Austin Trout of Las Cruces moves in for a punch during his 152-pound semifinal fight Saturday in the New Mexico State Boxing Championships at Roy Walker Recreation Center. Trout won his fight to advance to today’s final. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
Boxing fans did their best to make sure the New Mexico State Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament never leaves Clovis again.
After a year hiatus in Albuquerque, the tourney returned to Roy Walker Recreation Center and the walls of the basketball gym-turned boxing arena were lined with fans.
“We were standing room only last night and just about standing room only tonight,” tournament organizer Chuck Haas said. The gym holds about 600 people. The championship session starts at 1:30 p.m. today, with the winners advancing to face a team of Colorado boxers.
“Most of its pretty good,” Haas said. “The kids try hard. That’s all we can say.”
Boxers mostly stood toe-to-toe in Saturday’s early matches, looked for an opening and unleashed a series of blows like pistons, just to repeat it a few moments later.
Elton Dancer, 15, of Clovis said he’s a casual boxing fan, watching a bout on television every once in a while. He said television can’t capture the feeling of being there.
“You can get more of it — the real version,” Dancer said.
People traveled from throughout the state to attend the matches.
A small section of the crowd started chanting, “Edgar, Edgar” for Hobbs’ Edgar Zubia, who topped Marcos Herrera of the Taos Los Tigres team.
“You can tell they like their boxing,” said Las Cruces’ Austin Trout, who hadn’t fought in Clovis before. “The crowd is lovely. They show you love, no disrespect.”
Trout was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Boxing team in Greece and Haas said he’s the biggest name competing this weekend. His punches sound painful as he warms up in an vacant corner of the gymnasium.
Trout’s fight in the 152-pound open division was stopped less than two minutes into match. His opponent, Clovis’ Billy Hughes, was making his amateur debut. Still, Trout lives up to his Christian principles, congratulating Hughes after the match and bending the ropes to make it easier for him to leave the ring.
“Anybody that goes in there has some kind of heart or skill,” Trout said.