Miami Beach boxer Augustama learns while he teaches

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Remembering home: </span>Azea Augustama, who came to Miami on a raft at the age of 6, represented Haiti in the 2008 Bejing Olympics.
Remembering home: Azea Augustama, who came to Miami on a raft at the age of 6, represented Haiti in the 2008 Bejing Olympics.
CHARLES TRAINOR JR / Miami Herald Staff

Coming up

Friday (11 p.m., Showtime): Ivan Redkach vs. Tony Luis, 10, lightweights.

Saturday (8 p.m., at Casino Miami Jai-Alai, 3500 NW 37th Ave., Miami): Announced six-bout card headlined by Azea Augustama vs. Jermain Mackey, 8 rounds, light heavyweights; $75 VIP ringside, $25 ringside and $15 general admission; 305-635-6400.

Saturday (10:15 p.m., HBO): Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute, 12, light heavyweights.


Special to the Miami Herald

Preparing for his next night is just one segment of Azea Augustama’s busy day at Fight Club Gym near downtown Miami.

Augustama works with approximately 60 students as a boxing instructor and personal trainer.

“The numbers usually increase at this time because of the New Year’s resolutions,” Augustama said.

And as they attempt to drop pounds and tone figures, the students also are learning about Augustma’s fight aspirations. In fact, many of his current and former students will attend Augustama’s next ring appearance Saturday night.

Augustama, a Miami resident who represented his native Haiti in the 2008 Olympics, will fight in the main event of a card at Casino Miami Jai-Alai. Augustama will face Jermain Mackey of the Bahamas in a scheduled eight-round light-heavyweight bout that headlines an announced six-bout show.

“I’m more than ready,” Augustama said. “Working in the gym doesn’t allow me to gain too much weight between fights.”

Not only is Augustama a familiar fixture at Fight Club Gym, but also he has become the featured fighter at Miami Jai-Alai since boxing shows resumed at the venue last year. Augustama headlined all three of veteran trainer and promoter Al Bonanni’s 2013 cards.

“I enjoy fighting at home. I am fortunate that family and friends can watch me,” Augustama said. “I don’t see it as pressure to impress but as a motivator.”

Now, as he begins his sixth year as a professional, Augustama (16-1, 9 KOs) looks to make a significant move that will eventually land him coveted matches in the 175-pound class. At least Augustama is familiar with some of the division’s hierarchy, having sparred with current champion Bernard Hopkins and former titleholder Tavoris Cloud.

“I learned a lot from both of them,” Augustama said. “Every time I sparred with these guys, I didn’t go in there with a sparring partner mentality.

“As a fight fan and competitive fighter I watch all the up-and-comers and established fighters. I definitely see myself as the highest level.”

Bonanni, who trained Cloud to his light-heavyweight title, believes Augustama can crack the division’s elite.

“If there is somebody who deserves a break it is this kid,” Bonanni said. “Early in his career, there were some situations that didn’t go his way but his confidence never wavered.

“He is talented, hard-working and, more importantly, a good person.”

Hall inductees

Miami resident and 1980s heavyweight contender Jose Ribalta heads the new class that will be inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. Ribalta, 50, fought 12 world champions, including Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson, during an 18-year career that ended in 1999.

Another retired fighter joining Ribalta in the 2014 class is Mike McCallum, a world champion in three separate weight classes between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Kid Gavilan, one of the popular champions of the 1950s, will be inducted posthumously.

The 2014 Hall of Fame class also includes Miami-based promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala Jr., whose father Felix Sr. was inducted four years ago, Walter Alvarez, the lead local promoter that brought the memorable title fight between Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello to the Orange Bowl in November 1982, and promoter-manager Luis De Cubas.

The Hall of Fame events and induction ceremony will be June 20-22 in Tampa.

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