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List of Articles by Don Smith

Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Ortiz out, Stiverne In, Gonzalez wins PAL & Much More

By Don Smith
06 Oct 2017

Boxing Fans, Published reports that Heavyweight Luis Ortiz (27-0) tested positive after taking a random drug test saddens boxing fans who think the Cuban heavyweight would be quite a test for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0). Ortiz has previously tested positive for the use of a banned substance and a second alleged offense does nothing to improve the image of professional athletes. Ortiz claims the substances detected (Chlorothiazide and Hydrochlorothiazide) are in his prescribed medication that he take to lower his blood pressure, a condition he sees a doctor for treatment.

The two elite heavyweight fighters were scheduled to meet at the Barclay Center in New York on November 4, unfortunately his “failed” test, is the second time the hard punching pugilist has been questioned about cheating the system by using a banned substance.

I read some of the published reports and decided to do a bit of investigating to determine if the fight was on or off. My first call went to co-promoter Di Bella Entertainment and the telephone number I was supplied with was out of service so my next step was to call the New York Athletic Commission and I did and here is their response: Mr. Smith, “The commission is working to appropriately and fully review the matter. Due to HIPPA laws, we have no further comment at this time.”…The New York Athletic Commission.

In my quest to find a definitive answer to the question of whether or not Mr. Ortiz would challenge for a world title on November 4, in New York I decided to rely on other sources; no comment is more of a defensive position (protecting a lawful process) than an answer with all due respect. Despite the less than enlightening response, I remain a Yankee fan.

At 1:47 PM Arizona time on Thursday, a spokesperson for Di Bella Entertainment informed (via press release) me that WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (38-0-37 knockouts) will defend his title against mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1-21 knockouts) on Showtime, Saturday, November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York and the event will be presented by Premier Boxing Champions in association with DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions. The WBC ordered the bout change after Mr. Ortiz failed his random administered drug test. Ortiz is truly a giant talent (pun intended) and we hope he can return to the ring ASAP! In the meantime the hard punching heavyweight is appealing a $25,000.00 fine and an undetermined suspension.

On the undercard, former welterweight world champion Shawn Porter will battle Chicago Pugilist Adrian Granados and Russian Phenom Sergey Lipinets will battle Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship. ABNN hopes to be in New York to cover the Lomachenko/Rigondeaux title bout at Madison Square Garden on 11/3 and stay over in the Big Apple to catch the Barclay Center event, the following night.

PAL Results: The 43rd Annual PAL Tournament in Oxnard California has concluded and ABNN was sent a partial result sheet and so we can relay the official results we have and name other “winners” confirmed by coaches. A spokesperson for PAL apologized for ailing to find the complete list but we know that amateur boxing is understaffed; so we accept the apology.

Here are the names of Arizona fighters who finished 1st or second in the prestigious event: Jacob Girardot (Hammer Boxing) Gold, Julian Rodriguez (Miller Boxing) Gold, Christopher Gonzales (Neutral Corner) Gold, Aaron Williams (Martillo Boxing) Gold, Bryant Miranda (Miller Boxing) Silver, Jason Rios (Miller Boxing) Silver, Jose Miranda (Miller Boxing) Silver. We were told that at least one more member of Team Martillo won a medal; so, it is only fair that we cover our proverbial “base” and list the 2 other fighters from Martillo gym: Thomas and Alezet Valerio. Congratulations to all of the fighters who participated in the tournament.

ABNN would like to extend a special salute to Christopher Gonzalez (Tucson, Arizona) who has decided to turn professional after winning Gold in the 141 lb. weight Division at Oxnard. We have watched him box a few times and here is a small snippet of his history. Christopher resides in Tucson and trains at Neutral Corner Gym under the tutelage of head coach Brad Carlton, a leading figure in Arizona boxing circles. Carlton will remain as his head coach after the affable kid from Tucson turns professional, at a forthcoming time and place. In addition to winning the PAL tournament, Gonzalez also won the prestigious Gene Lewis Tournament in 2014 and continued his winning ways by winning multi state and regional championships.

Robert Mercado (Gonzalez Team Member) called me after Christopher’s win in Oxnard and asked for advice. I told him the Tucson fighter needs to make sure he has the right people around him. Friends are not always your best business allies. I told him to pick a professional PR person that isn’t a boxing fan and don’t find a girlfriend until he wins his first title and when he does start courting, find a woman who lives out of state and travels a lot; he doesn’t need any distractions.

Christopher is 20 years old and began boxing at 13 years of age. He is too modest to include his amateur record in his brief resume but the 2017 PAL Champion admits to donning gloves for at least 60 fights. I like the kid because he is a good role model, a bit naïve but time and experience will mature him. Local fight fans remember him for his several amateur battles with Eben Vargas (6-0) who fights on the Iron Boy 42 card at the Celebrity Theatre on October 14 in Phoenix. The time for Christopher to turn professional is right and we wish him best and hope he keeps his feet on the ground and works off his jab.

Boxing At the Celebrity Theatre: Iron Boy Promotions will present professional boxing (Iron Boy 41) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on October 14 with 12 bouts scheduled on the bout sheet. Here is the lineup presented to our desk hours before we hit the send button. All bouts are subject to change: Main Event: Carlos Castro (Phoenix, Arizona) 18-0 vs. Basilio Nieves (Dominican Republic) 10-3, 122 lbs. 8 rounds….. Under Card: Fidel Hernandez (Phoenix, Arizona) 16-4 vs. Gilberto Rubio (Los Mochis, Mexico) 7-6, 175 lbs. 6 rounds…..Adrian “Sharkey” Servin (Phoenix, Arizona) 5-0 vs. Francisco Chavez (Phoenix, Arizona) 2-0 , 112 lbs. 6 rounds….Luis Espinoza (Mesa, Arizona) 7-0 vs. Manuel Manzo (Michoacan, Mexico) 0-5-1, 118 lbs. 4 rounds ….Jesus Ibarra (Apache Junction, Arizona) 2-0 vs. Joseph Veloz (El Paso, Texas) 0-1, 127 lbs. 4 rounds….Waldo Cortez (Dominican Republic) 0-1 vs. Ruben Rivera (Los Mochis, Mexico) 6-3-1, heavyweights 4 rounds…Eduardo Ayala (Phoenix, Arizona) 1-0 vs. Robert Garcia (Phoenix, Arizona) 0-0-1, 168 lbs. 4 rounds…. Chris Scala (Mesa, Arizona) 0-0 vs. Omar Enriquez (Tucson, Arizona) 0-0, 137 lbs. 4 rounds…..Eben Vargas (Mesa, Arizona) 6-0 vs. Morris Rodriguez (Sacramento, CA) 6-10, 147 lbs. 6 rounds….Clifford Jordan (Detroit, Michigan) 2-2 vs. Manuel Monterio (New Britain, Connecticut) 3-0, 147 lbs. 4 rounds….Edward Ceballos (Phoenix, Arizona) 6-1-1 vs. Raymond Chacon (Los Angeles, CA) 7-24-1, 122 lbs. 6 rounds…Alexis Zazueta (Phoenix, Arizona) 9-0 vs. Ricardo Sandoval (Riverside CA) 8-1, 115 lbs. 6 rounds and Jesus Garcia (Mesa, Arizona) 0-0 vs. TBD 168 lbs. 4 rounds. 4 Doors open at 5 pm and 1st bell chimes at 6 pm. Ticket prices range from $30-00-$55.00. Phoenix bantamweight Alexis “Beaver” Santiago 21-5-1 & former heavyweight champion Siarhei Liakhovich were rumored to fight on the card but circumstances happen; expect Liakhovich to fight on the Iron Boy 43 card. Comment: Chris Scala (Broadway Boxing) was a very good amateur boxer …..Raymond Chacon is very awkward but has never been knocked out….Alexis Zazueta returns to the ring after a long absence….Eben Vargas is healed and ready to go….Francisco Chavez’s 2 wins came in 2015….Jesus Ibarra is an underrated prospect…Fidel Hernandez isn’t worried about his 15 year absence from the ring, he told ABNN, “It’s just like riding a bike, you never forget”…. Espinoza (9-0) may be in for a surprise in his battle with Manzo (0-5-1); Manzo fought Edgar Ortiz to a draw at the Celebrity and some ringsiders thought the California boxer won….. Iron Boy publicist Emily Pandelakis and her boyfriend are expecting their first child in May, 2018; she won’t be naming the infant, Don or Donna; best of luck to the couple despite the personal snub.

Fight News: Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez has hopes of meeting Julio Cesar Chavez in his first title defense but it looks like his first defense will be a rematch with Romanian Ronald Gavril whom de defeated earlier this year at the Hard Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Gavril promises to be healthy and ready to go by January or February of 2018. The 20 year old Benavidez promises a better performance if the two meet again; the first encounter saw Benavidez win the vacant title with a split decision verdict….…..Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos is sparring with undefeated super lightweight Sergey Lipinets (12-0) as the budding Russian superstar prepares for his contest versus Akihiro Konodo (29-6) for the vacant IBF world POIDS on the Deontay Wilder November 4 card at the Barclay Center in New York. ABNN is mulling over the idea of covering the fight after catching the Lomachenko/Rigondeaux championship bout on 11/3 at Madison Square Garden……Bryce McDaniel vs. Antonio Ruiz headlines the Tuesday October 10 Muay Thai Show presented by Puma Entertainment. The venue is Maya New York Pizza Bar & Grill in Mesa at 223 E. Brown Rod. The last show was a sellout in Phoenix and Puma Entertainment believes the inclusion of adult beverages at the 10/10 show in Mesa should help pack the comfortable outdoor setting at Maya’s. Doors open at 6 pm with the first bout commencing at 7 pm. Muay Thai is becoming quite popular, admission is $25.00. Check social media for more details….USA Boxing Arizona is looking for volunteers and a good time to check out your opportunity is to attend the 10/7 officials clinic in Mesa starting at 9 am; call 602-702-7053 for more details.

Short Jabs: Copper Gloves Boxing at the Arizona State Fair 10/11-12, free admission with donation of 5 can goods before 6 pm on Wednesday 10/11; event takes place in one of the barns at 17th Avenue & McDowell Road in Phoenix….Golden Boy Boxing at Casino Del Sol in Tucson with Soto Karass taking on Juan Carlos Abreu in the main event. Arizona super lightweight Alfredo Escarcega (3-0) is on the card…..Tim Riddell (4-0) hasn’t fought in 2 years but the itch has returned and he hopes to slim down to 135 lbs. and cause havoc in the ring sometime in early 2018…Boxing coach Mario Ruiz is hosting a smoker on 10/21 at his Campeones boxing gym in Mesa (930 South Sirrine). Weigh-in 7-10 AM and first bout begins at 1 PM. Mario expects 30-40 bouts…..On 11/03, gallop over to San Luis Arizona and catch the “Disorder by the Border Smoker hosted by San Luis Boxing Club; ShowTime starts on Friday (11/03) at 5 PM. Coach Ernesto Prieto is the perfect host and his group rolls out the red carpet on every event, call 928-919-3990…Sonny’s 2nd annual Masters Tournament is set for 11/17 at Sonny’s Boxing in Goodyear, Arizona; call Sonny at the gym for details….Gene Lewis Invitational on 11/10-11 at 59 E. Broadway Road in Mesa; no other information forwarded….The mass shooting in Las Vegas was horrific; but still our politicians struggle with the issue of gun violence and gun control; shame on them and us for electing the knuckle heads..….. Until Next Time!

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