STATE GOLDEN GLOVES: Champions split in semifinal bouts

Joey Andrist of Clovis, right, lands a punch on Sammy Espinoza of Clovis during their age 14-15 match at 141 pounds on Saturday in the New Mexico state Golden Gloves boxing tournament at Roy Walker Community Center. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

It was a split decision, of sorts, for the defending state champs fighting on Saturday night at the annual New Mexico Golden Gloves boxing tournament at Roy Walker Community Center. Two winners from 2006 went into the ring for semifinal bouts, but only one emerged with a chance to get another title.

Jesus Correa, 17, from Albuquerque, earned a technical knockout over Roswell’s Oscar Saavedra in the 165-pound open division to move into the finals.

But Elias Huerta, 24, was eliminated from the 152-pound classification he won a year ago when Rio Rancho’s Lucas Galle earned a judges’ decision.

Galle had fought his way into the semifinal contest by beating Clovis’ Kevin Mah on Friday night in another decision.

“This was a good experience for me,” said Galle, 19, who is fighting in his first Golden Gloves tourney. “I’m just trying to get into the regionals, so I can get more experience.”

The winners of today’s championship matches will earn a berth in a regional contest between New Mexico and Colorado state victors. Those winners will then advance to the national Golden Gloves tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Huerta, who lived in Clovis a year ago but moved to Roswell since last year’s event, didn’t fight on Friday and was seeing his first action in the tourney.

“If you get a chance to fight before, you feel more confident and can get more comfortable,” said Huerta after the loss to his younger Rio Rancho foe. “But at the same time, he could have gotten tired last night. I didn’t fight like I know how — that’s what I know for sure.”

Correa backed Saavedra into a corner twice with punching flurries in the second round. The first resulted in a standing eight-count for the Roswell fighter and the late, seconds later, resulted in a technical knockout as the official stopped the fight.

Last year, Correa won the 178-pound division after he weighed in a pound over the 165-pound class he’s battling in this year. According to the Albuquerque fighter, there’s clearly a difference between the two weight divisions.

“It don’t hurt as much,” Correa said.

Another semifinal winner was David DeLacerda, a heavyweight from Levelland, Texas who trains in Clovis. DeLacerda, 26, defeated Bloomfield’s Victor Filerio by a decision.

“I had to work some bugs out, trying to get warmed up,” DeLacerda said. “He was pretty elusive, working some angles. It was just a matter of me getting my legs under me and getting going.”

In the super-heavyweight division, Clovis’ Luis Ruiz had a chance to move into today’s title bouts — which begin at 1:30 p.m. — but lost a decision to Albuquerque’s Emmanuel Chavarria.