When Kevin Asmat was a high school student a few years ago, he tried out for the wrestling team at Union City High.
“Wrestling was one of my favorite sports,” said Asmat, who attended both Union City and North Bergen during his high school days, spending two years at each school.
It was the competitive nature of wrestling that inspired Asmat to his next venture, but it was also the memories of his father telling stories of his youth.
“My father [Tomas] was an Olympic boxer in Peru when he was younger,” Asmat said. “Growing up, he would tell me stories about this guy and that guy and it was really interesting. After a while, I got tired of hearing all the stories, so I wanted to start my own stories.”
So when Asmat was still in high school, he started to pursue a life in boxing. He went to the Global Boxing Gym in North Bergen (which has just recently closed) and began to learn the tricks of the trade as a pugilist.
“I was sparring a lot at Global and I was getting a chance to spar with the pros,” Asmat said.
One of the most famous boxers that Asmat trained with when he was an amateur was Miguel Cotto, the current World Boxing Organization Super Welterweight champion who has won world titles in four weight classes (Super Welterweight, Welterweight, Middleweight and Super Lightweight).
Asmat was able to travel the world as an amateur fighter, winning 96 times and losing just 14 in a four-year amateur career. He was a semifinalist for the United States Olympic boxing team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and also almost made the Peruvian Olympic team, but chose to try to qualify for Team USA instead.
Last year, the 22-year-old Asmat made the decision to turn professional and made his debut on July 22, 2016 at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
It was soon after that debut that Asmat was spotted by the promotional team Main Events, which is based in Wayne and run by promoter Kathy Duva.
“My trainer Diego Rosario used to fight for Main Events, so he opened the door for me,” said Asmat, who had his fourth fight with Main Events Oct. 5 at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel in Uncasville, Connecticut. “Everything is great with Main Events. They’re treating me great.”
In his second bout under the Main Events banner, Asmat, currently residing in North Bergen, defeated Rafael Castillo Rosendo in a four-round featherweight bout to improve to 3-1 as a pro, 2-0 with Main Events.
Asmat gained a unanimous decision over Rosendo, who was making his professional debut.
“It was a good test for me,” Asmat said. “The guy had a lot of amateur experience and was on the national team for the Dominican Republic. So coming into the fight, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I trained hard for the fight and I did what I had to do.”
Asmat is considered as a rising star in the Main Events stable of boxers. There’s also no rest for the weary.
“I am already back in the gym,” said Asmat, who since the closing of Global Boxing on Tonnelle Avenue is now training in Paterson with the True Warriors Boxing Club. “I’m keeping active to hopefully get another fight in November. I wasn’t hurt bad in this fight, so I have bounced back well. I have to stay in shape. I haven’t started sparring yet. I will when my trainer gives me a date. I’m trying to get a date lined up. Once I do, then that’s when I have to work harder.”
Asmat is hopeful to get a bout in the local area. After all, his last fight prior to the Mohegan Sun bout two weeks ago was in January at the Hebei Sports Venue in Shijiazhuang, China. That’s not exactly a home ring advantage.
“I’d love to fight around here,” Asmat said. “I had 30 people with me at the Mohegan Sun. The first time I fought there, I had 85 with me. My pro debut in Atlantic City last year, I sold 110 tickets. If I get a chance to fight locally, I’ll have a lot of people there with me.”
Asmat feels that the best weight class for him to compete in would be the super bantamweight (118 to 122 pounds).
“At that weight, I think I’m huge,” Asmat said. “I could get to either featherweight or lightweight. I’d be good right there.”
Looks like Asmat is good right where he is – and he’s collecting boxing stories to tell on his own…
Speaking of North Bergen native fighters, undefeated superstar welterweight Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez, now 16-0 with 10 knockouts as a professional, will get the chance to fight at the grand stage locally, as part of the big card at the Prudential Center on Saturday night Oct. 21. Rodriguez is trained by Hoboken native Butch Sanchez…
On the high school football scene, the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep, ranked No. 1 in New Jersey by NJ.com, pulled out a thrilling 22-21 victory over No. 2-ranked DePaul Catholic of Wayne last Friday night at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium.
The Marauders trailed, 21-7, in the fourth quarter, but scored twice, the first a 26-yard pass from Masaai Maynor to Ayir Assante and the second being a 1-yard run by Dom Meleo with just 2:12 remaining in regulation, slicing the lead to 21-20.
However, instead of kicking the extra point and sending the game to overtime, head coach Rich Hansen showed a ton of intestinal fortitude and old fashioned guts by electing to attempt the two-point PAT to try to win the game.
Most coaches would have put the point on the board and played for overtime, but Hansen rolled the dice and allowed Maynor to scramble left against his throwing hand and head for the corner of the end zone. Conventional wisdom would have had Maynor at least scramble right so if he got into danger, he could try to throw the ball.
But the call from the sidelines was a sprint-out left and Maynor raced to the corner of the end zone for the two points and the Prep win.
Hansen made a similar call in the 1989 NJSIAA Parochial A North state title game against St. Joseph of Montvale. The Marauders scored the touchdown to cut the lead to 21-20 with 43 seconds remaining and instead of kicking the PAT, Hansen gambled and went for two. It was successful and the Marauders had the first of their four state championships. Incredibly, same exact score and same outcome here once again. Hansen showed a lot of guts back then and did so almost 30 years later last Friday night…
Hudson Catholic’s Isaiah Decias had a game to remember last week in the win over Marist, returning two punts of 46 and 70 yards respectively for touchdowns and catching another pass for a 13-yard TD in the Hawks’ 44-0 victory…
Keep Hoboken’s sensational sophomore Nyjon Freeman in your prayers. Freeman, who has shown a ton of potential in his short time as a Redwing, suffered a gruesome knee injury in last week’s 21-14 loss to Ramsey. Freeman’s injury will require reconstructive surgery and will put the promising youngster on the sidelines for the remainder of the year. Freeman has a tough road back in rehabilitation, but his determination will carry him through…
Hudson Reporter High School Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (4-1). 2. North Bergen (4-1). 3. Union City (2-3). 4. Lincoln (2-3). 5. Hoboken (3-2)…
Hudson Reporter High School Soccer Top Five: 1. Union City (7-3). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (10-3-1). 3. North Bergen (9-5-1). 4. Bayonne (10-5). 5. Secaucus (8-3)… – Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.