By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondant
Maybe it would have been a little out of place to sing Happy Birthday at a boxing event, what with the spit buckets and bloody noses and all. But Clovis’ Edgar Zubia did get a few birthday shout-outs directed his way after winning the 125-pound division at the state Golden Gloves competition on Sunday.
On his birthday, Zubia repeated a state title he earned last year and he’ll fight in the regional round – a state vs. state duel between New Mexicoand Colorado – this weekend in Denver. Winners from that competition will then fight at nationals, in Omaha, on April 23rd.
“Today I’m 20, I got a good birthday present,” said Zubia after winning a decision in the four-round championship bout against Jazzma Hogue of Kirtland. “He (Hogue) was real tough, real constant. He came straight to me – nothing real fancy. It was a good technical fight.”
Last year, Zubia also beat the Colorado champ at regionals and eventually lost in the Golden Gloves national quarterfinals.
“I’m looking to win it this year, not to just go up there and compete,” Zubia said. “I want to go to Omaha and come back as a national champion.”
Zubia was one of six Clovis fighters in championship matches on the last day of the event, held at Roy Walker Recreation Center.
Two of the Clovis pugilists were in the same fight, the title bout of the 152-pound division, as Elias Huerta stopped Jose Rodriguez in a technical knockout 40 seconds into the second round.
Huerta, a student at Clovis Community College, had taken up the sport only recently although he did say that it was a family tradition to box.
“This is my second month in training for boxing,” said Huerta, 23, who grew up in Roswell and Dexter. “My dad and my grandpa were boxers also. My dad was one fight away from Golden Gloves (champion) when he was in Golden Gloves. I was just trying to do the same, trying to win it.”
In other action, Las Cruces’ Enrique Vasquez defeated Andre Harrison of the Four Corners boxing club for Vasquez’ second straight state title at 119 pounds. Albuquerque’s Archie Ray Marquez got a TKO over Kirtland’s Shanitu Hogue at 132 while, at 201 pounds, Las Cruces’ Daniel Carbajal knocked out Raton’s Jesse James Johnson in the second round.
In the 141-pound championship, Clovis’ Kevin Mah fell to Taos’ Marcos Herrera – a fighter that was competing in the 125-pound division only last year. Another Clovis boxer, Andrew Tapia, lost in the 165-pound finale to Las Cruces’ Siju Shabazz. Two years ago, Shabazz was state and regional crowns and advanced to the national event.
Teddy Draper of Clovis took on Albuquerque’s Jessie Correa in the 178-pound championship. In a closely-contested bout, Draper had to retire at the start of the third round thanks to an injury to his right shoulder suffered in the first round. A ringside medical official asked Draper to raise both hands into the air and, when the Clovis boxer couldn’t raise his right hand, the fight was stopped.
“I didn’t throw any rights in the second round,” Draper said. “I did allright for one-handed.”