“Heavy Metal” & Team SFC Shine in LA
Over 50 members of Team Coley traveled from Northern California down to SoCal to be ringside when former amateur standout Aaron “Heavy Metal” Coley made his professional debut Friday night on All Star Promotions’ live boxing show in Montebello, California. With five boxing matches and five Muay Thai fights, the crowd showed their appreciation for the featured combat sports presented by All Star’s Ed Holmes and Pete Hironaka.
After Aaron’s bout versus local fighter Jason Gonzalez (also making his professional debut), I caught up with the Coley crew, which included trainer Ben Bautista, stablemate and female boxing champ Ava Knight and a huge group of family and friends who came out to witness the southpaw’s first victory as a pro. In a spirited scrap with Gonzalez, the crowd watched four rounds of action between the junior middleweights. Official scores of 40-35 and 39-37 twice gave Hayward’s Coley the win.
The show promoters Holmes and Hironaka were both pleased with the Bay area boxer, just 21 years old. The promoter and matchmaker hope to have the Coley camp back for a future show. All Star’s next event is scheduled for June 2. Also pleased with the pro debut were the spirited Coley bunch, whom I chatted with in the venue’s outdoor patio. Celebrating Aaron’s win were his parents Arnold and Leslyn Coley, brother Armond Coley, fiancée Brittany Wren, both of his grandmothers, and many more. Check out these exclusive photos of Team Coley celebrating Aaron’s first win as a pro.
Training out of the Straight Forward Club (SFC) Boxing Gym, the lefty relayed how he felt about his debut Friday night. “All Star hooked up this pro debut; we had over 50 family and friends coming out to support me,” the NorCal slugger told me. “I’m happy with the win; it was good to get all the ‘jitters’ out in adjusting to the head gear off. But it was just about making minor adjustments. I loved being in there.”
His trainer Ben Bautista is proud of his young charge. The SFC coach (who opened his gym in the Tenderloin district) is having a busy season. Besides working with Coley for the last couple of years, he also trains WBO NABO Light Welter Champ Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (fighting May 18), new pro fighter Denis Madriz (fighting May 12) and IBF Female Flyweight Champion Ava Knight, among others. The San Francisco trainer also has a young son, Izaiah Bautista, who’s an amateur fighter getting ready to fight in the prestigious National Junior Olympics.
“I met Ben at the Nationals,” Aaron mentions. “Then when my dad’s business moved nearby in the Bay area I started training with Ben.”
His father’s scrap metal business is also how the light middleweight got his nickname of “Heavy Metal.” Arnie Coley runs Coley International Metals, where the hard-working Aaron puts in time while also training as a prizefighter at SFC. And it is his father who first inspired his love for the sweet science.
“I grew up watching boxing with my dad!” the young pug recalls with a smile. “All of the fights like Holyfield and Tyson…My dad and I would watch together.”
Then when he was 14, the Patterson athlete went to his Pops to tell him how serious he was about boxing; and that he wanted to become a professional fighter, even though he was versatile in other sports. “Aaron had done good in the amateurs like the Golden Gloves,” Arnie explains, “so I wasn’t surprised he wanted to become a fighter. I just told him, ‘Don’t get hit too much!’ and my son said: ‘They can’t hit me!'”
The father–son duo chuckle at the memory. His Pops says he loves the adrenaline of seeing his son fight and the excitement of the pros only adds to it.
Wearing special “Aaron Coley Pro Debut” shirts, the team speaks of their faith in the young man making his mark in the sport. “Go For The Glory” read the back of their shirts.
“He’s on his way; he gonna be the one,” is the praise they gave about the boxer. “He goin’ to the moon!”
Fellow fighter Ava “The Lady of Boxing” Knight enjoyed watching her teammate’s fight and had a great time visiting L.A. with the SFC team. The reigning IBF flyweight champ also revealed to me that she has sparred Coley–just once. The 112-pounder said Coley hits hard and his best weapon is his straight left.
The southpaw, who is right-hand dominant in everything except boxing, grinned at Ava’s assessment. “Yeah, in my fight I got to show my left,” Aaron nods. “And his mouthpiece came out twice; I also caught him with an overhand shot too.”
The whole Coley team will be out in force in his next fight, they promise. Aaron also has a 6-year-old little brother and also a sister, 17, his pretty fiancée Brittany tells me while I visit with the team. The pair also have a three-year-old son, Aaron Coley Jr. The entire family–and growing fan base–can’t wait till their favorite fighter laces up again.
And Aaron “Heavy Metal” Coley will continue to bang in the ring–now as a new pro.
Photos by Michele Chong