On Friday’s “New Blood” co-feature, fast charging bantamweight Mario Hernandez (7-0, 3 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif. meets Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-1, 1 KO) of Mexico City, Mex. in what projects to be an all action fight set for 6-rounds.
The undefeated Hernandez is coming off an impressive, unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Jonah Flores in July.
Hernandez, 27, sat down with Thompson Boxing and talked about becoming a father at age 16, his full-time career at UC Irvine, and what fans can expect from him on Friday night.
Boxing runs in your family. Your dad and uncles boxed. Your dad had plans for you to get in the ring when you were in high school, but an unexpected development delayed that. Talk us through what happened.
“When I was 16, I got my girlfriend pregnant. She was 15 at the time and we were forced to grow up pretty quickly. I didn’t really have time to go to the gym and learn how to box because of this new found responsibility. That part of my life was on pause. We were fortunate in that we had tremendous amount of help from both of our families. Without their support, things would have been a lot different and I might never have gotten the chance to box.”
[Hernandez would later marry his girlfriend Stephanie and they would have another child. They have an 11-year-old girl and a boy who is four-years old].
By 21, you still had the itch to get inside the ring and pursue a career in boxing. How excited were you to launch this new chapter in your life?
“I was really pumped to finally do it. By then my daughter was nearly six and my wife Stephanie and I had already obtained our associates degrees from Santa Ana College so we were in a better place financially. It made sense to pursue the dream of being a pro boxer. I’ve loved the sport ever since I was little so I’m having a great time with it.”
A lot of boxers that are just starting their careers supplement their boxing income by working full-time. You work in the parking and transportation department at UC Irvine. How do you manage two careers simultaneously?
“Working full-time adds a lot of structure to my life. I’m lucky that I work an early shift at UC Irvine. I come in at 6 a.m. and leave by 2:30 p.m. Once I’m done, I head straight to the gym [TKO Boxing] and I’m there from 3-6 p.m. It requires a lot of sacrifice on my part in that the hours that I’m at the gym I could be spending it with my family. That’s really the toughest part, being away from your wife and kids.”
On Friday night’s opponent, Ivan Gonzalez.
“I try to focus on the game plan and do what I need to do to win. The plan is to put the pressure early. Start to the body early and break him down every round. I need to make him feel my punches. More than anything I love to put on a show for the fans. I want to keep them coming back. I’ll never be in a boring fight. My style is too aggressive and I think fans respect that about me.”
Tickets for “New Blood” are priced at $40, $60, & $100, and are available for purchase by calling 714-935-0900, or online at ThompsonBoxing.com.
The “New Blood” main event features top junior lightweight prospect Michael Dutchover (10-0, 7 KOs) going against Bergman Aguilar (14-3-1, 4 KOs) in a battle set for 8-rounds.
All fights will be live streamed on TB Presents: New Blood via our Facebook page, YouTube channel, and ThompsonBoxing.com.
The livestream starts at 8:00 p.m. PT / 11:00 p.m. ET with Beto Duran as the blow-by-blow announcer and Steve Kim providing expert, color commentary.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. local time with the first bout at approximately 8:00 p.m. The Doubletree Hotel is located at 222 N. Vineyard Ave. in Ontario, CA 91764 and can be reached at 909-937-0900.