LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Did boxing gloves and headgear used in a Nov. 20, 2021, fraternity fund-raiser contribute to the injuries that killed 20-year-old Nathan Valencia?
A report released by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office says the gloves and headgear were “on the cheaper side” and “not approved for competition.” The equipment was meant for training, rather than actual fights. But if anything, the gloves had more padding than regulation gloves for fighting, and all the equipment appeared to be in good condition.
But investigators have only been able to evaluate the gloves used by Valencia.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission’s (NSAC) review of the equipment on March 28 has a big hole: What about the equipment used by Emmanuel Aleman, Valencia’s opponent?
“It should be noted that to this date, Aleman’s gloves have not been recovered, therefore we are unable to inspect his equipment,” according to a report filed by Angela Grant and Brent Foster, criminal investigators with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
Interviews conducted by the Nevada AG’s Office cast suspicion on Aleman’s gloves. Witnesses said they were not the same gloves used by other fighters at the event, and photos show Aleman wearing “Everlast” gloves that he put on about 45 minutes before the fight. The also said he had his hands wrapped long before the start of the fight.
The witnesses said no one was checking the gloves before fights started. Questions about hand wraps also remain unanswered.
In a report by a UNLV detective assigned to investigate the event, Aleman’s stepfather answered some questions on December 16 and 22. Lyn Julian told investigators that Aleman’s brother had wrapped his hands. Julian denied any tampering with the gloves or hand wraps.
“Julian observed the entire fight and claimed the punches thrown by both fighters were ‘girl swings’ and not punches that would result in any real damage,” according to the report. “And sometimes ‘people die,’ ” Julian told investigators.
Later in December, Aleman and his family hired a lawyer and stopped talking to law enforcement, according to the AG’s report.
The Nevada Attorney General’s Office report criticizes a decision by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to limit its investigation to whether the site of the fraternity boxing event was properly licensed.
Questions about the gloves, hand wraps and headgear may never be answered because Metro didn’t take the investigation any further.
“Because Aleman and his family refused to speak with law enforcement, investigators were unable to recover Aleman’s gloves, despite numerous attempts to contact Aleman’s attorney, Sean Claggett. Although Aleman’s gloves were unable to be retrieved and inspected, investigators provided NSAC inspectors a photograph of the gloves Aleman wore during the fight. Inspectors estimated the gloves were between 14 and 16 ounces, and absent any alterations not apparent in the photograph, would have been appropriate for the match,” according to the Nevada AG’s report.
“Upon speaking with numerous participants and event attendees, no witness provided any evidence the equipment was tampered with or made statements indicating criminal intent,” the report said.
Witnesses interviewed by the Nevada AG’s Office speculated on why Valencia died without offering evidence, and some pages of the report containing information from the Clark County Coroner’s Office have been redacted. Valencia’s official cause of death is blunt force head trauma. “Due to the interval of hospitalization, toxicological examination of postmortem fluids and tissues is not indicated in this case.”
Allegations made to investigators include drug use, tampering with hand wraps and “packing” boxing gloves, but no charges were announced as the report was released.
8 News Now reached out to Claggett, who “categorically denied” there was any problem with Aleman’s gloves. A complete statement from Claggett appears at the bottom of this story. He said two messages left by investigators asked for a return call, but did not specifically mention Aleman’s gloves.
The “Fight Night” involving the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity was set up to benefit Center Ring Boxing, which provided equipment for the event. The Nevada AG’s report indicates that Eutiquio Gomez, president of Center Ring Boxing, asked Kappa Sigma to give the $10,400 raised by the event to the Valencia family.
After completing its investigation of Nathan Valencia’s death shortly after the 2021 Kappa Sigma Fight Night, the Nevada Office of the Attorney General (NVAG) has released its Investigative Report. This report contains assertions, allegations, and claims that are categorically false, and as a result, necessitate this response. Out of respect for the family of Nathan Valencia, and given their pending civil litigation, this brief response will be limited to the false contentions regarding Emmanual Aleman and to the NVAG’s communications with the Claggett & Sykes Law firm regarding this matter.
First, any allegation or insinuation that Emmanual Aleman was in any way under the influence of an illicit substance at the time of the fight is absolutely not true. Any suggestion as to Mr. Aleman’s use of illicit substances at the time of the fight are baseless and represent little more than an attempt to demean the character of Mr. Aleman. There simply is no evidence to support any such claims.
Likewise, any allegation or insinuation that Emmanual Aleman had “packed” his gloves is unconditionally false. Neither Mr.Valencia nor Mr. Aleman possessed any ill will towards one another, and both were involved in this charity boxing match because they were trying to do something good for their community. Mr. Aleman did not place anything in his gloves to gain an advantage in this charity event.
Next, despite the NVAG’s assertions that its investigators called Mr. Alleman’s attorney Sean Claggett in an attempt to recover Mr. Aleman’s gloves, no such message was ever received by the Claggett & Sykes Law Firm. In fact, the NVAG’s attempts to contact Mr. Claggett never referenced what the investigators were interested in discussing—they simply requested a return call. Furthermore, when told that Mr. Claggett was out of the country, NVAG’s investigators never asked to speak with any other attorneys who could assist with the NVAG’s concerns.
Finally, we appropriately advised our client not to speak with the NVAG, outside of our presence, precisely because of the NVAG’s reliance on misrepresentations like those listed above.
Claggett & Sykes Law firm