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List of Articles by Don Smith

Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Boxing in Tucson, Gavril/Benavidez Rematch on Hold

By Don Smith
23 Sep 2017

Boxing Fans, ABNN won’t be able to attend the Friday September 22 boxing show at the Tucson Arena located at 2600 S. Church Avenue, Tucson Arizona 85701 but we hope our readers will be there in full force. If the trek to Tucson isn’t possible, boxing fans can view the championship doubleheader on ESPN and ESPN Deportes with live broadcast commencing at 10:30 p.m. EDT, 1st fight begins at 9 pm EST. We will be MIA at the Arena on 9/22 due to a prior assignment commitment that requires travel; ABNN will tape the major bouts and review them in our next issue.

Produced by Top Rank and Peltz Promotions, the show will feature WBO World super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (35-0-24 knockouts) vs. challenger Jesse Hart (22-0-18 knockouts) in a 12 round main event title bout. Unless we are misreading the tea leaves, the match-up should be a thriller and a possible contender for fight of the year.

In the co-main, WBO World featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (22-0-19 knockouts) defends his title against challenger Genesis Servania (29-0-12 knockouts) from the Philippines. Valdez is a rising star and Servania is a virtual unknown outside of Asia, stranger things have happened.

Irishman Michael Conlan (3-0-3 knockouts) takes on fellow super bantamweight Kenny Guzman (3-0-1 knockout) in a special bout. According to published reports there are 5 other bouts on the card. Friday Night Fights on ESPN is a continuing series and future dates are listed on BoxRec. Floor seating is sold out; but, there is plenty of $27.00 upstairs seating available.
Boxing News: Sorry to hear that 22 year old boxer Alberto Mora Zuniga (12-8-6 knockouts) was shot and killed in Los Cabos Baja California, Sur Mexico. Arizona fight fans may remember when Alberto fought and lost a decision to Arizona featherweight Paul “Ziggy” Romero in Glendale, Arizona at the Renaissance Hotel in 2015.

Our source tells us that Alberto died recently from a gunshot wound after an altercation with a group of unknown males at a nightclub in Los Cabos. The disagreement turned violent and fatal when one of males pulled out a gun and fired a bullet, striking the head of the Mexican fighter. It is a tragic loss and another example of senseless violence; our condolences to the grieving family.

Mora fought for Fight Hard Promotions and FHP CEO Rigo Ledezma is hosting a car wash at Rigo’s Auto (3840 W. Van Buren in Phoenix) beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 23. Please drop by and donate even if your car doesn’t need a wash. All donated proceeds will go to the family to cover burial expenses. Also, think about showing up and washing a few cars, volunteers are needed!

More News: According to a published report, Golden Boy Promotions is bringing a show to Tucson Arizona on November 2; details pending but we believe the production will be held at Casino Del Sol…….despite fracturing both jaws in his last fight, Phoenix lightweight David Courtney is planning on fighting again…..Arizona southpaw bantam/super bantamweight Alexis Zazueta (9-0-5 knockouts) is still working out at Fuentes Boxing in Phoenix and he hopes to fight on the October 14 Iron Boy Card in Phoenix at the Celebrity Theatre. It is hard to believe Alexis hasn’t fought since March 26 of last year. During a recent workout, he told me that all of his talked about fights have been dismissed for various reasons…..former Arizona resident Janks Trotter (10-4-1) will meet Albert Onolunose (21-1) in a middleweight tussle at the Genesis Centre in Calgary, Alberta Canada on October 14.
ABNN has learned, from 2 reputable sources that the rumored December 2017 Benavidez/Gavril championship rematch is on hold for unknown reasons. We were told the sequel was in the works and Showtime would broadcast the bout. To get answers, we have contacted the Nevada Athletic Commission for official verification from Bob Bennett, Director of the organization.

In the meantime, David Benavidez was planning a vacation in Florida but the arrival of Hurricane Irma changed his travel agenda...…..Phoenix middleweight Andrew Hernandez returns to work soon and hopes to fight for an intercontinental title by the end of the year….I am looking forward to the 12/9 New York Matchup between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux in a WBO Super Featherweight title bout expected to sellout the Barclay Center…..Arizona amateur boxing champion Andrew Corona is now working with 6 time world champion Michael Carbajal at his 9th Street Gym in Phoenix after leaving knockout boxing gym and trainer Andy Soto…… The champ is also working with Native American kids from the Navajo Nation and adults who want to shape up and feel better….Arizona boxer Mario Esparza (4-0-1-1 knockout) was working out at Ramos Gym in Casa Grande but failed to show up a few times and his no shows didn’t sit well with head trainer Jesus Ramos so the boxer was sent packing. Unfortunately, “Super” Mario, is wearing out his welcome with the Arizona boxing community; time to get serious, Mario!

9/16 fight comment: I watched the GGG/Canelo event with a crowd of fight fans at Twin Peaks Bar & Grill in Phoenix. The first thing I noticed was a smaller crowd than watched the McGregor/Mayweather fight at the same venue; that was the only comparison with the 2 events. The sport of boxing was well served on 9/16 although I disagreed with the draw decision and had GGG winning. He was the aggressor from the beginning and dominated the early rounds. I had GGG leading 7 rounds to 2 after 9. Canelo took the final three stanzas’ to make the contest interesting and compelling.

Some fans disagree with my scorecard; however, the majority of viewers of whom I chatted with saw the contest my way. One judge at ringside scored Canelo ahead by a shocking margin of 118-110. At the end, both boxers verbally expressed a desire to meet again and fans will welcome a rematch with an open wallet or purse.

The smaller than expected turnout at area sports bars was a surprise to me but several club owners told me that the UFC element on the McGregor/Mayweather contest was huge and the lack of that link on the 9/16 show deterred turnout; perhaps! I expect a rematch and it could take place during Cinco de Mayo weekend next year. Oh yes, the undercard was less then memorable but Diego De La Hoya had his moments. Arizona’s Carlos Castro has challenged De La Hoya; but, Oscar’s relative is too strong for the young Castro, sorry Carlos!

Mailbag: Several of our readers are expressing support for Arizona boxer Trevor McCumby in his battle with the Nevada Athletic Commission to overturn his positive test result and suspension attributed to using illegal substance to enhance his performance in the ring. We printed his letter addressed to boxing fans and he thanked us for airing his objection to the prescribed punishment that will curtail his career until the spring of 2018.

In fairness, we sent a copy of the column, containing his email, to the Nevada Athletic Commission and the Arizona Boxing Commission. Trevor claims a contaminated multi-vitamin product was the culprit. The US anti-doping agency agrees that the product in question contains high levels of anabolic agents and at time, McCumby claims to have consumed the Anavite Multi-Vitamin before a warning label was placed on the product. There is evidence that he is correct with his assertion. McCumby promises to send more information on the subject and we will pass his comments on to readers if we deem them relevant and substantiated.

Iron Boy MMA 8: On Saturday 9/23, combat sport fans are invited to the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix to watch an evening of MMA, presented and produced by Iron Boy Promotions. Here is the lineup for Iron Boy Pro/Am MMA 8 show… Amateur Bouts: Chris Rojas 5-2 vs. Brendon Trujillo 155 lb. wt.….Cedric Katambwa 3-1 vs. Justin O’Connor 1-0 155 lb. wt.….Christian Natividad 4-0 vs. TBA 125 lb. wt. ….Estavan Ulibarri vs. Matthew Lorefice 0-1 140 lb. wt.…..Paul Orana vs. Zach Gomez 1-2 145 lb. wt.….Jose Castanon 8-1 vs. Josh Dasilveira 2-0 185 lb. wt.….Pro Bouts: TBA vs. Ben Acosta 1-3 125 lb. wt.…. Junior Ortiz 1-0 vs. Jose Apodaca 135 lb. wt.….Peter De La Cruz 5-1 vs. Brendan Trujillo 2-3 145 lb. wt.….TE Edwards 4-1 vs. Dumar Roa 4-6 155 lb. wt. …Roma Salazar 9-6 vs. TBA 135 lb. wt. Official weigh-In (9/22 at 1 pm) is at the Twin Peaks Bar & Grill on Camelback Road & 22nd Street. Tickets for the Saturday show are available at the Celebrity box-office and doors open at 5pm with 1st bout commencing at 6 pm. Ticket prices range from $30-$55.00….have fun and drive safely………Until Next Time!

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