By Jon Moffett
Right about now, Jake Giuriceo is either wrist-deep in motor oil, working a wrench or knocking a carburetor around.
But in a few weeks, the local boxer will be sporting wrist tape, working a speed bag and knocking around his latest opponent. And the Campbell native is scheduled to face his next challenger in his home city.
The bout — dubbed the “Thrill on the Hill” — will feature eight fights, including the Giuriceo fight and another highlighted by fellow hometown hero, Billy Lyell. The event, presented by Lights Out management, will take place May 14 at the St. Lucy banquet center. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first fight scheduled at 7 p.m.
But until then, Giuriceo will keep busy at his brother’s business. Giuriceo spends his free time working at J&J Auto where he does “anything mechanical with cars.”
Because, you know, he’s pretty good with his hands.
And when he’s not working on beat-up old cars, he’s beating down opponents. The 2003 Campbell Memorial High graduate is 10-0-1 with three knockouts in his career. His next fight will be against Rod Salka (12-1, 3 KOs) .
“I actually fought on his undercard twice, but I haven’t really had the chance to see him fight. So I really don’t know much,” Giuriceo said of Salka. “But I know he’s pretty fast and have heard he has quick hands. He uses the ring pretty well, but other than that, it’s really all I know.”
Giuriceo said fighting in front of a home crowd should be one of the better moments of his professional career.
“It’s always great to fight here, you know,” he said. “I feel like I’m pretty blessed because I’ve had a lot of local fights and I get a lot of hometown support.”
Since the fight is still more than a month away, Giuriceo said he and his camp are still in the early stages of training. He’ll fly out to California in a few weeks to begin his traditional training regimen.
Still, the crowd will help.
“The fans, they always have a way of just pumping you up and getting the blood flowing,” he said. “Actually, I think I feed off of them a little bit.”
Lyell said being a professional fighter can be tough. Especially when you’re expected to fight in cities around the country regularly. His match, against 41-year-old Darnell Wilson (10-1), will also be a welcome homecoming.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” he said. “I’ve been traveling a lot for fights recently and just to get a chance to fight in front of friends and family is something I’m looking forward to a lot.”
Lyell (22-9) said he’s been trying to improve his power punches for this fight. He admitted he too knows very little about his opponent. But Lyell said his approach is the same, regardless of who is across from him in the ring.
“I’ve got to go out there and fight my fight,” he said, “and everything will be fine. When you reach that top level against those guys, you can’t count on winning a decision. So I’ve got to add a little bit of pop in the punch and I’ll be fine.”