Diego Elizondo: Carson City’s southpaw boxing superhero

Tahoe Onstage

Carson City’s undefeated Diego Elizondo seeks his third professional boxing win on Friday in Reno.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

At first glance, tall, skinny and bespectacled Diego Elizondo in street clothes doesn’t look a boxer. But nobody took Clark Kent for a superhero, either.

Trading glasses for boxing gloves, the 19-year-old Carson City lightweight snaps right jabs faster than a speeding bullet and is undefeated in his first two professional fights. He seeks win No. 3 on Friday when he faces Canton Miller at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

At 5-foot-10, 135 pounds, Elizondo is a tactical fighter who uses deft footwork and defense to set up angles, land pinpoint punches and score points. In his last bout, Nov. 17, 2017, against a musclebound Chandler Clements, Elizondo won every round on the scorecards of each judge.

Carson City's Diego Elizondo poses for a photo after beating Chandler Clements. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

“I was told that once I hit a big city gym I would be destroyed,” Elizondo said after the bout. “Well, Clements is from the big city of Las Vegas and I proved them wrong.”

Elizondo is trained by his father, Jose, who boxed as an amateur growing up in Utah.

“Concern for my son is always there,” Jose Elizondo said. “We make up for that by working hard. We try to minimize getting hit. Boxing is like soccer. Defense wins games.”

With nearly a half-year since his last fight, Elizondo said he was anxious to have his next bout.

“I am always in the gym,” he said. “I can’t wait to get into the ring.”

Elizondo has worked out with budding boxing sensation super featherweight Gabriel Flores Jr., who has won his first seven fights and celebrated his 18th birthday on May 1. Flores’ next bout is June 9 against a left-handed boxer. After Friday’s fight, Elizondo, a southpaw, will head to Flores’ training camp in Stockton to work as a sparring partner.

But first, there is a major test with Canton Miller, a resident of St. Louis who has had twice the pro fights as Elizondo.

“Like my last fight, he’s facing a more experienced guy,” said Reno’s Ricardo Lucio-Galvan, who also has a 2-0 start to his pro career.

He’s looking sharp. He’s ready. I’ve never seen him working harder.”

Elizondo and Lucio-Galvan were amateur rivals, splitting their two head-to-head fights before turning pro. Eventually, they became friends.

“We were Rocky and Apollo,” Lucio-Galvan said about the boxer vs. slugger clashes. “I was Rocky even though he is the left-hander.”

They became buddies after a sparring session.

“We both came out of there bleeding; It was a good war that day,” Elizondo said. “He’s a pressure fighter. He just comes and comes and comes. It’s good for me because I’m a tall and rangy fighter and when I fight somebody that’s short I already know what to do.

“For him, it’s good because I’m tall and a southpaw and eventually he’ll get a tall guy and a southpaw. So it’s good for both of us. Iron sharpens iron.”

The two have been hooking up every week at the Carson City Boxing Club.

“He’s looking sharp,” said Lucio-Galvan, who is slated to also fight Friday if an opponent can be found. “He’s ready. I’ve never seen him working harder.”

Reno super-flyweight Oscar Vasquez is 30 years old and has won 16 of his 17 fights. He’s in the main event on Friday, facing once-defeated Ricardo Sandoval. Vasquez is more of a peer than a mentor of Elizondo and Lucio-Galvan, nevertheless he has offered advice.

“They both have tremendous skills to make it to the very top,” Vasquez said. “They need to stay away from temptation and avoid bad decisions that will take them off of the road to the championship.”

The technician Elizondo has a game plan for Friday’s fight with Miller, who also is tall.

“He might even be taller than me and he comes at you,” said Elizondo, who wants to set the tone of the bout early. “I will make him miss and make him pay. I want to keep the fight in the center of the ring and see if he can fight backing up.”

– Tim Parsons

Related story: Reno superfly Oscar Vasquez makes drive toward title.

  • Live Professional Boxing
    Let’s Get It On Boxing
    When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 4
    Where: Reno-Sparks Convention Center
    Tickets: $35, $65 and $100
    Purchase: Atlantis Gift Shop or call (775) 824-4467
    Ticketmaster: LINK
  • Main event
    Super-flyweights, 8 rounds: Oscar “El Chapito” Vasquez (15-1) Reno vs. Ricardo “El Nino” Sandoval (12-1) Rialto, California
  • Undercard
    Cruiserweights, 8 rounds: Blake McKernan (7-0) Sacramento vs. Daniel Arambula (4-2) Jalisco, Mexico
    Light flyweights, 6 rounds: Santos “Titos” Vasquez (5-2-1) Reno vs. Bryan “Brillo” Aquino (11-2) Puerto Rico
    Heavyweights, 6 rounds: Frank “Freedom Fighter” Sanchez (5-0) Las Vegas vs. Lamont “Too Smooth” Capers (9-12) Hawley, Pennsylvania
    Lightweights, 4 rounds: Diego Elizondo (2-0) Carson City vs. Canton Miller (3-1) St. Louis
    Featherweights, 4 rounds: Ricardo Lucio-Galvan (2-0) Reno vs. TBA

    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

    Tahoe Onstage

    Diego Elizondo, foreground, and Oscar Vasquez shadowbox at M.M. Boxing Club in Reno a few days before their fights.
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

One comment

  1. Great article

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