MAYWOOD, CALIF.-It’s not a very well-known gym nationally. But for those in the sport of prizefighting, the Maywood Boxing Club has been a hidden jewel for sparring.
On Wednesday fighters from South Central, Glendale, East L.A. and nearby South Gate gathered to exchange punches in the two boxing rings that fit in the square-shaped gym located in the city of Maywood.
Not too long ago several boxing cards were staged in the city and introduced several high profile fighters before they became famous like Mariana “Barbie” Juarez, Victor Ortiz and Brandon Rios. All would later become world champions and Juarez has become an icon for Mexican female boxing.
One of the veterans at the sparring session was Oscar Molina. He and his twin brother Javier Molina were both Olympians. Javier made the USA Olympic team in 2008; Oscar represented Mexico in 2012. Their older brother is Carlos Molina, a stalwart super lightweight who fought Amir Khan, Mercito Gesta and Adrien Broner.
The drill instructor at Maywood Boxing Club is Armando Huerta who has been running the gym for a number of years now. His son Charles Huerta is still competing as a professional fighter in the super featherweight division.
Charles Huerta was signed by Golden Boy Promotions back in 2008 and was fast tracked for stardom. But after running into a Derrick Wilson right hand in 2009, he seemed to be sliding into oblivion. Years passed until 2016 when he was added as an opponent to face Carlos Morales. That fight at the Forum proved to be one of the best of the night. Huerta knocked down Morales but somehow fell short according to the judges. Golden Boy saw Huerta still had mustard on his punches and signed him again. He’s won back-to-back fights and fans are packing the local arenas to see him fight. (On a further note: Although Huerta won his last fight, he suffered a bad cut near his eye due to an accidental clash of heads. Time will tell when he returns. But so far his comeback has thrilled fans.)
Part of my trip involved meeting with Liz Parr who years ago sparred many times at the Maywood Gym and was a stablemate of the Molina brothers, Panchito Bojado and others at the Commerce Boxing Club located about two miles from Maywood. She’s now retired and owns a new three-story gym in Long Beach called Guvnors Boxing Club on Anaheim Street.
Parr won four U.S. National titles when she boxed as an amateur. Before she married, her maiden name was Elizabeth Quevedo and she was perhaps the greatest female fighter I’ve ever seen.
Quevedo, now 33, stands 5’10” and won U.S. national titles in the lightweight and welterweight divisions as an amateur. Her goal was to make the Olympic boxing team. When women’s boxing was not included in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she was crushed emotionally.
The tall brunette decided to become a professional and began looking for a trainer. For about two weeks Quevedo worked out at the Wild Card Boxing club in Hollywood. One day I walked into the gym and began talking to Freddie Roach. He saw I knew Elizabeth Quevedo and asked me about her. When I told him she won four U.S. National titles he walked over to her and quickly became her trainer.
Quevedo won her pro debut by third round knockout in Irvine, California on a Roy Engelbrecht show. It would be her only fight as a professional. Despite the backing by Roach it was extremely difficult to get fights for her. Sadly, she retired from boxing and the world never was able to see the best female fighter in history. She had speed, stamina, skill and could punch better than any female prizefighter at any weight.
I’ve been covering female boxing since 1997 and have seen them all from Lucia Rijker, Christy Martin, Chevelle Hallback, Cecilia Braekhus to Layla MCarter. The tall brunette from South Gate, California might have been the greatest of all had she continued. Back when she was an amateur, she participated in the Blue and Gold Tournament which at the time was still prestigious. One year, after dominating the welterweight division bracket, the final was about to take place when her opponent backed out for unknown reasons. In the heavier middleweight division that final also saw an opponent decline to fight. On a whim, the tournament director asked Quevedo if she would like to fight the middleweight finalist. Quevedo said yes and the welterweight finalist met the middleweight finalist. Quevedo knocked out the middleweight in 9 seconds flat. It set the record for quickest knockout in a final for the Blue and Gold Tournament.
Quevedo, whose last name is now Parr, now teaches boxers young and old in Long Beach where she now lives with her husband Yas Parr who is an elite athlete conditioning coach. Together they make a very formidable team.
Often I wonder what if Quevedo had continued to box professionally.
Guvnors Boxing Club is located at 1630 E. Anaheim St. in Long Beach, Calif. 90813.
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