Their fresh faces, slight frames and soft voices belie the very nature of their sport.
And when one thinks of headliners on a boxing card, it’s hard to envision two 20-year-olds, each standing roughly 5 feet 6 inches – give or take a few – and weighing about 120 pounds.
But there’s one thing to know about Modestans Michael Gaxiola and Victor Torres: They aren’t afraid to swing away.
Both are expected to hit early, often and hard in Saturday’s Central Valley Showdown, Volume 4 boxing show at Modesto’s SOS Club.
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“Victor likes to fight,” said Louis Jordan, one of Torres’ trainers at the Stanislaus County Police Activities League boxing gym. “He won’t come to dance all night.”
That’s fine with Gaxiola, who trains under Tony Avila at the Bad To The Bonz boxing gym.
“I know in a lot fights he tries to bully his opponents,” Gaxiola said. “If it comes to that, I’ll put him on the floor.”
The Gaxiola-Torres matchup will be the fifth and final fight on the card, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Each fight will last a maximum of four three-minute rounds.
Modesto’s Gilberto Mendoza will square off with Stockton’s Don Jose in another fight on a card that will showcase several Central Valley boxers.
Dale Morris, owner of Fresno-based One World Boxing Promotions, said matching Gaxiola and Torres was a natural.
He has two young fighters from competing gyms making their professional debuts. He characterized Torres as a powerful fighter with “heavy hands” and Gaxiola as a “boxer-puncher” with good foot movement.
“They’re trying to build a name and a fan base for themselves, Morris said. “It was a match made in heaven.”
For Torres, a Modesto High School graduate, it’s his first fight in about five months. Work got in the way of gym time.
He and Gaxiola were successful at the amateur and youth levels, with more than 50 fights between them and a handful of losses.
“I don’t think the layoff will make much of a difference,” Torres said. “I had been wanting to go pro for a while.”
Torres is shorter than Gaxiola by an inch or two, and he says that height difference shouldn’t be an issue. He had to put on weight to get to the 120-pound minimum requirement.
“I’m used to fighting people bigger than me,” he said.
Gaxiola boxed a lot as a youth, got away from it after running into trouble during his high school years, but has re-committed himself for the last two years.
“Boxing got me out of (trouble),” he said. “It’s pretty much changed my life at this point.”
Working hard this week to get his weight to 120 pounds before Friday’s 5:30 p.m. weigh-in at Jack’s Pizza Cafe, Gaxiola understands the importance of getting his career off to a good start.
“This is my first professional fight,” he said. “No way I’m going to let this guy come here and take it from me.”
Elsewhere – Modesto native Dani Hansen, a Patterson High graduate who rows for the University of Washington, was on the boat that won the silver medal in the legs, trunk and arms mixed four with coxswain event at the World Championships in Amsterdam last week. The United States and Hansen, who is a stroke, finished second to Great Britain. “In the middle of the race, I thought, ‘Wow, we are doing it. We are in the middle of it,’ ” she told USA Rowing. “I’m so proud to be part in one of the youngest crews in history. I just wish we got the gold.”
LTA is an adaptive rowing category for those with disabilities. Hansen, according to her USA Rowing biography and a story in the Patterson Irrigator, has Erb’s Palsy, a type of paralysis of the arm. ...
Former Modesto Christian quarterback Nate Sudfeld, now at the University of Indiana, completed 11 of 18 passes for 111 yards and rushed for 37 more to help lead the Hoosiers past Indiana State 28-10 on Saturday.