Local Boxer Draws Fans
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
Espanola Valley sports fans are known throughout the state for their support of their local high school teams and local athletes. They pack the Pit in Albuquerque to see their beloved Sundevils play at the New Mexico State High School Basketball Tournament. Lately, they’ve been packing the seats at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino to see native son Antonio “Tone” Martinez square off in the boxing ring against his opponent as part of the boxing cards put on by his trainer and boxing promoter Pat Holmes.
It was that ability to put fans in the seats that helped Holmes sell the idea of bringing some of the world’s top contenders in their respective weight classes and have the bouts televised from Buffalo Thunder to Premier Boxing Champions. Premier Boxing was impressed and Sept. 27 Fox Sports will be televising a boxing card that will feature three bouts with some of the world’s top contenders facing quality opponents, as well as showcasing local fighters that will include Martinez. The fight card is being promoted as “Toe-to-Toe Tuesday.”
“It was one of the easiest deals I’ve ever made,” Holmes said. “We’ll be bringing a Vegas-style show to Northern New Mexico. Introduce some of the best fighters in the world to the best fans in the world.”
Martinez has been training with Holmes since 2012 and this will be his seventh fight at Buffalo Thunder. He has a record of 5 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws (5-2-4). Four of his wins have been by knockout. His last bout was against Benjamin Vasquez May 14 and resulted in a draw. He was initially scheduled to fight Edgar Zubia Sept. 27 at Buffalo Thunder. Zubia had dealt Martinez one of his two losses. He defeated Martinez Dec. 2, 2011 by technical knockout.
Zubia was sent a contract, but did not sign it claiming he had contracted the flu. Holmes was looking for another opponent for Martinez.
“That was just three days ago,” Holmes said Sept. 17 at the gym in Santa Fe where Martinez trains. “Zubia had asked for the fight and we were willing to do it on his terms.”
Martinez is disappointed he won’t face Zubia.
“I honestly believe that fight (against Zubia) was stopped prematurely,” Martinez said. “To me, this fight was redemption. Whoever they put in front of me, I’ll fight.”
Martinez, who works as a prison guard for the state Corrections Department, has improved as a fighter since training with Holmes.
“I’ve become more of a boxer,” Martinez said. “I let that brawler that I used to be go. I listen to what he (Holmes) tells me. When he tells me to throw a jab, I throw it and I’m not going to question it. When he shouts out to throw a certain punch, it’s there.”
Holmes said Martinez is an ideal fighter to train.
‘Everybody thinks that they want to be a boxer until it gets down to the nitty gritty,” Holmes said. “I saw the motivation. I’ve given him the proper training and conditioning. He (Martinez) trains and lives the way you’re supposed to.”
Martinez’s biggest supporter is his wife Claudia, who often prepares meals for him so he doesn’t eat just the junk food and pizza that often makes up the diet of other fighters on a hectic work and training schedule like Martinez.
“It’s good to have something healthy that tastes good,” Martinez said.
Martinez often puts in 12-hour days at work, then goes immediately to training. No matter what the outcome, he looks forward to stepping into the ring again.
“Win, lose or draw, I’m doing something I love,” Martinez said.
ALSO ON THE CARD
In addition to Martinez, three other bouts featuring New Mexico fighters will be on the Sept. 27 boxing card.
Brandon Holmes of Santa Fe, son of Pat Holmes, will be taking on an opponent that has yet to be determined. Brandon Holmes is currently undefeated (8-0) and six of his wins have come by knockout. His last seven bouts have been at Buffalo Thunder. Holmes knocked out Eric Gonzalez Jan. 30 in his most recent bout.
Bryant “Irish” McClain of Rio Rancho faces Ivan Miranda in another bout. McClain is 2-0 and both of his fights have been against Daniel Chavez Flores at Buffalo Thunder. Neither win was by a knockout. Miranda is making his first professional fight.
Santo Domingo Pueblo’s Aaron Martinez will take on Albuquerque’s George Roybal in another bout. Aaron Martinez is 2-0 and last fought May 14 at Buffalo Thunder, where he knocked out Otto Sandoval.
The three bouts promoted by Premier Boxing and broadcast on Fox Sports will feature some of the top contenders in the world. The main event will have welterweights Bryant Perrella and Yordenis Ugas squaring off in the ring.
Perrella is undefeated (14-0) and is a knockout specialist, having won 13 of his bouts in that fashion. He is ranked 29th out of 407 welterweights in the United States. He is from Fort Myers, FL. Ugas, from Miami and Cuban-born, is 16-3 in his career. He recently defeated previously unbeaten Jamal James (20-1) Aug. 12 by unanimous decision.
Houston’s Ryan (Cowboy) Kral (12-0) takes on Jose Felix Quezada (11-0) in a lightweight bout. One of the fighters will come out with the first loss of his career.
In a featherweight bout, Dennis Galarza (13-1) of Brooklyn faces Mexico’s Gamaliel Diaz. The veteran Diaz, 35, has had 56 professional fight and has a record of 39-14-2. A former world super featherweight champion, Diaz will offer a challenge to the up and coming Galarza who is 23 years old.