Mike Reyes has moved a step forward in becoming more serious about the sport by participating in the Bad Boy Boxing events held at Fort McDowell Casino. On March 9, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member entered the light heavyweight division of the two events of boxing and mixed martial arts together in the hexagon.
“The way I got involved was by a friend of mine who told me about it,” said Reyes, “He knew I [had] been taking up boxing for a while now, and so I registered.”
Reyes said his mentor and trainer is Kevin Riding-In. “He would train me during my lunch breaks, and then after work I would do some conditioning [with] cardio and hitting the bag,” said Reyes, who has been boxing for about seven months now and preparing for the March fight. He started getting serious about three months prior to the event.
“I got better on my techniques and defense,” said Reyes. “And there are also a lot of new things I learned and never knew about in boxing, like the many combinations.
“I was intimidated by each fighter I watched step out on the hexagon because a lot of them that were up there came from gyms that they were fighting from,” he said. “But I blocked that out by just listening to music and continued to warm up.”
Once he got into the ring, he said he was overcome with extreme nervousness. “There was a lot of people, and I was up there, but as soon as I got hit that first time, it all went away,” he said. “And the only thing to do was just to defend myself, use all the skills I learned and swing back.”
Each fight consists of three one-minute rounds, with a 60-second rest period between rounds. The events are single-elimination boxing tournaments and the winners advance to the finals until one boxer is crowned champion of his weight class. Judges use the 10-point Must System for scoring, with points awarded for aggression, power, number of hits, defense and other techniques.
In the first round of his first fight, Reyes needed to see what his opponent had. By the second round he said he knew what his strategy would be. Eventually he knocked his opponent down; that fight lasted two rounds.
“It was a rush for me,” Reyes said of winning his first fight. “The second fight was a little harder, because the guy was much taller and had longer arms than me. In that fight I just went for the body and head.” In the second fight Reyes earned the most points by landing more hits and combinations.
The second fight lasted three rounds, and at the end Reyes was crowned champion of his division.
“I really felt good about it,” said Reyes. “I am going to continue to train harder and get better at boxing.”
Reyes received a championship belt and won $500. “I want to thank everyone who came out to support me, and thank you to my trainer Kevin Riding-In.”