They called him "Baby Face" because he was cute, but Javier Gutierrez — the 1950s Mexican-born battler who sported the Star of David on his boxing trunks in homage of his Jewish manager all the way to winning the California State Bantamweight title — could fight, too.
And so could his daughter.
"I'm a lot like my dad," says Blanca Gutierrez, 48, a retired kick boxer turned boxing trainer. "Except that he was really good fighter. I think I'm decent, but back in my day, no one wanted to coach us. Why? Because we're girls."
That day, however, is done.
The owner of BabyFace Boxing gym, a tiny Pacifica facility that predominantly caters to young female fighting talent, Gutierrez will host her third annual Beautiful Brawlers boxing event this Saturday at the Sports House in Redwood City — an all female amateur invitational that will feature 22 bouts with top fighters attending from all over the country.
Headlining the card will be American Olympian Queen Underwood, a fighter who battled a childhood wrought with sexual abuse to qualify for the London Games — the first Olympics to feature women's boxing.
"When it comes to the Olympics, Queen Underwood is like my hero, out of all them," Gutierrez said. "When I called her to be on the show, she says, 'You know I really want to be on the show because it's an all-female card, and I've never been on that before.'"
And until recently, that kind of card didn't exist.
The inaugural event in 2011 was a product of 15 years of pugilistic frustration. Gutierrez and close fighting friend Martha Salazar frequented kickboxing cards back then, and often were forced to settle for a noncompetitive bouts, and at times no bouts at all.
"We kind of promised each other that if we had it our way, we'd make it for all females and we'd make it a great big show," Gutierrez said. "When the first one kicked off, it was a dream come true. To see all the girls there, we couldn't believe it was happening. I know me and Martha cried. We've been around this for a long time."Beautiful Brawlers
MAIN EVENT: Queen Underwood vs. Stalacia Leggett, 132 pounds
WHEN: Saturday, doors open at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Sports House, 3151 Edison Way, Redwood City
TICKETS: www.babyfaceboxing.com, ringside $60, general $20