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Andy Vences: The Quest for a World Title

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Andy ‘El Tiburon’ Vences works another job as a security guard in addition to his career as a boxer, but make no mistake about it, he is focused on achieving big things in the sport.

As he listed his goals to accomplish in this new year, there was one main goal that stood out: Get signed by a big promoter. He is already scheduled to return in March. If all goes well, he will have another fight in April in what figures to be a very busy 2015 for the San Jose native.

“I want as many fights as I can get this year,” Vences said. “However many I need to get looked at by somebody big. That’s the goal.”

While Vences hasn’t signed to a major promoter yet, he certainly took a step in the right direction this past Saturday night at Cache Creek Casino. Vences scored an impressive fifth round knockout against Cesar Valenzuela in a fight that had everyone in the crowd buzzing and on their feet.

Although Vences knocked Valenzuela out, by no means was it an easy night for him. After a solid opening round, Vences dealt with adversity in the next three rounds. He gave an honest evaluation of his performance after the fight.

“I thought he won those rounds, two through four,” Vences said. “He was taller than we expected and his reach was longer than we had anticipated. I was short on some of my punches because of that.”

Valenzuela was finding success with his right hand. In the fourth round he dragged Vences into deep waters, tagging him with a straight right. Showing maturity beyond his years, Vences handled it like a veteran of the sport. The fighter known as ‘The Shark’ grabbed on to Valenzuela and was able to recover from the punch that stunned him.

“I felt it wasn’t really that I was stunned,” Vences said. “I took a good shot and I just wanted to clear my head and not do anything stupid. Once I cleared my head I felt he had overexerted himself when he hurt me, he got a little too confident.”

After getting through the storm, Vences landed some body shots just before the end of the round that gave him confidence. While in the corner waiting for the fifth round to begin, Vences begged his corner to allow him to get more on the offensive against his opponent.

“I asked my corner to let me press him and not box as much anymore because I felt his enery levels went down,” Vences said. “Sure enough he threw that right hand. It was kind of late and he left it out there and then my left hook finally landed.”

Vences landed a bomb of a counter left hook, reminiscent of the one that Danny Garcia dropped Amir Khan with. Valenzuela just barely beat the count, but he would not be able to finish the round as Vences got him to the corner and beat him down.

It was a great display of power from Vences, as he is breaking the label of a ‘light-hitting’ fighter that was given to him early on in his career. Not only does Vences believe he has more power than people give him credit for, he also feels he gets even stronger in the later rounds.

“I just think a lot of it is the timing of the punch, for any fighter,” Vences said. “I’ve always had the power, I just feel I’ve never had an opponent that’s given me the rounds to show it. As the fights go on, the more rounds I fight I feel like I get stronger.”

While he notched another win under his belt to improve to 10-0 with six knockouts, Vences is not wasting much time celebrating. Although he is currently battling the flu, as soon as he gets through it, Vences will be back in the gym. As a man who always stays in shape, this last fight just reinforced the importance of keeping his body in good condition.

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“I feel I always have to be more than 100% in shape just because as hard as I train look how things were going in the fight,” Vences said. “If I wouldn’t have been in shape for this fight I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did.”

While he resides in San Jose, the 23-year-old Vences keeps in shape and trains in Stockton, California. Los Gallos Boxing Club is where he had a reunion with an old coach of his from the amateur days, Gabe Flores Sr.

“I used to train with him in the amateurs but the costly commute didn’t allow me to keep heading up there,” Vences said. “We separated for a while and after my first fight on Fox Sports 1 we ended up linking up again because he knew I could do more and improve on many things.”

Vences had a somewhat late start to his boxing career. After watching some fights on Univision as a kid, he made it his mission to become a prizefighter.

“It was kind of late because I didn’t start competing until I was 14. I had about 75 amateur fights,” Vences said. “When I was about 13 I would watch ‘Solo Boxeo’ and the goal was to get there and fight on those shows. Once that happened now the goal is to get hooked up with a big promoter and focus on becoming a world champion.”

Fighters have a special bond with the people of the city they grew up in. Many top fighters in the sport today go back and sell out arenas in their hometown. For Vences, he has the SAP Center, aka ‘The Shark Tank,’ right in the heart of San Jose. While he fought there once as an amateur, it would be a dream come true for Vences to one day headline a card there.

“I actually fought an exhibition bout there in 2009 the night of a card featuring Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero,” Vences said. “I ended up fighting Robert’s little brother, Randy, so that gave me a taste of what it felt like fighting in a big arena like that. That would be crazy.”

If Vences can continue to shine like he did this past Saturday, it’s only a matter of time before the major promoters come calling.

“Follow me,” Vences said. “I really plan on taking this to the next level and there’s big things to come. I think people are starting to realize it as each fight goes.”

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