On the night that it appeared Fort Worth boxers would be swept out of the state Golden Gloves tournament, Raymond Walker stood resolutely, bloodying the defending state champion in claiming victory and earning a spot in the 201-plus pound division title.
In the last semifinal bout of Friday evening, Walker maintained a torrid pace through each of the bout’s three, three-minute rounds in winning a decision over a battered Kent Brinson, the San Antonio boxer who refused to go quietly at the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena.
Walker knocked Brinson to the canvas in the second round.
“I had to represent for Fort Worth,” Walker said. “He was a tough customer. I had to keep working.”
Never miss a local story.
Before Walker stepped into the ring, Fort Worth boxers fell victim to the some of the most adroit adversaries in the Texas amateur fight game.
Joel Ambriz and Marco Vasquez joined three others in losing semifinal bouts.
Fort Worth’s Michael Gonzales (108 pounds) and 152-pounder Rodolfo Rivas were eliminated in first-round TKOs, while region teammate Christopher Martinez lost in a 114-pound decision.
Dallas put a tournament-high six fighters in Saturday night’s finals. San Antonio will have five fighters.
Winners of each of the 10 state-championship bouts will advance to the national Golden Gloves tournament in May in Las Vegas.
Saturday’s fight card begins at 7 p.m.
Ambriz’s 123-pound meeting with defending state champion Francisco Martinez of Dallas was taken out of the hands of the judges when referee Andres Lamasanguiano of El Paso disqualified Ambriz’s corner after the bell ending the third round because of excessive protesting by his coach Eddie Rangel.
The fight was close, though Martinez appeared to have the edge. The Dallas fighter was the aggressor throughout and the best defender Ambriz has seen in the tournament.
Martinez generally succeeded in fending off Ambriz’s best combination attempts.
Ultimately, both fighters resorted to holding, though only Ambriz was warned, three times, in fact.
“We fought a good fight, we both got tired,” Ambriz said. “There was a lot of holding on the back of the head.”
Vasquez fell short to another Dallas fighter, Alex Rincon, an experienced fighter with hundreds of fights as part of his credentials, including a title in the national Police Athletic League and international experience in the Ukraine.
Vasquez, a Mansfield Lake Ridge senior, was not overwhelmed, but that Rincon’s experience was an advantage was apparent.
The few times Vasquez was able to get in a rhythm, Rincon changed the momentum by countering with a flurry of punches and hit the mark.
“I could have been more aggressive,” said Vasquez, who just completed his 22nd bout. “I was very tentative because he has so much experience.
“It comes with experience. Next time.”
Rangel, Ambriz’s coach, had not had the benefit of time yet to cool.
He characterized the officiating of the match between Ambriz and Martinez as “awful.” Rangel said he complained to Lamasanguiano that Martinez had thrown punches below the belt at least three times in the second round.
Rangel said he asked Lamasanguiano, “’When are you going to call it both ways?’ He goes if you do that again, I’m going to disqualify you.”