Special Gathering Hosted by Trainer/Artist
Enter Your Name & Email Address Below And Be Part of Our Boxing Community!! It's FREE!!
Some heavy hitters joined the kids and teens at the 16th Annual Burbank Boxing Club (BBC) BBQ held this past weekend.
Joining the BBC Founder and Head Coach Steve Harpst were special guests including former WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Champ and WBO titlist Lamon Brewster, WBC Super Featherweight Champion Bobby “Schoolboy” Chacon, former IFBA Middleweight titleholder Trina “Iron Butterfly” Ortegon, pro boxer Katarina De La Cruz, amateur stars Ryan Garcia and Sean Garcia, Warner Bros.’ Mike Sherwood, Golden State Boxer’s Association’s Bill Dempsey Young and Linda Young and Cleto Reyes’ Mike Serrano.
The guests and prizefighters joined the party celebrating the amateur boxers that train in the SoCal gym. Current members, past members and new honorary members all took part in the day’s festivities including a potluck of international flavors, games for the tots, and a fierce water balloon competition between the kids and adults.
It was a busy weekend for former amateur athlete Harpst. Besides being a boxing coach, he’s also an artist and sculptor. On Saturday, his “Prizefighter” bronze was commissioned by female boxing pioneer referee/judge Gwen Adair, who presented Harpst’s statue to boxing veteran Don Fraser at the California Boxing Hall of Fame awards banquet. And the very next day, Harpst was heating up the coals to get this big BBQ underway.
But as they say, it takes a village. So Coach Steve had a very hard-working team of volunteers behind him. A crew of young amateurs pitched in to greet the guests, as well as generous support from several individuals including Cleto Reyes Boxing Equipment’s Elizabeth Reyes (who is also the WBC World Boxing Cares’ Community Outreach Director), Cleto Reyes distributor Mike Serrano, Warner Bros. National Sales Director Mike Sherwood, Inraged Clothing, Improve Balance Bands and Burbank Boxing Club’s Honorary Members and the event’s “MVPs” Larry and Laurie DeSoto. The volunteers, sponsors and contributors gave away prizes and goodies to the lucky members.
And the members provided a tasty buffet of dishes in a picture-perfect outdoor setting under the trees. Local eateries like Krispy Kreme, Daphne’s California Greek and Starbucks also lent their support to Harpst and the youth.
The young amateurs got to meet many past and present forces in the sport while also hearing words of encouragement from the pro champs in attendance. Two-time world champ Bobby Chacon and Rosie Legaspi donated autographed photos to the boxing bunch. The “Schoolboy” showed he still has championship pizazz as he shadowboxed with the crowd.
Amateur champs Ryan Garcia, 14, and Sean Garcia, 12, joined their parents Henry and Lisa, at this party in the park. The family is very supportive of amateur boxing; Henry and Lisa even volunteer their time as USA Boxing Officials (Level II). The boys and sister Kayla met several of the other amateur fighters gathered around.
Ex-heavyweight champ Lamon Brewster (who TKO’d Wladimir Klitschko) brought along boxing vet John Mayer and a couple of young sluggers Brewster is currently training while female pro Katarina “La Gatita” De La Cruz had her own favorite fighter with her. Her teen son, Olé Arias, joined the group at the celebration. Arias recently fought on the Shane Mosley amateur card; with Kat and Olé was Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions’ Tracy Mabe, who told me she enjoys working with youth boxing and other charitable causes.
For all of the BBC members, it was a great day with sunny fall weather and a chance to meet up with everybody while reconnecting with past members. Bill Dempsey Young, President of the Golden State Boxer’s Association, is a longtime supporter of the Burbank Boxing Club. The couple’s connection to boxing runs deep. Their son RC Young is an amateur boxer and Bill’s late father is famed referee Dick “Tiger” Young (third man in the ring for the “Broken Jaw” bout between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton). The Youngs said, “This is a great BBQ; we always have fun here!”
“It was a fantastic day with our friends; I think everyone had a great time,” Harpst commented. “We had a really big turnout and the kids loved meeting all the champs and special guests who came out to support our amateurs.” Trainer Harpst also had an invaluable team in his assistant coaches Tim Ferguson, Louis Dell, Maya Roseman, Angie and David Lopez lending a strong fist at the BBQ potluck.
The club members and the community really came together to celebrate the boxing club and its young athletes. The “youngest” BBC members had to be the twin boys that Sean Ford’s wife Lea is carrying. Due any minute, the petite brunette still got into the mix. So strong is their love of boxing that one of the babies is going to be named Lennox (after British boxer Lennox Lewis). Maybe the twins will become future champions too?
Coach Harpst says training in the sweet science can also help build confidence in the kids, while teaching them skills and discipline–and keep them off the streets and away from gangs or drugs.
Lamon Brewster came from a hardscrabble childhood and the heavyweight champ knows that boxing can provide a way out for the youngsters. The fighter (who holds the distinction of being the last man to defeat Wladimir Klitschko) also Team Brewster with him. This is one championship family in wife Juana, daughter Shaniah (turning 14 soon), 11-year-old T.J. and Shyla, age 6. The kids played with the others while the champ spent time meeting new fans.
Brewster joked around and chatted with the boys and girls who came up to him for an autograph or photo, bonding through boxing talk. And he also took his position in the rows of warriors readying for the water balloon face off!
Each year, this is the most highly-anticipated competition in the program. Games Chairman Larry DeSoto first pitted the children and teens in Round 1 with the adults squaring off in Round 2. The winners of the two groups came together for the final stare down and 2012 braggin’ rights.
After the final bell, this year’s 2012 “Water Balloon Champ” was none other than female puncher Trina Ortegon. Winning in the adult division, the tall brunette promises to come back to defend her championship next year.
And next year’s shindig is already being talked about. It’s a get together where the athletes of all ages, races, genders can enjoy the sunshine away from the gym. The club’s favorite get-together has certainly become an annual event.
“Yep, we’re already planning next year’s BBQ,” the trainer laughs. “Everybody in the gym has been coming in asking when we’re going to have it again. So this will continue to be an annual BBQ and potluck for the members. Thanks again to everyone who supported us–we couldn’t have done it without you!”
Photos by Michele Chong
Calling All Boxing Fans
Boxing Fans, It's Edgar, Founder & Publisher of MyBoxingFans.com, and I personally want to ask you to subscribe to our email newsletter its completely Free! Just enter your name and email below: