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Carlos Buitrago: “Boxing has helped save us.”

By Anson Wainwright

On a busy weekend of boxing, it’s easy to let a young prospect from Nicaragua slip under your radar; it’s even easier when he weighs just 105 pounds. However, don’t let his diminutive stature fool you. Carlos "Chocorroncito" Buitrago is all fighter. At just 19 years old, he makes his American debut (ahead of better-known two-weight world champion Roman Gonzalez) when he meets late sub Felipe Rivas on Fox Sports tonight. For the past few years, Buitrago has quietly gone about his business building an impressive record of 19-0 (14) (with one no-contest) but the secret is getting out. He’ll be looking to make a statement of intent to his new promoter (Dream Team Boxing) and American boxing fans.

Anson Wainwright – First, you’ll be making your American debut on Friday, August 12th. What are your thoughts on fighting in America?

Carlos Buitrago - I am super happy with this opportunity. Not only am I fighting in USA but my promoter tells me my fight will be shown on Fox Sports as well. It’s a huge opportunity for me to showcase my talent.
AW - You’re scheduled to take on Lorenzo Trejo, what can you tell us about this fight and what do you know about him?
CB - They changed my rival to Felipe Rivas. His record does not say much. Its only 9-8-1, 4 KOs but he went at it for six rounds with Giovani Segura and lost by decision. Supposedly, Segura is the hardest puncher in the smaller divisions. I am going to have to fight very smart.
AW - Could you tell us about your team, your manager, trainer and promoter? Also what gym you train at?
CB - My team is very good. We are only 21 boxers but they have been in multiple world title opportunities. My promotion company regularly gets fights for us in Mexico, Japan, Argentina, USA, and Panama. Among our team members are former WBA lightweight world champ Jose Alfaro. He is scheduled to fight Humberto Soto next. Also current WBA two-time interim champ Juan Palacios, who defends his title this Saturday, current two-weight class champ Roman Gonzalez. Alvaro Perez, who is Fernando Montiel’s next rival, and many others. We also have a lot of up-and\-coming talent such as Santos Benavides, Walter Castillo, Arnoldo Solano, Henry Maldonado and myself. My promotion company is called PRODESA. We have eight different trainers, which are led by Arnulfo Obando and Rey Mendoza. Together they have more than 60 world title fights and have formed at least seven champs. That is a very high number considering Nicaragua has only had ten world champs in its history.
AW - How far do you think you are from fighting for a world title? What are your thoughts on the strawweight division and how do you find making 105?
CB - I think I am at least eight fights away from a world title chance. The strawweight division has a lot of talent. I think [Nkosinathi] Joyi and Juan Palacios are the best. I am lucky to be able to train with Juan. He pushes me to become a better fighter. I am still growing but think I can spend at least three more years in that division, maybe even more. I just have to be disciplined and take good care of myself.
AW - Could you tell us a little bit about your fighting style?
CB - I like to use my jab a lot and practice a stick-and-move routine. I try not to give my rival an easy target to hit. I also try and box smartly. My jab and left hand are my two best weapons. My style is based on hand speed and leg movement.
AW - You debuted at 16 years old; that is very young. Could you tell us why you decided to go pro so young?
CB - I had a very long amateur career. I won 162 fights and lost five for a total of 167 amateur fights. It was no longer a challenge and I wanted to make money. In the gym, while training, I was beating up pros who were older than me. I have a friend named Yader Escobar who has 23 victories as a pro and I was outboxing him with ease in the gym. I was punching him and he couldn’t touch me. He was ranked in the WBA, fifth at the time. I said if I can beat this guy, then I need to turn pro soon. My father was also a professional boxer and is a trainer for our promotion company. He also agreed it was time to become a pro.
AW - Growing up in Managua, Nicaragua must have been very tough for you. Could you tell us about the early years of your life and what it was like growing up there? Could you also tell us about how the path your life took you into boxing?
CB - As I mentioned before, my father was a pro boxer. He was also a member of the national amateur team representing Nicaragua in Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, and many other countries. Two of my brothers and I also got into boxing. They have stopped since but I continued. I found inspiration in Alexis Arguello. He used to help out at the gym and pushed us hard. He told me I can do anything I want in boxing if I work really hard. He believed in my talent. He used to call me his little beast. As a young boy growing up, times were tough. There were a lot of mouths to feed. Boxing has helped save us.
AW - You’re from the same team as two-weight world champion Roman "El Chocolatito" Gonzalez. Can you tell us about the relationship the two of you share? Presumably, you spar and train together. Do you look up to him and see him as a role model?
CB - We are good friends. We started boxing at the same time even though I am younger than him. Gonzalez is a great fighter, very difficult to be able to beat him. We spar and train together. He used to beat me up badly. I am glad to say that I can hold my own a lot better now. I actually give him some difficulties. He is a very complete fighter and, yes, I look up to him because of his strong work habits.
AW - Who was your boxing hero growing up? Who do you enjoy watching today?
CB - My hero is Alexis Arguello, followed very closely by “Tito” Trinidad. I liked how Trinidad would come off the floor and KO his rivals. He was a good fighter.
AW - Can you tell us about yourself and your life away from boxing? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What are your hobbies and interests?
CB - I have a girlfriend and I am entering the university. I want to get [a] bachelors [degree] in business and become somebody after my boxing days are over. I am very religious as well.
AW - You’re nicknamed “Chocorroncito.” What does that mean and how did you get that name?
CB - It means “roach.” They call me that because I am a small person.
AW – Finally, is there anything you’d like to add?
CB - Just that I am working hard to someday become a world champ.


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