Central PA Golden Gloves

Isaiah Flecha (red) with JinJi Boxing Club of Lancaster, wins during the Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Championships at Lancaster Catholic High School Saturday March 9, 2019.

“Told you I’d do it,” Frank Padilla, still sweaty from his fight, said grinning. He was clearly reveling in the “it” he referenced — a championship win at Saturday’s 2019 Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Championships.

Padilla (3-2) wasn’t the only Lancaster boxer smiling at the end of the night. Despite a bout sheet that sported only 10 bouts — half the number of fights originally scheduled — seven Lancaster city boxers still climbed into the ring at Saturday’s annual event. Five of them exited victorious.

Padilla faced Victor Ramos (3-5), a solid fighter who trains at Indio’s Boxing Gym in Bethlehem. The 132-pound novice bout opened with Ramos snapping out a fast double jab. Padilla, in turn, landed some decent body shots. But he didn’t truly hit his stride until the third round, when he combined his jab with deliberate follow-up shots, often launched by exploding out of a near-crouch stance.

“I thought I pulled it out and landed the bigger shots,” Padilla said.

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Ramos clearly disagreed. At the announcement of the judges’ decision, Ramos left the ring, visibly angry, only to be sent back by his corner.

In amateur boxing, how you handle a loss is as important as how you celebrate winning.

“A loss is a learn,” Jaysonet Martinez (3-5) said. He trains with Padilla at Jinji Boxing Club and lost to Jayron Adorno (record unknown) of Adorno Boxing Club.

But, as the son of coach Jinji Martinez, the 11-year-old knows good sportsmanship. “Sometimes I get mad,” he said. “But I get over it and focus on the next fight.”

Yassin Jawhar (2-2) of Cameron Street Boxing Club was definitely angry about losing to Jinji’s Brandon Bent (1-0), citing “hometown advantage” for his loss.

“I had a knockdown,” Jawhar said about his battle with Bent, who was making his debut.

Jawhar also landed a shot at the end of the first round that was so hard the crowd heard the impact, responding with a collective “ooh.”

“He was good,” Bent said about his opponent. “It was close.”

The audible punch had an impact, he said. But, with his adrenaline up, he didn’t notice too much.

There is a lot to notice about 26-year-old Jeffrey Marshall (5-0), another Jinji boxer. He dominated in the ring, earning a decisive win over Brendon Whitfield (record unknown), of Star City Boxing in Reading.

Marshall, who fights southpaw, literally bounced to the center of the ring and, at the first bell, delivered fierce punches. A hard right hook clearly rattled Whitfield, who took two eight-counts in the first round.

The second round featured a calmer Marshall landing multiple jabs. In the third round it was that jab followed by a fast combo that ended the fight.

Marshall won via RSC (referee stops contest). Minutes later, he was named Outstanding Boxer of the Night.

Marshall credits the double achievement to being “in my zone.”

“Once I hit him, I knew I had to stay focused,” Marshall said.

This was his first Golden Gloves fight, and the experience was “good, wonderful, beautiful,” Marshall said.

A similar thought was expressed earlier in the evening when ABF USA middleweight champion Jamaal Davis (18-1) spoke to the boxers from the center of the ring.

“Boxing is beautiful,” the Philly born fighter, who now trains in Harrisburg, said. “Make your corner proud. Make your family proud.”

Extending that sentiment to a city, Lancaster can certainly be proud of its boxers.

It began with the first fight, when 10-year-old Jaren Colon (11-7) of Lancaster City Boxing Club moved to the center of the ring in the first round, showing no hesitation as he and Qani McFadden (unattached, record unknown) went toe-to-toe for all three rounds. Colon won.

It continued as Jinji’s Isaiah Flecha (3-3) recovered from a below-the-belt blow — “it kind of hurt, I’m not going to lie” he said — that lead to a victory over Jalini Johnson of Reading Extreme Boxing.

And it ended with three champions on their way to Regionals and two winners still in the running for Central District championships.

The 2019 Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Championships, qualifiers for the regional and state championships of the Frank Cariello 2019 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Tournament will continue on Saturday, March 23, at Genetti’s Manor, 1505 North Main Ave., Dickson City, Pa.