Joel Ambriz conquered the 123-pound division of the Texas State Golden Gloves Tournament on Saturday by resisting the temptation of being drawn into the role of Wile E. Coyote to Angel Alejandro’s Roadrunner.
The Arlington fighter found himself in a chase with the Dallas boxer, who ran around for the better part of nine minutes in the state finals.
Unlike the acclaimed and always defeated cartoon antagonist, Ambriz stayed away from unseen cliffs of doom and successfully landed enough anvils to claim his second consecutive state championship at the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena.
“I expected him to run, I expected that,” said Ambriz, 20. “I saw that yesterday, but I was landing good punches. I didn’t want to [run] around after him looking crazy. I thought I was winning rounds and that’s all that mattered.”
With the victory, Ambriz advanced to the Golden Gloves national tournament in Salt Lake City in May, part of a 10-man team representing Texas.
This is my last year as an amateur and I wanted to make it a point and go all the way in nationals.
Joel Ambriz of Arlington
Among his teammates will be Gregory Dismukes, another Arlington boxer who advanced by defeating Austin’s Michael Coronado in the heavyweight division, 201-plus.
Houston, which had three state champions, won the team title.
Ambriz, who advanced two rounds at nationals last year, believes he is in as good a shape, mentally and physically, as he’s ever been as an amateur. He intends to turn pro after the national tournament.
“This is my last year as an amateur and I wanted to make it a point and go all the way in nationals,” Ambriz said. “I’m going to train good these next two months. I’ll be back in the gym on Monday.”
His trainer, Eddie Rangel, said: “He knows what it takes to get there and now to get further — hard work and studying every fighter. Not every fight is the same, but that’s what makes it fun.”
Saturday’s bout marked a reunion of sorts for the combatants, who trained in the same gym and whose families have known each other for years. Ambriz defeated Alejandro at state in 2015, and Rangel coached Alejandro’s relatives.
Alejandro tried to stay away from Ambriz, who is four years older, by turning the ring into a track with entanglements in passing that might be better described as hit-and-runs.
Ambriz pursued but never carelessly and was able to corner his foe and score when he had to.
While Ambriz found his opponent’s style tiresome, the same can’t be said about repeating as state champion.
“No, it never gets old [winning], I love it every time. I love all the support I have here in Fort Worth.”
Dream is alive
Dismukes, 30, a Sam Houston High School graduate, declared his dream alive after winning his first state title in a slugfest with Coronado.
This means everything to me … to have Fort Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County on my back.
Gregory Dismukes of Arlington
A salesman of flooring and plumbing supplies, Dismukes will be making his first trip to Utah. “I’ve never really been outside of Arlington,” he said.
That’s not exactly true. Dismukes attended Texas Southern in Houston, but left to start a family at 23. That’s when he resumed boxing.
Dismukes got hit with a standing-eight count in the second round, but he said he went down as the result of a blow below the belt.
“This means everything to me … to have Fort Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County on my back,” said Dismukes, who will trade in that jersey for one that says “Texas” on the back.
Ramirez exits right
Pablo Ramirez closed one of the most dominant careers in Texas Golden Gloves with his third consecutive state title in the 108-pound division in what is expected to be his last appearance.
I love it. I do this because I love doing what I do. Boxing never gets boring.
Pablo Ramirez, who won his third consecutive state title.
A bronze medalist in the U.S. Olympic trials in December, Ramirez is leaning toward going pro after defending his national Gloves title.
“I love it. I do this because I love doing what I do,” Ramirez said. “Boxing never gets boring. It’s a great feeling winning, I don’t get tired of it and it’s what I love to do.”
Ramirez, who knocked Roberto Rodriguez down twice in the second round, said he is returning to nationals “stronger and smarter.”