Colorado has boxing fans whose passion for the game is second to none but there is another passion they all share, the allegiance to our country and those who are serving or have served so that we may continue to enjoy freedom.
Last night at the Radisson Hotel, 3155 S. Vaughn Way, Airtight Boxing (Steve Mestas) and WBC Cares Colorado (Stephen Blea and Raylene Carbone) collaborated to honor now retired U.S. Marine Sergeant Gabriel Matthew Martinez and his wife Kayla Martinez, for their service to our country.
Martinez is a native of Westminster, Colorado, and boxed under the guidance of local boxing coach E. Paul Kelly, Jr. back in his high school days.
The story of USMC Sergeant Gabriel Martinez is well chronicled, him receiving the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in Afghanistan during his 2nd tour of duty in October of 2010 that would require amputation of both legs, after him and a fellow Marine stepped on a land mine.
There are two heroes in the Martinez family, Kayla Martinez enduring every bit of challenge her husband (the two married for only 3 months before his second deployment) would undertake during the road to recovery, her counseling young wives of members of our Armed Forces who would be facing circumstances similar to what she had endured.
Sergeant Gabe Martinez and wife Kayla Martinez now reside in Parker, Colorado, along with daughter Madelynn Grace Martinez, who was born on October 30, 2012.
I’ve never been more proud and honored to substitute for Raylene Carbone as I stood alongside Stephen Blea and awarded retired USMC Sergeant Gabriel M. Martinez two honorary framed commendations from the WBC, signed and dated by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, along with a WBC World Championship replica medal.
My pride was enhanced by the thunderous, deafening applause that erupted from our Denver and Colorado boxing fans for a man and his wife who deserved every bit of the love shown them last night.
We can/must never forget the sacrifices made by so many to protect our freedom and for that we thank you, retired USMC Sergeant Gabe Martinez and your wife Kayla Martinez, for what you have done and continue to do.
There were 6 excellent bouts that included 4 KO’s on a card that was both entertaining and well matched, Steve Mestas continuing to pack the house with enthusiastic boxing fans.
Heavyweight: Casey ‘White Lightning’ O’Brien stopped Jose Castro at 55 seconds of round 1 and in a 138 lbs. (exhibition) bout Adan Gonzales stopped Andrew Almaguer at 1:55 of round 2 for the only mismatches of the night.
135 lbs. Eddie Moreno (2-1) gets the UD win over Josh Wilson (0-1), 38-37 X 3.
Heavyweight: Co-main event featuring Kenny Lemos (13-9-2, 9KO’s) who stopped Hugo Arceo (5-2-1, 4KO’s) at 2:42 of round 2 in a real thriller that saw Arceo down 3 times.
Kenny Lemos and Hugo Arceo are true class acts, both appreciative of their fans showing up to watch them work.
Lemos said this may be the last time he fights in Denver, his a career spanning some 13 years, while Arceo admitted to being lured into the trap of the wily veteran Lemos but will definitely be back.
147 lbs. In the main event, Denver’s John ‘Punisher’ Rodriguez (5-0, 5KO’s) keeps his impressive unbeaten and KO streak alive, dominating Raul ‘Chino’ Carrillo (16-2, 8KO’s) who was down twice, before the bout ending at 1:12 of round 2.
Rodriguez, although sporting only 5 pro bouts, is ‘one to be reckoned with’,him in possession of power, speed and smarts, using them all well.
Carrillo, fighting out of Longmont, vows to get back to the drawing board, this just his second loss, and learn from his mistakes.
156 lbs. Stevie Marquez (10-17-2, 6KO’s) hit Steve Victor (1-7-1) with everything but the kitchen sink en route to the UD win with scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37.
Referees/judges: Stephen Blea, Curtis Thrasher and Tom Johnson did their usual outstanding work, judges: Rob Mullings and Steve Waldeman, inspectors: Tim Mills, James Najera, timekeeper Lee Peters, Chief Inspector: Eric Heinz and ringside physician: Dr. Alex Constantinides, all represented the Colorado Boxing Commission well.
Airtight Promotions has their next show planned for July, so stay tuned.