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HACP program in Round Lake offers youths a fighting chance

Round Lake  Saturday  1/19/13   

Abraham Vazquez 22 Round Lake Beach tags Maurice Browning 20 Aurorduring their

Round Lake Saturday, 1/19/13 Abraham Vazquez, 22, of Round Lake Beach tags Maurice Browning, 20 of Aurora during their bout at Saturday evening's event sponsored by the HACP Boxing Club at the Round Lake Beach Sports Center. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

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Held in the mezzanine of the Round Lake Sports Center.

Past events were held on the indoor soccer field at the facility. The mezzanine created a more intimate boxing environment but the smaller seating capacity led to a standing-room crowd. Around 300 attended the event over the course of the evening.

The event featured a card of 13 fights in the open and novice amateur divisions with boxers from around the Chicago area. Three bouts featured HACP fighters, including the main event.

HACP’s Matt Blackowicz lost to Juan Diego in the 165-pound novice division.

HACP’s Dominik Tovar lost to Mason Pardy Jr. in the 78-pound novice division.

In the main event, HACP’s Abraham Vazquez defeated Maurice Browning of the Jessie “The Law” Torres Boxing Club of Aurora in the 145-pound novice division.

The evening featured a large number of evenly-matched fights with two-way action creating an extremely entertaining card for this level of amateur boxing. One of the less-even but not less-entertaining fights was Matt Stringini’s second-round TKO of Elgin’s Josh Anderson in the 210-pound novice division. The hard-hitting Stringini busted open Anderson’s nose in the first round, and after multiple standing-eight counts through the first two rounds, the referee called an end to the fight.

Former WBC lightweight champion David Diaz, a regular guest at HACP events, was again in attendance, taking pictures with fans and signing autographs.

Diaz was one of several people honored with the HACP’s Alfonso Curiel Good Will Award at intermission for their contributions to HACP and the Round Lake community.

Esteban Montes de Oca, owner of La Luz bakery in Round Lake and Mundelein and a supporter of HACP, was also recognized. A Luz provided a cake decorated like a boxing ring and everyone in attendance had a slice.

Also during intermission, Noe Valdivia of Waukegan entertained the crowd by singing a number of Spanish-language numbers.

Alfonso Curiel, the father of HACP founder and former Round Lake police officer Juan Curiel, was to be at the event to congratulate the winners of the award named after him, but was unable to attend due to recent health issues.

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Updated: March 25, 2013 1:20AM

Juan Curiel, a former Round Lake police officer, founded Hispanic American Community Partners in 2007 as a non-profit organization serving youths in the Round Lake area.

In addition to amateur boxing, the program expanded to include tutoring, arts and crafts, parenting classes, and other services.

Because of lack of funding from the state and local municipalities, HACP was no longer able to continue offering the array of services it once did.

Today, HACP stands for “Hook, Aim, Cross, Punch” and continues its original mission through the non-profit boxing program.

The entrance fee from last Saturday’s amateur boxing show at the Round Lake Sports Center goes to support the HACP boxing program and fund future events.

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