Junior Olympics hits 209
By DENNIS D. CRUZ
Oakdale High School will be the venue for the 2018 Central California Association, LBC 46 USA Boxing Junior Olympics. Talented amateur boxers from the state of California will be competing in the ring for a two-day tournament for Team USA on April 21 and 22.
This will be the first time that the Boxing Junior Olympics will be held in the 209 area code and boxing fans can thank the folks at The Boxing Development Center in Oakdale. The club opened its doors in late 2017 and has made a major impact in the area in that little time.
“The community really took to the idea of Oakdale hosting the Junior Olympics,” said Coach Leo Pagcaliuagan.
Coach Leo and his partner Alfredo Perez traveled to Fresno in late January to submit a bid to have Oakdale host the event. President Frank Aleman was impressed with the number of signatures gathered in support and the quick impact that The Boxing Development Center has made in Oakdale and granted approval for the event to be hosted locally in April.
“We were very excited when we got the approval,” Coach Leo noted. “We want to give back to Oakdale. We want to support the town, the youth and local businesses. The most important thing for us is to give back to the community.”
The Boxing Development Center in Oakdale is a training facility for fighters of all ages and abilities, from amateur to professional. They have had fighters Marc Castro and Ana Julaton train at the center amongst other boxing and mixed martial artists. Castro is a five-time Junior Olympic champion. Andre Ward is also a former Junior Olympic champion as well.
Inside the gym they have a regulation size ring as well as speed bags and other equipment. Coach Leo, Coach Alfredo Perez and manger Israel Guardado have 35 years of experience between them. The trio is passionate about the sport as well as the community.
They are currently working on a boxing documentary and programs that will feature up and coming fighters from the 209 area. Some of those fighters include Kenny Lopez and Pedro Juarez, who are competing for Golden Gloves later this spring and train at The Boxing Development Center.
At the event in April, there are 20-plus fights scheduled to fight, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Two categories of boxers will compete; novice boxers who have had 10 fights or less, and open division, which is for the more advanced and experienced boxers. The qualifiers from these tournaments will advance to the State championship for a chance to qualify to be an official representative of Team USA. Boxers age 16 and under will be eligible to compete.
“Everyone at Oakdale Joint Unified School District has been great to us. We have 20 volunteers from the school and community coming out to support and help with the tournament,” said boxing manager Guardado.
Admission price for the event is $10 a day. Along with boxing action, there will be a special surprise guest, raffles featuring autographed memorabilia, 50/50 drawing and more. For more information on the event and The Boxing Development Center, log onto their website at theboxingdc.com.