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Amateur champion Xavier Montelongo Jr. is making his professional debut versus Jose Garcia THIS Thursday, October 27 at the special ”
Halloween Fright Night Club” at LA LIVE’s Club Nokia in Los Angeles.
The highly-decorated teen is ready for his time under the brighter spotlight and grand stage of pro boxing.
I visited with Xavier, known as “Mongoose,” at the recent kickoff presser for the Miguel Cotto–Antonio Margarito rematch. At the Wilshire Grand in downtown L.A., the young fighter was dressed in a stylish tan suit as he joined the gathering. I’m used to seeing Montelongo in boxing attire, so I commented about his choice of wardrobe for the day.
“I want to look like a champion!” he replied with a big smile.
He also told me at this time he was ready and waiting to lace up in the pros–check out the VIDEO INTERVIEW in the link below!
And the amateur standout is indeed a champ since first beginning to box at age eight. Training out of Solid Rock Boxing Gym with Gilbert Valdez and Xavier Montelongo Sr., the 19-year-old has over 200 bouts logged in. I watched Xavier’s very last amateur fight at this summer’s 2011 Desert Showdown where the teenager won the inaugural WBC BCR championship belt.
Entering the pro ranks, he will get his chance to shine this Thursday evening at the popular Club Nokia fight nights presented by Golden Boy Promotions.
And the local boxer will have a strong support system as he laces up without the constraints of headgear, larger gloves and protective tank tops of the amateurs. I asked him if he has a lot of family and friends coming out for the fights.
“Yes! I have sold over 200 tickets,” the friendly young man tells me. “And a big part of the support is my Victory Outreach family and my supporters in East L.A.”
How has sparring and training been going?
“Sparring had been good!” Xavier says. “I got good work at the Maywood Boxing Gym.” He has sparred with Daniel Ponce De Leon and Charles Huerta, among others.
The Schurr High School graduate will be campaigning at 130, two pounds lower than his amateur weight.
With excitement growing as his team counts down the hours till Montelongo’s pro debut, I wondered what the amateur star’s thoughts are as he makes the transition to the big leagues in boxing.
“I’m expecting a great fight!” he shares. “And I have been working to expect my opponent to be hungry to win as well because it is also his debut.”
At the press conference, Xavier was with his father Xavier Montelongo Sr., trainer Gilbert Valdez, boxing advisor Sergio Diaz, and stablemate Denise Rico, a female amateur star. During the luncheon, he also greeted WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios and co-manager Francisco Espinosa.
While boxing is Montelongo Jr.’s favorite sport, he’s also an avid runner. At the time of last month’s presser, Xavier told me he was competing in a charity event that weekend. A few days later, I inquired how he did in this 10K. “It was called ‘Run for Hope’ at Whittier Narrows,” the boxer said. “I placed first in my division!” A champ in the squared circle and a champ on the jogging track as well.
While the “Mongoose” has been involved in the sweet science for more than half his life, the centered teenager also finds faith, strength and discipline through his weekend activities at his church, Victory Outreach. Xavier has led bible study in Oxnard and hopes to be a role model for other youth. Boxing can keep kids off the streets and away from drugs and gangs.
Knowing his intensity in the ring, along with his intensity with his religious beliefs, I wondered if the violence of boxing ever interferes with his strong faith.
Preferring the “sweet science” of boxing to the sheer violence of the sport, Montelongo realizes it can appear a contradiction to some. But he also keeps it real by finding a way to success–both for him and his family–and to continue to stay out of the gritty gang-infested streets of East L.A. Xavier also tells me he looks up to his father, admiring his boxing knowledge as well as his work ethic in owning his own business.
“I love to box,” this good-looking kid explains, about his own chosen profession. “And through the sport I also box as a means to feed my family.”
But while he is a young man full of religious faith, he is also a boxer at heart, make no mistake about his drive and desire as a puncher. With his skills in the ring, with his tenacity, and with his desire to win, you can expect fireworks inside the ropes.
“I am ready to rock and roll and put on a great performance on October 27!” he confirms. “This is a dream come true and a great opportunity.”
He is a boxer, pure of faith and full of fire–and hungry to be a world champion someday.
His camp says he’s not the type you have to nag, cajole or lure to the gym. Training is just part of the fundamental makeup of Montelongo Jr.
“It’s easy with him,” his father, Montelongo Sr. laughs. “He eats, sleeps and dreams boxing!”
Now he will make his highly-anticipated professional debut this week. Meet rising star Xavier Montelongo Jr. in this video interview.
And witness the boxer’s professional debut this Thursday night!
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.