A road warrior for much of his career, Vincent Avina gets to finally show off his boxing skills in front of a home crowd Saturday at Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium.
The 18-year-old Mantecan is part of the “Fighting Tradition” card put on by Toscano Boxing Promotions. His scheduled four-round scrap against Hayward’s George Carranza (1-5, 1 KO) is the U.S. debut for Avina, who graduated from Sierra High in May.
The weekend before graduation, “The Beast” knocked out Antonio Valenzuela in the second round to improve to 2-0-1 as a pro. Due to age restrictions in California, all of his previous fights took place in Mexico.
“The night before the fight I can actually sleep at home,” Avina said on Thursday. “I’m pretty used to it; I travel a lot to train, I travelled for all of my past fights, even in amateurs I was travelling in the middle of the night before tournaments. It’s nice to be able to stay at home and fight the next day.”
A bantamweight to start his career, Avina is moving up to face Carranza at a 124-pound catchweight. He was originally matched against Erick Ayala, who backed out last week, at a 118-pound limit.
The late changes don’t bother Avina.
“There’s no pressure,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for years, so to me this is just another fight. I feel more comfortable and actually a lot stronger at this weight. If anything, it has been the opposite of stress because my training has been on point and I don’t have to worry about making weight."
Weigh-ins is open to the public starting at 2 this afternoon at the civic auditorium. On Saturday, doors open at 6 p.m. with the action in the ring starting at 7.
The entire card includes pugilists from all around the Central Valley. The co-main events highlight undefeated cruiserweight Blake “The Beast” McKernan (12-0, 6 KOs) out of Sacramento and Stockton super featherweight Manuel Jaimes (6-0, 6 KOs).
Other featured fighters from the region: super featherweight Giovanni Gonzales (8-3, 7 KOs) of Lodi, light heavyweight Nathan Sharp (3-1, 3 KOs) of Merced, welterweight Jesus Ibarra (4-1, 3 KOs) of Madera and welterweight Emmanuel Fernandez of Modesto makes his professional debut.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: ‘Fighting Tradition’
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 3
WHERE: Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium
TIME: 7 p.m.