Photos & story by Herman Delgado
The School of “Hard Knocks Promotions” put on a five-bout boxing event on Saturday, October 30th at the Pan Am Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico and school was in session once those fighters stepped inside the ring. A great performance by all 10 fighters that laced up the gloves that evening. From the music playing, some fans dancing, fans screaming and shouting, I would say local boxing aficionados were not disappointed.
In the first female bout of the evening, Indeya “Azucar” Rodriguez (Dallas, TX (2-3-1)) and Amy “La Picosita” Salinas (Las Cruces, NM (3-1)) came out to center ring, touched gloves, and remained that close for the remainder of their six-round bout. You could not question their conditioning or preparation for this fight, and the crowd’s approval was obvious from the opening bell to the final bell. Salinas’ left and right hooks to the body were devastating, but not to be outpunched, Rodriguez came back with some devasting counterpunching and inside fighting. “She came to fight…that’s for sure,” said Salinas. To the judges’ cards they went and a split-decision in favor of Rodriguez was announced. Salinas was not happy with the decision, “It happens but nothing we can do but go back to the gym and work harder. I think I won, but I left it to the judges.” From the sound of the crowd, these two 115-pound warriors won their hearts and earned their respect…regardless of who won.
Stephanie Han (El Paso, TX (1-0)) made her professional boxing debut in front of a crowd of about 1500 in attendance and she was quite impressive in her four-round unanimous decision win over Isabel Garcia (Clovis, NM (0-1)). Both fighters came in at 138-pounds and matched up well as there was non-stop action throughout their four-round bout. Han a veteran of the amateur ranks looked like she had no problem adjusting to the professional ranks…she looked like a season pro. “The last time I stepped in the ring was ten years ago, I had about 40-50 amateur fights, and won multiple national championships as an amateur,” said Han. The 31-year-old Han, mother of two beautiful babies, a 5-year veteran of the El Paso Police Department assigned to El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser’s Dignitary Protection Team also comes from a family of respectable amateur and professional fighters. As for continuing her professional boxing career, “I want to get as many fights as I can and see how far I go,” said Han. Did I mention her sister, Jennifer Han is the former IBF Female Featherweight World Champion? I sense the pride and excitement in Han’s voice when I mention Jennifer, “She’s 100-percent supporting me…she’s helping me, we’re helping each other, so it’s great. I know my sister, she’s in shape too so whatever fight she gets she’s going to do awesome, and we support each other.”
In the co-main event, Jorge “El Jaguar” Tovar (El Paso, TX (2-0)) needed less than two minutes of the first round to dispose of his opponent, Andre Mack (Philadelphia, PA (0-1)) and make a clear statement to other up and coming 168-pounders. Mack grimaced in pain when Tovar landed many of his left and right hooks to the body, and Mack went into survival mode. “I thought he was going to give me a better fight because he started boxing the first 10 seconds…he called me out!” said Tovar. After being on the receiving end of Tovar’s devastating hooks, it appeared Mack was more interested in catching the red-eye flight back to Philly as soon as possible. What’s next for Tovar? “Big things coming…I plan to announce it by December.” A big laugh followed, and that’s all I could get out of Tovar. Isidro Castillo of School of Hard Knocks Promotions said, “I was very impressed with Tovar…Jorge Tovar…he has a bright future ahead of him.”
Another first round TKO win, and second straight KO in as many fights. The future looks bright for “El Jaguar”.
Castillo was very pleased with the turnout and looks forward to promoting more local boxing events. “At the end of the day everybody left happy, and I’ve already been called by the venue and asked to throw another show,” said Castillo. Asides from a short delay in ringing the first bell, the show was a success. “For only five fights…all the fights were really good, especially the female fights!”
School of Hard Knocks Promotions results:
Mickey Tovar (EP) W-TKO3 over Freddy Sandoval (ABQ, NM); Indeya “Azucar” Rodriguez (DAL, TX) W-SD6 over Amy “La Picosita” Salinas (LC, NM); Stephanie Han (EP) W-UD4 over Isabel Garcia (Clovis, NM); Jorge “El Jaguar” Tovar (EP) W-TKO1 over Andre Mack (PHI, PA); DeWayne Bonds (EP) W-KO1 over Derek Perez (Belen, NM).