The Coast News Group
James “El Chocolate” Parison (left) and Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez are the main event in the “Champions of Tomorrow” show March 9 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Photo by Tony Cagala
Rancho Santa Fe Lead Story

Promoter brings boxing back to fairgrounds

DEL MAR — Live, professional boxing marks its return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds March 9 for the “Champions of Tomorrow” show presented by Fillipi’s Pizza Groto owner and boxing promoter Bobby DePhillipi through his Bobby D Presents with Jorge Marron Productions.Coming to the fairgrounds is important because it gives us a venue that really caters to all of San Diego County, said Gabriel Barron, a promoter with Bobby D Presents.

Most of the fight venues they’ve been accustomed to using have been in the South County. Coming to the fair really opens up to be able to get fans from all over San Diego County, Barron added.

With the return of boxing to the fairgrounds, Barron explained that the boxing events can now happen with a set schedule. Prior to that, the boxing matches were put together in a short amount of time and wouldn’t be able to reserve a fairgrounds venue because of a previously booked show or convention.

Last year, Barron staged amateur fights during the fair.

Technically, boxing never really left, Barron said, adding that it wasn’t on the same platform as it is this time around. “This one, we’ve planned this one out probably since early December,” he added.

The main event features James Parison and Lester Gonzalez, two fighters who know each other well and have sparred together often; both have a lot at stake pending the outcome of the fight.

If Parison wins, explained Barron, there is a tentative agreement that he would have the chance to fight a former world champion on a major TV network.

“For Lester, he’s fought everybody; he’s given them really tough fights, and if he wins this fight it puts him back into the mix to be able to fight these higher-level fighters,” Barron said.

All of the fighters are local talent and each of the upcoming shows is based on which fighters are ready.

“In this case, James (Parison) was ready so we build a show around him,” Barron said. All of the fighters are professional and at this level, they’re making a name for themselves, he added.

The show will also feature 18-year-old, 115 pound Oceanside resident and El Camino High School senior Jonathan Quiroz, making his professional debut against Anthony Briones. In his 50 fights as an amateur, Quiroz amassed a record of 40 wins and 10 losses.

David Gutierrez has two fighters in Friday’s show, Amaris Quintana, one of four women in professional boxing from San Diego, and James Parison.

He sees the status of boxing in San Diego getting better, he said. “I used to box in the 1980s, and at the time, when I was boxing as an amateur boxer, we probably had maybe eight serious boxing gyms. Now, I think we’re up to something like 30.”

He credits the growth to more access to the sport through boxing fitness gyms, and to mixed martial arts, including the Ultimate Fighting Championships and combat sports, which bring in a cross section of people. Not to mention boxing on channels as Showtime and HBO.

Everybody can fight, he said. But he explained about the “Sweet Science,” something that separates the boxers from the fighters.

“Everybody has two arms, two legs, a head, a body and those are the tools we use,” he said. “And so it seems easy…people that watch it on television can say, ‘Oh, I can do that for $100,000’ but they don’t see everything that went in behind it. You don’t get good in boxing until after you’ve fought amateur and pro for years.

“It’s a sport like golf,” he added. “You start working that swing and start hitting that sweet spot and it takes hours…same thing with boxing. Kids come into the gym…and sometimes it’s like watching paint dry…It’s just repetitive, repetitive. When it comes to boxing, you learn the sweet science of hitting and not getting hit, and hitting with maximum power…and doing all that without getting hit. That is the sweet science.”

Boxing shows will be featured one every quarter of the year. The next fight scheduled, following Friday’s event, will be during the fair, with another one scheduled during the horse races. A final event is roughly scheduled for sometime in November.

Some of the proceeds of Friday’s show will benefit the Gonzalez Sports Academy.

Where: Wyland Center, Del Mar Fairgrounds.
When: March 9. Doors open at 7 p.m., first fight is at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10 – $75. Parking $9.
Contact: (619) 420-8866, (619) 743-0698, or