By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
As he noted after winning in the Golden Gloves tournament on Sunday, Edgar Zubia has been facing a noticeably larger type of fighter in the last year.
Clovis’ Zubia was one of nine boxers who won state titles and earned a trip Denver, where the New Mexico champs will take on Colorado’s best in the Golden Gloves regionals.
Last year, Zubia advanced to the same level — but at a different weight class.
In fact, when Zubia won by decision over Albuquerque’s Vincent Mirabal in the championship of the 141 pound division, he was battling not one weight class higher but two greater than in 2006.
Zubia won the state title at 125 pounds in 2006.
“It has been a big difference as far as the fighters. The fighters coming down from 150 pounds and I’m going in weighing 139 soaking wet,” said Zubia, one day before his 21st birthday.
The victory over Mirabal, who looked sharper than he did in either of his prior two fights at the tourney, wasn’t easy for Zubia. At the end of the second round, the 17-year-old Albuquerque boxer hit Zubia with several punches in a row before the bell sounded.
“I thought it was a pretty close fight, that it could have gone either way. He was a bit busier than I was, but I felt I was throwing stronger, more accurate punches,” Zubia said.
The two had fought a month ago, in Albuquerque, with Mirabal winning a decision.
The lessons learned, for Zubia?
“That he was a busy fighter, that I had to keep my hands up and then I could beat him. He does come in head-first, kind of wild-style,” said Zubia, who did express surprise that his opponent still seemed fresh even at the end of the four-round fight. “It did, because the last time we fought he wasn’t in near the shape he was in (Sunday), but neither was I. Both of us, I think, have taken it to the next level as far as physical conditioning.”
Clovis super-heavyweight Elijo Sena won his division when his scheduled opponent, Emmanuel Chavarria, withdrew after injuring himself in a semifinal victory on Friday night.
David DeLacerda, a Levelland, Texas, boxer who trains in Clovis, was one of two victims of a knockout in the final day of action. Albuquerque’s Michael Brooks sent DeLacerda staggering into the ropes as the bell for the first-round sounded and, then, out for good in the second round in a heavyweight division bout.
In the 178-pound championship, Las Cruces’ Siju Shabazz won a decision over Clovis’ Nicholas Rendon.
Rendon started strongly in the second round, landing a pair of good shots on Shabazz — who was state champ at 165 pounds last year. But the Las Cruces boxer held firm and, even according to Rendon, held control the rest of the way.
“I don’t think it was that close, it didn’t seem like that to me,” Rendon said. “I guess my conditioning isn’t all there yet and this was my first four-round bout.”