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Local amateur boxer earns bronze medal in U.S. Nationals

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Local amateur boxer earns bronze medal in U.S. Nationals

Matthew Guerrero of Manteca shows off his bronze medal earned in the U.S. National Boxing Championships in Spokane, Wash. last week.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED April 11, 2013 1:43 a.m.

Matthew Guerrero took his biggest step toward realizing his Olympic dreams last week.

There are many more steps to make with the 2016 Rio Games looming in the distant future, but he earned his biggest accomplishment as an amateur boxer in his first U.S. National Championships appearance. The Manteca High junior went 2-1 and returned home from Spokane, Wash. on Sunday with a shiny new bronze medal.

“I was real nervous before my first fight, but after that I got into a groove,” Guerrero said. “I was more relaxed and it got easier for my second fight.

“Overall it was a great experience. I went up against guys from Texas and Oregon and got to see different styles.”

An honor roll student, Guerrero said he is almost caught up with a week’s worth of schoolwork that he missed last week. He has proven time and again to be up to such challenges, both in the classroom and the squared circle.

“Almost all the fighters out there were Silver Gloves champions and national champions from different shows,” said Rick Guerrero, Matthew’s dad. “The competition is pretty intense. That was probably the best I’ve seen him look, though.”

Matthew Guerrero, a three-time Junior Golden Gloves champion and third-place finisher in the USA Boxing Junior Olympics, competed in the Youth Men bantamweight (123 pounds) division for nationals. He opened the single-elimination tournament with a 29-28 decision win over Hector Valdez of Dallas, Texas. He was awarded every round in his quarterfinal victory over Oregonian Raul Estrada.

Guerrero was ousted in the semifinals, getting outpointed 30-27 by eventual runner-up Francisco Martinez of Dallas, Texas. Lansing, Mich. resident Jarico O’Quinn was crowned champion.

Guerrero trained harder for the U.S. nationals than he ever did for previous tournament runs, as he competed in three-minute rounds for the first time last week. While still under the tutelage of Lathrop’s Felipe Martinez, Guerrero also worked out with Stockton-based trainer Mike Gomez.

Guerrero is taking a much-deserved week off from training to allow his body to recover and give him a chance to catch up with homework, but he will be back in the ring soon enough. In June, he will participate in the adidas National Boxing Tournament in Oxnard. He also plans on entering the 39th Annual National Police Athletic League Championships in the fall.

“We’re just trying to (establish) a good amateur background and go from there,” Rick Guerrero said. “His goal right now is to make the U.S. Olympic team, but if that doesn’t work out we’ll just go pro.”

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