For two North Oakland amateurs, boxing is a matter of the heart
on December 18, 2009
This fall, Temescal’s Pacific Ring Sports, a martial arts studio, hosted “Showdown in Oakland,” an amateur boxing tournament. The event featured fighters from all over the Bay Area. Shanti Moralis and C.J. Mills, who train at Pacific Ring under the direction of Roberto Garcia, were among the contestants. Oakland North was there to follow them through the process of preparing for their moments in the ring. Both boxers won their bouts.
The tournament was a significant event for both Moralis and Mills. It was the first time Moralis, who usually works as a gardener, had participated in an amateur boxing match. She came away from her fight with a black eye, and although she was proud to have that mark of courage, she said she’ll consider the bruise a reminder that she needs to work more on her technique.
“I wish I wasn’t touched at all, for sure,” Moralis said of the black eye. “I’d rather not have it.”
For Mills, who played baseball at California State University Sacramento and now works full-time coordinating the Special Olympics program for Contra Costa County, the tournament was a chance to test his passion for the sport. Mills, who is also pursuing a master’s degree in education, mainly boxes for the sake of staying in shape, but said he may look into pugilism as a full-time job.
“I’m progressing quickly, but I need experience, so the goal is to get as many fights as possible,” Mills said.
Roberto Garcia, who organized the tournament in addition to coaching contestants, was proud of Moralis and Mills. He said he was impressed by their discipline and raw talent as they went through their demanding training routines and fought through their bouts.
“It’s big, especially for her,” said Garcia, a professional fighter who grew up in the Phillipines. “As a female, it’s a lot of work, I think. She did really good. I’m blessed.”
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