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Local boxers set to pack a punch

Bulldog Boxing Club founder Joe Pedrojetti has been so busy running his club, training his fighters and operating his furniture store business that he never seemed to have enough time to put on a tournament in the Rogue Valley.

But that will change this weekend when the club will play host to a Silver Gloves regional and USA state senior tourney at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.

The two-tiered tournament — the Silver Gloves event involves youngsters aged 10-15 and the USA competition encompasses boxers in the 17-34 age group — kicks off at 7 p.m. each day at the Olsrud Arena.

Some 73 fighters had pre-registered by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Ticket prices range from $10 per individual per night to a $300 ringside table.

It's going to be a great show — we should have 15 to 20 bouts each night, Pedrojetti says.

The biggest local name on the card is super heavyweight Mike Wilson, a Crater High senior who fought with the U.S. Olympic team last summer.

Wilson, 17, is scheduled to fight Brian Torzewski, a bruising 280-pounder from Tacoma, Wash., who is in his mid-30s, in the senior portion of the tournament.

Wilson's biggest win came last August when the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder lifted the United States to an exhibition victory over Puerto Rico by winning the final match.

Mike's the big draw of the tournament and this big guy (Torzewski) should test him, Pedrojetti says. But we have several other very good fighters in our club.

I'm not sure people around here know how good they are.

The Silver Gloves tourney — it's akin to Golden Gloves, except the participants are younger — will bring in boxers from throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana for the Region 7 event. There will be three age brackets (10-11, 12-13 and 14-15) with weight divisions starting at 50 pounds and working up in 5-pound increments.

Winners of each class will earn berths to the national Silver Gloves tournament later this year.

Top Bulldog fighters competing in the Silver Gloves event include:

Javier Torres

. The 12-year-old, 119-pound McLoughlin Middle School seventh-grader is the only Bulldog boxer ever to win a national Silver Gloves title. Torres has won 20 of his 23 fights and most have been stopped before the scheduled three rounds are over.

The problem for Javier is finding opponents, Pedrojetti says. It's gotten so a lot of guys don't want to fight him. They?ll go up a weight or down a weight in order to avoid him.

Torres? younger brother, Tito, competes in the 11-year-old, 80-pound bracket.

Troy Wohosky

. The 14-year-old, 119-pound Wohosky is a two-time national Silver Gloves runner-up. He's posted a 39-8 record.

Lorenzo Rios Jr

. The 15-year-old, 125-pounder won a title at the renowned Gene Lewis tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., in November. Despite having just 12 bouts under his belt, Rios stunned two-time national Silver Gloves champion Danny Jimenez with a first-round knockout.

Lorenzo Arenas.

The 13-year-old super heavyweight (201-plus) might have the most potential of any current Bulldog boxer. An eighth-grader at Hedrick Middle School who plays football in the fall, Arenas spars against Wilson on a regular basis.

The kid's awesome, Pedrojetti says of Arenas. He's 6-1 and about 210 right now and he's still growing. He's going to be huge and he's very athletic.

In preparation for the event, Pedrojetti and his son, Jim, the club's co-trainer, have put the boxers through vigorous workouts for the past three weeks. The Bulldogs ran and lifted weights in the morning and sparred and hit bags in the evening throughout the Christmas vacation.

Our workouts are patterned after the Olympic program, Joe Pedrojetti says. The guys are anxious — they're ready to go.

Reach reporter at 776-4469, or e-mail