Two boxers from CP club thrive in Golden Gloves
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent April 23, 2013 11:10PM
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:48AM
Two local boxers were front and center in their quests for Golden Gloves titles, with one raising the trophy and the other finishing runner-up last week at the Cicero Stadium on South Laramie in Chicago.
Both achievements were pretty impressive considering the roads the two boxers traveled.
Merrillville’s Ryan Murga (9-1)won the senior novice division belt with three straight wins in his class. He is 8-0 fighting for One In A Million Boxing.
Murga, who played baseball at Merrillville High School, earned a spot in the championship bout by beating his first opponent with a second-round TKO and his second opponent with a third-round TKO.
Coach Chalton Ellis, who opened his boxing club at 1163 Erie Ct. in Crown Point, saw potential right away in Murga when he spotted him fighting for another program more than a year ago.
“I met Ryan at a fight in Chicago,” Ellis said. “I told him that he had a lot of potential but just needed some guys that knew boxing in his corner. Sometimes you see things (as a coach) and you know that they can be prevented.
“At that time, I did not have a gym so I told him that if I ever opened up my gym, I’d coming looking for (him). So when I ended up opening my own gym and he walked in ... I said to him ‘I had an APB out on you.’ I knew he had the heart, the eye and ambition to be a champion in boxing.”
The 22-year-old Murga said Ellis has helped improve his skills and is hoping to continue to get better until both feel he is ready to go pro.
“I was just rough and I was a banger when I got with him. They’ve improved my skills 100 percent and given me every opportunity in the world and have opened doors for me,” Murga said. “I’m looking for the range of 25 to 50 fights (before I consider going pro). I need to master my craft but that’s the ultimate goal, to turn pro.”
St. John resident Cruz Delgado finished runner-up in the novice division in his first Golden Gloves championships.
Delgado, who got into boxing because his grandfather, Diego Gutierrez, was an inspiration to him, put on his first pair of gloves at age 8, but has been on again, off again until this most recent stint.
“I started when I was a kid but then quit,” Delgado said. “I started back up with the old One in a Millon when Octavious James was alive. He mentored me a little bit. So when he passed away that kind of ruined it for me.
“Then one day, I decided I wanted to turn my life around and started going back to the gym. I was getting in trouble a little bit and boxing has a way of disciplining you. It’s been a good outlet and helped me and my grandpa bond. He just lives right across the street so we talk boxing all the time.”
Delgado, who attends Lake Central, spent the first part of his sophomore year at a military school in Indianapolis, but he’s found a purpose in boxing. And Ellis said he’s been quite the student, too.
“His improvement from December to now has been tremendous,” Ellis said. “He’s a whole new fighter and he’s a good listener. He practices till he gets it right.”
Delgado put his new skills to the test at the Golden Gloves when he outboxed his first two opponents, winning both fights by decision. But he became a bit too passive in the championship bout and that’s what ultimately cost him the title.
“He got outhustled the first round,” Ellis said. “Being aggressive is what they score on in the amateur fight. He was the less aggressive of the two fighters. When he came to the corner in between rounds, I told him he had to step it up.”
“I told him they probably scored the first round for that kid. He beat the guy the second round and he just outshined the guy the whole third round but I felt like the first round hurt him more so than anything.”
It’s a lesson that Delgado will take with him as he continues his boxing education. The 18-year-old is 3-2 in his first five fights.
He’s got a long journey ahead of him.
“This is all pretty new but I’m having a lot of fun,” Delgado said. “I was shocked a little bit when I lost (the Golden Gloves fight) because I felt I beat him in the second and third round.
“I’ll learn from it. I will come back with a vengeance and I’ll know for next time not to leave it in the judges’ hands; I need to make it decisive.
“My goal is to be a world champion boxer and I know I just need to hard work with the best gym in Northwest Indiana to get there. I want to make boxing my life and hopefully advance and hopefully make my grandpa proud.”