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List of Articles by Don Smith

Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith: Servin Wins ABO Title, Boxer Detained & More

By Don Smith
04 May 2018

Boxing Fans, It is premature to hand out boxing awards for 2018; but, the exciting April 28th 6 round war between Arizona super flyweights Adrian Servin (6-0-1-2 knockouts) and Luis Espinoza (8-1-3 knockouts) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix is an early candidate for Arizona’s best bout of the year.

Supporters of both fighters declared victory; however, it was Servin who left the ring wearing the ABO super flyweight belt with winning scores of 59-55 & 58-56; a third judge scored the contest a draw (57-57).

Espinosa was visibly upset over the verdict and his girlfriend/wife took to the internet to declare Servin’s victory a robbery. It was the seventh fight (6 as amateurs) between the two Arizona fighters with Servin holding a 4-3 edge in a series dating back to when they were teenagers.

I was at the weigh-in at the Downtown Club I Phoenix on Friday (4/27) and detected genuine animosity between the two young pugilists. Luis strutted and flexed for the S.R.O. event while the baby faced Servin (1 ½ years younger) smiled and chewed gum. Servin possesses a smile that politicians would die for and women swoon over.

Espinoza could argue that he won because he threw the two hardest punches in the 18 minutes of fighting; rocking the winning fighter on both occasions. However, Servin recovered quickly and out worked the Joel Diaz trained boxer and that was the difference in posting a win. Servin’s counterpunching was masterful; straight out of the how to boxing manual. Servin was also the benefactor of huge crowd support. I was told Adrian and his team sold $8,000.00 worth of tickets. Espinoza mentioned the Servin fan support as a primary reason why his opponent won.

Espinosa wants a rematch but Team Servin indicated that it won’t be anytime soon if ever. The champion is required to defend the belt within 9 months. The boxer’s team was under the wrongful impression that the 20 year old champion has to put the belt up for defense every 3 months. ABO official Alan Santana assured me 9 months was correct. Alan is sending a boxing book he authored and I will review it in a future column. As for Servin, he has received challenges from Francisco Chaves and Elihu Soto, two Phoenix fighters with a modicum of talent.

There were 8 other fights on the Iron Boy # 44 card and 2 scored as upsets meaning the matchmaker (Mike Sanchez) deserves high marks. I hate predictable cards.

Chris Sullivan (Ramos Boxing) schooled Markey Garcia (Madison Boxing) for 4 rounds and was awarded a unanimous decision (40-34x3) for his effort. Sullivan (1-0) will fight next on May 17 in a private show at the Camelback Inn in Phoenix. Garcia (2-1) was favored and some fans thought Garcia would dominate; surprise. I tried to talk to Garcia after the fight but he was in no mood; great fight and both Arizona men can be proud of their performances. Joining Sullivan on the private show is heavyweight Adam Stewart and Super lightweight David Courtney.

It was an emotional night for super middleweight Adolfo “Outlaw” Ramos (0-1) who was escorted into the ring by his grandfather Alcides Ramos. It was his debut night against Puerto Rican bad boy Lenny Correra (1-1) who found his groove in the 3rd round and stopped Ramos with 1 second in the final Stanza. I had Ramos ahead after 2 rounds but he decided to slug it out in the third and final round; big mistake. I would like to see a rematch.

Ramos Trainer Arturo Ortega had no qualms with referee Wes Melton calling a halt to the contest; he thought it was the right thing to first! If it was a two round fight; Ramos would have won.

In a battle of super middleweights, 41 year old veteran Fidel Hernandez was cautioned twice for delivering low blows but managed to land enough legitimate punches to win a unanimous decision over 36 year old Moises Alvizo (3-9-3) in their 6 round Co-Main Event. Hernandez apologized for his performance and told the audience his effort was affected by the awkwardness of Alvizo. In his post-fight interview promised to do better in Iron Boy 45; if he is on the card.

2 time world champion Rico Ramos (29-5-14 knockouts) won his 5th bout in a row with a workman like performance over journeyman Chris Esquivel (30-14-24 knockouts) in an 8 round contest that was stopped after 5rounds when Esquivel’s corner threw in the towel.

It was a steady not spectacular performance for the 30 year old former champion. It takes two to tango. At times Ramos showed flashes of his former brilliance in what could be categorized as a sparring session. It was Esquivel’s second straight loss at the Celebrity and it may be time for the one time contender to seek another line of work. In his post-fight interview; Rico told fans he is 2-3 fights away from being ready to challenge for a world title.

In a 4 round bout, Zarifbek Nishanbaev, aka ZZZ, wasted no time in knocking out defenseless Cordell Powell 22 seconds into the first stanza. ZZZ (4-1-3 knockouts) has charisma and power. It would be interesting him against a higher caliber opponent in the future. I plan to keep in contact with his management (RBO Boxing) and my chat with team leader Terrence Wood (out of Washington DC) led me to believe he thinks ZZZ is a diamond in the rough. At 27, he better get busy.

Lightweights David Courtney (1-7) and Trini Ochoa (Broadway Boxing) put on a heck of a show in their 4 round brawl. Ochoa knocked Courtney down on his tush in the first stanza and the Central Boxing trained fighter bounced right up.

I was concerned with the wellbeing of Courtney who suffered 2 fractured jaws in his last fight after the knockdown but he recovered nicely. Ochoa (1-0) is a promising young fighter. I thought he took too many punches but his team will work on his defense. The young man has poise and speed and superb conditioning (Cross Driven Athletics). I look forward to seeing his again on Iron Boy 45, scheduled for June 30th at the Celebrity Theatre.

Super lightweight Christopher Gonzalez (2-0) survived a head jarring head butt in defeating Brandon Trujillo (0-2). Christopher was visibly upset about the accidental butt; it may cost him a pay check or two. Chin, up and consult with your coaches about additional head movement. Chris is one of the good guys in boxing and we wish him the best. Chris trains at Neutral Corner boxing gym in Tucson under his trainer Brad Carlton.

Lightweight Jesus Ibarra (4-0-2 knockouts) was very impressive with his unanimous decision performance over late replacement Stephen McIntyre (3-40). Despite McIntyre’s record, he put up a unexpected challenge against the Arizona fighter who has speed, footwork and some pop in his right hand. Ibarra will be on the Iron Boy 45 card and hopefully against a fighter with a winning record.

Iron Boy publicist Emily Pandelakis was feted at intermission for her work with Iron Boy and her dedication to boxing. She is taking time off to take care of her pregnancy; we wish her luck. Special thanks to Iron Boy CEO Robert Vargas for giving us 4 tickets to give away. In return, I gave him a pair of lower level Diamondback game tickets. I don’t want t think this generally positive review is a result of any pay off.

Brito in Trouble: 23 year old featherweight Edgar Brito (3-3-1) is being detained in Eloy Arizona at the immigration center for being in the United States illegally. Our prayers are with his wife (Erin) as she tries to free him; but, dealing with I.C.E. is very difficult. ABNN has asked to help; but our third party intervention has met with resistance even though the family welcomes our probing into the matter and we have placed several calls on his behalf. As most people know, dealing with any government agency can be quite the challenge.

Edgar came to the United States with his parents from Mexico, when he was 3 years old. As long as he kept his nose clean, Edgar was safe under the DACA program and could remain in America; the only country he really knows. His friends told us, he has assimilated well and someday wants to join the US Military and serve his adopted country. However, Edgar has fallen on hard times in recent months and now he faces deportation.

In June of 2017, Brito was cited for a misdemeanor DUI and placed on probation. Edgar panicked after the citation and failed to renew his DACA Status which is a no-no!

In April of 2018, Edgar and his wife became involved in a heated argument (no physical blows) and she called the police. After arriving on the scene, the uniformed law enforcement officers took him downtown to face delinquent warrant charges and immigrant violation.

ABNN advised Erin Brito to go to the Glendale Police and see if the department would drop at least one charge and they did. As it stands, Edgar owes $1,900.00 in fines over the DUI and he has upcomint court dates with a Immigration Judge. In a word, he is in a heap of trouble and ABNN will continue to follow the story. I have known Brito for 6 years and he has always been a kind and considerate young man. His best bet is to be allowed to join the military; but, he doesn’t have a Green Card; so we can only hope the system gives him a break.

News & Notes: Arizona middleweight Andrew Hernandez is back in ring action on Wednesday, May 11 at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas. The 32 year old Hernandez (18-6) will face once beaten 30 year old J’Leon Love (23-1-1) in a crossroads bout for both boxing veterans. Hernandez has lost 3 in a row and Love’s career took a half step back with a draw in his last encounter. The show is televised on the Bounce Network; produced and promoted by Mayweather Promotions. Here is a rundown on the Sam’s Town Card: Tony Harrison vs. Ishe Smith, Erick Bone (19-5) vs. Cameron Krael (13-12-3) and undefeated Andrew Tabiti (15-0) vs. Lateef Kayode (21-2) Incoming Arizona boxing/MMA Executive Director Francisco Meneses seems quite capable of replacing outgoing Executive Director Juan Estrada. I talked to both men at the last Iron Boy show (#44) and Juan will remain in the position until Francisco gets a full grasp of the his duties.

We talked briefly and I told him I was disappointed and expressed my displeasure to the officials that a representative from the Arizona Gaming Department wasn’t on hand when Amigos Meats celebrated the Benavidez Brothers last month for their contributions to boxing. It didn’t have to be a high ranking officer from the department; just anybody!

Sometime ago, I had a verbal agreement with Mr. Estrada and he wanted to be on hand for any event commemorating David Benavidez’s winning a world title. In winning, the super middleweight champion title, David became the third native born Arizonian to win a world boxing title; too bad, so sad; the commission wasn’t represented.

The excuse for missing the Benavidez event was the department was busy working the UFC event in Glendale. At the last commission meeting, members of the commission raved about the success of the much hyped UFC show and boxing shows never generate the same excitement. I hope all members of the commission are allowed to read this segment; just doing my job. Congratulations to Carlo Silva, Norma Rivero’s replacement at the Commission; I am sure he will do a good job.

ESPN May 26: ABNN plans to pack sun screen before we head to Fresno California to watch Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas defend his IBF junior bantam weight world title in the main event (ESPN) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno California on May 26. Ancajas (29-1-1-20 knockouts) is being hailed as the second coming of Manny Pacquiao; high praise indeed even though he scoffs at the comparison. Jerwin will meet title challenger and fellow countryman Jonas Sultan (14-3-9 knockouts). It marks the first time a world title bout features two Filipino fighters in 93 years when Pancho Villa defended his world flyweight title against Clever Sencio on May 2, 1925 at Wallace Field in Manila. An estimated 50,000 fans were on hand to watch the championship bout; no, I wasn’t there!

In the co-main on May 26, WBA world super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (23-0-14 knockouts) defends his title against David Carmona (21-5-5-9 knockouts). The undercard is incomplete but we know former super lightweight champion Jose Benavidez Jr (26-0-17 knockouts) is on tap for 10 round welterweight tussle with Frank Rojas (22-0-21 knockouts). A win for Benavidez could put him one step closer to fighting his arch nemesis Terrence Crawford. The May 26 show can be seen on ESPN.

Short Shots: GGG defends his titles on HBO on Saturday 5/5 happy Cinco de Mayo....Gilberto Ramirez defense his super middleweight title against Roamer Angulolo on June 30th in OKC; seen on ESPN....former world champion Jesse James Leija thins Mikey Garcia will eventually fight Vasyl Lomachenko.....ABNN would like to see Pacquiao fight Garcia if he gets past Matthyssee in his next fight.. sad but true, it is time for Nonito Donaire to hang up his gloves...J.O. Tournament at Sony’s Boxing Gym in Goodyear; call 623-806-2421 for details....The Madison Boxing smoker at Madison boxing on Central has been moved to the Greenfield Elementary School (May 12th at 7009 South 10th Street in Phoenix; call Ricky at 602-434-7770 for details....17 year old Riverside California boxing prospect Joseph “El Tigre” Landeros remains undefeated (13-0-13 knockouts) after another victory in Baja California, Mexico on April 28.....Until Next Time!

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