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First Fight

by Bryan Terry Published: June 29, 2013
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, waits in line to weigh in before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, waits in line to weigh in before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

To view an audio slideshow click here.

 

A small crowd gathered outside The Underground Arena on SW 27 Street on Saturday just before 11am. It was fight night and a few impatient fighters peered into the windows after an unsuccessful try to open the doors.

Azteca Boxing Club owner Eric Puente opened the door as fighters filed in for weigh-ins.

Novice and open division amateur boxers from ages of 8 to 34 signed in, each hoping to get paired for a bout. Puente, who trains children 10 and under in the club, said the 20 sanctioned fights that took place that night helped boxers gain experience and served as a fundraiser for the Azteca Boxing Club, which hosted the event.

 

Felipe Barba watches his son, Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warm up before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Felipe Barba watches his son, Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warm up before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Nine-year-old Chris Barba of Edmond, along with a group of others his age, wrote his name, weight, age, and number of fights down on a index card. “I’m looking forward to winning,” said Barba who will be fighting in his first bout after training for 1 ½ months.

Chris’ journey to fight night began when he heard about boxing from a family friend. Chris asked his father, Felipe, if he would take him to the gym to watch. Felipe didn’t think it would work out. He and his family live in Edmond but Felipe drives to Norman for work. The idea of driving from his job in Norman to Edmond, and then back to south Oklahoma City 5 days a week didn’t sound like it would work.

 

Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, gets help with his headgear before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, gets help with his headgear before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Determined to try boxing, Chris offered gas money to a family friend to take him to the gym. After going a few times he expressed interest in the sport and Felipe decided the long drive 5 days a week was worth it.

That Saturday evening Felipe stood in the crowded arena and watched as his son was declared the winner of his first fight.

 

Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, at right, fights Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, during the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, at right, fights Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, during the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

 

Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, talks with his coach Fernando Mijares before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, talks with his coach Fernando Mijares before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warms up before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013.
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warms up before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013.

 

Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warms up with family friend Jose Barrientos before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Chris
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, warms up with family friend Jose Barrientos before his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Chris

 

Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, left, stands next to Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, as they wait for their first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, left, stands next to Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, as they wait for their first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

 

Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, walks to the corner during his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013.  Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Chris Barba, 9, of Edmond, walks to the corner during his first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, watches, after knocking down Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, during the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, watches, after knocking down Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, during the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, at right, is declared the winner beside Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, after the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013.
Nine-year-old Chris Barba, of Edmond, at right, is declared the winner beside Roderick Tisdale, 10, of Pawhuska, after the pair's first fight at The Underground Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, June 15, 2013.

 

To see an audio slideshow from the night click here.

 

-Bryan Terry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Bryan Terry
Photographer
Bryan Terry is a native of Oklahoma and is a graduate of Yukon High School. He first picked up a camera while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. After working for the school newspaper, The Vista, he interned at The Oklahoman. He...
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