It takes a lot of nerve to get into a boxing ring and try to beat up an opponent who wants to do the same to you.
“Getting hit in the head is not fun,” Marco Antonio Delgado said.
Delgado will try to avoid that, and control his nerves, during his light heavyweight fight against southpaw Edwin Barr of Fresno on Saturday in Modesto.
The 2009 Turlock High graduate is part of a roughly 20-fight card at the twice-annual Salvation Army Red Shield Boxing Show at the orginization’s recreation center at 1649 Las Vegas Ave. The show starts at 2 p.m. and is expected to last about four hours.
The card will include young adults, teenagers and elementary-school novices. Fights at the older level consist of three two-minute rounds while the younger boxers go three one-minute rounds.
Among other fighters in action representing the Red Shield will be light heavyweight Nathan “The Tank” Sharp, who will be making his amateur debut. Also on the card are Red Shield novices Lorenzo Lucero, a sixth-grader at Modesto’s Agnes Baptist Elementary School, and 10-year-old Angel Velazquez of Delhi.
A majority of the fighters will be coming from throughout the Central Valley and Salinas area, said coach Juan Barrera, adding that the center will have another event Aug. 2. Four fighters from Modesto’s Police Activities League boxing program also are on the card.
“We’re trying to promote these kids, build their self-esteem and keep them off the streets,” Barrera said.
Delgado played football and was a standout wrestler at Turlock High, having won the Sac-Joaquin South Section meet in 2009, finishing third in the section and qualifying for the CIF State Meet, where he won three of his first four matches to reach the consolation round.
Saturday’s fight against Barr will be Delgado’s first since March 29, when he lost his 178-pound bout in Fresno against Malcolm McAllister in the California Golden Gloves State Championship final. The bout was stopped in the third round, when Delgado suffered a bloody nose.
He brings a 6-2 record into this fight, along with aspirations to go as far as he can in a sport he took up after high school.
“I want to turn pro and make it to some international competitions,” he said.
To do that, he’ll need to get over his pre-fight nerves, which he said have existed since his wrestling days competing for the Bulldogs and later, Modesto Junior College.
“I used to get really, really nervous before my wrestling matches,” he said. “It’s the same thing with boxing. What happens is it saps all of your energy.”
The focus also will be on his footwork, which he said will negate any issues he might have in his first fight against a left-hander. Barr, 23, is 1-1.
After Saturday’s fight, Delgado said he’ll continue to work on the craft he loves.
“You have to train six days a week,” he said. “You treat it like a girlfriend. You can’t be cheating on boxing. You have to stay committed.”
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