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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Iron Boy XX, Bronco Billy, Lilly Keating & More

Boxing fans, It is hard to believe that Iron Boy Promotions will present its? 20th show on April 25th at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. CEO Robert Vargas has tapped into the local boxing talent pool and signed a number of Arizona ?prospects? including Francisco C de Vaca, Victor Castro, Joey Ruelas, Edgar Brito and a few others I couldn?t confirm the total number and complete list. Most of members of his boxing ensemble stay, but a few have left.

Arguably the best local boxing Promoter, despite a few glitches along the way, Iron Boy is both praised and dissed by admirers, supporters and whispering critics. When Mr. Vargas began co-promoting shows with Top Rank Boxing, I heard from naysayers who criticized him for combining too many nationally known boxers with less than a fair share of local talent; even though the actual numbers don?t support that misguided and false theory.

The latest verbal shot taken at Mr. Vargas concerns the timing of a proposed show scheduled for June 13-14 (MMA USA EXPO XV) at Phoenix Convention Center which incorporates multiple combat action components including Wrestling, Professional Boxing, Amateur Boxing , MMA and a few thrilling surprises. The listed show Producer is Image Productions, but Iron Boy and Top Rank Boxing will play a specific role as producers of boxing. Tickets ($35.00 per day) are now on sale through and the Phoenix Convention Center box-office.

During a brief conversation, MMA Associate Director Mark G. Green told me the show supports our US Military and that promise is printed on the tickets and the pledged support translates into tickets and monetary relief for serving members of the armed forces according to the deeply patriotic Mr. Green.

The expo, a 2 day event, is scheduled for one of the same days (6/13) that Fight Hard Promotions is presenting ?Wild Card, All In? boxing show at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale Arizona. Fight Hard turned in their request for a show to the Arizona Boxing Commission first and the idea of sharing the day with another promoted show with a boxing rival doesn?t sit well with Iron Boy Critics, but the issue (In my opinion) wouldn?t have come to discussion level if the Arizona Boxing Commission had the foresight and personnel to handle a double event day.

Fortunately the two sides saw the big picture and both events will proceed as planned after minor concessions and adjustments were made. After the settlement, I still heard grumbling about the three promoting partners ?out maneuvering? Fight Hard Promoters Sonny Gutierrez and Rigoberto Ledezma, two men who need no introduction to boxing and how to produce and promote. There is no crying in boxing.

Here is the lineup for Iron Boy XX considered a milestone event for the boxing promotion company and bouts 7-11 will be covered by live stream. Phoenix fight fans will notice new and familiar faces on this card. Noticeably absent from this 12 fight card are Iron Boy center pieces Francisco C. de Vaca & Victor ?El Nino? Castro, both young fighters are undefeated and assumed healthy. Arizona Boxing News & Notes will report their next appearances and find out why two proposed amateur bouts were dropped. As advertised, all bouts are subject to change and the new lineup doesn?t match the one this column was ready to review; however, boxing fans will be happy to hear that boxing legend Erik Morales will be in attendance for the David Benavidez vs. Rollin Williams 8 round NABF title fight. Both guys are favorites, but the judges won?t be considering their place of residence or birth place of either fighter

. Doors open at 5 pm and good seats are still available with live stream coverage beginning at 7 pm. Drive safely and drink responsibly.

Main Event: David Benavidez 7-0-6 knockouts vs. Rollin Williams 23-20-2- 8 knockouts 8 rounds- at stake: NABF Youth Light Heavyweight Title ? Arizona vs. Arizona

CO-Main Event: Raheem Gordon 4-4-2 vs. Joey Ruelas 8-1-3 knockouts 6 rounds 160 Carlos Castro 6-0-3 knockouts vs. Raymond Chacon Arizona vs. California 6 rounds

Alexis Zazueta 4-0-4 knockouts vs. Saul Hernandez 6-6 -4 rounds Arizona vs. Mexico Christian Juneau 1-0 vs. Daron Williams-debut- 4 rounds Texas vs. Washington DC. Rege Harrison 1-0 vs. Oscar Camacho 0-1, 4 rounds Texas vs. Texas

Danny Montoya debut vs. John Gonzales 0-1 4 round last fight before free live stream Junior Rodriguez 1-0 vs. Alex McGee Debut 4 rounds Arizona vs. Arizona boxer match Jesus Aguinaga 1-3 vs. Julian Rodarte Debut 4 rounds California vs. Arizona contest Jesus Lopez 0-1 vs. Saul Bustos 2-0-1 knockout 4 rounds 140-California vs. California Bernardo Marquez 1-0 vs. Anetelea Opetai debut 4 rounds California vs. Arizona; 200 + Yovanni Rodarte (California) debut vs. Jorge Fontes Michel Debut 4 rounds, Wt. 130

Swing Bout: Oscar Camacho 0-1 vs. Rege Harrison 1-0 Texas vs. Texas 4 rounds

Boxing Chatter: Former boxing champ Rico Hoye has severed ties with Keep Punching Boxing Gym in Scottsdale leaving David Quarles and Vasily Jirov as co-owners. Rico is opening a gym located at his home?.Glendale, Arizona boxer Luis Olivares is fighting in Connecticut on May 15?. Big bad Bronco Billy Wright jumped gently on a special built bike and pedaled from Las Vegas to Central Gym where he was met by Channel 12 (in Phoenix) sports anchor Bruce Cooper and local boxing figure Ralph Velez Jr. spokesperson for Sweat Fast, a product designed to aid people reduce their waistline through exercise and usage of Sweat Fast. The ride, ?Trek for Cures? was staged to raise money to fight cancer.

According a posting online, the trek raised $700.00 and still counting. Wright, a benevolent soul has donated money to F-1 boxing academy and fitness gym; giving back is very commendable. Speaking of bike riding, the tenth annual Phoenix Bike to Work Day was held on Thursday, April 23. For a list of Valley Bike Day & Month activities and resources visit We hope you enjoyed Earth Day and weren?t confused in thinking that the tribute to the wellbeing of our earth has anything to do with the band, Earth: happy biking!

Arizona boxing prospect Alexis Zazueta (4-0), trains at F-1 Boxing Academy, has signed with Empire Boxing and he is scheduled fight Saul Hernandez (6-6- 4 knockouts) on the Saturday April 25 Iron Boy Card at the Celebrity Theater. Zazueta, an introvert, promised to call me and answer a few questions, but I guess one was too many.

Smoker Event: Albert and Mercy Longoria deserve a place in the Arizona Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame for their devoted work with the kids and adults training at the Kroc center as members of the Salvation Army boxing and fitness program. If there are two nicer people, I haven?t met them. On 4/18 the center played host to a smoker (boxing tournament) and I was able to watch 18 of the 24 bouts and one of the coaches (Seferino Rodriguez) was able to email me the name of the winner of the team trophy (Salvation Army) and the names of the gyms representing best male boxer (Knockout boxing) and best female boxer (Salvation Army). I will list all of the bout results after a few personal observations.

I found it unusual that 6 of the 48 fighters performing were unattached; therefore they weren?t card carrying members of the USA Arizona Boxing organization. I asked why and they replied they weren?t getting enough benefits for the mandatory membership fees to continue to stay members. It is, in my opinion, an increasing problem that should be addressed by USA Boxing Arizona. I also noticed at least 3 matchups where the fighters seemed to be in different weight classes even though the bout sheet said otherwise.

Lilly Keating: I talked to several of the young fighters at the Smoker Event and the one who impressed me the most was Lilly Keating, a 14 year old amateur pugilist who has her sights on making the 2016 USA Olympic Team. The eight grader told me that her appearance at the smoker was only her second fight because nobody would fight her.

Here is a little background on the energetic young lady who counts Motocross and snow skiing as other sporting interests she attacks as ferociously as she does boxing. Lilly?s mother, Twyla Keating, is her biggest fan (Dad is a close second) and she has nickname her daughter (Lily has six brothers) ?lights out? Lilly who is an honor student with a world of confidence. Lilly fight in the 109 pound weight class and most her sparring partners are boys who soon find out just how serious Lilly is about boxing and trying out for the Olympics. After talking to her, I got the impression her bags were already packed for Rio.

Her opponent in the tournament was Alicia Martinez, fighting out of Knockout Boxing; a very prestigious boxing program headed by head coach, Andy Soto. Alicia?s weight was listed at 109 lbs. but I think her actual weight was closer to half of 109 kilograms which measures out to about 120.15 pounds; also, Martine appeared to be a head taller.

To my surprise, Lilly pushed Martinez around as if she was a 50 pound bag of potting soil, planting vicious body blows at will. By mid-point of the second round, Ms. Martinez was arm weary and her punches reflected her weariness. Lily was awarded a well-deserved unanimous decision victory and members of her Busted Knuckle boxing team (Alan & Wayne) looked at me as if to say, I told you so; it was a very impressive performance. Full list of winners follow PPV Party piece.

PPV Party: Andy Bayless, Twin Peaks on Camelback, is inviting everyone to watch the big fight at his place on May 2 and the party will start outside in the parking lot and continue inside. Cover charge is a moderate $15.00 with a $15.00 minimum tab spends (Food & Drink). Andy wants everyone to come early and watch the running of the Kentucky Derby prior to the fight; no reservations are needed, but arriving late may mean missing the party and waving goodbye to your friends inside. Other places are charging $25.00. Andy cleans his television screens before each event.

A Salute: Here is a list of all of the winning fighters at the Ray Kroc Smoker tournament: Fernando Martinez (Fuentes Boxing), Oscar Lopez (Madison Boxing), Dennis Martinez (Calderon Boxing), Timothy Swanson (Durso Boxing), Lilly Keating (Unattached), Luis Retana (Unattached), Erick Davila west (Unattached), Brianna Jackson (Salvation Army), Adrian Rodriguez (Unattached), Xavier Gloria (Guadalupe), Carlos Luzanilla (Linares Boxing), Sergio Rodriguez (Knockout Boxing), Jose Lara (Salvation Army), Myron Bridges (Unattached), Jazlyne Cardenas (Unattached), Gloria Gayton (Salvation Army), Fabian Longoria (Salvation Army), Fabian Montes (Phoenix Boys Center), Thomas Valerio (Central), Gabriel Quijada (Knockout Boxing), Jesus Silva (Gene Lewis) and Damian Valdivezo (Phoenix Boys Center) . As customary, we salute all the coaches, athletes, volunteers and fans who participated in the event.

Difference of Opinion: The much talked about Celebrity Making of a Champion event will be held at Knockout Gym in Phoenix instead of the previously mentioned Central Boxing Gym. A spokesperson (Miss Gwen Ran?Cher) for the internet promoted reality show pilot cited size (too small) and lack of parking space as the main reasons for moving the event which is still on for May 12. The original press release mentioned honoring Mohammad Ali, Five Times World Champion Michael Carbajal, Arizona?s 1st native born world champion Louie Espinoza ,Tony Baltazar and Jerry ?School Boy Cheatham was added. As we went to print, there are additional new details emerging about the event; so please forward your questions to Miss Ran?cher at 310-684-3558 x 2 or Ron Valderrama at 602-515-5957.

Central Boxing has a different take on why Miss Ran?cher, personal assistant to New G Media Group, LLC and Arizona Boxing Hall of Fame, INC. (pending registration) isn?t presenting the event at the Central Gym. A spokesperson for the Central Gym issued the following statement: ?After careful consideration, the owner of Central Gym denied a request by Miss Ran?Cher to use Central for the May 12 event because not enough verifiable information is known about Miss Ran?Cher or her group. We regret saying no, but Central Boxing has a reputation to uphold and linking our name and facility to a speculative event weighed heavily in our decision making process.?

Miss Ran?Cher has talked to me on 3-4 occasions and during one conversation, she informed me that she contacted Arizona Secretary of State Michele Regan?s office and found out the state of Arizona doesn?t have a Boxing Hall of Fame; so she registered ?Arizona Boxing Hall of Fame INC. and is using the pending registration to promoter her upcoming awards show which will be filmed and shown to prospective buyers as a pilot for her reality show project that is being shopped.

Hours after she told me of her plan, I talked to two of her May 12 honoree?s and they both told me that they were inducted in the Arizona Boxing Hall of Fame, years ago and both men swear they attended their induction ceremony. In the words of Hall of Fame comedian Arte Johnson: ?very interesting.?

Miss Gwen sent me a press release announcing her May 12 event and she describes the event as ground breaking and promises to Induct Five Times World Champion Michael Carbajal and his good friend Luis Espinoza, Arizona?s first native born world boxing champion. Tony Baltazar and Jerry ?School Boy? Cheatham will also be inducted at the ceremony presented by the New G Media Entertainment Group, an organization that I tried to research, but could find nothing about. Feel free to call 602-515-5957 or 310-684- 3558 X 2 and ask your questions. I hate to rain on her parade, but there are as many as 40-50 major contributors to the rich history of Arizona Boxing and I seriously doubt if any of them will be at the ceremony, at least 7-10 of them are no longer with us: may they rest in peace!

More Boxing News: Arizona Boxing Promoter Maritza Miranda Saenz (Bout Maker Boxing Promotions) and her family attended the 4/18 Smoker Tournament at the Kroc Center off Broadway in Phoenix and I saw her pass out her business card to 14 year old female boxer Lilly Keating who participated and won her bout in the tournament. Saenz is planning a show in Phoenix on August 29. If she does a pro-am show, she could try to recruit Miss Keating to appear on her upcoming card. .. there are rumors that the late Steve Lopez and well known referee Wes Melton (both Arizona natives) are candidates to be featured on Arizona?s Boxing?s mural wall of Fame located at the Central Boxing gym in Phoenix??24 year old super bantamweight Jafar Mohammad 8-1 w/ 8 knockouts won his last contest with a TKO victory in Detroit, Michigan, his home town. Jafar trains at Keep Punching Boxing in Scottsdale, Arizona and he is hoping to introduce himself to Arizona boxing fans if a matchmaker offers a contract.

Joey ?The Boxer? Ruelas was at the Kroc Center Smoker Tournament looking fit at 160 and the Phoenix fighter hopes to improve on his 8-1-1 when he fights at the Celebrity Theater on Saturday April 25. He told me to forget the old Joey Ruelas and concentrate on the new one who now trains at Busted Knuckle and has adopted a different boxing style. He left the smoker early to attend a fan appreciation gathering at a Phoenix Restaurant. Joey has changed his diet, trainer and added a publicist. At 33, it?s time to get serious. If you go, look for a Joey Ruelas beaming with confidence and a sense of urgency. Doors open at 5:30 pm and good seats still remain?..former world Champion Erik Morales , the first Mexican-born boxer in history to win world titles in four different weight classes, was brought into Phoenix by Tecate to sign autographs at three West Valley Food locations on 4/24. He will continue signing on Saturday at a Food City Store on Southern Avenue and the boxing legend will attend the Iron Boy XX show at the Celebrity Theater later in the evening.

Wrap Up Notes: No word on why Emilio Garcia and Edgar Brito weren?t on the Iron Boy XX show at Celebrity on April 25?.I was told none of the Buffalo Wings Bar & Grill locations in Phoenix will be showing the Mega fight on May 2 which is a huge surprise?.super motor mouth Floyd Mayweather raised a few eyebrows when the boxing champ proclaimed himself a better fighter than Mohammad Ali. ?Trainer Mario Ruiz tapped me on the shoulder at a recent smoker tournament and asked me to pass the word that he is hosting a two day ?Battle At Broadway? in Mesa at 59 S. McDonald in Mesa on Friday May 15 & Saturday May 16. 1st day bouts start at 7 pm and the Saturday day finals commence at 2 pm. Admission price is $10.00 for everyone over 5 years of age and the 5 and under set are admitted free. If you have any questions, call Mario at 480-239-9088?.18 year old aspiring boxer Hubert Mason weighs 210, but hopes to reach a much trimmer 180 before he makes his amateur debut. The young man works out at Central Boxing Gym and facility manager Tom Garcia thinks the kid is a keeper?.referee West Melton lettered at Carl Hayden High School in wrestling. The outgoing boxing official was a teammate of Joe Garcia who was the star of the team and received all state horns each year he wrestled; a bit of Arizona Sports history?The Henry Armstrong Foundation (non-profit 501 C-3 organization) has received a signed glove from Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach and seven division World Champion Manny Pacquiao to be auctioned off at an exclusive Mayweather/Pacquiao watch party on May 2 at Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley. I would like to thank the person who sent me an autographed picture of Manny, last week, that was mounted on a plaque with inscription. I will not be donating that collectible in the near future. It was a birthday gift, sweet! Until Next Time!

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Don Smith.

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