Riders Trujillo, Nakatani to Fight for PDJF

In what is being billed as the "Battle Off The Saddle," jockeys Elvis Trujillo and Corey Nakatani are scheduled for a three-round boxing match Aug. 30 following the races at Del Mar.

In keeping with the sport's nicknaming tradition, that's Elvis "Heartbreak" Trujillo vs. Corey "Knock Out" Nakatani. The matchup, planned for approximately 7:15  p.m. PDT along with five professional bouts, is part of the "Ringside At Del Mar" boxing series. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund.

The rounds will be two minutes in duration.

Trujillo, 30, is listed at 5-foot-1 and 112 pounds. The native of Panama City, Panama made the cross-country relocation from Florida to California in May and is in his first Del Mar season.

The story goes that when the idea of a jockey boxing match was presented to the Del Mar colony, Nakatani, a champion high school wrestler and low-handicap golfer who never met an athletic challenge he didn't like, immediately volunteered.

"Nobody wanted to fight with Corey, but I'm the new guy here, I don't know that much about him, so I said I'd do it," Trujillo said the morning of Aug. 28 after breakfast in the jockeys' room.

Trujillo said he has been in the ring before. But when asked about his record he referenced less formal situations where the rules weren't Marquis of Queensberry.

"I fought in the streets in Panama all the time. I won a couple and I lost a couple," Trujillo said. "It was a poor and rough neighborhood where I grew up, and you have to survive." Such an environment spawned one of the greatest boxers of all time, Panama's Roberto Duran.

Trujillo is a boxing fan and enthusiast, whose favorite fighter is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Trujillo's style, and most likely strategy will be to "stick and move," as pugilistic commentators say.

"I'm pretty fast and I'm going to hit him with the jab, go in and out, side to side," Trujillo said. "I know this guy can hit pretty hard, but he's 43 years old and (over) three rounds, he's going to get tired faster than I will. I'll take advantage of my speed and my age."

Trujillo came west after being contacted by agent Tom Knust, who had assurances from Doug O'Neill, among other trainers, that they would welcome the veteran rider who had won titles at both Calder Casino & Race Course in Florida and Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

He is fourth in the Del Mar jockey standings with 24 wins, one behind Hall of Famers Kent Desormeaux and Mike Smith, and five behind two-time defending champion Rafael Bejarano.
 

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