February 26, 2014

Arlington Heights senior takes step forward at Golden Gloves

With five-time state champion gone, Edward Vasquez is ready to fill the void.

There’s a glaring vacancy at the 78th Golden Gloves State Tournament this week.

George Rincon of Dallas, the 141-pound division’s iron hand, has moved on after winning his fifth consecutive state crown last year.

Edward Vasquez believes he would be a worthy successor.

His first-round audition on Wednesday at the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena was a success.

The Fort Worth Arlington Heights senior scored a close decision victory over Brandon Soto of the team of the Twin Cities of the Permian Basin, Midland and Odessa.

A quarterfinals bout Thursday against Richard Howell of San Antonio awaits.

The fight card begins at 7 p.m.

“That’s the goal,” said Vasquez, 18, of his chances to win here. “Even if Rincon was here, I’d give it all I had.

“It was close. [Soto] is a great fighter. He brought everything he had, and I brought everything I had.”

Fort Worth fighters went 3-2 on the first night of the state tournament. David Cordova, Vasquez’s Reyes Boxing teammate, lost to power puncher Joseph George of Houston in the 178-pound division.

Vasquez, who improved to 36-6 in his amateur career, is a former state Junior Olympic and regional Junior Olympic champion.

Vasquez attacked effectively on Wednesday, keeping Soto on the defensive with a good left jab.

Howell, 27, a hard-throwing right-hander, enters Thursday’s bout 21-5.

Vasquez is now 4-0 in the past week after winning the regional tournament on Saturday.

“I thought it was a good performance. He’s got a bright future,” said Tony Cabello, Vasquez’s coach. “It’s too early in the tournament to say we can pull it off, but the guy has all the talent in the world.

“He just has to believe.”

FW heavyweight brings it

Raymond Walker closed the session with the evening’s most electrifying combinations, which left Kendrick Goss of Houston lying prostrate on the canvas in a TKO in Round 2.

Walker, a Fort Worth boxer competing in the 201-plus division, took a standing eight-count in the first round after an elbow just below his left eye.

Walker, though, was the one who would land the real blows, coming out swinging in Round 2.

Goss was knocked down a first time with a hard right and re-engaged after a standing eight-count, but the Houston fighter was visibly hurt. In mere moments, he was down a second time, flying backward to the canvas after a another bruising right from Walker.

After the standing eight-count in the first round, “I had to turn it on,” Walker said.

“I had to make a statement for Fort Worth,” said Walker, who earned a semifinal match with defending state champion Kent Brinson of San Antonio on Friday.

Another Fort Worth region heavyweight wasn’t so lucky on Wednesday.

Alex Bermudez of Gatesville lost a decision in a 201-pound bout that many in the crowd disputed with a barrage of boos.

His coach, Scott Johnson, watched in disbelief after the judges ruled against his fighter in a bout with Joshua Hayden of Dallas. Hayden appeared to score some points in the first round, but Bermudez settled and dictated the pace of the fight from there.

“I don’t know what they were watching,” Johnson said of the judges. Hayden “did a little work inside but nothing significant.”

Riverside boxer wins

Fort Worth’s Michael Gonzalez took a step in is attempt to bring a championship to the Riverside neighborhood.

Gonzalez dispatched Timothy Moreno of Lubbock in a quarterfinals bout in the 108-pound division.

The Carter-Riverside senior cut a taller Moreno down to size with repeated body shots that set up well-placed overhand rights that appeared to repeatedly stun Moreno.

Gonzalez, who will next fight Friday, advanced to state through default. He didn’t have a fight in the regional tournament.

“I’ve trained all last week. I’m confident that I can do this.”

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