Boxing has long been a vehicle of opportunity for Julio Alvarez.
The longtime area boxing trainer used it originally as means to make his way and thrive in a new country.
His latest endeavor, however, is aimed at the future of the sport and providing an opportunity for others to make their way.
Alvarez and his Lincolnway Sportcenter are presenting Summer Lightning on Friday, July 15, at York College’s Grumbacher Center. The night will feature a card of area amateur and professional bouts. A number of local boxers will be featured, with some making their pro debuts.
“I am trying to bring boxing back in town,” Alvarez said. “Boxing is changing, changing a lot, so we need to keep up with it — the way we train and the way we do things. When people come they are going to see the next generation of boxing.”
Alvarez’s start: Born in Guatemala, Alvarez, 65, first began his foray into the sweet science by fighting on the streets in his teenage years.
“I got into boxing when I was 14, 15, 16 years old,” Alvarez said. “It was my game, I was a street fighter.”
In 1973, Alvarez moved to California for a bit before making his way to Hanover.
He didn’t know the area at all and hardly spoke English. It would be fighting that would help him overcome those obstacles.
“After living in Hanover two, three years, this karate school came in to Hanover and I joined it,” Alvarez said. “I used to come in early and practice boxing. My instructor used to get mad at me and say ‘No, this is not a boxing gym,’ so I had to keep it to myself.”
Never able to abandon his first love, Alvarez began working with kick boxers in the mid-1980s before transitioning to working with boxers as kick boxing began to fade from the scene.
Then, in 1993, according to Alvarez’s estimate, he opened York’s Lincolnway Sportcenter and has been training local pugilists since.
“We’ve had a lot of success,” Alvarez said. “Went all over the United States, won national titles, sent guys to Olympic trials."
One of the more notable names to emerge from Lincolnway was Carney "Beeper" Bowman.
Bowman won the 2003 Gloden Gloves national championship at 125 pounds before beginning his pro career. That career saw him fight some of the nation’s best in boxing hotbeds such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Steve Weimer, who will fight on the July 15 card, and Eric Nemo are other fighters who trained at the Market Street gym.
With Summer Lightning, Alvarez hopes he can help launch the next stable of successful sluggers from York.
Josue Alfaro: One of the more promising combatants that Alvarez works with, New Oxford’s Josue Alfaro, will be making his pro debut on the card after a solid amateur career.
Alfaro seems more than ready, having recently completed a stint in Mexico. There he worked with International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristáin.
Beristáin’s resume includes two Olympic gold medalists and he is most noted for his work with former world champion Juan Manuel Marquez — who scored a knockout of Manny Pacquiao in 2012.
The 20-year-old Alfaro, a former Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Central Division champion, is well established in the state boxing community. He has previously defeated the best boxers from areas such as Lancaster, Allentown and Reading, among others.
“He is a very dynamic, real explosive fighter,” Alvarez said of Alfaro. “His style is more like a professional than an amateur. They wanted to turn him pro in Mexico, they liked his style. He’s very controlled, he’s young and he’s got his whole career ahead of him and I think he’ll do really, really well.”
Other locals: Other area fighters who will enter the squared circle at the Grumbacher Center to make their pro debuts are Tyson Turner and Brittany Inkrote.
Inkrote, an accomplished amateur in her own right, has had a hard time securing opponents for a long-awaited pro debut. Having fought in nearly 100 amateur events, Inkrote has amassed more than 10 national championships along the way.
Without going so far as to say potential opponents duck Inkrote, Alvarez noted the negotiations often change once foes learn what they’re up against.
“Brittany is already matched, but once they know they’ve got to fight Brittany… the people want treated well, more money, travel costs, things like that,” Alvarez said.
Tickets are slated to go on sale soon. Those interested can contact Alvarez at (717) 968-8000 or at (717) 968-5261. They will also be available for purchase at Lincolnway Sportcenter and La Famiglia Bistro.
— Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.