Fighting in the shadows between two other family boxing figures can be a problem but Omar Chavez, the youngest son of Julio Cesar Chavez, feels ready to break out.
Chavez (33-3-1, 22 Kos) faces Hector Munoz (23-14-1, of Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday June 26, at Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington. Showtime will televise some of the fight card but the Chavez fight may not be televised.
“Every time you fight in the United States, it’s a tough fight,” said Chavez, 25, who was born in Culiacan, Mexico, but lived in Riverside, California for a long spell. “No easy fights here.”
The youngest son of Julio Cesar Chavez returned to the 100 degree temperatures of Riverside, California where the heat inside the gym can be even hotter than outside. For this fight he worked at Capital Punishment Gym where Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera also prepares.
“I’m here with my team. My brother Julio is working close by with Robert Garcia,” said Omar Chavez.
Older brother Julio Cesar Chavez chose to work with trainer Robert Garcia, who recently moved his boxing headquarters from Oxnard to Riverside. That gym is about five miles east of Capital Punishment Gym.
Omar spent some hard rounds last Friday sparring with local fighters in the dogged heat that would be intolerable without plenty of ice cold water. When he moves around the boxing ring he seldom wastes punches and is always moving forward. The impact sound of his blows reflects the heaviness of his hands.
Chavez’s last fight took place in April 18, at the StubHub against Colombian veteran Richard Gutierrez. It was an eight-round slugfest that showed the youngest of the Chavez clan could match power, chins and wit against a solid veteran fighter like Gutierrez.
Last year, Chavez fought one of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s brothers, Ramon Alvarez, and lost the NABO super welterweight title he had captured against Daniel Sandoval. It was a pitched battle that saw Alvarez pull out the victory after 10 rounds.
The junior middleweight decided to live and train in Southern California for the past year.
“It’s been good because I have friends and family here in the USA,” said Chavez. “Here is where I learned English and where I started amateur boxing.”
Willy Silva was the trainer who worked with both Chavez brothers back in 2000 when they were venturing into the boxing gyms and following in their legendary father’s footsteps. They would discuss their father’s victories over carne asada and cool drinks among friends while watching old footage on video tape.
“I got them their first amateur fights,” said Silva, whose gym they used in the early 2000s to work on the boxing bags. In those days Carlos “El Elegante” Bojorquez was the primary pro fighter working in that gym located in Mira Loma. “We go way back.”
Chavez remembers the early days.
“I have friends from school that still come see me,” said Omar, who attended schools in the Riverside area. “Willy used to train me when I was young.”
The junior middleweight contender says training and fighting in the USA is an entirely different process than Mexico.
“The USA is more strict and disciplined,” said Chavez about workouts, medical examinations and preparation. “It’s good though because you have to be better prepared for the big fights.”
Big fights are what Omar Chavez wants.
“I want a world championship. That’s why I started boxing. And I’m going to work more hard to accomplish my dream,” said Chavez. “If they give me a good fight next, I will stay here fighting in the USA.
Chavez’s last fight was a defining moment for his fans in Southern California to see him in the boxing ring. Most of his previous fights took place in Mexico.
“I want to show people what I’m all about,” Chavez said. “If you ask fighters they will all say I’m a forward fighter. But I have skills to move, to box, to punch, I’m athletic. I can do whatever is best for the ring, but I haven’t been showing that. I want to show that.”
During his scrap with Gutierrez the youngest Chavez fighter was able to use all of those dimensions against the rugged and tricky Gutierrez. Now he’s just itching for a chance to fight for a world title.
“I don’t want to say names but anybody with a title belt, if they want to give me a chance, if they want an easy fight they can fight me,” said Chavez. “I have names, if they want to give me a chance we can make a fight, whoever has a belt.”
On Friday, Chavez looks forward to showing the boxing world he’s a multi-faceted fighter capable of fighting anyone.