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Murray • Isaac Aguilar looked into the crowd, which included 25 or so members of his extended family, and told himself there was no way a talented, but undersized, boxer from Wyoming was going to keep him from advancing to the Golden Gloves National Championships in Mesquite, Nev., later this month.
"I was telling myself in my head that I have worked too hard to lose this," Aguilar said. "I thought, 'I have to go to nationals. I have to show all those people out there that believe in me that I can do it.'"
Dominating throughout the championship bout of the 123-pound division in the Rocky Mountain Region Golden Gloves, West Valley City's Aguilar overwhelmed Wyoming's Gabe Montoya on Saturday night at The Sports Mall, recording a pair of knockdowns in the second round and a standing eight count in the third.
"One of the knockdowns was from a blow to the body," said Aquilar, who dedicates every fight to the memory of his father, Victor Aguilar, who was murdered in a downtown Salt Lake City restaurant when Isaac was 9 months old.
"The other knockdown, my punch was kind of low, I believe. But the first one, I know, I am 100 percent sure, it was a body shot that did it because he threw out his mouthpiece. He couldn't breathe."
Montoya was fighting up a division, and it showed.
"He was a bit smaller than me," Aguilar acknowledged, "and a lot skinnier."
About 500 boxing fans took in the 12 bouts six in the Junior Olympic Class and six in the Open Class and saw some of the best amateur boxing the region has to offer.
Winners of the six Open Class bouts, including Aguilar, advance to nationals April 30 through May 6 in Mesquite. Some boxers, including Utah's Jonathan Martinez at 114 pounds, were unopposed Saturday night and will also go to nationals.
Another Utahn, 16-year-old Highland High junior Danny Galloway, advanced with a first-round win over Tyler Shiever of Montana when the referee stopped the 165-pound bout.
"Left hook to the body," Galloway said of the blow that knocked Shiever down, the earliest TKO of Galloway's three-year career. "I was going for that."
Galloway, who defeated Wyoming's Alfredo Lawderoz in Friday's semifinals, said making the nationals in Golden Gloves "means everything to me. … It means a lot."
Utah's Ignacio Chairez (132), Wyoming's Tyler Canning (152), Idaho's Dillon Fowler (178) and Utah's Jesse West (201) also won bouts Saturday to make the nationals.
In the Junior Olympic bouts, Montana's Ruben Marquez, Utah's Braedon Vinison, Idaho's Roberto Perez, Utah's Bladimir Estrada, Utah's Marco Alvarez and Utah's Miguel Garcia were victors Saturday.