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Third time Golden for local amateur boxer
ARLINGTON Miguel Garcia is a man of few words, but the 19-year-old Arlington native has let his hands do the talking for him.
Garcias six-year amateur boxing career culminated in him winning the light welterweight division by unanimous decision at the 60th annual Tacoma Golden Gloves tournament Feb. 22-23. He and Arlington boxing club head coach Dan Hathaway admitted that Garcia has come a long way since he started in the sport.
I didnt like it at first, said Garcia, who began at 13. I wasnt in very good shape, so it was exhausting. I had five brothers, though, and they were all doing it, so I wasnt going to be the only one not doing it.
Hes the only one who stuck with it, though, said Hathaway, whos coached Garcia since he began. Hes very dedicated and is one of the hardest working young men Ive had in the gym. He went into this years tournament very focused and determined. Hes like a son to me.
Hathaway cited Garcias rigorous regimen, which includes running 3,000 stairs a day, as well as his quick reflexes and his greatly improved defensive skills as reasons for his victories, including his two unanimous decision wins in his weight class at Tacoma this year.
Hes got such fast hands that when I show videos of him to other coaches, they say they cant even enjoy them because he moves so fast, Hathaway said.
The 2008 event marked Garcias third Golden Gloves tournament. In 2006, he fought as a lightweight, beating Rentons Jose Gomez in the preliminaries before losing by decision to Californias Stan Martynouk in the finals.
Stan was ranked number two in the nation and had more than 65 bouts under his belt, Hathaway said. After the bout, Stans coach told Miguel to keep his head up, as they felt he did very well with only 10 bouts behind him.
Garcia moved up to light welterweight status last year, when he won by unanimous decision against Yakimas Randel Corpuz in the preliminaries, but lost by decision to five-time champion Will Hughes of Tacoma.
Miguel injured his right hand in the prelims, after landing two punches on Randels elbow, Hathaway said. He had to go without the use of his full arsenal against Will, since he couldnt throw many punches with his right arm and had to go into survival mode for a bit.
Garcia faced off against Tacomas Sequan McClone in the 2008 Golden Gloves preliminaries Feb. 22, with an eye toward drawing him out of his comfort zone.
Miguel got in good jabs, Hathaway said. We knew this guy was a counter-puncher, so we made him come to us. He basically walked into the jabs.
In the tournaments finals, Garcia went up against Juan Ulloa from Bend, Ore. Ulloa had previously fought Garcia three weeks earlier, and Garcia was entering the finals ring Feb. 23 with a slight tear of a ligament in his shoulder from his bout with McClone.
There was a question as to whether the doc would let him fight, but you cant give up on the night of the finals, Hathaway said. He still got in good body shots and moved so well it was hard for the other guy to catch up.
While Garcias injury didnt keep him from winning the Golden Gloves championship, it has cost him his shot at this years regionals, but he and Hathaway are already looking toward next years nationals. Garcia himself has hopes of making the 2012 Olympic team and representing the U.S. in London.
I think I can get somewhere with this, Garcia said.
Miguel will compete against anyone, anytime and anywhere, as long as theyre in his weight class, hathaway said. Im so proud of him. Hes never given up, even though there have been some tough times along his journey. All his hard work has finally paid off for him.