017 National Junior Olympics in Charleston, VA in June. The other proceeds will be used for the rent, equipment, and maintenance of the gymnasium. 


Junior Olympic boxer Angel Muñoz was in a booth selling his promotional T-shirts and said he is going to participate in the 2017 National Junior Olympics. His first time in the Junior Olympics was in 2016. Muñoz said he is ranked number five in the nation in the 145 pound weight division. Participation in the Olympics will allow him to gain points that may lead to competing in future tournaments around the world, he said.