Houston Golden Gloves Boxing Icons / Jesse Valdez
Jesse Valdez is considered one of the finest boxers that The City of Houston, Texas has ever produced. A native of Houston’s Northside he began his boxing career at The Red Shield Boxing Club, and would go on to become a bronze medal winning Olympic Champion as a member of The 1972 United States Olympic Team. Jesse won his first four Olympic matches by wide margins (5-0), (4-1), (4-1), and (5-0) with his lone loss coming to eventual gold medal winner Emilio Correa of Cuba, by a disputed (2-3) decision that left famed color commentator Howard Cossell, “Speechless”.
Jesse’s accomplishments in The Houston Golden Gloves and beyond are as follows.
Houston Golden Gloves Championships
1961 Junior Champion 100 lbs
1962 Novice Champion Bantamweight
1963 Open Champion Lightweight
1964 Open Champion Welterweight
1965 Open Champion Welterweight
1966 Open Champion Welterweight
1967 Open Champion Light Middleweight
1968 Open Champion Light Middleweight
Winner of The Elby Pettaway Outstanding Boxer Award in 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1968.
Texas State Golden Gloves Champion in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1972
U.S.A. National Golden Gloves Champion in 1967 and 1972
Pan-American Games Bronze Medal Champion 1967
U.S. Armed Forces Champion 1970, 1971, and 1972
Olympic Bronze Medal Champion 1972
Maurice “Termite” Watkins
Maurice “Termite” Watkins, is a Houston native, and was one of Kenny Weldon’s first boxing students, as well as his first National Amateur Champion. Termite was also the youngest ever at 16 years old, to achieve that goal. A 3-time Houston Golden Gloves Champion, he also boxed on the same United States National Boxing Team as Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, representing The United States of America in International competition. He would later turn professional and was a top-ten contender, once challenging Saoul Mamby for The W.B.C World Light Welterweight Championship. His professional record was 61 wins with 48 by knockout, 5 loses, 2 draws, and 1 no contest.
In 2004 Termite trained the Iraqi National Boxing Team and qualified boxer Najah Ali for The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Najah did compete in that tournament, winning one fight before being eliminated. In 2011 Termite was involved with the founding of The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym at The Fellowship of The Nations Church, and is currently involved with that faith based, boxing gym, coaching amateur and professional boxers of all experience levels and ages. The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym has been instrumental in the development of many elite boxers including Marlen Esparza, who trained there with her coach Rudy Silva of Elite Boxing, during the time leading up to the Olympic Games in which she competed in.
Chris McCoy, a young man who has trained at The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym since he was a beginner, will make his professional debut on June 8 in Houston, Texas, and is the first born and bred Fighter Nation boxer to turn professional under the guidance and instruction of Termite and The Fighter Nation Boxing Family!