FAIRFIELD — There’s fighting in your hometown, and there’s fighting in your home gym.
For Fairfield’s Manuel “Tino” Avila, the latter brings a special excitement to tonight’s fight at Vacaville’s Georgie Duke Center.
That’s where super bantamweight Avila (10-0, 3 KO) works out regularly, formerly as a member of the Vacaville Police Activities League boxing club, now as an independent fighter, though he still volunteers with the PAL.
“Everything’s going great, 100 percent like always,” Avila said. “I moved up, kind of, in weight just because of my opponent at 124 (pounds), so, it made Thanksgiving a lot easier.”
The change in weight has made for some changes in Avila’s fight.
“(It’s) muscle added on, not (from) any weightlifting, but I’m just more powerful at 124,” said Avila, a Rodriguez High graduate.
That added power should help when he faces off with Ricky Lopez (9-1, 4 KO) of Oxnard.
Last time out, Avila knocked out his opponent quickly at Fairfield’s Allan Witt Sports Center and part of that win came from throwing more punches than he had in the past.
“I’m still working on throwing more punches than I am. Trying to throw as much punches as possible as anybody could in any round, so that’s where I am,” Avila said. “Not just throwing them, but throwing them accurately, on point and powerful.”
As for Lopez, Avila said he doesn’t know much.
“They’ve told me he was nationally ranked as an amateur,” Avila said. “That’s about all I know about him. I let everybody else worry about it, I just do what I’m told.”
As for fighting in his regular gym, he said it’s not something that happens often.
“It’s my home gym, it’s where I actually train at, so it’s exciting. I’ve been telling everybody, ‘Man, not to many fighters can say that they got to fight at their home gym and on TV,'” he said. “Not even the top-ranked fighters can say that, so it’s pretty cool that they’re trying to bring it out here.”
Tonight’s main events will be televised nationally on the Telefutura Spanish-language network.
After scoring a last-round knockout at Allan Witt in August,
“I’m ready and I’m really excited to fight here again – well, now we’re going to fight in Vacaville, but to me it’s the same thing,” Sanchez said.
These days it’s all about gaining experience for Sanchez, who hopes to land a title shot in the next year or so.
“I feel strong, my last fight, I got more experience, so I feel stronger, I trained harder and every time I fight I feel better,” said the Fairfield High graduate.
There’s no shortage of that with Munguia coming in with 52 pro fights under his belt.
“He has a lot of experience and that’s good because I’m getting experience with those kind of guys,” Sanchez said. “So that’s good I’m fighting guys that have a lot of fights so I can get a lot of experience and hopefully get a title shot next year.”
These days, speed and endurance have been Sanchez’s main focus.
“I keep working on my speed and my legs moving and, yeah, I feel great,” he said. “It helps me a lot because I’m learning how to use my reach and everything, and my legs so I don’t get hit a lot.”
He’s also take up cycling to build endurance.
“The only new thing I’m doing is the bicycle. Every time I do it, I feel great,” Sanchez said.
Tonight the strategy is simple.
“I’m going to see what the other guy has,” he said. “I don’t even know the guy. I just (found out) who I’m fighting a couple days ago.”
Once he see’s what Munguia brings, Sanchez said his plan is to go for the knockout again.
Doors at the Georgie Duke Center open at 6 p.m. and fights start at 7 p.m.
As of Friday, tickets were available at www.pacopresentsboxing.com, La Charrita Mexican Market in Fairfield and Paco’s Restaurant in Woodland.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.