Haywards Coley wins by TKO, advances to nationals

Haywards Coley wins by TKO, advances to nationals
June 3, 2011, 4:26 pm
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June 3, 2011Ryan Maquinana
CSNBayArea.com FRESNO, CA A blistering right uppercut from Aaron Heavy Metal Coley stopped Joey Perez of Clovis in the second round and netted the Hayward resident the Central Pacific Regional middleweight title last Saturday at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club.Coley, who trains at SFC Boxing Gym on 7th St. in San Francisco, now advances to the prestigious USA Boxing National Championships, which take place June 20-25 in Colorado Springs and serve as the next step toward qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.It feels good to see my hard work pay off, said the 20-year-old southpaw, currently ranked the No. 6 amateur middleweight in the nation. There are so many people out there at the 165-pound weight class at nationals, so I have to take it one fight at a time.After a first round where Coley controlled the pace with his right jab, Perez looked to pressure him in the second; the choice would be at the Clovis natives peril. Following a Perez flurry, the Bay Area fighter took a step back and unleashed the fateful right hand that had his Central Valley foe dazed and confused on the canvas. On shaky ground after rising to his feet midway through the count, Perez was deemed unfit to continue by the referee.I was keeping him off-balance, said Coley of his opponent. He rushed in and he was leaning to the right, so I threw the right uppercut and he walked right into it. After that, he was out.His nickname derived from his nine-to-five job in his fathers scrap yard, Coleys blue-collar work ethic has been evident since moving from Stockton to the Bay Area a year ago with fiance Brittany Wren and two-year-old son Aaron Jr. As soon as I get off work in Hayward every day, I go straight to the gym at SFC, said Coley, who has become a frequent BART passenger. When I get home and whenever Im not training, I spend as much time with my family as I can.Aaron makes a lot of sacrifices, added his trainer, Ben Bautista. Some kids dont come to the gym unless I call them, but I dont have to worry about him. Hes so dedicated that he calls me every day. I love to help this kid because hes humble, hes hungry, and he loves to help himself.If Coley can make it to the semifinals or better next month, he will be assured a spot in the eight-man Olympic Trials in August, a single-elimination tournament that will yield the countrys middleweight representative in the London Games next summer. Coming out of the Bay Area, this is another step up getting closer to the Olympics, said a hopeful Coley. Theres no telling who Ill face next, so I have to adjust in a tournament like that, but Im ready. Im going to keep working in the gym until then.ROUNDUPIn a rematch of their scintillating Golden Gloves regional final in San Francisco, Andy Vences of San Jose PAL booked his ticket to nationals with a decision over Vicente Guzman of Tulare in the 141-pound final. I didnt let him brawl me and stayed off the ropes, said Vences, who added the Central Pacific trophy to an impressive tally that includes the Adidas Tournament and California Golden Gloves titles. I just have to go out there to Colorado Springs, not let the pressure get to me, and do my best.Other Bay Area men who made it to nationals include Eric Altamirano of Concord CYC (132 pounds) and Laron Mitchell of San Franciscos Ring of Fire Gym (201 pounds).Jose Ramirez of Avenal, the top-ranked lightweight in America, did not officially participate in the regionals. However, the Fresno State freshman also advances to Colorado Springs as the defending national champion in the 132-pound division. Ramirez defeated Fresnos Ulises Soriano by decision in a non-tournament bout.Out of the local women to compete last Saturday, Gilroys Elizabeth Rodriguez (106 pounds), Casey Morton of San Mateos B Street Gym (125 pounds), and Theresa Moon of Pacificas BabyFace Gym (152 pounds) advanced to nationals. Ryan is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com. E-mail him at rmaquinana@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @rmaq28