“Let’s get ready to rumble” would normally be a fearful phrase in the quake-shaken Valley … this time it’s prime time in the South Gym.
By Yesenia Burgara, Staff Writer
The very first boxing event at Valley College will be in full swing on Friday April 24 at the South Gym. The show will start at 7 p.m. and doors will be open at 5 p.m.
The event will be hosted by actor Oba Babatunde, from “How High” and “The Notebook.” Other celebrities that will be in attendance are: James Pickens Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy), Matt Cook (model and actor from the Tyler Perry film “If Loving You Is Wrong”) and Justin Bieber, who is supporting his best friend.
Upcoming singer Lexy St. George will be opening up with the National Anthem. The Fernando Guerrero Foundation will be giving away sports gear to attendees and an award will be given out to the Danielle Foundation for Kids.
Valley Commissioner of Athletics Naja Crawford pitched the idea of having the event at Valley to her boxing trainer and founder of K.O. High Marvin Columbus. After hearing he was looking for a venue and held a boxing events such as this one at CSUN, Taft and other schools in the Valley.
“I think it’s a great cause and the revenue that is generated from the event is put back into K.O. High Boxing,” said Crawford. “With the tickets and everything he (Columbus) is doing it allows him to help kids get the proper help they need to move on.”
She also added that $5 of every ticket sold will go towards ASU at Valley.
Columbus started K.O. High Boxing in 2006 helping students graduate high school by making sure students would get tutoring before their boxing training to help improve their grades. He had his first college boxing show last year at CSUN and is hoping to coordinate more, and even has thoughts of trying to start a boxing team here on campus.
“My ultimate goal is to get kids to go to school and still box,” Columbus said. “Get some type of scholarships going on, the more programs you have to get a kid scholarships, the more you are going to get youth out of trouble.”
With all this in mind Columbus organized this boxing event that will consist of 12 matches with three, two-minute rounds. The main event will be fought by 22 year-old Monarch, kinesiology major and California District Golden Glove Winner, Emilio Rodriquez with a record of eight wins and one loss.
Rodriquez has been boxing on and off since he was 14 at the House of Champions in Van Nuys. Following a family tradition the former Monarch quarterback thinks of boxing.
“My grandpa (Hector Rodriguez) was a really well known trainer in the greater Los Angeles area he was assistant coach in the 1988 Olympics, they use to call him Shark,” said Rodriquez. “My dad (former 1957 Junior Golden Gloves Champion Hector C. Rodriquez) boxed when he was a kid, it’s in my blood, a family tradition, the Rodriquez legacy.”
After going through a difficult moment when his late father became ill Rodriquez decided to go join the football team at Valley, and decided to continue boxing once more at the House of Champions, and also at the 818 Boxing Club.
“My dad getting sick was the biggest thing to motivate me to come back and do sports,”said Rodriquez. “After high school I was a party kid. When my dad got sick I needed some type of therapy, I couldn’t control my emotions. My options were to either continue partying or do something that was going to make my parents proud, so I came back. I was boxing and playing football at the same time. My dad and my mom were the biggest inspiration.”
Rodriquez also works with Beyond the Bell Youth Services, an after school program at Northridge Middle School as a sports coach. He enjoys helping others and would like to be a physical therapist one day.
Rodriquez will be facing off with Sherrieff Coleman and a few other Monarchs will be showing their boxing skills while helping the K.O. High Boxing help other students like themselves achieve their goals.
Tickets will be sold until April 22 in front of the Behavioral Science department or any other time in the ASU office at 9:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$15 with student ID, $20 general admission, and $25 for floor seating.