Fighting martial arts wasn’t physical enough for him, so JJ Mariano decided to try boxing.
His choice paid off as the Nevada freshman won his debut college boxing bout, defeating Steven Le of UC Davis by decision Friday at the Eldorado Hotel Casino.
Mariano’s was one of 13 bouts on the card, including eight Nevada boxers.
“When I went in there I had all the energy in the world, all the adrenaline pumping,” the 140-pound Mariano said. “I was just working my jabs.”
Mariano, 18, is a Reed High graduate studying mechanical engineering at Nevada.
He studied Tae Kwon Do as a child.
“It wasn’t physical enough for me. I wanted to hit something rather than just walk around in a circle and do kicks,” Mariano said.
He threw plenty of punches Friday.
A worn out Mariano said conditioning will be a priority for him over the next few weeks. Both boxers struggled to lift their arms in the final round.
“I’m going to be running a lot more. At the end, we were both gassed out,” he said. “I just pulled through at the end. Got the second wind I needed to pull this through for all the people supporting me out there.”
It was also Le’s first college fight and it came in front of a packed, high-energy house at the Eldorado convention center.
Taylor Yancey avenged his last loss, and ended his collegiate boxing career on a high note. Yancey, a junior at Nevada, took a decision over Andrew Munoz of Air Force in a 139-pound bout.
Yancey thought he was losing the fight after two rounds, he took a standing eight count in the second, so he changed tactics.
“I tried to go to the body more, wear him out, make him think more about where he was putting his hands,” Yancey said.
Yancey will apply to medical school in the fall and will not box any more.
He beat Munoz last year, then lost to him in Regionals.
Nevada boxers won five of eight bouts. At 165 pounds, Zachary Barbara beat Hector Lopez of Santa Clara; at 140, Jarred Santos beat Ethan Salgado of Air Force; and at 150, Caleb Trotter won his debut over Luis Aguilar of Santa Clara.
Source: Jim Krajewski, RGJ