Jordan Najar returned to the ring looking rejuvenated on Saturday a day after squeaking by in the semifinals.
Not even a numbed right hand from a blow to the funny bone could dull his moment. Winning has a way of making you forget those things.
Najar won his fifth Fort Worth Regional Golden Gloves title on championship night, picking apart Daniel Salinas in the 123-pound final at Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena.
Najar regained feeling in the third round as he punished Salinas with hard combinations to the head after wearing down his rival with body shots in the second.
“He caught me in the elbow and my hand got numb. I couldn’t use it as much as I planned to. But I didn’t want to leave it up to the judges. I had to show.”
Najar will next be looking for an elusive state championship next week at Watt Arena.
His division has consistently been one of the toughest at the tournament over the years, featuring the best the state has to offer, including San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara and Angel Alejandro of Dallas, both now on to promising pro careers.
Najar, 22, a product of the North Side, was one of 11 boxers from Fort Worth to advance.
Jordan Pace in 132 will be returning for a second straight year after winning by default over Kevin Otero.
A bloodied lip did nothing to deter Adam Pacheco from fighting on in a close decision victory over Gary Hampton in the 141 division. In the 152, Edgar Hernandez defeated Emmanuel Tennison.
For the first time in Golden Gloves history, women will have spots in the state tournament.
Jasmin Lopez made a bit of history by becoming to first to advance, though she did so by default over Deborah Kouzin in the 152. Two other ladies advanced as well, but by walk-through: Alexis Mones (132) and Allana Huggins (201-plus).
Several men did the same, Jesus Guzman (108), Edgar Hernandez (152), Richard Jones (201) and Edib Haunic (201-plus).
None had a fight this week.
Rather than conserve energy in the three, three-minute rounds, Salinas threw a lot of punches in the first round, and Najar successfully countered.
The second round was all Najar.
With his corner screaming for him to attack the body, Najar obliged, mostly with good left shots.
Salinas had very little in reserve for the final three minutes, though he did manage a brief rally.
Najar, his right hand apparently feeling better, countered, bending Salinas’ head back with sharp combinations.
“It’s a path I‘ve been since first getting to state in 2012,” Najar said. “That same focus and tunnel vision to get to that state title.
“It’s hard to get out of Texas. There are so many strong fighters. It’s experience. I’ve got to push my way up there.”
75 pounds (9-10): Fabian Ortega d. Kayden Mitchell, dec.
100 pounds (10-11): Santiago Buendia d. Kaine Pistokache, dec.
80 pounds (11-12): Iziah Garcia d. Omar Zamarripa, dec.
125 pounds (15-16): Elmer Abrego d. Arnoldo Saul Porras, dec.
176-plus pounds (15-16): Jacob Dunlap d. Elijah Flynn, RSF (third round).
152 pounds (17): Isaiah Carter d. John Sistrunk, RSF (third round).
132 pounds (17): Joel Martinez d. Arturo Neri, dec.
Female senior novice
119 pounds (16): Makyla Frysinger d. Cameron Bittick, RSF (first round).
106 pounds: Erin Davis d. Marlene Jimenez, dec.
125 pounds: Roosa Jones-Mitchell d. Adrienne Hughie, dec.
152 pounds: Jasmin Lopez d. Deborah Kouzmin, default.
Men’s novice finals
123 pounds: Vicenzo Ramos d. Jacob James, dec.
132 pounds: Dearon Bursey d. Manuel Ochoa, dec.
141 pounds: Jherion Levesque d. Juan Renteria, dec.
152 pounds: Josue Carreon d. Luis Pastrania, dec.
165 pounds: Juan Carlos DeLeon d. Jacob Fernandez, dec.
178 pounds: Johnny Anderson d. Edrick Marshall, RSF (second round).
201 pounds: Dekedrian Turner d. Juan Nino, dec.
201-plus pounds: Ricardo Herrera d. Dustin Apodaca, RSF (third round).
Men’s open finals
123 pounds: Jordan Najar d. Daniel Salinas, dec.
132 pounds: Jordan Pace d. Kevin Otero, dec.
141 pounds: Adam Pacheco d. Gary Hampton, dec.
152 pounds: Edgar Hernandez d. Emmanuel Tennison, dec.
165 pounds: Q. Burton d. Chaudrion Hughes, dec.
178 pounds: Tony Lamarr d. Jurgen Deraj, dec.
Advanced to state by walk-through: Jesus Guzman (108), Edgar Hernandez (152), Richard Jones (201) and Edib Haunic (201-plus). Women: Alexis Mones (132) and Allana Huggins (201-plus).