Ridgewood boxer wins in NYC debut
BY RYAN KELLEY
Local prodigy Mathew Gonzalez maintained
74 THE QUEENS COURIER • JANUARY 25, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
his undefeated record when he
made his Barclays Center debut on
Saturday night in front his friends and
family from Ridgewood.
Also known as “Left y Gunz,” Gonzalez
extended his professional boxing record
to 3-0 in his young career with a victory
over fellow Queens native Alexander
Serna. Gonzalez won by unanimous decision,
with all three of the judges scoring
the fi ght 40-36 in his favor. While
Gonzalez and his team admitted that it
wasn’t his best performance, the fi ghter
was glad he got the opportunity to fi ght
on such a big stage.
“It was a much diff erent atmosphere I
never experienced before, especially being
at the Barclays Center under the big
lights,” Gonzalez said. “Now I got the jitters
off , so next fi ght I’ll be much better
since I already know what to expect.”
If Gonzalez was nervous coming into
the fi ght, he didn’t show it. When the
22-year-old made his entrance to the
ring, he wore a gorilla mask as the song
“Set Trippin” by Casanova played in the
background. When he ducked under the
ropes, Gonzalez did a lap around the ring
beating his chest with his right hand. Th e
gorilla mask, he said, refl ects his mindset
as a fi ghter.
“I’ve got the things you can’t teach and
I’ve got that natural heart,” Gonzalez said.
“I come to fi ght always.”
When the mask came off , the fi rst of
four rounds, three minutes each, began
with the ding of the bell. Th e fi ghters
danced around the ring and not many
punches were thrown as they tried to get
a feel for their opponent. Neither fi ghter
had a clear advantage aft er the fi rst round.
Gonzalez took control from there. In
the second round he showed off the speed
of his hands, as the southpaw landed
combinations punctuated by his strong
left hook. Th e crowd also began to make
its presence felt, as chants of “Mat! Mat!
Mat!” could be heard throughout the
One of the most important aspects of
boxing, where promoters are responsible
for choosing fi ghters for an event, is
the number of tickets a fi ghter can sell.
According to Jenny Badillo, Gonzalez’s
fi ancee and owner of International
Boxing & Fitness Club in Ridgewood
where Gonzalez trains, the “Left y Gunz”
team sold nearly 180 tickets, with more
than 100 of them coming from the
“We’re turning heads, big numbers are
coming out, and we’re putting Ridgewood
on the map,” Badillo said. “We want them
to see that we have them in mind and that
we appreciate everything they do, so we
are defi nitely going to go back with our
victory and talk to everybody.”
In rounds three and four, Gonzalez continued
to be tactical in placing his punches,
but he did get sloppy at times and leave
himself open to get hit. Aft er the fi ght,
well-known promoter Lou DiBella told
Gonzalez that he wouldn’t have gotten
away with that if he was fi ghting someone
as talented as he is.
Gonzalez’s trainer for the past three
years, Eric Roman, was ringside during
the fi ght and agreed that there are plenty
of teaching points to build on from
what he saw.
“He’s got to box a little more, use his jab
a little more, make it look pretty,” Roman
said. “What I say is, ‘Let’s make it brutally
beautiful.’ We look nice, but we’re really
putting pain in.”
During the last minute of the fourth
round the fi ghters threw a fl urry of punches
in a sense of desperation. When the
fi nal bell rang, they immediately stopped
and hugged each other, a sign of mutual
respect from the New York natives. Th e
referee joined them, placing his hands on
top of their heads and commending them
for their eff orts.
A minute later, the referee grabbed
Gonzalez’s left hand and hoisted it into
the air. For the Ridgewood native who
attended P.S. 239, I.S. 77 and Grover
Cleveland High School, Gonzalez said
this is only the beginning.
“I’m not here for the short term, I’m
here for the long term,” he said. “I want
to be on the big stage and have my face
on the posters. Th is is just the next step
for me up that ladder.”
Gonzalez’s performance earned him
contracts for two more fi ghts already,
Badillo said. On March 10, “Left y Gunz”
will fi ght at Kings Th eater in Brooklyn,
and he could return to the Barclays
Center as soon as April.
Photo courtesy of Ovid Cusu
Big road wins for BWG soccer
Th e BW Gottschee 2007 boys group
(shown) split in two teams, the blue and
the white, traveled to Rockland to compete
in the RCC Indoor Soccer tournament.
With a great display of possession
soccer, the 2007s fi nished fi rst and second,
respectively, in the group, outscoring
their opponents 31 to 5.
In the same tournament, the BWG
Girls 04 won the fi rst place. In the fi vegame
competition, the girls won four
games, tied one and gave up no goals.
In a diff erent location, the 2008 boys
went to the indoor tournament in
Poughkeepsie. Th e team competed in
their age group and took home the fi rst
place prize, then played to a second-place
fi nish in a tournament with older teams.
Photos by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Lead Photo: Mathew Gonzalez is declared the
winner by unanimous decision at the Barclays
center, his fi rst fi ght in New York as a pro.