Fri Mar 13th, 2020
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
“I had a feeling that I could be really good at it,” Diego Perez-Baker said, remembering his first foray into the boxing ring. Family friend, Anthony Archuleta convinced Perez-Baker to give boxing a shot, offering to help train Diego at his boxing gym in downtown Ignacio — The Ring of Champions.
Archuleta opened his arms, he was very encouraging, explained Perez-Baker. He worked on the technical aspects of training, in addition to strength and conditioning — but always focused on technique.
Unfortunately, the Ring of Champions had to shutter its doors in April of 2018, citing financial difficulties.
“I continued to train, even after the gym closed down, I started training with Elco Garcia.” While he and Gracia knew each other at the gym, they are also connected through family.
“He [Elco Garcia] fought professionally — so Elco was able to pick up on things and push me [ as a trainer]. He is all-in-one,” Perez-Baker emphasized.
When I train in the gym with Elco — it is 100 percent all of the time. “Outside of the gym we can be friends, but in the gym I’m here to train you,” Garcia explained to Perez-Baker. Defining their professional relationship, and the expectations set forth by the veteran boxer turned coach.
“I run 3-5 miles a day, 5-7 days a week — for conditioning. That conditioning is something that Garcia emphasizes in his training regiment,” Perez-Baker explained. “Keeping muscle memory strong.”
In February, Perez-Baker had his first fight since a shoulder surgery last year. I was outmatched in terms of weight, he explained, but after the fight, “people were giving me props for what I did in the ring, how well I fought. That was Diego’s fourth competitive fight since he first put on gloves two years ago — new to the sport.
The February fight was billed as the “Rocky Mountain Fight Night, hosted by Colorado Golden Gloves”, Sanction #20-32–51205. The fight can be watched on YouTube at Ghosttown Promotions under “Part 3 bouts 11 15,” Perez-Baker was the 11th fight. The fight was at 201 lbs., but Diego weighed in at 189 lbs. while his opponent was 201 lbs.
Diego Perez-Baker is 24 years old and competing as an unattached fighter in the amateurs. He has four fights and one loss to his name.
His next bout is in Albuquerque, N.M., April 11. “I’m looking to fight at 180 lbs.,” he stated. “Once I have my tenth fight, I’ll join the Open Elite [class].
Diego was born in Durango, Colo. and currently lives in Ignacio. Diego Perez-Baker is a Southern Ute tribal member; he is the son of Brandon Baker and Yolanda Perez.
“The Perez comes from my mother’s side, the Baker represents my father, grandfather and The Southern Ute Indian Tribe,” Diego stated. This year, I want to put myself in two National Tournaments — I want to see how I am against the best kids in the nation.”