Lozada moves into main event status
Story & photos by Felipe Leon
For many fighters it is pressure enough to lace up a pair of gloves and step into a ring with an opponent that is trying to inflict as much bodily harm on you as you are on them. On the night of April 10th, 20-year-old Antonio "Cañitas" Lozada Jr. will do just that when he faces the experienced Henry "Mamba" Aurad (12-2-1, 9KO) of Colombia at the Palenque in Morelos Park in the heart of Tijuana, Mexico.
Not only will the undefeated Lozada Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) will be facing his toughest challenge to date, as he disputes for the vacant WBC Fecarbox light welterweight title, but he will be headlining the first-ever fight card promoted by newly-minted Baja Boxing, the promotional company headed by his father Antonio "Cañas" Lozada. The night will mark the first time Lozada Jr. is the main event and it will be broadcast live through out Mexico by Televisa.
"I do feel the pressure, it is a big responsibility to do well," stated Lozada Jr., wrapping his hands before a workout at the Sports World Gym in Tijuana, earlier this week. "It is my responsibility to represent the company to give a good show to the live audience as well as the ones watching on tv through out Mexico.
"I want to show that there is good boxing in Tijuana and show that I can be somebody. I know that I am not at an elite level or a world wide level. I am conscious of what I can do and what I can't do and expect to give a good showing and later talk of what we can do in the future."
Lozada Sr. is better known as quite possibly the kinetic force that makes the Tijuana boxing scene move. Not only does Lozada Sr. man the career of his son but also of newly-crowned three-time world champion Humberto "Zorrita" Sot, as well as practically every top prospect in the border town such as Marvin Quintero, Juan Pablo "CheChe" Lopez, Alejandro "Mantequitas" Rubio, David "Morita" De La Mora and Arturo "Fuerte" Badillo among others. De La Mora and Badillo will also be featured on the fight card.
Coming from a boxing family, it was only a matter of time until Lozada Jr. began his training.
"The truth is that from a young age I have been close to my grandfather who has passed away but was a boxer. My uncles were boxers from Sinaloa and my father, first as a boxer and then a promoter," "Cañitas" explains. "In my home there was always boxing, there was always boxing videos so then I always focused on boxing, I never liked another sport, since very small I wanted to be a boxer."
But boxing was not the first contact sport Lozada Jr. practiced although his family was not too keen on him following in the family business.
"I began training seriously at about thirteen or fourteen years of age. I began kickboxing when I was seven years old. I was given permission to kick box because they thought that after that I wouldn't want to fight anymore once I got hit in the face," Lozada Jr. shares with a chuckle. "From seven to thirteen I kicked box but at fourteen I began to train in boxing seriously."
The hard hitting Lozada Jr. had no time for the amateurs and not the majority of fighters from Mexico, began his professional career well under the age if eighteen.
"I only had two amateur fights. For my taste, I don't like amateur boxing plus it is harder for me. I am not particularly fast, I am not a boxer that goes for points so I opted to go pro at sixteen years of age," Lozada Jr. says.
Lozada Jr. won his first professional fight by third round TKO in August of 2006 and the wins and knockouts came coming with only three fighters out of twenty-one seeing the distance.
"I remember that I was very nervous at what people were going to say or think. If they were going to ask 'who is Cañitas son?'," Lozada Jr. says of his first professional fight. "I was very anxious to go into the ring and show the people that I was ready for pro boxing."
Although Lozada Jr. has stepped into the ring twenty more times since then to show his wares, the pressure of who his father is and what he does looms large not only in the minds of the spectators but of Lozada Jr's.
"I do feel that pressure still. People are always going to talk, whether it is good or bad," he says calmly. "One is always going to be conscious of what they say, especially if it is bad. One always wants for people to speak well so that is when the pressure comes in, the pressure to do well and for people to leave happy."
Now "Cañitas" is given the opportunity once again to show what he can do as he faces the twenty-five year old Aurad on the biggest stage of his career.
"All I know is that he is tall, that he is tough and that he hits hard. I hope that he can take the punches and that he throws punches so that we can have some sparks," the crowd pleasing Lozada Jr. says of his opponent. "I don't know my opponent so I will try to decipher his style in the first round. I am going to go after the body which is my favorite thing to do."
With eighteen of his victims not hearing the final bell and thirteen of those going down in the first round, it is hard to believe that Lozada Jr. is not thinking of an early end to his Saturday night.
"Before it was like that, before I would go in the ring and try to finish it off early and impress. Sometimes I wouldn't look to good, I would look clumsy in trying to knock out my opponent," the affable Lozada Jr. says with a smile. "In the last five fights they have not been like that, we have been more patient. If the knock out comes, great and if it doesn't, that is ok too. Obviously people like to see knockouts and if we can give it to them, great, but if not, we still go forward."
Lozada Jr. has not fought since December when he knocked out Jesus Cinco Valenzuela in the first round.
"My last fight was in December in Ciudad Obregon. I have had some injuries to my hands. There is no point in having a fight if I am not at 100%, many things can happen and there is no need to risk ourselves," Lozada Jr. states. "If I were to lose, then we might say that we weren't ready or I was hurt so it is better to wait until I am 100% which I am now."
Not only is Lozada Jr. anxious to get in the ring after a four month hiatus but he is antsy to do it in his hometown in which he has not performed since March of last year.
"It is a beautiful thing, they have really supported me. When I step into the ring, it is a beautiful feeling to hear their applause," Lozada Jr. says of the hometown audience.
Boxing professionally since the tender age of sixteen, the now twenty year old seems wise beyond his years as he is more than conscious of what he is capable of inside the ring and what he needs to work on.
"I am conscious that I don't have the strength, the speed, the punch, the discipline that many fighters at the world level have," he says choosing his words carefully. "I know that I can be at that level with the right work ethic. I am not pressuring myself and I know that I am not ready but I will be."
With the most important fight of his young career ahead, Mexico's 2007 Rookie of the year is not one to think ahead.
"It all depends in this fight, that everything comes out well. That neither myself or my opponent come out hurt and that we win. I would like to think in bigger things but that is a decision that my dad is going to take, I don't like to make those decisions on my own. My dad should know what I will be ready for after this fight," Lozada Jr. says. "This title will be a great step, I know that ladder is long one but with this win, I will take my first step."
For more coverage on the San Diego/Tijuana scene, please check out SDFights.com