Time to learn about Lugo

From The Sports Desk

March 16, 2011|By Steve Virgen,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Who is Steffan Lugo?

Some people in the opposing corner from him would like to know.

At the Resort at Pelican Hill's Pelican Grill, he's the unassuming waiter.

When he went to Newport Harbor High, he was the scrappy, skinny kid who never backed down from a fight. Sometimes he started them.

He played water polo and, admittedly, hardly got along with his coaches. Jason Lynch, the boys' water polo coach, is known to show his authority, to put it mildly.

"Me and him butted heads a few times," Lugo said.

But Lugo didn't need Lynch to make him tough. The various fights did that. Lugo had always been strong-minded and aggressive. After high school in 2003, Lugo searched for an outlet to unleash that aggression.

So just who is Steffan Lugo?

Nowadays he's an unknown boxer trying his best to move up the ranks. He might not fit the classic persona of a boxer, but here is making his pro debut Friday in Costa Mesa.


For the past two months, he's been at work preparing for his four-round bout against J.J. Ambrose of Lakewood. It's billed as a super middleweight fight (166 pounds) and one of eight matches in the Fight Club OC Special Edition night, starting at 7:30 in the Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center.

Just like when he was at Newport Harbor, there's no way Lugo will be backing down from this one. Who cares if no one has ever heard of him.

Just a few days ago, someone came asking Jason Parillo, Lugo's trainer, if he'd heard of Lugo. The person asking was someone who knows Ambrose, Parillo said.

"He's sitting right there behind you," Parillo told the guy asking while at a gym.

"Nobody knows him," Parillo told me Wednesday. "Nobody has video of him … I'm hoping more people will know him after this fight."

Lugo and Parillo just clicked when they met 10 years ago at L.A. Boxing in Costa Mesa. There's a mutual respect there between the two.

Parillo has definitely earned that respect. The Costa Mesa resident was a fighter too. He built an 8-0 record before a detached retina in his eye and nerve damage in his hand pulled him away from inside the ring.

But he had always been a trainer. He's trained mixed martial arts fighters B.J. Penn and Tito Ortiz among other MMA guys and boxers. Parillo learned from one of the best, Jesse Reid, the Hall of Fame trainer.

It makes sense three years that Lugo would ask Parillo for advice. Lugo wanted to know if he should continue with boxing or transfer from Orange Coast College to finish up at San Diego State.

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