A sudden burst of celebration filled the Fox Theatre stage in Redwood City on Friday night.
There was no actual boxing going on — just the ringside announcer going through his promo right before he announced the co-main event of the evening.
But the roar was loud and it turned the heads of all on stage directly towards the back entrance, in the direction of the dressing rooms, where San Francisco’s Ricardo Pinell had made his way to greet his biggest supporters.
And appropriately enough, they hoisted him in the air and the 27-year-old began his Friday night celebration in royal style.
Pinell’s jubilation was well-deserved, especially given the way the B Street Boxing product went about disposing of his opponent — the 14-pound over-the-weight-limit Stanley Harvey of Norfolk, Virginia. After pacing and stalking Harvey for two rounds — taking advantage of his superior fitness — Pinell struck a startling left hand at the 1:26 mark of the third round.
His knockout win was sandwiched in between two other impressive San Mateo County victories that Friday night all of which came with particular story lines that made the wins that much sweeter.
In Pinell, his fourth knockout victory and fifth overall almost surely sends his career up a rung — a concept not lost on the fighter with more than 30 amateur fights under his belt.
“I want to get a six-rounder in,” Pinell said immediately after his win. “And just keep on progressing from there. I probably have like four or five years under my belt and at this advanced age ... and I’ve been grinding at this pro level, fighting month to month. All I can do is take it as it comes and put it in God’s hands. That’s the key to staying patient.”
“I really think Ricardo has the tools to compete at the highest level,” said Eddie Croft, Pinell’s trainer out of B Street Gym in San Mateo. “Now, a lot has to happen between now and then, but definitely a six-rounder is the next step.”
Both Croft and Pinell agreed the key is patience — at 27, the San Francisco native is fighting an uphill battle to gain prominence as he ages and he faces younger fighters. But just like he showed against Harvey, Pinell has the mental fortitude to see his promising boxing career through.
“That’s the kind of style that I fight,” Pinell said. “My trainer tells me to stay focused and composed. I knew I had the advantage (in the fight) ... but you can’t go for the kill too early. You have to wait until it’s open and then go for it.
“I know it’s all sacrifice,” he said. “The bigger picture: That’s what keeps me fighting. That’s what keeps me focused. My faith is in him (God) and I know everything will be OK.”
Faith was also on the mind of Redwood City’s Juan Hernandez, who made a triumphant return to the ring with a knockout of Payton Boyea.
Hernandez missed the better part of the year battling hand and elbow injuries. And there was no question those were on his mind coming into the fight given that at 27-years-old, the injuries had robbed a year from his career.
But Hernandez showed the power he’s known for and took Boyea down with a hard left-right combination.
“I felt strong,” Hernandez said. “I felt confident. And, Lord willing, I think we can go far. I want to keep giving it my all and do what do I love. I’m going to give the best of me to take my career somewhere.”
That somewhere, for the time being, is the 165-pound weight class.
“I feel like it’s the best opportunity for me,” Hernandez said. “I’m just happy to be back in the sport that I love. I do it with all my heart.”
It was all love for Bruno Escalante as Friday night came to a close.
After pouncing on Manuel Galaviz of Mexico in the first round and ending the Mexican’s night before the second round belt sounded, Escalante freshened up and was greeted by his supporters at Milagros restaurant in Redwood City. There, The Aloha Kid, received the celebrity treatment. It’s the kind of acknowledgment and status that the ever- humble Escalante wasn’t always used to. But as he grows in the sport locally and garners national attention (with the likes of CSN in attendance on Friday), it’s something that Escalante is learning to embrace and use in the ring.
“That’s always been the thing with Bruno,” said Brian Schwartz, his trainer at Undisputed Boxing in San Carlos. “He’s always had the skill, he’s always had the talent, but he was lacking the confidence. You’re really starting to see that now. And he’s taking off.”