"Someone threw a water bottle into the ring while they were fighting."
That boy thinks he's fighting an octopus," said a spectator watching the fight in the stands seconds after 16-year-old Ashton Sylve punched Juan Magallanes in his gut dropping him to the mat.
The ref counts: "Uno, dos, tres...." as Magallanes struggles to get back onto his feet; the ref stops the fight, which cues the junior Olympic champ to raise his boxing gloves celebrating a "W" for his first professional boxing match.
Covid-19 tests for boxers
A couple of days before, on August 26, the Baja Sports B.C. outlet posted photos depicting boxers standing in front of medical personnel. "Today was the [covid-19] test for those who will compete .... in Rosarito; tomorrow will be the weigh-ins."
Sylve weighed in at 126 pounds; then on August 29, he posted a photo on his Instagram — as many high schoolers do as they stroll through the beachfront city about 20 miles south of the San Ysidro and Tijuana border.
Shortly after the teen's post, Sylve and his entourage, guarded and escorted by Rosarito police officers, rendezvoused at Papas and Beer with other U.S. boxers to go toe to toe against Mexican-national fighters. His family and friends from his hometown in Long Beach stood by.
"Closed-door boxing and 15 matches were on the list for today," said Diego Knight, an American reporter that lives in the area. "The Sylve and Magallanes match went the full four rounds, but things got a little harried, when the referee asked the crowd to step back away from the ring, and then someone threw a water bottle into the ring while they were fighting."
SporTijuana Box aired the series of matches that Saturday on Facebook Live. From this outlet's vantage point, waves appeared to be crashing about 75 feet from the boxing ring, and you could see a large vessel seen on the horizon.
"He's talented af," said one viewer on the live stream; "calling it 'Ashton the goat' in the next four years," said another.
"We do expect more boxing events next month and we plan on doing more live transmissions at the event," continued Knight.
Other sports kicked off in Baja. On the same beach last week, the Rangers, a Rosarito youth football team, played a tackle football game inside the shallow beach waters. A few miles south in Popotla, expats here gathered to play pickleball, a two or four player paddle ball sport that's sort of a combination of table tennis, badminton, and tennis. That same weekend, about another 45 miles south of Rosarito, bull riding champion Alvaro Alvarez, provided a workshop to the locals in hopes to steer them into the professional sport and compete against our American bull riders.
"And basketball is starting soon," Knight said. "When government officials clear local gyms to play, the Tijuana Dragones and Las Dragonas de Tijuana will plan and schedule open tryouts for men and women 18 and older for the next season that begins in February."
The American Basketball Association Mexico, which includes Rosarito Ball, Tijuana Black Sheep, Tecate Cerveceros, San Diego Guardians, San Diego Kings and San Diego Surf, says they will start their basketball games in October.