International Boxing Hall of Fame

Michael Carbajal


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Olympic medal record
Men's Boxing
Silver 1988 Seoul Light flyweight
Pan American Games
Silver 1987 Indianapolis Light Flyweight

Michael Carbajal (born September 17, 1967) is a Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. native who was a four-time world boxing champion. He is nicknamed "Little Hands Of Stone," after his favorite boxer, the legendary "Hands Of Stone," Panamanian Roberto Dur�n.

Amateur career

  • 1988 United States amateur Light Flyweight champion

Results were:

He lost the final against Bulgarian Ivailo Marinov in a controversial decision(0:5), similar to the Olympic final of Roy Jones, Jr.

His record was 94-9.

He is also a nortorious 9th street gang member. His gym, "The 9th Street Gym" in actually on 10th Street in Phoenix.


Seven months after the Olympics, in February of 1989, Carbajal made his debut in front of a national television audience as part of the card where Duran became a four-time world champion by beating Iran Barkley in Atlantic City. In his first fight, Carbajal outboxed another future world champion, Will Grigsby.

Carbajal followed that win with a spectacular first-round knockout of Silviano Perez on NBC. In his tenth bout, he met the former WBO world champion Pedro Feliciano, handling him a ten-round beating. Four more wins followed, and Carbajal was presented with an opportunity to fight for a world championship.

On July 29, 1990, Carbajal faced Muangchai Kittikasem, who came to Phoenix from Thailand to defend his IBF light flyweight championship. Carbajal methodically took apart the champion in front of a ABC national audience. In round 7, after a combination of punches left Kittikasem lying defenseless against the ropes, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, making Carbajal the world champion for the first time in his career.

Fame and endorsement deals from Phoenix companies and other companies that targeted the Phoenix market came along with the title for the young champion, but with them came trouble. Carbajal began a string of six title defenses against challengers as Leon Salazar, Hector Patri, Kim Kwang-Sun and Robinson Cuesta.

The Fights against Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez

He then fought a unification match with WBC champion Humberto Gonzalez was scheduled for March 13, 1993. Carbajal was going to become the first Junior Flyweight in history to earn one million dollars for a fight, and it was the first Junior Flyweight championship bout to headline a Pay Per View event.

Carbajal was downed in rounds 2 and 5, and he was bleeding from his right eyebrow when he blasted a tremendous left hand to the side of Gonzalez's chin in the seventh round. Gonzalez turned sideways, and another right hand sent him flat to the canvas. He could not beat the count, and Michael Carbajal had unified the world's Junior Flyweight championship in Ring Magazine's fight of the year. He would also be named fighter of the year for 1993.

More television enodorsement deals followed, including television ads for Diet Pepsi and Emergency Chiropractors, but trouble seemed to follow, as well. He was accused of firing gunshots onto the roof of a party in Scottsdale, and his sister was accused of being involved in a midnight altercation at a Phoenix gas station.

This unwanted attention seemed to take its toll on Carbajal, and after two defenses, he fought Gonzalez once again in a pay-per-view match in Los Angeles, California. This time, Carbajal was outboxed and couldn't find the right punch to end it, so he lost for the first defeat in his pro career.

Carbajal next took on former sparring partner Abner Barajas, winning by a fifth-round knockout in Laughlin, Nevada, and then was given another shot at a world title by the WBO title holder Josue Camacho, who came from Puerto Rico to the challenger's hometown to defend his title. Carbajal put on a brilliant performance and won a unanimous twelve-round decision over Camacho, who was never even rocked despite being blasted on several occasions with combinations to the head and body, and who left the ring with a record of fifteen wins and three losses (with six knockouts) after the defeat.

A title holder again, Carbajal set to try to recover his International Boxing Federation and WBC belts against Gonzalez in a third unification bout between the boxers. In November of 1994, two months after the Camacho victory, they met once again, this time in Mexico City. Once again, it was a split decision, and once again, Carbajal came out on the losing end. He wouldn't give up, however, and he kept training under the guidance of his brother, Danny Carbajal, the only man ever to train Michael.

 After Gonzalez

He put another string of seven wins together, against former world champion Jose Quirino, who was beaten in one round, and tough Mauro Salas, who lasted seven. Then he met two-time world champion Melchor Cob Castro in Las Vegas for Castro's International Boxing Federation Junior Flyweight title. Castro had won the title after Gonzalez had retired. Carbajal beat Castro by unanimous decision.

His third title reign lasted 22 months and three defenses, including an eighth-round knockout of tough two-time challenger Tomas Rivera), before he lost his crown again. On January 18, 1997, Carbajal suddenly looked aged and was unable to do anything against the charges of Colombian Mauricio Pastrana. Carbajal still made the fight close, but lost a twelve-round split decision.

After that, a fight that should have taken place long before came up, as Carbajal met Canada's Scotty Olson in San Antonio, Texas. Carbajal showed he had more left than Olson did, and dominated the fight until a spectacular right hand sent Olson down for the count in round 11.

The win over Olson gave Carbajal a minor title, but in July of 1997 in Las Vegas once again, he was shockingly handled by South Africa's Jacob Matlala. Matlala handed Carbajal his first inside the distance defeat ever, stopping the past-his-prime former world champion in round nine via cuts. Carbajal did not fight for 19 months after this defeat.

Second comeback, and retirement

Although counted out by most boxing experts when he announced a comeback early in 1999, Carbajal still had one last hurrah left in him. He won three bouts, and on July 31, 1999, he took the short flight from Phoenix to Tijuana to challenge WBO world Junior Flyweight champion Jorge Arce, who was fighting in his hometown. Arce dominated Carbajal for nine of the first ten rounds, but the older man showed he was still dangerous when he floored the 20-year-old Arce in the eighth round. The fight moved along, but Carbajal's lightning struck in the 11th. This time, Carbajal struck with a devastating overhead right that sent Arce helplessly into the ropes. The referee stopped the fight, and Michael Carbajal was a world champion for the fourth time.

After this fight, Carbajal understood it was time to retire, and he did so the way every boxer would like to do it--as a world champ. Carbajal is trying to live a quieter life nowadays in Phoenix, but he does many public appearances. He enjoys meeting his public and signing autographs for his fans. Carbajal also owns two boxing gyms in Phoenix.

Michael Carbajal and former rival Humberto Gonzalez were elected together, to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in 2006.

His career record was 49 wins against four losses, with 33 wins coming by way of knockout.

Preceded by
Riddick Bowe
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Roy Jones Jr.
Preceded by
Muangchai Kittikasem
IBF Light Flyweight Champion
29 Jul 1990�19 Feb 1994
Succeeded by
Humberto Gonzalez
Preceded by
Humberto Gonzalez
WBC Light Flyweight Champion
13 Mar 1993�19 Feb 1994
Preceded by
Saman Sorjaturong
IBF Light Flyweight Champion
29 Jul 1996�18 Jan 1997
Succeeded by
Mauricio Pastrana
Preceded by
Jorge Arce
WBO Light Flyweight Champion
31 Jul 1999�Aug 1999
Succeeded by
Masibulele Makepula