Los Angeles Green Belt Challenge

The Green Belt Challenge was born summer 2015. Don Jose Sulaiman always had a dream of helping Amateur Boxing. Rudy Tellez executed this dream by presenting the idea to our Los Angeles Office and with the support of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office, the WBC, USA Boxing’s LBC 33, and an amazing group of volunteers, it became a reality. Hundreds of Amateur Boxers showed up to the first Annual Green Belt Challenge. Much more than we could have imagined, which proved to us how much a show like this is needed in our communities. With volunteers and sponsors, this three day show was completely free to the boxers, their teams and families.

Don José: Keeping the Dream Alive!

Nothing like any other show in the community, which made it a complete success. For three days, professional fighters, Champions, City council members and so many people were present to support the event and the sport. So much so, every year it grew more and more. Green Belt Challenge went from not having enough bouts for the girls to having almost half the bouts for girls which was incredible. The Green Belt Challenge welcomes novice, open and elite boxers.

Fighting for The Green & Gold Glory

The Green Belt Challenge gives boxers the opportunity to compete three times versus losing and not being able to compete. The outstanding performance of the boxers inside and outside the ring is what makes this show special as well as all the volunteers who are there from the bottom of their heart to help the boxers and keep making this event a success. Every year the WBC acknowledges different people in the community and the sport as well. People who sometimes we oversee but give back selflessly to help the young boxers and the sport. It’s not only a three day annual show, it’s an event, a reunion of the Amateur and Professional community with no financial interest, just enjoying the sport and supporting the young boxers with a dream, just like Don Jose Sulaiman dreamed.

The Coveted Amateur Championship Belt


There were over 200 participants. Three outstanding performing boxers. Karlos Balderas, one of the Amateur Champions that year, went off to the Rio Olympics and soon after became a professional boxer under the Top Rank banner. Chris Zavala also went pro and was signed to Top Rank.

Karlos Balderas & Anthony Zavala
Karlos Balderas, Proud WBC 2015 Green Belt Challenge Champion


The event grew even more, with boxers coming from around the country and even the world, including Tahiti. Once again, thanks to the continued support from the above-mentioned organizations and volunteers, it was a complete success. One of the the Amater Champions, Marc Castro, is now signed by Matchroom Boxing and is currently the WBC Super Featherweight Continental Americas Champion. Ruben Rodriguez was signed to Top Rank and Rommel Caballero to Golden Boy. Floyd Diaz was one of the fighters who also excelled and soon after was signed to Top Rank Boxing.

Marc Castro, Proud 2016 Green Belt Challenge Champion
Marc Castro, current Continental Americas Champion


There was even more demand and more boxers wanted to participate. Double the boxers showed up to participate and we had over 200 bouts. That year we had the first female Amateur Champion, Mayra Ruiz who just made her Pro Debut earlier this year.

Maya Ruiz, Proud WBC 2017 Green Belt Challenge Champion

Jesus Haro, who is now a Pro and became WBC Youth Straw-weight Champion. Steven Navarro who recently this year made his pro debut with Matchroom Boxing and recently was signed by Top Rank Boxing. Dylan Capetillo, one of the youngest Amateur Champions, remains as an Amateur in Las Vegas and has won many National Championships including three Green Belt Challenges, one in California, Mexico and Las Vegas. In 2017 the Green Belt Challenge grew and had its first show in Las Vegas at the Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame, where the inductees legends like Tommy Hearns, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera were in attendance to support the boxers.

Jesus Haro, Proud WBC 2017 Green Belt Challenge Champion
Steven Navarro, Proud WBC Green Belt Challenge Campion + Kenia Enriquez, Proud WBC Champion


With the demand from the previous year pushed us to get two rings and the attendance exceeded even that once again. The Challenge remained the same free for all. We added Elite bouts on the final day to add to the excitement of the show. The outstanding winners in 2017, Iyana “Roxy” Verduzco made her pro debut in 2023 under the Golden Boy banner at The Forum. Ezequiel Matthysse, nephew of former champion Lucas Matthysse came from Argentina and won, is now also competing as a pro in his country. Leonardo Rubalcava now competing as a pro and was recently signed to Matchroom Boxing. Meryland Gonzalez continues competing as an Amateur and was just accepted to UC Berkeley.

Mia St. John, Roxy Verduzco, Merary Vivar & Mariana Juarez
Roxy Verduzco
Ezequiel Matthysse
Lucas Matthysse & Eequiel Matthysse Celebrating Victory!


Was a huge year with over 500 participants, we had to move to a bigger venue. Show remained free for all and bigger than ever. For the first time, all bouts were streamed thanks to the support of Golden Boy Boxing. This year grew even more with a courage bout, a young man, Ivan Del Carmen, boxed with one arm as he was born with half of his arm gone and excelled in his performance. With two rings and hundreds of participants, we had many outstanding performances.

Ivan Del Carmen, First Contestant to Win the Courage Belt!

Anthony Herrera won the elite bout against Diego Roldan who flew in from Argentina. Anthony was soon after signed by Matchroom Boxing and continues his professional boxing career. Heaven Garcia won the elite bout for the girls against a former Amateur Champion winner Leslie Hernandez who is now a professional MMA fighter out of Arizona.

Mauricio Sulaiman, Anthony Herrera & Tyson Lee, USA Boxing President

Chris Rios also had an amazing performance and is now a professional fighter who recently fought under the Top Rank Banner. Sandra Tovar continues her Amateur career as well as completing college in northern California. Noah Arroyo continues his amateur career winning multiple national titles since winning the green belt challenge. That same year in Las Vegas, Curmel Moton won the Green Belt Challenge at the Nevada Boxing Hall Of Fame and is now signed to Mayweather Promotions and has been part of big PBC fight nights in Las Vegas.

Dylan Capetillo & Curmel Moton, Top Prospect

2020-2021 No Green Belt Challenge due to Covid


It was a big year as we came back even stronger after Covid. The participation was phenomenal. With hundreds of participants and a larger venue, the event remained free even with the inflation costs due to Covid, thanks to our many sponsors. Participation was at its highest due to the demand of boxers wanting to box after Covid. Winners, Joey Abudy with the Elite bout against Sam Contreras Jr was a highly anticipated fight in southern California. Joey Abudy is now a professional boxer while Sam Contreras Jr is fighting for El Salvador in the Olympics.

Proud Participants
Sulem Urbina, Maryland Gonzalez & Seniesa Estrada

The girls Elite bout, Maya Hernandez vs. Perla Bazaldua was also a competetive match with Maya Hernandez winning in an extremely close fight. Both are continuing their Amateur careers, Maya Hernandez with Team USA and Perla Bazaldua with Team Mexico. Criztec Bazaldua won as well with an outstanding performance and overall participating in every Green Belt Challenge since its beginning. Criztec is now signed to Matchroom Boxing and is undefeated as a professional fighter. Gigi Lujan and Ciana Chavez both winners have continued their Amateur careers winning Nationals two years in a row. Marques Tovar our of Northern California also is still competing as an amateur. Abel Alba Jr. one of the 2022 winners will be making his pro debut August 2024 under the tutelage of Jose Benavidez Sr.

Perla Bazaldua Team Mexico Olympics, Ramla Ali , Maya Hernandes Team USA Olympics
Criztec Bazaldua, Just Signed By Matchroom Boxing
Proud Participants
JC Chavez + Maryland Gonzalez, Current Amateur Fighter + UC Berkley Student

The Green Belt Challenge has been a home to thousands of Amateur Boxers across the country and the world. Its not for power, not for money, not for ego, its all for the Amateurs in every extent of the word. Its the WBC way of giving back, giving opportunities and letting the youth shine for this one moment of glory they get to showcase their passion. The reason its an event all boxers, gyms, fans and even pros want to attend is because the green belt challenge has a lot of heart, it has the heart, compassion that Don Jose Sulaiman dreamed of for the youth to never stop dreaming, to know there are many people out there willing to help and give opportunities. Its a place where they get to network and meet so many people they can maybe call up one day for help. Its a show that is loved, missed and needed by the community.