Canvas Features

J. Hernandez (center) falls to the canvas in celebration, moments after his TKO victory in the sixth round of his rematch with G. Guaman at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

Redemption

For Joshuah Hernandez, the fight began on April 28, 2017, when the “Windy City Kid” suffered the first loss of his professional career in controversial fashion after being TKO’d by the heavy handed Gavino “Huesitos” Guaman. Huesitos translates to little bones but his overhand right hooks are far from little. Within days, Team Hernandez was aggressively looking to schedule a rematch with the 5-foot-3 Wisconsin power-puncher.

Going into the rematch, Hernandez told the world via social media that he hoped that Guaman was in the best shape of his life, saying that his preparation had never been better. Hernandez’s early rounds of the rematch were fought before the fight as he revamped everything from his diet to his training regiment, seeking redemption from the April 28 TKO.

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Hernandez’s determination and preparation were the difference maker Saturday night as the Windy City Kid proved that heart is his ultimate weapon and defining characteristic as a fighter. Early in the bout, an eerily familiar sight shook the Chicago crowd as a deadly Guaman overhand echoed throughout the UIC Pavillion, sending Hernandez to the canvas.

Not again, as the fight would go past the first round into the last grueling moments of the sixth and final round.

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J. Hernandez (center) regains his composure after a right hook from G. Guaman (not pictured) sent him to the mat in the first round of their rematch at the UIC Pavilion Chicago.  (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

The last time the two fighters met on that same canvas, Hernandez was not able to recover from the punch. Guaman went on the attack and Hernandez was unable to escape the first round.

“The first thing I thought about was oh man not again,” said Hernandez after the fight. “But I got up and I told myself, you got this, Josh; there’s no quit in you…”

“Protect yourself!” Yelled his fans from the crowd. “Keep moving!”, shouted his corner.

Guaman’s overhand right hook was a scythe of destruction. He was the grim reaper. The previous loss was the first thing Hernandez thought of in the morning and the last thing he thought of before bed. This time, Hernandez would ensure that his dream would prevail over his nightmares.

Protecting himself and moving, Hernandez used Guamin’s zealous attack against him, avoiding heavy blows then attacking the body. As the bell rang signalling the end of the first round, the Windy City Kid had already made it further than he had in April.

Guaman went back to his aggressive style, looking for every punch to be the punch. Hernandez was ready, dancing around the ring with a perfect combination of swagger and resilience. By the third round, the hunted became the hunter as the determined and energized Windy City Kid went on the attack against the fatigued Guaman.

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J. Hernandez (left) stalks and pressures G. Guaman (right) in the third round of their rematch at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

“I know I’m in better shape than him,” said Hernandez. “So I told myself keep boxing, put that mental pressure in his mind and we’ll persevere.”

Guaman’s final stand came in the fourth round, landing his signature right hook on Hernandez left jaw, sending Hernandez to the mat. With two rounds to go, Guaman’s eyes were swollen by Hernandez’s jabs. Hernandez’s nose cut from Guaman’s early damage. The last man standing would be the man with the greater heart, the man with the more guts, and the man with more will.

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J. Hernandez (left) works the body of G. Guaman (right) with a left hook in the fifth round of their rematch at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

The final two rounds belonged to the Windy City Kid who pursued  Guaman around the ring landing deflating body shots, finally taking his opponent to the corner and against the ropes.Right uppercut, left uppercut, right hook, Guaman fell to one knee, hurt and exhausted as a reenergized Hernandez walked confidently back to his corner, bringing control of the fight with him.

Exhausted and battered, Guaman got back to his feet only to suffer more blows to the body in the corner of the ring.  In the sixth, Hernandez bullied Guaman from the center of the ring to the ropes landing consecutive hooks to the body before delivering a right jab, right hook, and a punishing left hook that dropped Guaman to one knee again and the Chicago crowd to their feet. All Guaman could do was run.

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J. Hernandez (left) lands a vicious right hook to the body of G. Guaman (right) that would eventually drop him to one knee in the sixth and final round of their rematch at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

Hernandez attacked again with hooks to the body and head, sending Guaman to the canvas for the third time. After an eight count, Guaman was back on his feet but no longer able to protect himself. Hernandez worked Guaman to the corner one more time, landing a right hook as the kiss of death to the Grim Reaper himself.The night belonged to the Windy City Kid, who fell to his knees in exhaustion in the center of the ring, gloves covering eyes swollen from emotion as well as the punches sustained through the six rounds of boxing. With his son lying face down on the mat, victorious, Miguel Hernandez, trainer and father swaggered around the ring with pride before scooping his son into his arms lifting him from the canvas to his shoulders.

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Father and head trainer Miguel “Macho” Hernandez (left) hugs J. Hernandez (right) in an emotional embrace moments after the fight was called by TKO in favor of the “Windy City Kid” at the UIC Pavilion Chicago. (Hardwood Features Photo/B. Savage)

Victory by technical knockout, Joshuah “The Windy City Kid” Hernandez. Redemption.