USA Boxing Inc. brings a big punch to Jackie Robinson Park
Annual showcase for pugilism
Jackie Robinson Park in Sun Village hosted the Southern California Association’s USA Boxing Inc. annual Boxing Club Show on Sunday. Clubs from across the valley, Santa Clarita, Inland Empire, and as far away as San Diego came to pit their boxers against others in the ring.
The main gym at the park was nearly full of spectators. Friends, family, and fellow club members turned out to cheer on their fighters.
Jackie Robinson Park has its own boxing program. Three of the park’s students were on the card Sunday. A park volunteer, José Rodriguez, has coached boxing for 17 years and has been with Jackie Robinson Park for the past six. He currently has between 30 and 40 students under his tutelage, ranging in age from 8 to 30. Women and parents of his students are among those learning the ropes.
The boxing program is under the auspices of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Classes are only $10 per month. Rodriguez contrast the fees at the park to a local boxing club where membership and training costs are much higher. About parks and recreation, the coach says, “We’re here to help the kids.”
When asked which of the park’s students looks most promising for Sunday’s showcase, the coach offered the name Will Grier. He’s got “speed and power… One to watch out for.”
Jackie Robinson Park is the only place in the Antelope Valley that holds such events. Turnout at the showcase is usually large. In the past, the park has had enough contestants to stage between 20 and 30 matches. Sixteen bouts were on this year’s card. Rodriguez emphasized that this is a showcase, not a tournament. As such, each boxer takes home an award; the second-place finisher is given a plaque while the winner of the bout takes home a tall trophy. Recent Miss Sun Village and Miss Juneteenth pageant winners were on hand to present boxers with their awards.
Sunday’s exhibition began at 9 a.m. with the weigh-ins. Contestants were grouped by age and weight, then assigned to a bout. Following the weigh-in, a “mini physical” was conducted to determine each boxer’s physical readiness to fight. A doctor is always ringside during each and every match.
Nine judges scored the bouts, though only three at a time judge each match. Stella Livingston was one of the judges. She has been ringside as a boxing judge “for 10 or 15 years.” Livingston said the group of judges works about three events a weekend, totaling a hundred or so events during the year. With Livingston, boxing is a family affair. Her two daughters Sonya and Sooni are also judges. Both were present with Livingston at this showcase.
“You know we must be dedicated,” quipped Livingston. Daughter Sonya added that their cousin André Ward was a gold medal-winning boxer in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Their brother Donyil is a professional boxer. When Donyil began boxing, mother and daughters all became certified coaches. They later became licensed boxing judges.
Promptly at 1 p.m., Peg Lee of Jackie Robinson Park officially opened the showcase. An invocation followed, then the singing of the national anthem. Bridgett Orozco, dressed in a frilly red and green dress, sang several selections in Spanish during the break.
All bouts were scheduled for three rounds. The length of the rounds range from one minute to two minutes, depending on the age of the fighter; older boxers will have longer rounds.
This year’s showcase featured two female boxers. Stalacia Leggett of City Boxing in San Diego was in the first match of the day. It was also her first fight. During her warm-up she displayed strong punching skills. Though she went the distance against her opponent Crystal Lagunas of Team Sandoval, Leggett lost by decision. Evaluating her performance, she admitted she “wasn’t busy enough.” Leggett plans to return next year.
Plenty of action kept the crowd excited throughout every match. the punches were fast and furiously. So much so that during the fifth bout, Edgar Viveros’s corner literally threw in towel.
Carl Hill, boxing for the So Cal Fight Factory in Palmdale, won his match against Nicolas Seguras of Highlanders Boxing Club. “I owe it all to my trainer and God. He (trainer Chris Sparks) trained me so hard so I can be as good as I am in the ring,” Hill said following his victory.
In the 13th bout of the afternoon, Rodriguez’s prediction proved to be true. Will Grier won his match by judge’s decision. According to Rodriguez, Grier has had two fights and won both of them, the first by knockout. Grier has the makings of a good boxer. He listens to his coach and works well “up and down,” landing solid body punches amid frequents jabs to the head.
The final two matches of the afternoon went by very quickly. In the second to last bout, Chandy Pattiwilg won by walkover. (A walkover is called when the opponent fails to enter the ring within three minutes of the bell or his/her name being called). The final match was stopped by the referee in the second round after Mike Monroe of Monster Fitness sustained a bloody nose. José Hernandez of Al’s Boxing was declared the winner.
The event was very successful, but finished anticlimactically. With no other bouts scheduled, thecrowd left quietly, along with the boxers and their awards and trophies.
For more information on the boxing program at Jackie Robinson Park, contact Peg Lee or José Rodriguez at (661) 944-2880.
The students had been milling around, stretching and talking, but when Lil Tommy uttered the command, "Let’s get started,” they immediately quieted down and took their places on the hardwood floor. There is a full-length, wall-to-wall mirror in front of the room that Lil Tommy uses to keep an eye on his students as he puts them through their paces.
The A.V. community showed up hungry and in a festive mood for the annual Juneteenth celebration at Jackie Robinson Park in Sun Village last weekend. Presented by Friends of Jackie Robinson Park and Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, the event was billed as a “weekend of unity, sun, music, faith, food, and love.”
SUN VILLAGE, Calif.—The Friends of Jackie Robinson Park will host the 16th annual Sun Village Juneteeth Celebration in honor of 146 years of African American freedom.
It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemorative holiday honoring the end of slavery in the U.S.
June 19, or Juneteeth, provides a day of reflection and empowerment as African Americans across the country recognize the outstanding accomplishments and successes that Blacks have achieved.
Hundreds are expected to swarm on Sun Village to take part in those festivities.
The light has come to Sun Village! OK, it’s a traffic light, but still. And it has not actually arrived yet, but it’s on the way.
The traffic signal will be installed at the corner of 90th Street East and Avenue R, where Jackie Robinson Park is located.
Arguably the heart of Sun Village, the park boasts a community recreation building, children’s play areas, picnic areas and a gymnasium. Dozens of public events are held at the park throughout the year, along with various after-school functions and youth and adult sports programs.
As December drew to a close, many people reflected on the year that was and looked forward to the year that just arrived. For some, 2011 represents a fresh start. Others hope for a better year than the last one.
Four valley groups, the Lancaster Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the V2K H.E.L.P.E.R. Foundation, the Sun Village Town Council, and the Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce are filling their calendars with goals. Below, they share their purpose and outlook for 2011.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.