Andrew Morales is likely to advance to the National Collegiate Boxing Championships next month.
It took a fortuitous rule change for the Wolf Pack freshman to get the opportunity. Under the previous rules, Morales would have had too many bouts as an amateur, where he was 8-2. But the National Collegiate Boxing Association moved to align its standards with those of USA Boxing, which states that boxers can have 10 bouts and still be considered amateur. Boxers with more than 10 bouts are considered elite and cannot box in college.
The Nevada boxer begins his quest tonight. He is one of six who will compete for the Wolf Pack in the Western Regionals, which start with quarterfinal bouts at 7 p.m. at the Eldorado Hotel and Casino. Because of his amateur background and his talent, he has a good chance to advance to the National Championships at West Point, NY.
“I feel I’ve improved significantly,” Morales said. “I’m more intelligent in the ring.”
Nevada boxing coach Mike Martino said Morales is favored in the 125-pound weight class this week at the regionals. “It gives us an opportunity to get somebody who had great fundamentals, who has a great skill set, someone who has been in the ring before, somebody who has great confidence. It gives us an opportunity to us capitalize on that,” Martino said of the rule change.
Morales, 18, is a criminal justice major and said earning a college degree is important. Nevada is on spring break this week, so school is taking a momentary back seat. The Reed graduate is also focused on winning a national championship. “I’ve been working hard to get to Nationals,” said Morales, who has two years of college eligibility, although Nevada could petition for a third year. “It’s the only thing that’s been on my mind the last couple of weeks. I really want to accomplish that.”
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