Chris “Hard Hittin” Henry

Chris “Hard Hittin” Henry
Born: 3/28/81 Died: 8/15/15
Hometown: Orange, Texas
Pro Record:26-2 with 21 KO’s
Fought out of Houston, Texas
NABF,NABA,IBA,USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion
Notable Wins: (SD)Rayco Saunders,(TKO)Derrick James,(TKO)Hugo Garay,(TKO)Rubin Williams,(TKO)Shaun George

Lost a disputed decision for the WBC World Light Heavyweight Title against Romanian Champion Adrian Diaconu in Romania

Golden Triangle Boxing
Bobby Benton and Chris Henry
Felix Cora Jr (left) Chris Henry (right)
Chris Henry celebrates after knocking out Shaun George

Noe “Skinny Boy” Lopez

Pro boxing record: 8 wins 2 loses and 1 draw

Lives in: Houston, Texas by way of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico.

Weight class: Junior Welterweight (140)

Height: 5’10”

Coach’s name: Rene Vasquez

Club name: Legions Boxing Gym

How did you get involved in boxing: Boxing was always around the family since I was a kid. For all the big fights the whole family would get together and watch. During the week my Dad would re-watch the fights on a daily basis, lol. I also have a cousin, Miguel Martin Lopez out of Baytown, that fought. Soon enough I jumped in the gym and have been at it since the age of 14.

Amateur record: 10-3….I think. I didn’t have many, I hated the politics of amateur boxing.

What do you love most about boxing: Everything, the training and the discipline, the way it can have you on cloud 9 one day, then humble you the next. It just represents life, a daily fight and struggle to push through and win.

What are your goals in and out of the ring: The goal is to be great in my own way, to be remembered by people for something that they can look up to and say, “Oh look he did it his way through all the obstacles, so why can’t I do it?”

Pre-fight ritual: Just relax before a fight, load up on some chocolate and coffee, hug my kids, say a prayer and go to war.

What is your greatest strength in the ring: I believe my greatest strength is my intelligence, ring IQ. Even though I like to bang it out sometimes, my good, educated jab and ring IQ is what separates me.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and why? Biggest inspiration is my family, from my kids to my aunts and uncles driving across the state to watch my fights. Hearing them all at my fights is the ultimate inspiration to keep pushing.

Did you ever compete in any other sports: Played a little soccer and loved basketball but once I started boxing, that was it.

Career highlights to this point: Just making it this far, wins, loses, and draws are all accomplishments to me. With a limited amateur career and being a full-time worker, as well as parent, to make it this far is success to me.

Five things most people don’t know about you: Not much people don’t know about me, I’m pretty outspoken and a lot of people know me. I’m just a regular, working family man with a great love for boxing.

American Hero: Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring

In boxing we often hear sordid stories of unscrupulous characters that operate behind the scenes, and fighters that probably aren’t the best role models, other than their ability to box at the highest levels of the sport/business.

Although the same things happen in other professional sports, boxing seems to get always get the bad reputation of being somewhat of a home for the people you like watching on television but wouldn’t likely invite into your home for dinner.

Every now and then though a person comes along with a story that proves that the sweet science can also save lives and help to mold men and women into persons we can be proud of as well as look up to, in the ring and in life.

I was fortunate enough to meet one of those people recently. His name is Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and he also happens to be The WBO World Junior Lightweight Champion.

His story is an inspiring one that although has it share of sadness and difficulty, is a story of perseverance and victory on the biggest stages of life, as well as within the day to day struggles that many of us face.

Born and raised in Coram, New York, Herring boxed as a teen but didn’t really see boxing as a way out of the tough circumstances he was in, including seeing some of his childhood friends hanging out on the streets, selling drugs, and even worse in some cases.

Fate had a better plan for Herring though and when a young man that he considered his best friend, Stephen Brown joined the Marines, it would prove to be a move that would also play in important part of the rest of the life of the young boxer. Reason being, was because when Stephen Brown completed his basic training and so forth, and was able to come back home to Coram, New York for the first time, he was able to convince a then seventeen year old Herring, that The United States Marines could be a good place for him as well.

Herring did in fact join the Marines and not long after he did, his best friend Stephen Brown died after a battle with lung cancer. It would be one of the first but not the last bouts of adversity that Herring would battle. A veteran of two deployments in Iraq, he also battled the horror of seeing many men and women who he had worked with, die while serving their country in the war in Iraq. He didn’t realize it at the time but the memories of life lived while at war and of the people he came to know that died there, would come back to haunt him later when he would be forced to battle (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Then in 2009 he faced the worst situation any person could face when he lost his newborn daughter Ariyanah, who was born on May 25, 2009, Memorial Day, to sudden infant death syndrome. This threw him into a tailspin and he stopped training as well as socializing with his friends, and began drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism.

After spending months on a path of self-destruction he felt his daughter’s presence one day and felt she wouldn’t want to see him throw his life away, and he decided that he would turn his life around and fight harder in honor of his daughter.

He became a stronger, more determined person and fighter than before and before long won an Armed Forces Title, then a U.S.A. Boxing National Title, and eventually a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, where he represented our country in the 2012 Olympics. He would lose his first bout in the tournament but as the team captain of the US Boxing Team, displayed true leadership in encouraging and supporting his teammates, rather than sulking or making excuses.

He decided to go from the amateur to the professional ranks in boxing in 2012, and retired from The Marines at that time, in order to focus his full-time attention on his professional boxing career. Herring found mostly success in the professional ranks and was seemingly on his way to a world title shot, when he began feeling the effects of (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, several years ago. This came in direct relation to his two tours of combat duty as a Marine, in his service to our country.

He initially struggled and suffered in his battle with PTSD, beginning to drink again and going through mood swings. He wasn’t successful at first because he felt it was just another battle he had to fight on his own, as he had wired himself to do for many years, and didn’t realize that PTSD was an opponent that he couldn’t beat alone.

His wife Jen was finally able to convince him to seek help in this battle and after taking that first step in admitting that this was a battle he may not be able to win alone, he began speaking to therapists and slowly making improvements.

It hasn’t been an easy battle and it’s an ongoing battle that these few paragraphs can’t begin to be able to sufficiently describe. Fighting is what Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring does best though, and he’s since been able to win more than lose in his daily battles with PTSD.

The greatest testament to Herring’s warrior spirit and refusal to give up, was his winning his first World Championship on May 25th of this year.

This special accomplishment was made extra special because it came on what would have been his daughter Ariyanah’s 10th birthday, as well as Memorial Day. Herring dedicated that win to his daughter’s memory and in an true gesture of graciousness, later returned the WBO belt he had just won to his vanquished opponent Masayuki Ito, in his dressing room.

What makes “Semper Fi” an American hero in this writer’s opinion is not the fact that he is a World Champion, but the fact that he was able to defy all odds and every difficulty he’s experienced in life, and still be able to accomplish such a great feat.

As well as his perspective that as a World Champion and someone who has been blessed with a second chance, it is his duty to give back to others who may be fighting the same battles. He does this by graciously and generously sharing his story and time with others every chance he gets.

He even recently traveled to Houston, Texas on his wedding anniversary, to share his story and spend time with military veterans who are also battling PTSD, at The PTSD Foundation of America/ Camp Hope, letting the unsung heroes there know that they also, are not alone!

You can catch Herring on ESPN Plus on November 9th, when he defends his WBO Junior Lightweight Title against Lamont Roach Jr.

Rafael “Tiger” Medina

  • Lives in: Houston, Texas
  • Weight Class: 154 pounds. Super-Welterweight/ Junior Middleweight
  • Coach: Rafael Medina Sr
  • Club Affiliation: Clutch City Boxing
  • Amateur Record: 120 wins 20 loses

How did you get involved in boxing?

I was a chubby kid and my father began training me in boxing at the age of 7 to get me in shape. The training was a wake up call but at the same time I loved it. At the age of 8, I began boxing as an amateur and as the years go on I find myself falling more and more in love with the art of boxing.

What do you like most about boxing?

I honestly don’t believe there is anything to dislike about boxing. It allows me to improve my health, satisfy my competitive nature, test my limits, and bond with my father all at the same time.

What are your goals inside and outside of the ring?

To become a world champion and live a long, happy life alongside my loved ones.

Pre-fight ritual?

Relax, listen to music and pray, it’s just another day to me at this point.

What is your greatest strength in the ring?

Having 13 years of experience , I find it easy to adjust to awkward and difficult situations.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?

My father, because he has always been an amazing, hard working, tough, role model, while still showing that loving side a dad should. Truly everything I strive to be when it comes to being a man.

Did you ever play any other sports?

Not much other than swimming and running, although I do enjoy watching most contact sports.

Career highlights:

  • 2007-2015 Houston Golden Gloves Youth Champion
  • 2011 National Silver Gloves Finalist
  • 2008-2016 HORN Tournament Champion
  • 2008-2016 Games of Texas Boxing Champion
  • 2016 Houston Golden Gloves Senior /Open Division Champion
  • 2016 Texas State Champion
  • 2016 National Golden Gloves Finalist, 2nd place

What motivates you the most?

The dream of providing for my family, while living the dream of being a world champion.

What are 5 things most people don’t know about you?

  • I plan on majoring in philosophy
  • I’ve never been to a party or club
  • I graduated in the top 10% of my high school graduating class
  • I prefer swimming over running
  • I have a boxing gym at home

Fighter Profile - Juan Torres

Professional boxing record: 3 wins 2 loses and 1 draw. Pro MMA record 9 wins and 15 loses. From Houston, Texas (Spring Branch) now residing in Huntsville, Texas.

action photo courtesy of

A bilingual teacher by day and professional MMA fighter and boxer at all other times, as well as a dedicated parent and family man, Juan Torres is a busy man by anyone’s standards.

He was last seen in the professional boxing ring challenging highly touted Top Rank promoted boxer, Peter Kadiru in June of this year. Kadiru was a decorated amateur star, fighting out of Germany, who is currently being groomed to make a big splash on the world heavyweight boxing scene.

Torres, on the other hand is a mostly self-managed fighter who was brought in on short notice, with no amateur boxing background, a full-time job, and was likely brought in as an easy opponent who would allow Kadiru to add to his highlight reel.

Someone forgot to tell Torres this though, as he came into the bout with no fear and a confident presence that said, ” I belong here and I’m here to win”. Torres unfortunately lost a four round decision, but he gave a good account of himself and had the more experienced German star fighting in a uncharacteristically safety first manner, mostly jabbing and moving around the ring to avoid the power and surprisingly similar skill set of Torres.

Torres admitted he hasn’t always came into his fights in the best of shape or made the best business decisions concerning his MMA and boxing careers, but he is quickly learning what it takes to be successful.

He also feels that his dedicated work with Hit City Boxing’s Mike Hamilton and Fearless Boxing’s Ernest Johnson, is helping boost his learning curve tremendously, as he feels he is absorbing the knowledge and experience of these two great coaches, giving him the best chance of success in the professional boxing arena.

When I asked Torres why he hasn’t gone the safe route in boxing or MMA and pad his record with a few easy wins while he learns on the job, and he stated, ” Well first of all I want to challenge myself at all times and face the best competition possible, so that I can build a fighting legacy to be proud of in the future. Secondly but more importantly, I fight to help support my family in the best way possible, and I feel like I would be cheating the public by asking them to pay to watch me beat up a person that poses no threat to me.”

With this admirable outlook and approach to the game, Torres has quickly earned the respect of his fighting peers and he hopes to be able to do big things in the near future, to keep “H-Town” on the map as a fighting city of champions.

Torres is currently looking towards returning to the ring in October on a local card, then back on a Top Rank show in November, so stay tuned and support him and all your local fighters!

Fighter Profile - Ivan Vasquez

2018 Clutch City Boxing Prospect of The Year, Ivan Vasquez has a professional boxing record of 3 wins and 0 loses with 3 knockouts, and is ready to take his career to the next level.

He has fought in 4 round bouts thus far and even though he has yet to be taken the 4 round distance, as his knockout record suggests, he stated he is looking to venture into 6 round bouts after his fight this Saturday at The El Tigre Promotions, Terrenos Houston Fight Night, in Conroe, Texas.

Trained and managed by his father Jose Luis Vasquez, himself a former professional boxer, Ivan is one of the brightest prospects in the Houston area and is determined to inject himself into the world rankings in the near future.

Ivan Vasquez prepares for his fourth professional bout

Vasquez currently campaigns in the 160 pound division but as he told me yesterday in a short interview, he has his sights on anyone in the top ten world rankings in the 154 pound division as well. At six feet tall with a long reach, excellent fundamental skills, and a tremendous work ethic, he presents a formidable presence in the prize fighting ring and will surely be heard from on the big boxing stages very soon.

Vasquez has in fact, had two opponents fall out in the last three months, and this is part of the reason he and his team are looking to venture into 6 round fights soon, as the 6 round fighters are tougher, more professional, and less likely to have a last minute change of heart.

Atzlan Boxing Gym, Houston, Texas

Ivan Vasquez has grown up in and around the boxing ring at his father’s Atzlan Boxing Gym in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston, Texas and his skills, ring awareness, and calmness gives the impression of a seasoned professional, even though he only has three pro bouts at this time.

He has been working hard for his fight this weekend and has been sparring some of the best young talent in town in Austin “Ammo” Williams and Raphael “Trouble” Igbokwe at The Main Street Gym in downtown Houston.

Matchroom Boxing’s Austin “Ammo” Williams, Jose Luis Vasquez, and Ivan Vasquez

A lifelong fighter and athlete, Vasquez is also an accomplished soccer player as well, and has not lost a boxing match as an amateur or professional since his second amateur bout in 2008!

Keep an eye out for this young prospect this Saturday, July 13, 2021 at The El Tigre Promotions, Terrenos Houston Fight Night in Conroe, Texas! The bouts are taking place at The Lone Star Convention Center and the first bout will begin at 7 PM.

Additional information on the fight card can be found at eltigre

Teofimo Lopez Says He’s Ready for Lomachenko

At the Alvarez vs Kovalev 2 final press conference, Teofimo Lopez tells the fans to expect an exciting, explosive performance from him on the Alvarez vs Kovalev 2 undercard.

He also said that he’s ready for the fighters at the top of his division and that if he and his team had their choice, he would be fighting Vasyl Lomachenko next.

I asked Teofimo if he had ever sparred Lomachenko or anything and why he felt he could take Lomachenko, and he said “No'” he never sparred him, but that he just knows he can beat him.

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.