A Beautiful Belt

This past weekend Danny Vaz da Costa won the 2017 Chicago Lightweight WBC Amateur Tournament and brought home a beautiful belt.

A week before the tournament started Danny fought Ryan Hamel in the main event of a show in Wheaton, IL. Hamel had requested a rematch after he lost their August 31th bout by disqualification. Danny boxed and moved well in the first round, but had a point taken off in the second for holding. In the third round Danny landed lots of punches, including a massive overhand right (see photo) and ended strong. It was good preparation for the tournament. Danny won by split decision.

On the first day of the “Green and Gold” WBC tourney his opponent was Danny Gomez, whom he had defeated twice earlier this year. Vaz da Costa scored often in all three rounds and won yet again by unanimous decision. Gomez landed fewer punches but swung hard, a style that will serve him well when the southpaw turns pro in 2018.

The lightweight final bout was against Marcellus Campbell, a boxer Danny had beat up in sparring recently. Campbell came out strong, as expected, hoping to catch Danny early with a big punch. That did not happen, but Danny clearly lost round 1. In round 2 Danny broke his opponent and gave him an eight-count. In the last round Danny landed clean left hooks, sharp uppercuts and nasty right hands. I thought the fight should have been stopped by the ref. Danny won by split decision, probably due to a point taken off for lowering his head in the second round.

Getting the WBC belt was a great way to end 2017, a year in which Danny learned a lot. I can’t wait to see what he’ll accomplish in 2018.

Screw City Fall Brawl

Danny (red) vs. Ryan Hamel

Danny Vaz da Costa has fought four times since my last post: he was robbed against Ryan Hamel at a local show, won an immediate rematch, lost to a fighter from Sacramento at the Nationals Qualifier and beat Christian Tecutle at the Screw City Fall Brawl in Rockford, IL.

In their first fight, Danny dropped Hamel with a left hook to the head in round 1. Hamel did land a few straight rights after that, but Danny started slipping what turned out to be his opponent’s only punch and cruised to what seemed like an easy win. Incredibly, the judges gave Hamel a split decision.

In their rematch, Hamel fought dirty. He must have felt he had to do that because he couldn’t possibly win fair and square. He punched Danny in the back of the head and pushed him through the ropes almost out of the ring. When the referee was giving him a warning Hamel talked back to the ref and was disqualified.

At 5’11’’, Danny is used to being the taller guy in 132-pound division fights. His opponent at the 2017 USA Boxing Eastern Qualifier in Chattanooga, TN, was taller still. Fore scored enough to win a split decision boxing from the outside and running a bit. Danny hates losing, but he took this loss well. He recognized that, as Soichiro Honda said, “success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection.”

Photo credit to Three Rounds

Danny put lessons learned in Chattanooga to good use in Rockford, IL, where he scored from outside and inside, including with multiple uppercuts like the one below. Danny beat Christian Tecutle of Torres Boxing by unanimous decision.

Joe’s Live and SoCal

Danny Vaz da Costa lost his May 30th, 2017, fight against Marcos Martinez by split decision. The rubber match between these two Chicago standout amateur boxers took place at Joe’s Live in Rosemont, IL, which is a happening venue.

Watching the fight video afterwards, I saw Danny getting hit with some hard punches, but I also saw him land many more punches than Marcos did. Some of those punches, like the right uppercut shown in two sequencial fotos below, were clean, hard shots that, in my opinion, gave Danny a clear edge in a very close bout.

Our disappointment with the result was short-lived, though. Ten days later we traveled to Menifee, CA, where Danny beat a tough Michael Aranda to win the belt of Southern California State Champion. The trip was a lot of fun, and we plan to go back to Cali next year to compete somewhere and also spend some time in altitude training at beautiful Big Bear Lake.

That is in stark contrast to our 2016 trip to Indio, where absurdly incompetent judges robbed Danny of an absolutely dominant win. That Desert Showdown challenge bout, as it turned out, was against a former mixed martial arts pro. Even though the Hawaiian fighter should not have been allowed to compete in an amateur boxing tournament, Danny beat the snot out of him, as you can see here:

Danny’s next fight probably won’t take place until August. The champ will spend several weeks working on improving key aspects of his fight game with FLO Boxing coach Osh Esho.

Rumi Maki Show, National GGs

Danny Vaz da Costa of FLO Boxing won his second fight against Isaac Reyes of Rumi Maki by unanimous decision at the May 13th, 2017, Rumi Maki Amateur Boxing Show. 

The two Chicago NW suburbs boxers had faced each other a year ago at the Chop Shop in what turned out to be a very one-sided affair in Danny’s favor. Surprisingly, Mr. Reyes requested a rematch the day after that fight. It took a while, but Reyes got his wish last week. He has improved and this was a closer fight than the first one. 

Danny often has slow starts, but this time he actually had a very good first round. It included a cross to the body that did not look very hard, but which seemingly paralyzed his opponent for several seconds. Reyes stopped throwing punches and did not defend himself very well during that time, but eventually recovered. 

The highlight of round 2 was a sharp, perfectly-timed check hook that made Reyes stumble back into the ropes. Danny also scored with straight rights multiple times and was able to get under most punches Reyes threw. 

Reyes did land a few good shots in the third round. Danny boxed well that day, and I thought he won all three rounds, but the judges gave the last round to the Rumi Maki fighter. 

This was a good result for Danny because he had just returned from the National Golden Gloves in Louisiana, where he lost to Adrian Benton, a boxer from Cincinnati who is currently ranked 4th in the country. It was disappointing to be eliminated in the first round of competition, but the experience gained there was invaluable. Plus, Team Chicago was an outstanding group of guys. We took third place overall and our 108-pound fighter, Angel Martinez, won every one of his bouts by unanimous decision and became national champ. 

Next, Danny will have his much-anticipated “rubber match” against 2017 Chicago Golden Gloves champion Marcos Martinez on May 30th. That will be followed by a trip to the SoCal State Championship, which is open to fighters from other states, in the second week of June. 

Stay tuned. 

Chicago GG Final

Marcos Martinez won the 2017 Chicago Golden Gloves 132-pound open division championship bout against Danny Vaz da Costa by a very small margin. 

Danny did not have a good first round. He was not as mobile as he normally is and got hit more than he normally does. Plus Marcos came out throwing punches non-stop. 

Danny came back strong in round two, and landed the harder punches. It was a close round, one I believe most judges would have scored as a draw, but there are no draws in amateur boxing. 

The real story of the fight, though, were the body shots Danny landed in the third round. They hurt Marcos badly. I know this not only because I saw how the 28-year old slowed down after being hit, but also because he told me so after the fight. Marcos got a standing eight-count which helped him recover a bit and was able to finish the round strong. He won the bout by a 3-2 split decision. 

The two fighters had fought once before and enjoy a friendship based on mutual respect, which is on display in their quotes for the tournament program. They have each won one fight against each other, and a “rubber match” should happen soon. 

Marcos will not be able to take time off from work in the first week of May, so Danny will represent Chicago in the National Golden Gloves Tournament in Lafayette, LA.

Chicago GG Semifinal

Noel Limon was disqualified in his 2017 Chicago Golden Gloves semifinal bout against Danny Vaz da Costa. 

Although he is an excellent boxer, Mr. Limon fought dirty and had 3 points taken off by the referee for holding. This unfortunately ended the bout with a minute left in round 3. 

It was not Danny’s best performance, but he would have won the fight had it come to a decision. Let me explain. 

Limon won the first round with a score of 10 – 9. He would have won the second round by the same score, but he had a point taken off, so it was a 9 – 9 round. 

Danny was winning the third round, as he started timing Limon’s punches and landing some good overhand rights. After Limon had a second point taken off, the score would have been 8 – 10. So even without Limon’s third infraction, which in fact automatically disqualified him, the final score would have been 27 – 28 in Danny’s favor. 

Danny will fight 2016 champion, Marcos Martinez, in the 132-pound open division final of the Chicago Golden Gloves on April 6th. 

Chicago GG Quarterfinal 

Danny Vaz da Costa won his 2017 Chicago Golden Gloves quarterfinals bout by unanimous (5 – 0) decision last night. 

Danny and his 132-pound open division opponent, Danny Gomez, had fought before and Gomez had to try something different this time or he would most likely lose again. His adjustment was clear: throw more volume, less power. 

This suited Danny. Despite recovering from the flu and an ear infection, Danny was able to avoid or absorb Gomez’s punches, none of which were of any consequence, while landing a higher number of more significant blows. 

In this fight Danny displayed a confident, fluid style that included several good check-left hooks to the head and a few right-hands and jabs fired independently from his foot movement. On to the semifinals on March 25th. 

2017 Chicago GG Prelim

Danny Vaz da Costa defeated Raul Sanchez of Gary, IN, by unanimous decision in their 132-pound open division Chicago Golden Gloves prelim bout.

Mr. Sanchez, a Silver Gloves national champion, came out at a furious pace and landed a couple of big shots in the beginning of the fight. By the end of the first round, though, he started to pay the price for spending so much energy so soon, as Danny found his distance and landed a few good punches himself.

In the second round Danny took control of the fight by mixing body shots with blows to the head. Mr. Sanchez began to tire and to find himself against the ropes. He did not swing nearly as much as he did in round 1.

The last round was very one-sided. Danny applied pressure and gave Sanchez two eight-counts, the second of which was from an uppercut to the body and a left hook to the head, two clean shots in quick succession.

Danny showed good composure and great conditioning in this fight. He will next face Danny Gomez of Waukegan, IL, in the quarter-finals on March 18th.

Conquer Fight Night

Danny Vaz da Costa beat Danny Gomez at the Feb 25, 2017, Conquer Fight Night event in Libertyville, IL, by unanimous decision. But it was not an easy fight.

Mr. Gomez enjoyed the support of a larger crowd, since his gym organized the event. Yet, his opponent’s fans were the more vocal group in the first two rounds of the bout, as Danny used his jab and reach advantage to keep the hard-hitting southpaw at bay.

Danny threw over a hundred punches per round and gave Mr. Gomez a bloody mouth early on. Gomez missed when he swung wide, but in the second half of the fight he started connecting with the straight left. One of these shots earned him a standing eight-count in round 3.

An eight-count is not the same as a knockdown, although judges will sometimes score it that way. For that reason, a fighter who receives an eight-count will often make himself vulnerable by trying to land a big shot in return.

Not Danny. Confident he had the fight won at that point in time, he did not abandon his plan and continued to score with more punches than Gomez. Two of the judges gave Gomez that last round, but one of them agreed with Danny’s fans that the FLO Boxing fighter won all 3 rounds.

Good fight.


Danny Vaz da Costa defeated 2016 Power Gloves champion Luis Cano at the Feb 3, 2017, Patrick J. Ryan show in what can only be described as a crowd-pleasing, hard-fought battle.

Cano came out strong, throwing many more punches per round than he did when the two elite division, 132 pounders from Chicagoland first faced each other. Danny expected a change in strategy from his opponent because he beat Cano in that 2015 bout. He had to wait and see before he could adjust, and that probably cost him round 1.

Danny’s adjustment was to increase his own punching output. That was not an obvious choice, but it worked. In the last round Danny threw 160 punches, 8 punches every 9 seconds on average. And these weren’t love taps either: both fighters threw power and were absolutely exhausted when the final bell rang. Danny clearly outscored Cano in rounds 2 and 3 to win by unanimous decision.

This was an especially satisfying outcome for Danny because he was returning to the ring after a loss in the 2016 Power Gloves that was followed by an injury suffered in training. Injury and year-end holidays kept Danny out of competition for three months.

Just prior to that forced hiatus Danny experienced a peak in his fighting performance when he defeated 2016 Chicago Golden Gloves champion Marcos Martinez at the Lifetime Fitness show in Skokie, IL. That fight was not unlike this weekend’s battle with Luis Cano, but at a more reasonable pace, which I think allowed Danny to be more discerning and accurate with his punches.

Danny did not win any championships in 2016, but he showed he has the resilience to overcome adversity and keep improving. And that is, perhaps, the mark of a true champion.