Texas Title Night in Humble, Texas


Texas boxing history will continue on June 22, 2021 at The Humble Civic Center, when Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez returns to the ring in the main event, and Arturo “El Diamantito” Marquez boxes in the co-main event.  The El Tigre Promotions event, billed Texas Title Night is sure to bring more exciting boxing action as their inaugural Galveston Fight Night did last month in Galveston.

Alfonso “El Tigre” Lopez , 27-3 as a professional, is a proud product of The Cut and Shoot/ Harris Boxing Legacy, and is a multiple time Houston and Texas State Golden Gloves Champion , as well as a National Golden Gloves Silver Medalist as an amateur. As a professional he is a former W.B.C Continental Americas Super Middleweight Champion and current Texas State Super Middleweight Champion. Alfonso has had many impressive performances in the ring but his greatest may have been his spirited effort in batting former World Champion Kelly Pavlik at The MGM Grand Arena in 2011. Alfonso hurt his right hand early in the bout but continued a beautiful boxing display, losing a disputed majority decision.

Alfonso is trained by Head Trainer Henry Harris Jr, Felix Ramirez, and Henry’s sons Trey and John Harris. Henry Harris Jr. is a former four time Golden Glove Champion, who fought Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay in the 1960 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Henry has trained and worked with many accomplished boxers including former United States Olympian Chuck Walker, James “Bubba” Busceme, Mike Williams, and Sherman Griffin, along with Trey Harris and nephew Monte Lane. Henry is also brother to the famous Roy Harris, who won many Golden Gloves Championships as an amateur and fought Floyd Patterson for The Heavyweight Championship of The World.

Arturo “El Diamantito” Marquez , 65-10 as an amateur and 10-0 with 6 knockouts as a professional, continues The Marquez Boxing Legacy.  The son of former United States Olympian and I.B.F. Junior Middleweight Champion Raul “El Diamante” Marquez, Arturo has been busy carving out his own legacy winning ten professional bouts against consistently tougher competition.

“El Diamantito”  is trained by his Grandfather Arturo, Father Raul, and Uncle Aldo, who will all be in his corner on June 22nd at Texas Title Night. Boxing is definitely a family tradition in the Marquez family as even “El Diamantito’s” Grandmother Yolanda contributes as an assistant coach at The Marquez Boxing Gym!

Two Texas boxing legacies, who bring generations of experience and Texas boxing history with them into the ring, will be competing in the main event and co-main event on June 22, 2021 at The Humble Convention Center, don’t miss it!

Benny “The Ghetto Wizard” Leonard

Benny Leonard, Bill Gore, Kenny Weldon, Houston Boxing Legacy, Benbo's Gym, Downtown Gym, A&B Boxing Gym, Boxing Purest


Benny Leonard, arguably the greatest lightweight in boxing history, as well as one of the best boxers in history, held the lightweight title for 7 years and 6 and a half months, from 1917 until 1925. Leonard’s record stood until broken by Roberto Duran, another candidate for greatest lightweight ever, in the 1970’s. Leonard fought in an era of newspaper decisions and no-contests bouts and is thought to have had over 200 bouts in total, with only 21 loses on record. Leonard lost 3 of his first 13 bouts but would later turn his career around and become one of the most successful boxers in history.   

 Leonard got his start fighting in the streets of New York as a means of self-defense, when he was in his early adolescence. His uncles taught him boxing so that he could survive those street fights without having to resort to using weapons as some of the local brawlers had become accustomed to. Before long Leonard became adept at not only defending himself but became an excellent boxer and began participating in “bootleg” boxing matches at the age of 12, at The Silver Heel Club. The “bootleg” boxing matches were held in clubs around New York and were fought for small purses for the fighters, and betting between the friends and associates of the respective neighborhood boxers. Leonard continued participating in these “bootleg” boxing matches for three years, which served as his amateur career, then began boxing professionally at the age of 15 in 1911. 

 Leonard actually lost his first professional fight by knockout, then dedicated his time and efforts into becoming the best boxer he could be. Leonard became a master boxer who could win the majority of his bouts without receiving major damage and was also a strong puncher with both hands. Leonard approached boxing as a profession in that he felt he needed to spend the majority of his day in the gym perfecting his craft, working on his skills, and also watching other boxers spar and work out, to learn any movements he felt he could incorporate into his repertoire. Leonard also was a master strategist who perfected using psychological tactics to defeat opponents of every imaginable style.  

 So how does an early 1900’s Jewish boxer from New York figure into the boxing legacy of Houston, Texas? For a significant portion of his prime boxing years Benny Leonard trained at the famous Stillman’s Boxing Gym, where he became friends with and shared his knowledge and professional approach to boxing with a then young trainer named Bill Gore. Gore as I’ve mentioned in previous articles would later train and/or work with a virtual who’s who of Houston boxing legends when he and his business partner Lou Viscusi moved their boxing operations to Houston in the mid 1950’s. The Gore/Viscusi influence began at that time in several different downtown gyms including the famous A&B Boxing Gym owned by Bud Adams and Hugh Benbo, which is referred to by the old school Houston boxing legends as Benbo’s Gym, or Benbo’s Downtown Gym. Their influence would continue directly up until the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s with the Height’s Boxing Gym and will always be a part of Houston boxing through all of the legendary boxers and trainers involved with them through those years. 

 There are too many names to list of the known and some not so known Houston boxing participants that were involved with Gore and Viscusi throughout the years but some of the names include Kenny Weldon, Termite Watkins, Roy Harris, and Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams. Joe “Old Bones” Brown and Manny Gonzalez, not from Houston but who lived and trained here with Gore at Benbo’s Gym, also helped teach and work with many Houston and Houston area boxers. Joe” Old Bones” Brown trained Kenny Weldon for a while when Bill Gore died, and Manny Gonzalez has been credited with helping Jesse Valdez perfect some of his pristine footwork. Through some of these connections many boxers from the area benefited from the Benny Leonard/ Bill Gore influence through their training with Weldon, Watkins, and Harris and the respected programs and gyms they operated, and still operate but there would still be more to come. 

 Lou and Richard Viscusi would later open The Height’s Gym in the 1980’s where many Houston boxers and trainers undoubtedly felt the Benny Leonard/Bill Gore influence. Again, there are too many names to remember but a few of the names include, Al Boulden, Pops Richards, Gary Simons, Ezzard Charles Adams, Fountain Creed, Willie Boyd, Hector Rocha, Raul Marquez, David Donis, Edward “Pee Wee” Parker, Ulysses Boulware, David Gonzalez, Sergio Donis, Cliff Jacobs, Benny Q, Thomas Tate, and Lee Canalito. Benny Leonard’s analytical and scientific approach to boxing has and will continue to influence generation after generation of Houston boxers and trainers, something we can be very proud of as we continue dominating the State, National, and World boxing rankings. 

Houston Golden Gloves

The Houston Golden Gloves Tournament has historically been known as one of the toughest amateur boxing tournaments in the nation. More than once Houston boxers have said that getting out of our own hometown Golden Gloves can be harder than winning the state and national Golden Gloves tournaments. Many of our regional Champions have gone on to very successful professional careers including Roy Harris, Dave Zyglewics, Manuel Ramos, James “Bubba” Busceme, Johnny Boudreux, Mark Tessman, Kenny Weldon, Maurice “Termite” Watkins, Wilford Scypion, Ronnie Shields, Thomas Tate, Raul Marquez, Rocky Juarez, Juan Diaz, Benjamin Flores, Miguel Flores, Lee Canalito, Ron Collins, Melvin Dennis, Louis Wood, Alfonso Lopez, Reggie Johnson, Warren Williams, Derwin Richards, The Charlo Brothers, Omar Henry, Ricky Stoner, Joe Garcia, Eric Griffin, Hylon Williams, Adrian Lopez, Guadalupe Martinez, David Donis, and many more.

Many Houston Golden Gloves Champions and competitors that never went professional or had short professional careers are legends in their own right, some considered to be better skilled than some of the professional champions we’ve had. Some names mentioned from the recent past include, Daniel Ybarra, Victor Rodriguez, Darlington Agha, The Manriquez Brothers, Eleazar Renteria, Gerardo Ibarra, Billy “Third Ward” Willis, Joshua Garza, and Fred Allen. When speaking to some of the legends of Houston boxing, some names they have mentioned include, Gilbert Garcia, Henry Harris Jr, Frank Garza, Jesse Valdez, Joe Louis Valdez, Barry Yeats, David Martinez, Raymond Boyd, Oscar Trevino, Ricky Webb, Anthony Wiley, Greg Brennan, Jaime Lopez and many more. Frank Garza, Oscar Trevino, and David Martinez, were names I’ve heard mentioned most when asking about the amateur legends, with Jesse Valdez unanimously named as best boxer who ever competed in the Houston Golden Gloves Championships.

We’ve also had countless state and national champions from our region as well as several Olympic Champions and competitors. Kenny Weldon alone produced 51 state champions and 26 national champs, along with 3 pan-am medalists and three Olympians. Gulf LBC boxers have always held many spots in the USA boxing, national rankings historically and presently our boxers dominate the national rankings. Just to name a few currently nationally ranked, Houston boxers: Gilbert Renteria, Alex Donis, Rafael “Tiger” Medina, Jemiah Richards, Quinton Randall, Austin Williams, Virgina Fuchs and Carmen Vargas. Recently turned professional Marlen Esparza also is a former Houston Golden Glove boxer.

It is a statement on the strength and depth of our boxing pedigree in Houston, Texas that of the many names mentioned, there are still many not mentioned due to the enormous amount of quality boxers we’ve produced. Feel free to comment with additional names who may not have been mentioned here, that were known as tough competitors in the Houston Golden Gloves.

2018 Houston Golden Gloves, Open Division Champions:

Female 125 pounds out of Baby Bull Gym— Carmen Vargas

Male 108 pounds, out of Wings like Eagles — Ephraim Bui

Male 114 pounds, out of Woods Boxing— John Atiles

Male 123 pounds, out of Wings like Eagles— Martell Washpun

Male 132 pounds, out of Perez Boxing— Oscar Perez

Male 141 pounds, out of Marquez Boxing —Rodolfo Pena

Male 152 pounds, out of Donis Boxing— Alex Donis

Male 165 pounds, out of Main Street Boxing—Austin Williams

Male 178 pounds, out of Savannah Boxing— Kenneth Carter

Male 201 pounds, out of O’Athletic— Darius Fulgham

Male 201+ pounds, out of Main Street Gym— Albert Okopie