Jean Pierre Valencia closed out the year with his biggest victory to date, beating another amateur boxing champion on Nov. 18 in Wayne.
The Western New York resident and 2022 NJ Diamond Gloves champion defeated Abedallah Elaiwah by decision at the Wayne Police Athletic League, bringing his overall boxing record to 11-1. The win was the fifth in a row for the native of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, since arriving in the country in June, after spending several years in Barcelona, Spain.
Valencia, who trained until his 23rd birthday on Nov. 15, had a breakout year in 2022, winning back-to-back bouts in Trenton and Philadelphia, before claiming the 165-pound NJ Diamond Gloves Novice Championship in October in North Bergen. The win over defending NJ Golden Gloves champion Elaiwah elevates Valencia among the top amateurs in the state.
Valencia started Friday’s fight fast, using punches to get ahead of the southpaw boxer. Valencia wobbled Elaiwah towards the end of the first with a left hook-right hand combination, but Elaiwah used his skill and experience to advance to the second round.
The fight was on the table in the third round, and Valencia stepped in to win it. Valencia pushed the tempo for the final three minutes, forcing Elaiwah to the ropes with his punching power and continued pressure.
“I feel like I’ve established myself as a champion by beating another champion,” said Valencia, who is coached by Ryan Songalia at Little Mac Boxing in North Bergen.
“I’m grateful to my fans who made the trip to support me, and I believe I can become even better by improving my skills,” Valencia said.
Songalia outlined an ambitious plan for Valencia in 2023, which includes targeting other champions in its division, contending for the NJ Golden Gloves title in the spring and chasing titles at national tournaments, before exploring options for become professional.
“Valencia proved once again on Friday that he has the heart of a champion,” said Songalia, a journalist and veteran boxing trainer.
“I’ve been around all the best champions in the world in my career, and Valencia have the kind of work ethic and ambition that can put him on their level,” Songalia said.
The boxing event was a fundraiser for the Legacy Youth Empowerment Organization, a non-profit that provides boxing training to young people and raises money to send kids to summer camp and buy them equipment boxing.
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