Boxing: Varela takes down national champion in Fresno


With four days’ training and fighting in a new weight class, Ivan Varela defeats Harley Mederos

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

FRESNO – The ability to take down champions is something that Lindsay’s Ivan Varela always knew that he had. Even going back to when he first began training at the age of four years old. However, Varela has had weeks or months in order to train vigorously in order to get ready for the majority of his bouts.

That was not the case for Varela’s latest bout on Oct. 7 at the Paul Paul Theater in Fresno. He had only four days to get ready to face national champ Harley Mederos, 132 lbs., from Brooklyn, New York.

“I wanted to keep that belt here in California,” said Varela.

After Varela went toe-to-toe with Mederos for all three rounds it had to go to the judges. Varela emerged victorious in a split decision.

“I looked at how happy my brother and my dad were, and that made me happy,” said Varela.

Much of Varela’s success has been a product of his training, something that Varela puts a lot of stock in. Which is why when his father, Nestor Varela, told him that he had the chance to fight Mederos on Oct. 3, the reply was an easy yes.

Even when Varela is not scheduled for a fight, he runs a minimum of three miles daily, and on most days, he trains at his hometown’s McDermont Field House. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Varela has sparring matches either at the field house or at other gyms that invite him.

“If you don’t train, you are not going to be able to win,” said Varela.

Once Varela agreed to the fight, he kicked his training up a notch and focused on sparring. Varela credits the sparring fights with some other boxers from Hanford as helping him get the win.

There was, however, another problem besides the limited amount of training. Even though Varela had sized up against Mederos multiple times during national tournaments, he had to go up a weight class. Normally Varela fights at 125 lbs, which is the featherweight class. Now he was choosing to go up to the lightweight class. But that did not faze Varela.

In the bout, Nestor told his son to be smart in the fight and to be cautious of one thing they both knew Mederos liked to do: hug. It is exactly like it sounds. It happens when the boxers wrap their arms around each other. If the two of them stay like that for too long the official breaks them up.

That was not the main concern but the ability for Mederos to get easy body shots on Varela. By doing that Mederos would have racked up enough points from successful body shots.

“If that would have happened I would have gotten mad and would have started swinging. Mederos would have been able to counter me then,” said Varela.

Varela’s father and older brother, Nestor Varela Jr., continually helped him stay calm from the corner. Besides not being hugged, the advice that they gave Varela was to use his speed.

Even though this was not a title fight, Varela still had the opportunity to fight in front of some big sponsors. Varela plans on going professional sometime next year, but will wait until his older brother turns professional first.

Start typing and press Enter to search