Martin “Gallito” Castillo wants back in the mix!

boxingHe defeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. as an amateur and eventually became a top pound for pound world champion. In the opinions of many, Martin “Gallito” Castillo (35-3, 18 KO’s) eventually became the face of the “new” Mexican fighter.

Instead of pushing forward and taking three punches to dish out one, Castillo, ranked #8 by the WBO, is a true boxer-puncher inside the ring. A great technician who used his quick feet and movement to lure his opponents within his range to unleash blisteringly fast combinations. He won a piece of the WBA world title in 2004 against Hideyasu Ishihara by TKO in the eleventh round and finally took the whole crown in a brilliant performance against the undefeated knockout artist Alexander Munoz. “That was a thrilling time for me. That was the goal I had been training for all my life and I finally made it a reality,” remembers Castillo. “Ishihara and Munoz were tremendous competitors who brought out the best in me.”

Four fights later, Castillo lost the crown due to cuts in a close battle against Nobuo Nashiro in Japan. He fought his way back into title contention after reeling off three wins and earning the right to face off against WBO Superflyweight king Fernando Montiel.. Things didn’t go Castillo’s way. Montiel stopped him with a brutal body shot in the fourth round. “He’s a great fighter,” says Castillo. “He caught me with a punch I didn’t see coming.”

He proceeded to take some much needed time off in order to re-evaluate his life. “I had over 180 fights as an amateur, I’ve been boxing since I was seven years old and I needed a break from boxing,” the former Mexican Olympian said. “I needed to figure things out. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue boxing or not.”

After a year an a half layoff, Castillo decided he couldn’t just step away. The itch was still there. He asked his manager Frank Espinoza to get him a couple fights. “I didn’t know if he still had the desire but Martin feels he has some unfinished business,” Espinoza said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting him physically and mentally prepared.”

After getting two recent wins under his belt, he’s ready to step up the pace and the quality of his competition. “I want to fight a couple more fights and then I want to start coming after any of the top fighters in the Bantamweight division,” Castillo stated. “I always wanted a fight against Vic Darchinyan or Jorge Arce. Any of the top guys will do but I’m especially interested in those two.”

For now, Castillo continues to work out at The Maywood Boxing Club under the care of trainer Charles Huerta Sr. as he awaits the call for his next fight. At 33 years old he knows he might be running out of time and opportunities. “Time is precious and I’ve got to make the most of it,” Castillo said. “I’ve been a world champion before and I miss the feeling and the spotlight. The only way to get those things back is by winning against quality opponents and that’s my plan.”

Espinoza realizes that Castillo has a tough road ahead but is supporting his effort all the way. “It’s not going to be easy but if anyone can pull it off it’s Martin,” Espinoza stated. “He’s got the talent and the mindset of a winner. He remembers what it’s like to be a champion and he wants that again. He’s got a lot of fans behind him who still remember the great performances he gave on Solo Boxeo and on HBO Pay per view and I believe they’ll also support him.”

Castillo wants the fans to know that there’s still a lot of fight left in him. “I want them to know that I’m preparing in the gym with a lot of faith and dedication like always and that they can expect me back to a hundred percent again,” he said. “I also want to let Darchnyan and Arce know that I’m targeting them. I will be concentrating all my efforts to make sure I end up in the ring with one of those guys.”

Like most fighters, Castillo is not only in it for the sport but for the adulation. “There’s nothing better than winning a fight and having people stop you in the street to tell you how much they enjoyed your work,” he said. “The fans have always been good to me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They need to know that I’ll always give them my best.”

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Article posted on 31.03.2010

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