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Victoria boxer wins debut in front of hometown crowd

By By Will Brown - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
Aug. 14, 2011 at 3:14 a.m.


Anyone can take a punch, but the fighter who has the belief to recover from it and deliver one of his own - now that takes some confidence.

Such determination was on display Saturday night at the Victoria Community Center as 10 fighters took the ring before a captivated crowd.

Though someone yelled "Don't let 'em hit you," there were enough punches thrown to produce not only a knockout, but a result many in the crowd came to see.

Victoria's Abel Resendez won a unanimous decision 40-36, 40-36, 39-37 to win his four-round fight with Robstown's Frankie Oliva.

Saturday was Resendez' pro debut and the biased crowd chanted "Abel! Abel! Abel!," each time he landed a combination.

Resendez admitted he tired in the fourth round, so he gave everything he had because he just couldn't lose in front of such a supportive crowd.

The goal was to use his jab to set up his right. When he landed combinations, he did exactly as his coaches suggested, using his left jab to preced his right.

"It was good. I got in the ring with all these fans in front of me, and I played my strategy, and I did what I was supposed to do," Resendez said. "That's what won me the fight.

"If I would have gone out here balling with this guy, he is much heavier and was a little bit bigger, so I played my strategy. I did what I was supposed to do, and it paid off."

In other action, Bay City's Francisco Arellano improved to 2-0 as he defeated Ricardo Avila in a split decision.

Juan Leija won his professional debut over Reymundo Torres in a unanimous decision, and in the main event Ramsey Luna from Aransas Pass improved to 7-0 as he beat Julio Valadez 60-54, 60-54, 59-55 in a unanimous decision.

The fight of the night, however, may have been the first one in which Travonne Hobbes (1-1) knocked out Tim Tipton.

Tipton's corner told him to go after Hobbs midway through the second round. The strategy worked when his right hand caught Hobbs and knocked him over.

The knock down did not bow the confidence of Hobbs as he unleashed a devastating right with 40 seconds remaining in the second round to knock out Tipton for his first defeat as a professional.

Referee Jon Schorle immediately stopped the fight as Tipton's head careened off the canvas.

Hobbs, who is a devout Muslim, has participated in Ramadan. Though he fasted during the daylight hours, he believes his discipline and dedication to not only his faith, but his career helped him record his first victory. He praised Tipton for a good fight, and thanked his coaches for continuing to believe in him.

"I am confident because I believe in myself," Hobbs said. "One thing coach (Dwight Yett) told me I needed to build up was my confidence. I had a lack of confidence that is what made me lose my first fight.

"I fought a dude in Houston who was 4-0. I almost knocked him out, but my coach believed in me. I had self-esteem issues in myself, but my coach helped me out with my self-esteem, and it really built me up. After tonight, it really helped my confidence."

Resendez was not the only one in his first pro fight.

Juan Leija, a 2008 invitee to the U.S. Olympic Trials, took a shot below the belt, but used his speed and patient punching to win convincingly.

Leija thought about turning pro three years ago, but chose to remain an amateur so his body could mature and he could improve as a fighter.

That work paid off as he used his quickness to deliver quick punches and then glide away from Torres.

"Only someone who gets in the ring knows the butterflies and the anxiety," said Leija, whose goal was to stay on the outside and throw quality punches against Torres' strategy of throwing punches in flurries. "You just have to go in there and do what you do. You have to remember your training."

The training is not over for either Leija or Resendez. The former said in future fights he'll listen to his cousins and coaches more.

Meanwhile, Abel said he will hit the gym Monday because while his power and speed helped him beat Oliva, his endurance may become an issue against other fighters.

"I want to fight the whole four rounds with pressure instead of playing strategy," Resendez said. "But it was my first fight, so I had to see what I was going into. I didn't know if it would hurt a lot more since the gloves are smaller. You do feel the punches, but it's not as bad as you think."

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