Seven months ago, John Lopez was working out at Fit Republic in Oakdale. He noticed the adjacent Boxing Development Center and was intrigued.
“My dad (Lou) used to box and watching him when I was a kid, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” said Lopez.
He walked into the center and shortly after that, he signed up and began training.
“Coach Leo (Pagaliuagan) ignored me for the first two weeks; I took it as I had to earn his respect. A few weeks went by and he came around and since then we have been training together. I owe a lot to the Boxing Development Center and Coach Leo,” Lopez noted.
In his short career, Lopez, whose nickname is “Maton”, skyrocketed towards the top.
“A few months ago I competed in the California State Championship tournament and made it to the finals, I lost by a split decision. It was a humbling experience, but it’s kept me hungry and grounded. I’m more focused now.”
This past Saturday night Lopez competed in the Dreamland Boxing Gym’s Moving Forward event. Lopez took the fight on within a week’s notice.
“It wasn’t more than a week that we got the fight signed. For me though, whether it’s one week, one day or one year – it doesn’t matter to me, it’s the mission is the same each time,” Lopez said.
Lopez took on Manuel Flores in a three round bout for the Adelante Championship.
“It was a dog fight from bell to bell. I respect Flores so much; I mean it was a real battle. He really made me work.”
The fight went all three rounds but in the end it was Lopez who left with the title.
Lopez holds an overall record of 5-1-0 and is already looking forward to his next fight. In the meantime he will continue to train at Boxing Development Center.
“I stay focused and train hard every day,” he said. “You never know when the opportunity will come up.”
Oakdale also had Kenny Lopez and Alex Gutierrez on the card. Kenny Lopez lost his fight by decision and Gutierrez won his via a TKO in the second round.