Cover Story

Community member Mike Reyes competed in another bad boy fight night light heavy weight boxing event held at the Fort McDowell Casino. Photo courtesy of Kevin Poleyumptewa

Mike Reyes Wins Championship Belt in Bad Boy Boxing/MMA Event

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

On Friday, November 30, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Mike Reyes competed in another Bad Boy Boxing Fight Night event held at the Fort McDowell Casino. At 6 feet and 201 pounds, Reyes fights as a light heavyweight.

Earlier this year, in April, Reyes competed in a Fight Night for the first time and knocked out his opponent in the second round. He earned his first championship belt, and after that experience he wanted to continue.

Reyes has been training with Kevin Riding-In. “This time my trainer showed me more techniques to use, like defense moves, moving my head around and throwing more combinations,” said Reyes. “I practiced on my lunch breaks and after work every day of the week.

“I love boxing, and that is why I started training,” he continued. “I liked the workouts, and I wanted to take it a step further. So I asked Kevin Riding-In if he would help me train again, and he said yes. I have to give him all the thanks, because he took time out of his work schedule and lunch breaks to help me train and showed me all the moves to get me this far.”

According to Riding-In, Reyes worked harder for this tournament than he did for the last one. “He picked up the basics pretty fast, and then we moved on to defensive techniques, throwing combinations, foot movement and working off of the jab,” said Riding-In.

The two did a lot of training, with the focus on mitts and sparring two times a week with Riding-In and Joey Jimenez. “I brought in a surprise sparring partner one time because he was not expecting it,” said Riding-In. “The sparring paid off to help him get comfortable with in-ring movement and how to perform the skills he learned.”

On the night before the November 30 fight, “I couldn’t sleep at all, until finally at 4 a.m. I just kept thinking about getting in the ring fighting and hopefully winning,” said Reyes. “Friday morning I was still nervous, and that whole day went by too fast. I remember it was already 9 p.m. and I didn’t want it to be there so quick.”
He started feeling good once he got into the ring and heard everyone cheering him on.

The fight ended immediately after the second round started, probably within the first 10 seconds. “I gave [his opponent] a straight left and he collapsed to the floor. I got him good and I won by a knockout,” said Reyes.

“His opponent was Chad Clement, who served in the Marine Corps with me,” said Riding-In. “We were in the same platoon in boot camp, went to infantry school together and served as grunts in the same unit but in different companies. So it was a pleasant surprise to see him. Mike had a bye to the championship, so I wished Chad good luck, hoping to see him in the finals, and we did.

“We got to watch [Chad] fight, so I put together a game plan for Mike,” said Riding-In. “Chad was a bull, coming straight forward, but I taught Mike how to fight forward and backward, and side to side. All of Chad’s punches were big haymakers (a wide, swinging side punch from the shoulder with the elbow hardly bent).” Riding-In said he had Reyes throw straight punches, and when he followed through, Clement ran right into Reyes’ big left, and he hit the floor to be counted out.

“I have two championships and I want to fight semi-pro fighters now,” said Reyes. “I never thought I would make it this far in the sport.”
On top of winning the championship belt, he walked away with a jacket and a cash prize, as well as the cash from the tickets he sold.

“I learned as long as your heart is in it, then you will get far,” said Reyes. “When I walked out of the ring, that’s when it hit me that I really won, and I was just excited that I did it.”

Riding-In added that Reyes worked hard. “I am very proud of the way he performed and happy he had his kids, family and friends in attendance to see his victory.”

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