By Don Smith
Arizona – 3 August 2012
- Alyssa DeFazio was born in New Burgh New York 20 years ago. Her father was a New York Police officer who had to quit the force because of medical reasons. Her Uncle is a police officer and her cousin wears the uniform proudly as well. Assuming the apple wouldn’t fall too far from the tree there was a good chance Alyssa would grow up and become a police officer. At age 4, Alyssa and her family moved from the Empire state to Arizona eventually settling in Wittman a 1 gas station, 1 Subway town situated between Surprise and Wickenburgoff US Highway 60. According to Alyssa, she took up karate lessons shortly after moving to the Cactus State and added boxing to her self defense repertoire by the time she was 8. Her younger brother is an accomplished dirt bike racer.
When she was 12 , DeFazio met Martial Arts and Boxing coach George Garcia Sr. who was impressed with her work ethic and skills. He started working with her seriously at his “Hammer” Gym located at 17233 N. Holmes BLVD. in Phoenix. Garcia calls DeFazion the “hardest working” boxer on the planet. High praise from a coach who boxed his way to a California State Bantamweight Title in 1990 and a #10 World Ranking. Garcia is also known for his work with current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson and his son George “El Torito” Garcia Jr. who retired in 2007 with a record of 13-1-1. George Jr. is an equal business partner with Garcia Senior and both men hold the boxing fort together with an assist from their daytime AC work earnings.Despite the long and grueling hours to maintain his boxing enterprise, George never complains.
As time passed and her boxing stature grew , Alyssa continued to win trophy after trophy and with them came a multitude of Arizona State and US National Boxing Titles. She was thought to be an almost automatic 2012 Olympic qualifier . And then came another tempting offer ; one that questioned her purpose in life....would she like to become a police officer? Before the 2012 US Olympic Trials began in February, Alyssa was notified that a background check to qualify applicants for the Police Academy training would be conducted in her area and the time frame coincided with her Olympic Trials Schedule . It was decision time for the 5’9″ 165 lb winner of over 30 amateur fights. She sought counsel from her parents and both corners told her it was her call.
In weighing her options, she remembered the good times she had as a Cadet in the Police Explorer program while completing her high school education. Another factor considered was the inherited police service tradition within the family. Neither offer was a sure thing. Boxing is a fragile sport and she could get hurt or lose and miss the Olympics. Passing the Police Academy Course meant 9 months of grueling mental and physical testing. Neither challenge was a sure thing but Alyssa thought her best bet was to pursue the shield and not the Gold Medallion .
On August 9, 11 and 12, Alyssa will be glued to her television set rooting on her American boxing sisters:Queen Underwood, Marlen Esparza and Claresa Shields in their pursuit of Olympic Glory. She is at Peace with her decision.
- The Arizona State Boxing Commission office reports there are 6 licensed matchmakers working in Arizona.Mike Sanchez and Roger Woods are licensed to arrange boxing matches in Arizona. Sanchez, President of USA Boxing Arizona , also has a Matchmaker License in Nevada which permits him to match fights there.Asher Lutz, Cesar Ortiz Richard Reyes and John Petrilli are licensed MMA Matchmakers. Anyone wanting to become a matchmaker in the State of Arizona must fill out an application with the Arizona
State Boxing and MMA Commission. which runs $100.00 and includes the finger print fee. Call 602-364-1721 for further information. If matchmakers have a financial interest in any Pro Boxer or Pro MMA Fighter….that information must be disclosed to the Commission. Any violation merits a stiff penalty.
- Mark your calendar for Saturday August 4 when popular and undefeated Arizona Light Welterweights Jose Benavidez and Javier Loya square off at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas on the under card action of the Diego Magdaleno (22-0) Vs. Antonio Davis (29-7) Junior Lightweight war. Light Heavyweight Mike Lee (9-0) is fighting some guy named TBA. Fight fans become a bit miffed when a card has holes going into the final days of the event. Despite that dilemma…drive to the venue or watch this one on Telefutura. Benavidez Jr (15-0) and Loya (7-0) is an interesting pairing . Benavidez, a Top Rank protege, is the pedigreed fighter in this match up while Loya is considered the mongrel that no promotional company wanted to sign. All he does is win. Jose is 20 and Javier is 25. On paper, Benavidez is favored but Javier is married and hungry. Both guys are class act and a compliment to their community. Each fighter deserve a bow for putting their undefeated records on the line. Jose trains at Central Gym in Phoenix while Javier has new digs at the Busted Knuckle Gym in North Phoenix…Go if you can spare the dime. Call the Casino for tickets.
- Parting shots: USA Boxing Arizona official and MCSO Boxing Trainer Walt Hoskins is home recovering an undisclosed illness. He is a prominent figure in Arizona boxing and everyone wishes him a speedy recovery. Chris Alvarado, an assistant to Walt, is working with 125 lb boxing standout Lupita Nevarez. Chris has a good eye for talent and he says she is the real deal…..Iron Boy Promotions has cancelled their August 11 Celebrity Theatre show in Phoenix. It will be rescheduled for November at the same venue. Rumors are circulationg that Iron Boy and Fan Base Promotions might collaborate on a future show but if it does happen…look for Jesus “El Martillo” Gonzales to headline if the rumor comes to fruition. Alan Kahn, speed bag expert, was at the irongloves gym in Tempe to talk about and demonstrate the power of the Speed Bag. He gave a demonstration at the 1996 Olympics.UNTIL NEXT TIME!