“El Catracho” Garcia wins A.B.O. Featherweight Title

The main event of last night’s Leland D Promotions,”Pistolero’s in Pasadena” professional boxing card in Pasadena, Texas, saw Jose “El Catracho” Garcia win the A.B.O.(American Regional) Featherweight Championship, over Christian Faz by fifth round technical knockout.

Faz, fighting out of Dallas, Texas via Houston, Texas, came into the bout as A.B.O. (American Regional) Featherweight Champion and Garcia, fighting out of Houston, Texas came into the bout on a seven fight undefeated streak, which put him into position for his shot at the A.B.O. title.

Coming into the main event, the crowd at the Pasadena Convention Center had already been treated to five excellent under-card bouts, and were ready for an action packed main event, cheering loudly for both contender and champion during their walk-ins and ring entrances.The high energy crowd was also very vocal and supportive of their respective favored fighters during their introductions as well as the introductions of referee James Green, along with judges Barry Yates, Eva Zaragoza, and Gary Simons.

Garcia and Faz did not disappoint, starting off the first round getting straight to business, throwing and landing heavy punches, and both trying to assert his dominance over the other. Both boxers did great work during the fist round with Garcia landing more combinations but Faz landing the harder punches, in an even round fought at a brisk pace, that left the crowd cheering wildly.

The second round was a continuation of the first with both men coming on strong, throwing and landing hard punches, and neither man backing down. A good round by both boxers but Garcia did the best work of the round with quick, linear punches thrown with good technique, and the better footwork. Although Faz likely lost the round, it was still a hotly contested round and he was able to cut Garcia over his left eye, as well as land heavy counter punches, and shots to the body.

Garcia’s corner, which consisted of legendary Houston boxing Coach Ray Ontiveros and Ray Ontiveros Jr, did an excellent job with Garcia’s cut between the second and third rounds though, stopping the flow of blood from the cut for the remainder of the contest. They also did an excellent job instructing Garcia between the second and third rounds because he came out for the third round motivated and determined to take control of the bout, by turning up his punch rate,and landing solid punches from all angles. Faz was still game and had his moments, but it started to become evident that Garcia came into the bout the better prepared boxer in conditioning, technique and strategy.

In the fourth round Garcia continued working at an amazing rate, landing combination punches throughout the entire round and moving very effectively. Faz began to take more punches while landing less but he was still landing hard punches to the body when he could and still appeared determined to turn the fight around, moving forward the whole round and trying to land a momentum changing punch. It was clearly a Garcia round though and he seemed to be catching his second wind as Faz looked to be fading.

In the fifth round Garcia landed at will while Faz definitely looked to be on his way out. While Faz was still trying, he seemed to be spent and Garcia was now able to land hard combinations without getting hit with anything hard in return. Near the end of the round Garcia ducked a wide left hook from Faz and came up with a left, right, left, right combination to the head that knocked Faz down hard. Faz gamely rose from the canvas at the count of five and he advised referee James Green that he was ready to continue, but his corner wisely motioned to the referee they wanted the fight stopped and he did so, making Garcia the winner by T.K.O. at two minutes and thirty four seconds of the fifth round.

With his win Garcia ran his record to eight wins with zero loses, and he became the new American Boxing Organiztion (A.B.O.)American Regional Featherweight Champion.

The undercard results were as follows:

Richard Hutton (Houston, Texas) won a four round decision over Kenyotta Henderson (Tyler, Texas) at 180 pounds
Oscar Sanchez (Houston, Texas) and Julio Macotela (San Antonio, Texas) fought to a four round draw at 126 pounds
Adrian Santoyo (Houston, Texas) won by TKO over Keith Miles (San Antonio, Texas) at 160 pounds
Jimmy Strickland (Houston, Texas) won a four round decision over Adam Ealoms (Bryan/College Station, Texas) at 154 pounds
Ivan Vasquez (Houston, Texas, via Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico) won by T.K.O. over Christopher Jackson (Tyler, Texas) at 170 pounds

Fighter Profile / Gagan “Pitbull” Sharma

gagan pitbull sharma

Amateur Record:  42-3   All India Bronze Medalist

Pro Record:  5-1  with 2 wins by knockout

Weight: Super Middleweight

Height:    5’10

Stance: Left Handed

I recently was able to interview All India Bronze Medalist and Captain of The Super Boxing Leauge’s Dehli Gladiators, Gagan “Pitbull” Sharma. A humble and friendly young man but at the same time, highly ambitious, this young man is sure to bring excitement when he steps into the ring.

The “Pitbull” has signed a contract with Martinez Boxing International and has come to Houston to advance his professional boxing career under Coach David Martinez.  Coach Martinez has been busy building, training, and managing a growing stable of elite, professional boxers and has brought in Sharma with hopes of a World Championship in the near future. Intrigued by the enthusiasm and excitement of Coach Martinez concerning his newest prospect, I decided to learn more about him and conducted an interview with Sharma, prior to a recent workout at Martinez Boxing Gym.

Clutch City Boxing: Sharma, how did you get started in boxing and where did you begin your boxing journey?

Pitbull Sharma: I began my boxing journey at home in Chandigarth, India, being trained by my father and brother.  My father was a boxer in his youth but had to stop in order to support his family, and I began boxing because I loved it and I want to keep the family boxing tradition going. My father and my brother have supported me 100% throughout my boxing career and they are the main persons responsible for guiding me through the amateurs and up to this point in professional boxing.

CCB:  Sharma, what are some of your accomplishments in boxing thus far?

PS:  As an amateur I won a bronze medal in an All India Boxing Tournament and as a professional I am the Team Captain for The Super Boxing League’s, Dehli Gladiators.

CCB:  I’m not familiar with The Super Boxing League, can you tell me a little more about that?

PS:  The Super Boxing League is a professional, tournament styled boxing league, started by Amir Khan. The league features eight weight classes and the best boxers from India and Asia compete against each other in four round bouts.  In my last bout, which was a Super Boxing League bout, I knocked out an opponent from Thailand, in the fourth round.

CCB:  What is your boxing philosophy and how would you describe your boxing style?

PS:   My approach, philosophy, and style is based on my boxing idol and favorite boxer Mike Tyson, which is seek and destroy, behind a peek-a-boo, defensive guard.

CCB:  Sharma, I noticed your first professional bout resulted in the only professional loss on your record, how did that come about and what gave you the determination to continue after starting off with a loss?

PS:  I have no excuses I fought a tough opponent, who is still undefeated to this day, and I lost by a split decision on points. From the very beginning of my amateur and especially professional career, I have always wanted to fight the best competition available.  I chose to fight an undefeated boxer in my pro debut, rather than build my record fighting mediocre opponents who would offer little resistance, just to build my record. It was a great way to start my professional career, and a learning experience, and I have since made the necessary adjustments to win my last five bouts.

CCB:  You seem to have a fearless approach and that’s very commendable, especially in today’s boxing culture. From what you are telling me, it seems like you are ready and willing to fight anyone

PS: Yes sir, I came to Houston, Texas because I wanted the best training possible, so that I can win a world title. It makes no difference to me who I fight, I just want to fight, and I want to fight the best competition available.

CCB: So if Coach Martinez told you today that he lined up a world title bout for you, you would not hesitate to take that bout this early in your career?

PS: Like I said before sir, I came here to win a world championship and fight the best competition available. Nothing would make me happier than to fight for a world title, and I will accept any challenge at any time.

CCB: One last question Sharma, when will we get an opportunity to see you in the ring?

PS: We don’t have any contracts signed for any bouts as of this moment, but we are working on something for late September or early October. I’m ready right now though, I’ve been training hard and sparring the best sparring partners in town.  I can’t wait to get back in the ring and show Houston, and the world what Pitbull Sharma is capable of!

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

Born: March 31, 2021 in Galveston, Texas
Died: June 10, 2021
Nickname: The Galveston Giant
Weight: Heavyweight
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Stance: Orthodox
Recorded boxing record: 104 total fights, 73 wins with 40 by knockout, 13 loses, 10 draws, and 5 no contests

First Black Heavyweight Champion and held his title from 1908-1915

Was awkward for his age as a young child because he grew tall at an early age and had yet to develop his coordination. Also helped his father with his custodian duties at his school, which is an admirable thing, but was bullied and made fun of by his classmates for it, resulting in fights which he mostly got the worst of because he was afraid to fight. After his mother saw him come home bloodied and bruised one too many times she gave him an ultimatum, start fighting back or get beat by her when he got home.

After fighting back a few times he found that with his size and speed he was actually pretty good at fighting and was never bullied again.

Left school fairly early and began working many different jobs around Galveston and throughout Texas because he was easily bored and didn’t believe in the slow and steady lifestyle, because he dreamed of big things. Took a job on the Galveston waterfront docks and began getting even better at fighting when he found that the workers on the dock were a rough bunch that fought frequently. Him being younger than most but big for his age, made him a target for older workers and he won the majority of those fights. Johnson said this about his time on the docks: “I worked with some of the toughest,most hard boiled men imaginable. To them fighting was one of the important functions of existence”.

Began learning more about boxing in Dallas, at a job he held where the boss liked watching his friends and workers spar each other. Later moved to New York and learned even more boxing after living with a professional welterweight boxer named Barbados Joe, and later working as a janitor in a gym owned by a German heavyweight.

Later returned to Galveston, again working in several different jobs but this time he began fighting in unsanctioned, underground boxing contests held in back alleys, bar rooms, the beach, private boxing clubs, and the streets of Galveston. Boxing was still illegal in those days and there was still no organized amateur boxing program in Galveston, so these bouts served as his “amateur career”.

Johnson said this about his time in his life: ” I took up boxing, not with any intention of engaging in it as a profession, but because it seemed necessary for me to learn something of the science in order to pit myself against the fighting groups with whom I associated”.

Johnson won more often than he lost but he was still relatively green as far as boxing skills went, and although better than most, he was still learning.

Made his professional debut in 1898, in Galveston, Texas beating Charley Brooks by knockout in the third round, earning what was called “The Texas State Middleweight Title”.

By 1899 he felt he had beaten everyone worth beating in Galveston and went to Chicago, where boxing was thriving, took on all comers there, as well as worked as a sparring partner to make ends meet.

Returned home to Galveston to help his family after they lost everything in the hurricane of 1900 and continued working , as well as fighting, in and around the Galveston area.

Took a fight in 1901 that would prove to be a life changing event as well as a blessing in disguise, after losing the fight by knockout to professional veteran Joe Choynski. After losing to Choynski he and Choynski were arrested by Texas Rangers and ended up spending 24 days in jail together. Choynski, who was more experienced in professional boxing than Johnson, took the opportunity to teach Johnson some of the more advanced aspects professional boxing, namely defense. Choynski reportedly told Johnson, ” A man who can move like you should never have to take a punch”.

After this time Johnson began honing his skills and style, eventually becoming known as a master craftsman who could also punch hard with both hands. Johnson had a counter-punching style, and was known to get stronger as the rounds went on, using his defense to tire out his opponents, then taking them out.

In 1908 Johnson won the heavyweight title in Sydney, Australia, beating Tommy Burns by knockout. Johnson held the heavyweight title until 1915 and would have held it longer had the boxing community and the United States Government not had conspired to attack his personal and professional life, causing him to have to leave the country and go into exile, while holding the title.

Even with the odds Johnson faced and the unfair treatment he received, he is still considered an all-time top ten heavyweight by the majority of the boxing community including The Ring Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN Boxing writers.


Space City Graphics and Little Cancun

Local boxing coach Marco Renteria, owner/operator of Marcor Trucking is now passing on business lessons as well as boxing lessons to his children Gilbert, Brianna, Mark, Josh, and David (KB).

In a recent interview with Marco we spoke a little about him helping his kids get started in business as well as teaching them the value of working hard for themselves and each other. I mentioned to Marco how I have seen all of his children helping out at the newly opened businesses of Gilbert and Brianna Renteria, and Marco stated, “Yes Lou, they all have to understand that if they want to have things in life, they have to work for it, even the young ones”.

With that being said, 2018 has been a busy one for The Renteria Family with two new business ventures begun and everyone pitching in to make sure these ventures are successful ones.

Space City Graphics is owned and operated by elite boxer Gilbert Renteria, and is located at 5310 East Sam Houston Parkway, Suite G, Houston, Texas, 77015. The business is a graphics and marketing specialty shop specializing in graphic design screen sprinting, embroidery, and digital printing. Space City offers anything from t-shirts, banners, coozies, car wraps, channel letters, signs and much more. Gilbert and his Space City Graphics Team put as much dedication, excellence, and integrity in their work as Gilbert has been known to do in his boxing pursuits. The team takes pride in offering the best work and best prices in town and are off to an outstanding start in business, getting high praises from their customers, including the writer of this article.

Little Cancun is owned and operated by Brianna Renteria and is located at 17950 West Lake Houston Parkway, Humble, Texas, 77346. The restaurant serves specialty drinks, fruit cups, mangonadas, ceviche, ice cream, milkshakes, many different types of snacks, both Mexican and American styled, raspas, and much more.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a trial
grand opening at Little Cancun and was able to taste several different snacks and drinks. Every snack and drink I tried was delicious and once again I was very impressed with this family. Everyone from parents Marco and Enedina, to Gilbert, Mark, Josh, and David(KB) helped Brianna around the shop and it was evident that Little Cancun will be a very successful family business as are Marcor and Space City Graphics.

The same principles that have made Marco and his family successful in boxing are now serving them well in business, and those principles are: hard work, integrity, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

For the best work and best prices in town for any of your marketing or printing needs, contact Gilbert at Space City Graphics.

For delicious food and drink and a taste of Cancun without having to travel to Cancun, visit Brianna at Little Cancun.

Fighter Profile / Alex Morales

Alex Morales:     Weight: Super-Middleweight/ Stance: Orthodox/ Pro Record: 2 wins 2 by knockout, 0 loses, 0 draws

In a recent personal conversation with Everett “Bigfoot” Martin, he suggested that I focus more of my time and energy on the young fighters in Houston who may have not had the chance to achieve some of the things he and other Houston “OG’s” have, but are out there trying to represent Houston.  I agreed wholeheartedly, thanked “Big Foot” and he finished the conversation by telling me, “Lou, those young guys need the recognition and attention more than us old guys do, we had our time, it’s their turn to shine.”

With respect to “Bigfoot” here is the first of this form of article I’m calling “Fighter Profiles”, introducing a young man with a very inspiring story, local super-middleweight Alex Morales.

Lucky Lou: Alex how did you get started in boxing and where did you get your start?

Alex Morales: I got my start at Mena’s Boxing Club with Coach Howard Mena. I need to back up a little though and explain the circumstances. I have known Coach Howard for many years as a family friend but up until about three years ago, I hadn’t seen him in a long time. He contacted me out of the blue one day and told me he had just opened up a boxing gym near the area where I lived and asked if I would come help him build the gym. I helped him put everything together in the gym and after we were done, he said he wanted to train me in boxing. I was 25 years old, badly out of shape [about 250 pounds], had a poor diet, smoked cigarettes, and didn’t drink anything but cokes.

LL: So I assume you weren’t very enthusiastic about starting up in boxing at the time?

AM: No sir, I resisted, told him I thought I was too old to start and didn’t initially listen when he said I could be a boxer. I think I may have even told him, “You’re crazy old man, it’s too late for me to start”.

LL: What changed your outlook?

AM: Well Coach Howard is a stubborn man and he kept insisting so I eventually gave in and went to his gym.

LL: Was it hard at first?

AM: Yes very hard, I went there thinking I was going to punch bags and what not, but before I could punch even one bag coach Howard made me work on something he called “The Line” which is just what it’s called, a line, taped to the floor that is used to perform a series of balance exercises. With me being overweight at the time and not used to these type of exercises, “The Line” was tough and to make it worse it’s almost the only thing I did for about a month because that’s what Coach Howard said I needed work on!  So during that time I met the other two coaches there, Joe Rodriguez and Ricky Stoner, and I started to become addicted to the workout, especially once I was able to do more than just the line exercises!

Although I was getting in shape I would still get discouraged and “quit” for a couple of days here and there, but I always came back.Slowly my weight started dropping and my conditioning began to become the conditioning of a boxer, meaning soon I would be ready to begin sparring.

LL: The fun part, right?

AM: I went into it with no fear and I sparred whoever was available, because by this time I had been bitten by the boxing bug and knew this was something I wanted to do. So many times I was sparring with professional boxers from the area and from Mexico, and took my fair share of butt whuppings, but it built mental toughness and endurance. No matter how bad it looked at times, the old man [Howard] kept telling me that I was going to be a world champ one day and I started to believe it was possible.

About a year and a half into my training I was ready for my first amateur fight, which was going to be held in Pasadena, at The Dynasty Boxing Promotions Gym. A funny thing happened before my first bout though.

I was busy working at a plant and training for my first amateur fight when I started talking to my foreman one day about my upcoming match. I didn’t know my foreman personally but we started talking and he asked me when and where I was going to fight. I told him at The Dynasty Boxing Promotions Show and he immediately laughed and said, “No you’re not”. I was a bit confused and he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, read it and said my name wasn’t on the sheet. You see my foreman ended up being Jesse Morales, Owner/Operator of Dynasty Promotions Boxing Gym! I had been training to fight at his show but had not been matched up yet, which is why my name wasn’t on the bout sheet! Luckily I was able to get matched and I did fight, and win at that show, which was the beginning of my boxing career.

LL: You mentioned earlier that you have only been in boxing for about three years, and with two professional wins already under your belt, your amateur career must have been pretty short?

AM: Yes I had two amateur fights fighting under the Mena’s Boxing Club banner and I ended up training and fighting out of Dynasty Promotions Boxing Gym, under the instruction of Jesse Morales for my last three amateur fights. When I left the amateur ranks I had a 4-1 record. My last amateur bout was my proudest moment in the ring so far because my opponent was really good, and tough, he was left handed, and I came into that bout with nothing physically because of a bad weight cut. My opponent was actually maybe the better boxer that night, but I was determined to stop him inside the distance,and going on mostly pure determination, I was able to stop him and get the win. Once I got that last amateur bout in, my Coach Jesse Morales told me I was ready for my first professional bout. Although I was now training full time at The Dynasty Promotions Boxing Gym, I brought in Howard Mena and Joe Rodriguez to help me prepare for my first pro fight, because I knew I needed their help as well, and I wanted them in my corner.

LL: This obviously worked well because you got that first win along with another win since then, leaving you with a 2-0 with 2 KO’s record at this time correct?

AM: Definetly! With Jesse Morales, Howard Mena, and Joe Rodriguez in my corner, I won my first pro fight with a tremendous, one-punch knockout in 43 seconds! My second pro bout was a little tougher because my opponent had an iron chin and was trying his best to win, but I still was able to stop him in the fourth round.

LL: Well Alex it’s been nice getting to know you better and your story is a very inspiring and motivating one for anyone out there that may be out of shape and headed to a road of bad health. You were able to not only leave behind some bad habits and lose weight, you got yourself into fighting condition, which is something very few people can do, with the great demands that boxing makes on a persons mind, body and soul. Is there anything you want to say in parting?

AM: Yes, I want to thank Howard, Joe, and Ricky at Mena’s Boxing, along with Jesse Morales at Dynasty Boxing, for everything that I have learned from them and all the hard work they have put into me. I give it my all everyday because my coaches have always given me their all. I’m still working to perfect my diet and conditioning routine and I believe I can compete as a middleweight in the future. I know I have a long way to go and a lot to learn but I live life one day at a time and I know that I will be a Champion one day! This is my story, Alex Morales super-middleweight, soon to be middleweight boxer and future world champion.