Marco Magadleno returns to defend title in Junior Golden Gloves Nationals July 20-23 at the CasaBlanca Event Center about 80 miles north of Las Vegas

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Record field of more than 500 fighters invading Mesquite for three-day program with some of the nation's finest fighters

Jesus Magdaleno, right, poses with sons, from left, Diego, Marco and Jessie at Barry’s Boxing Center in Las Vegas recently. Diego and Jessie formerly fought and won in the Junior Golden Gloves Nationa

Just being there with more than 500 fighters means that you need to be on your best game.

Fifteen-year-old Marco Magdaleno has been boxing since he was just eight years old. While the sport of soccer was on his mind before he was in his teens, the bug of boxing has captured his focus for the past eight years.

Magdaleno, who is heading into his sophomore year at Clark High School in Las Vegas, is returning to defend his 138-pound class championship Wednesday through Saturday when the Junior Golden Gloves Nationals returns here at the CasaBlanca Event Center.

“Just being there with more than 500 fighters means that you need to be on your best game,” explained the friendly Magdaleno, who captured a decision win to gain the championship in 2010. “Some of the best young boxers in the country will be in Mesquite and we’ll be ready.”

Magdaleno said he didn’t waste any time after the victory last year deciding to hit the gym for workouts every day at Barry’s Boxing at 2664 S. Highland Ave., in Las Vegas.

“We worked on everything just trying to improve during the year,” said Magdaleno, who is 20-4 going into the showdown in Mesquite. “I do a lot of running at Mt. Charleston just to come out on top. I usually run 5-6 miles nearly every day.

“This is a very difficult event, but I’m ready to win again.”

Magdaleno has his eyes set on a pro career that he would like to start in about five years.

“I think I’ll be fighting in the 147 pound welterweight category,” he said. “I would say Floyd Mayweather is my idol. I like him because of his speed and he’s a smart fighter. He’s an outstanding fighter and I love everything that he does.”

Marco’s father, Jesus, who operates a 7-11 in Las Vegas, said his son is very dedicated.

“The only day that he takes off is Sunday,” Mr. Magdaleno said. “I really enjoy working with him and seeing him grow. He focuses very well and he’s a good, clean kid. None of the boys are any problem whatsoever and a lot of that is because of their dedication to the sport of boxing.

“I want them to have a good life and stay busy off the streets – and boxing does that for them.”

Magdaleno will be cheered on at the Junior Golden Gloves Nationals by his brothers Diego; who retained his NABF super featherweight crown while improving to 20-0 by winning a unanimous decision on a Top Rank fight card Friday night at Texas Station’s Dallas Events Center in Las Vegas; and Jessie, who raised his record to 5-0 with a unanimous decision win.

“I really look up to my brothers,” Marco said. “They help me out a lot and they spot my mistakes; and help me become a better fighter.”    

One day passes are available for $15, while two-day passes are $25, three-day passes $30 and four-day passes are $35.

The Junior Golden Gloves Nationals will return to the CasaBlanca Event Center through 2013 while the Senior Nationals Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions for boxers ages 17 and up is scheduled in May of 2012.

Further information regarding the Golden Gloves can be found at http://www.jrgoldengloves.com or by calling Dawn Barry at 702-368-2696.

The Golden Gloves competition has included representation by the top names of boxing dating back to 1928.

Former Heavyweight Champion of the World Joe Louis was a Golden Gloves Champion in 1934. Many other champions including Muhammad Ali (1960); Sugar Ray Leonard (1973); “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler (1973); Michael Spinks (1974); Thomas “Hitman” Hearns (1977); Johnny Tapia (1984); Mike Tyson (1984); Evander Holyfield (1984); Oscar De La Hoya (1989) and Jermain Taylor (1998 and 1999) all got their start in the Golden Gloves tournaments.

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Michele Evans

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