The 82nd annual mobilization of the state’s top students of the sweet science at the Texas State Golden Gloves tournament ended Saturday with a couple of noteworthy firsts represented at Will Rogers’ Watt Arena.
Rudy Barrientes, the city’s first Golden Gloves national champion, sat ringside to watch the 2018 tournament. Barrientes, a winner 50 years ago in Salt Lake City, was the first step to Fort Worth’s ascent to the top of the country’s boxing realm.
The first women’s state champions were crowned, appropriately enough in the first days of Women’s History Month. Never before have women had a place in the tournament until this year.
Jasmin Lopez was seeking to become one of those women. JR Guzman, Tony Lamarr and Richard Jones, too, were seeking firsts, first state titles.
All four fell in decisions in championship bouts.
In the 108-pound final, Guzman had a promising first round, but he was bitten in a sloppy second, which foretold his demise in a loss to rival Ephraim Bui of Houston in the championship.
“The second round. I took a break. I shouldn’t have taken a break. I should have kept pushing,” said Guzman, 19. “I thought I did enough in that third round, but I didn’t. I know I won that first round.
“The other two, I came up short. It happens. It’s my own fault I didn’t win.”
Houston, which fought in a tournament-high seven of 10 championship bouts, won the team title. H-Town won five championships. In addition to Bui, Martel Washpun (123), Oscar Perez (132), Alex Donis (152) and Darius Fulgrum (201), who bested Jones, were Houston’s other titlists.
Esmeralda Navarro (125) of the Rio Grande Valley, and Dallas’ Annelicia Sustaita (141) and Kim Washington (152), who defeated Lopez, won the first titles awarded to women.
Each of the champions advances to Omaha, Neb., for the Golden Gloves national tournament in May.
Bui is a two-time champion, having won the 114-pound title a year ago, defeating Guzman a first time on the way.
Lamarr met up with one of the tournament’s best boxers, regardless of class, Hector Ferreyro of Rio Grande Valley, a finalist in 2017. Jones advanced to the finals by winning two fights, despite fighting a class up. He came in 18 pounds lighter than
Guzman seemed to get the better of Bui in the first round, particularly in an engagement in which the fists were flailing in the last 10 seconds.
Guzman did not get the better of the two in the second.
Bui got the better of the early action, popping Guzman with a combination culminating with a hard left to the head. Guzman appeared to teeter, though it looked more like a slip.
Bui, though, smelled blood and attacked, through Guzman regained his composure and began scoring before the break he took to conserve energy.
On Friday, Guzman said he didn’t feel as crisp as he wanted after not boxing for more than six months. He said he felt “perfect” on Saturday, though the three, three-minute rounds “got to me” a little.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
In fact, Guzman might get another shot at Bui as early as next week. Both are headed to the U.S. Western qualifier in New Mexico.
“I get to see him next week,” Guzman said. “Hopefully, we’ll line up and get to fight again.”
Women’s 125 pounds: Esmeralda Navaro, Rio Grande Valley, d. Destiny Jasso, Dallas,
Women’s 141 pounds: Annelicia Sustaita, Dallas, d. Crystal Aceves, El Paso, dec.
Women’s 152 pounds semifinals: Kim Washington, Dallas, d. Jasmin Lopez, Fort Worth,
Men’s 108 pounds: Ephraim Bui, Houston, d. JR Guzman, Fort Worth, dec.
Men’s 114 pounds semifinals: Jovany Carrillo, Dallas, d. John Atiles, Houston, dec.
Men’s 123 pounds semifinals: Martel Washpun, Houston, d. Jovani Martinez, Austin,
Men’s 132 pounds semifinals: Oscar Perez, Houston, d. Jose Perez, Dallas, dec.
Men’s 141 pounds: Omar Juarez, Austin, d. Rodolfo Pena, Houston, dec.
Men’s 152 pounds: Alex Donis, Houston, d. Devin Anderson, Austin, dec.
Men’s 165 pounds: Noah Jones, Dallas, d. Anthony Flores, Austin, dec.
Men’s 178 pounds: Hector Ferreyro, Rio Grande Valley, d. Tony Lamarr, Fort Worth,
Men’s 201 pounds: Darius Fulghum, Houston, d. Richard Jones, Fort Worth, dec.
Men’s 201-plus pounds: Miguel Rodriguez, Rio Grande Valley, d. Habeeb Saibu, East, dec.