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Slap. Slap-slap, slap!
The sounds of boxers warming up with their trainers pokes through the jovial banter and greetings as spectators file through the double doors to take their seats before the red, white and blue boxing ring. A sea of faces from varying backgrounds and ages look up in excitement; young children clamor up on their parent’s laps to get a better view of the big screens hanging behind colored spotlights and waiting ring girls.
The lights dim and conversation fades to a whisper. The creak of chairs split the near silence as the crowd waits in anticipation for the announcer to step into the boxing ring smack in the middle of the Sanctuary.
He raises his microphone and smiles in salutation. “Welcome to the Rock Church!”
Battling for Ourroops
On Sunday, March 9, 2013 The Rock Church was proud to sponsor the first Battle for the Troops event, which held seventeen amateur boxing matches, including three at the Olympic level. All proceeds of the event will benefit the wounded vets here at The Rock.
The day boasted several hours of family fun with rock climbing, skateboarding, bounce houses, a karate demo, and food vendors. Raffle tickets were sold for awesome prizes ranging from complimentary boxing lessons, health supplements, meals at local restaurants and a 40-inch flat screen TV. All ticket sales also went to the cause of supporting our veterans.
The spirit of God made itself known as the hundreds of attendees, many who had never before stepped foot in a church, interacted side by side in both the pre- and post-fight events, creating a sense of community that touched the hearts of many.
Abraham and Julie Alvarez, members of The Rock Point Loma, brought their two sons to the event, purchasing raffle tickets to help support our wounded warriors.
“It’s for a good cause,” Julie said. “And it’s a great way to get out and meet other people in the church outside of Sunday worship.”
Chris Byrd, former boxer and two-time heavyweight champion of the world—and also a member of The Rock Church North County, was on hand. He shared words of encouragement to all the young and aspiring athletes in attendance, as well as thanking The Rock for making such a day happen.
“This event is off the charts!” he said. “I cannot believe we are in a church!”
Craig and Diane Carrillo, who joined The Rock after their recent move to southern California, volunteered to work at the t-shirt stand outside of the Rockpile Bookstore, selling t-shirts commemorating the event.
“There is always something or somewhere that allows people to connect here,” Craig said. “That’s what we love about The Rock.”
When asked about the event itself, they thought that holding a boxing match was an awesome idea.
“People walk through these doors where they would never have been here before,” Diane said. “This event gives us [The Rock] the opportunity to connect with them and invite them back.”
Fighting for God
When asked why in the world The Rock would hold a boxing event inside of a church, Pastor Miles responded with a smile, “Because we can!”
With a charismatic grin, he then elaborated: “We fight the Devil every single day for God, and it’s a matter of life and death. Yet we cannot win that fight without God.”
After a powerful message about the importance of having God in your corner and watching your back in your daily struggle, the crowd bowed their heads as Pastor Miles led the sanctuary in prayer. He asked for anyone who had never given their lives to God and wanted His presence to fill their hearts to raise their hands.
Silence hung heavy over the sea of bowed heads as hands rose silently in the air.
Support staff quickly moved through the isles, handing out Bibles and devotionals as more hands rose; from single attendees to entire families with children.
By the end of the night one hundred hearts had surrendered to God as new soldiers of Christ.
Yes, I’d say that God definitely proved the victor last night.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
Anthony Carilla – Winner
Quick and nimble, the opening fight of the night brought out two young boxers just into their teens who put on a great show through all three rounds with quick advances and responding counter punches. Anthony came out as victor to a cheering crowd.
Daniel Ruiz – Winner
The two teens both expressed their desire to make it to the big ring, and neither disappointed in their match. Audible pops rang out as gloves connected and shoes shuffled across the stretched canvas of the platform. Jerred took a hard blow to the head in the second round and was issued an 8-count, with the referee declaring Daniel the victor.
Daniel Ramirez - Winner
Newbie fighter Jovanni put up a good show against the more experienced Daniel, who outweighed and outreached him by several inches, and went down swinging in round 3. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win the judges scoring, and Daniel came out on top.
Jose “el terro” Pancho – Winner
Round 1 started off exciting and adrenaline rushed as Jose repeatedly pushed Franky up against the ropes. Jose’s onslaught of constant jabs and haymakers cornered Franky several times, and even though Franky finally came back and threw more punches in the third round, Jose’s lead was too far to overcome.
Valerie Altavos - Winner
Mercedes Van Buren
The crowd went absolutely wild as the first of two female fighters appeared up on the overhead screens. The two girls appeared anything but amateurs as they dashed out of their corners swinging, and the first round was a flurry of swift combinations, ending with Mercedes forcing Valerie to block in the corner in a constant barrage of right and left hooks. The referee stopped the fight in round 2, handing the decision to Valerie after a good knock to the side of Mercedes’ head.
Tristan “TJ” Setzer
Nick Carrico – Winner
Spurred on by his enthusiastic fans in the front, Nick started round 1 strong with a series of high-low combinations, forcing Tristan into defensive mode of counter blocks. The fight exploded in the third round, and a left hook and uppercut to the jaw left Tristan wobbling on his feet to give Nick the victory.
Robert Lopez – Winner
Thair’s first fight was an impressive start to his boxing career against experienced Robert. The fight was stopped after the first round after Thair received a solid punch to the temple leaving him dazed.
Ricardo Soto – Winner
These heavyweight boxers brought out the big guns in round 3, as they came at each other like charging bulls to throw their weight behind the left-right combinations and swinging uppercuts. Francisco proved to be a worthy opponent in his first fight to victor Ricardo.
Nelson Salsar - Winner
Like whirling dervishes, the two teenaged boxers flew out of their corners at the sound of the bell with constant torrents of hooks and jabs. The opponents swapped turns ducking under each other’s haymakers and returning hooks of their own. Eric ended round 3 with a double jab to Nelson’s jaw.
Steven Mendoza - Winner
Steven rocked his opponent’s head back with a left jab to the jaw, only to find himself locked in a rapid assault of right and left hooks from Abduloh. They both fought valiantly until Abduloh suffered a close-range jab to the jaw and stumbled. He came back swinging, but was unable to take back the lead.
Tyler Herberger – Winner
Tyler received several warnings throughout the fight about holding his opponent while delivering uppercuts, though the fight was a close match as John delivered his own series of combinations and shovel hooks. Both opponents showed excellent sportsmanship as John was hailed the victor, and then later called back to stage to clear up a scoring issue to instead name Tyler as the correct winner.
Ronald Locsin – Winner
Both boxers circled the ring, constantly moving and dodging their opponents’ attacks until not an inch of platform had been left untouched. Points were quickly racked up in round 1, as Ronald showed amazing evasion technique, managing to avoid most of Miguel’s thrown punches.
Jessica Ramirez – Winner
The crowd roared and colorful “I love you!” posters dotted the audience as the second female fight began. Latisha had the obvious advantage of reach, but that did not slow Jessica’s rush at the first ding of the bell. Jessica continuously cornered Latisha with combinations of jabs and haymakers, with Latisha being saved by the bell in round 2. The girls fought it out evenly in round 3, but Jessica’s lead in points had become a wide stretch.
Brian Nevarez – Winner
These middleweights took their time sizing each other up, their movements slow and calculated. They seemed a good match, regularly trading blows to the head and body, and at the end of round 3 it came down to a point calculation to determine a winner.
Gabriel Hernandez – Winner
Both boxers landed solid body shots, the connections audible over the cheer of the crowd. By round 3 the weariness from their active match became evident, as Houssain led the round with a right hook only to be countered by Gabriel’s quick jabs.
Alex “the Great” Robinson – Winner
A classic case of David and Goliath, Nicholas towered over Alex with an eight-inch reach advantage. Though it quickly became clear that size does not always matter, as Alex took the role of aggressor, knocking Nicholas against the ropes twice in the second round. Round 3 started in a rush as Alex pressed Nicholas into the corner and landed an impressive right hook to his opponent’s jaw.
George Gonzalez – Winner
An animated fight from the beginning, the match was evenly paced and mobile throughout all three rounds. Both boxers favored haymakers and hooks to the body, their heavy gloves connecting with easily heard cracks and pops that rang throughout the sanctuary. The two boxers showed excellent sportsmanship as they closed the event for the night.
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