Vincent Avina isn't letting a pandemic keep him from chasing his dreams.
The 19-year-old Mantecan has been match-ready for his fifth professional boxing bout these past three months, and the day for his return to the ring has finally been set. He's part of the Noche de Boxing card July 25 in Baja California, Mexico and is ready scrap in weight limits anywhere from 118-122 pounds against an opponent yet to be named. There will be no fans at the venue, which has yet to be determined, but it will be streamed online.
“I'm always working to get better,” he said. “I really want to stay in shape because I want to get these fights back-to-back-to-back. I'm remaining focused. I want to be on point.”
Avina (3-0-1, 3 KOs) previously had a fight lined up back in March, but the Stockton event was canceled as California began its statewide lockdown because of the coronavirus. Since he was already in tip-top shape, Avina did not want his training to go to waste. He had hoped to pry his way into cards taking place in Nevada and Mexico as a last-minute entry, but those got called off as well.
The spread of the virus also forced him to flip his work and training schedules completely, but he's called “The Beast” for a reason. Avina's grind continues with his long days and nights, much of it spent in transit from place to place.
“I just had to adjust and get comfortable with it,” Avina said. “It wasn't easy at first but instead of going to work early in the morning and training late at night, it's vice versa.”
Avina works four 10-hour shifts per week at Lee's Imperial Welding in Fremont, leaving his home at around noon and not returning until around 1 a.m. Much of his training had been on his own and limited outdoor cardio work starting at 7 in the morning. Indoor facilities such as 24-hour Fitness, where he would frequent as part of his training regimen, were closed during the first two phases of lockdown.
“The toughest thing about (training while sheltering-in place) was that there has been no sparring and that is probably the best way of getting work,” he said. “I've been picking up the sparring lately and my timing hasn't been there. You get a little ring rust if you're not sparring.”
Avina's workouts have ramped up of late, especially as gyms are permitted to open now in San Joaquin County. He has been training at Guerrero's Boxing Gym in Galt, hitting the bags and mitts while reintroducing the rest of his routine leading up to a fight.
Even if he had been limited in how he trained up until now, Avina found other ways to improve.
“The bright side of it is that it gave each fighter a chance to really break down and work on their flaws,” he said. “With no fights to train for, there was more time to really break down everything and regroup with all your skills. We always watch footage of my fights and use that as part of our training.”