RGBA Boxer, Izaac Colunga Transferred to Rehabilitation Hospital


After a first round knock out victory on January 18th, Izaac Colunga had his hand raised, going three for three in his professional boxing career. Colunga excited the fights fans at the Clubs Events Center in San Bernardino, CA, stopping his opponent Patrick Gutierrez, in the first round. Former world champion, Fernando Vargas, and RGBA stablemates, WBC World Super Lightweight Champion, Jose Ramirez, top prospect, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Josesito Lopez and four division world champion, Mikey Garcia were all ringside to watch.

         Colunga, who just turned 25 years-old on April 30th, took up boxing three years ago when he walked into the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Riverside, CA. Colunga made his professional debut on June 2nd, 2018 with a unanimous decision win. His last two bouts were won by way of knockout. “Izaac was a football player and he just decided to turn to boxing and it ended up working out,” said Shelly Betancourt, Colunga’s aunt. “Izaac went to (RGBA) to try it out and was there ever since.”

         Boxing brought more light to Colunga’s life. He considers RGBA family and has so much love for the team, Mikey and Robert Garcia, says his aunt. That love for them, made Colunga proud to be apart of the team.

         Just six weeks after his last victory, a bullet pierced the back of Colunga’s neck from a drive-by shooting while at a house party in Riverside. The unfortunate incident happened just after midnight on March 2nd, and since then, Colunga has been fighting the biggest fight of his life. He is facing permanent paralyzation from the neck down as the bullet sits in his vertebrae. In mid-April, Colunga was transferred from a Riverside hospital to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Craig Hospital is a well-known rehabilitation center, specializing in the rehabilitation and research for individuals with spinal cord injury and brain injury.

         “It’s number three in rehabs,” said Betancourt “So we are just hoping some kind of miracle comes out of this. He has 90 days there, and we just have to take it one day at a time.”

         It’s still a bit too early to see what Craig Hospital can do for Colunga, but his family is very hopeful. Given their Christian belief, the Colunga family has been in constant prayer, asking for prayers and trusting their faith that Izaac will pull through. When Colunga first arrived to Craig, he had a few set backs, one was fighting off ammonia, as well as other little infections. He’s since overcame those set backs.

         “He’s happy to be up and out of a bed,” said Betancourt. “He’s actually sitting up in his wheelchair, but his status remains the same. He’s still paralyzed. He can not talk and he’s still not breathing on his own.”

         A $10,000 reward was offered in April by the City Council and Riverside Police Department, in hopes that someone would come forward with information on who pulled the trigger in the drive-by shooting. “Unfortunately, no one has come forward in regards to the reward,” said Detective Adrian Tillett, via email. The reward is available for 60 days.

         “Izaac is a beautiful person. Everything he attempts, he achieves one-hundred percent,” said Betancourt. “Everybody that comes in contact with him just adores him. The funny thing is, you know, us family members we’re like ‘Oh, yea, he’s really good’, but when this happened, you don’t realize how good someone is until all these people that we don’t even know are coming to us and are telling us. It’s just overwhelming and great to see people look up to him and inspired by him and love him.”

         “He’s in everybody’s prayers, that’s how we know he’s such a great person,” said Betancourt. “He’s a great kid, always has been. Never gave his parents problems, always involved in some kind of sport. He’s excelled in it and he’s just a joy. I’m honored and privileged to be his aunt.”

On Sunday, June 23rd, Garcia Promotions will present “Legends Collide”, featuring Mikey Garcia in a four-round exhibition bout. All proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Izaac Colunga’s recovery effort. The Colunga family will have a booth at the event selling t-shirts and raffles. There will be a special live performance by Janet Uribe, plus lots of vendors, music, food, drinks and a DJ that all leads up to the professional bouts scheduled that night. The fight card would include Mexican boxer, Jose Vivas (16-0, 9 KOs), Raymond Muratalla (7-0, 5 KOs) of Fontana, Luis Coria (11-2, 6 KOs) of Moreno Valley, and more. The exhibition will take place in San Bernardino, CA. Ticket prices start at $50. For more information on this special event, and to purchase tickets, go to To donate, please go to

         Anyone with information on the night of March 2nd should contact Detective Adrian Tillett at (951) 353-7105 or Detective Karla Beler at (951) 353-7138. If you wish to be anonymous, you can email

Under the Hand Wraps: Why I Film Boxing

About Albert Baker

Writer/Producer/Director of the Under the Hand Wraps documentary series and owner of Albert Baker is currently based in Fresno, California and has been covering boxing since 2014.

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