Monday, September 25, 2023  |



New Faces: Max Ornelas

Photo courtesy of
Fighters Network

Age: 19
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Weight class: Bantamweight
Height: 5-foot-8 inches (176 cm)
Amateur record: 38-5
Turned pro: 2016
Pro record: 10-0-1 (4 knockouts)
Trainer: Gil Martinez
Manager: Gil Martinez
Promoter: Roy Jones Jr. Promotions
Instagram: @ornelas_max

Best night of pro career and why: Ornelas is most pleased with a first-round stoppage over Robert Ledesma in June 2016.

“The best night of my career was my pro debut,” Ornelas told “It was a moment that I had been dreaming about since I started, and for it to be in my hometown made it that much more special.”

Worst night of pro career and why: Not surprisingly, the 19-year-old referenced the lone blemish on his record.

“My least impressive performance was my draw with [Leopoldo] Martinez,” he said. “I was taller than him and had a reach advantage. I cut him with a punch but the referee ruled the cut was from an accidental headbutt. I came back in my next fight to stop him.”

Next Fight: Ornelas kicks off his 2018 campaign when he headlines a Roy Jones Jr. Promotions event against Juan Antonio Lopez (12-3, 4 KOs) at the Cox Pavilion on Friday.

“I think it’s my toughest challenge to date, but I’ll be more than ready for it,” said Ornelas “Our styles make for an anticipated match up, which I believe will be a chess match in the beginning and then we’ll open up in the middle to late rounds.”

Lopez, 24, has been a professional since 2012. He’s lost three of his previous five but always when he’s stepped up, however he does have an impressive second-round knockout over then unbeaten Jerren Cochran. The defeats were against Oscar Cantu (SD 10), Stephon Young (MD 10) and, most recently, to Rico Ramos (UD 10).

Why he’s a prospect: Ornelas enjoyed local and national success during his amateur career.

“Baby Face” was the Nevada state champion in 2015. He also won the USA Nationals and was a PAL bronze medalist.

Ornelas chose not to go to the 2016 Olympic trials, opting to make the transition to the professional game instead.

The biggest name he fought in the amateurs was Devin Haney and he has sparred former four-weight world titleholder Nonito Donaire as a professional.

Ornelas is calm under fire: “I believe my biggest strength is my vision. I’m aware of what’s being thrown and the punches that are about to be thrown.”

Former four-weight world titleholder Roy Jones Jr.’s promotional outfit represent Ornelas and he likes what he sees from the teenager.

“I’ve watched Max come up in the rankings and the sky is the limit for him,” said the future Hall of Famer. “His confidence and power have grown each and every fight. He’s only 19 and if he continues to develop like he has been doing with his team, Max Ornelas has the tools to become our (RJJ) first world champion.”

Why he’s a suspect: It’s still very early in Ornelas’ career. It will be interesting to see if he’s able to move successfully from national level to world class.

The talented young prospect feels that all he needs is experience and that will come with more fights.

“Learning tricks inside the ring that only a veteran would know,” Ornelas said. “Also, I gained experience about how to handle certain situations.”

Ornelas is only 19 years old, however, with a 36 percent KO ratio, he doesn’t appear to be a big puncher.

“I believe my man-strength is starting to come in,” he said. “So I should have more power in my punches. I also feel that I still need to commit more on my punches.”

Storylines: Ornelas was born in Covino, California. He is of Mexican heritage (both his parents were born in Mexico) but he moved to California and had a family.

He first took interest in boxing at a young age. “My brother started me in the sport when I was seven years old and I just loved it,” Ornelas acknowledged. “There’s always something new that you can learn.”

His boxing heroes include Juan Manuel Marquez and his promoter Roy Jones Jr.

Away from boxing he enjoys spending time with his family, drawing, baseball and basketball.

Fight-by-fight record:

Nov. 17 – Nick Otieno – UD 10
July 15 – Leopoldo Martinez – TKO 5
April 15 – Leopoldo Martinez – Tech Draw 2
March 11 – Pedro Melo – UD 6

Dec. 17 – Jorge Perez – UD 4
Oct. 22 – Adalberto Solares – KO 1
Sept. 30 – Mulapi Enjani – TD 4
Sept. 9 – Jonathan Quiroz – UD 4
July 23 – Jose Enrique Torres – KO 3
July 1 – Adan Ramirez – UD 4
June 10 – Robert Ledesma – TKO 1


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright


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