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Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith: Iron Boy XXII Re-cap, Roy Jones Jr. News & Much More

Boxing Fans, A very weary Iron Boy Promotions CEO Roberto Vargas asked me after his May 23rd show (Iron Boy 22) was put in the can if they, meaning Iron Boy, had pulled it off. The boxing executive was referring to producing or co-producing three shows during a short hectic span of 30 days. In hindsight, I doubt if Iron Boy and Top Rank will ever use that trifecta boxing recipe again.

It was a war of attrition; the number of reported card changes in bringing the shows to fruition would exhaust the Dewey decimal system and require the talent of a mathematical major from Clark University to compile. After a very long pause, I told Vargas and his publicist (Emily Pandelakis) they had accomplished their mission, but privately I knew a heavy price was paid. Attendance was definitely down for Iron Boy XXII (est. 445) and I was forewarned; there are no secrets in boxing.

Bad news carries no warning! After finally assembling a complete card the boxing menu of Iron Boy XXII lost the show?s opening bout when word spread that highly touted Arizona Amateur Christopher Gonzalez would not fight due to the sudden passing of his grandfather. I talked to the 141 lb. Tucson pugilist (Neutral Corner Boxing) at the mandatory weigh-in (5/22) and Christopher and he was eager to show what he has learned from head Coach Brad Carlton a fitness guru and respected boxing trainer. I talked to Coach Carlton at length about Gonzalez and he raved about his abilities and willingness to learn. Unfortunately, the tragedy will delay the prospect?s return to competition until sometime in June; the funeral is set for Saturday May 30.

The show must go on! Edward Ceballos (Fuentes Boxing) and Christopher Sullivan (Ramos Boxing) opened the 6 bout show with a very entertaining amateur contest. Ceballos, a prized pro prospect has much more ring experience and poise than the unheralded Sullivan who was performing in only his 11th amateur fight, but Sullivan didn?t back down although he was wobbled a couple of times. Afterward, Ceballos admitted a three month competitive layoff hindered his timing and he hopes to fight 1-2 more times as an amateur before seeking his first pay check as a professional. I talked to one observer from a California Promotional Company who gave the fight thumbs up and described Ceballos a genuine prospect. He was equally impressed with Sullivan who showed grit and heart. Good fight! Ceballos thinks he might be on the July 25th Show at the Celebrity Theatre for Iron Boy.

In the first professional fight of the evening, Jose Herrera upped his record to 2-0 with both wins coming by way of knockout, 48 seconds into round three against Eric Jimenez who despite an edge in experience has yet to win a fight in 10 attempts. Herrera came out of his Red corner in round one as if he were snorting Tabasco sauce. He was on fire throughout the bout and no sober person at the venue seriously thought Jimenez could possibly go the distance. Herrera has speed and power and when he refines his boxing skills and tighten his punches, lookout. Iron Boy would be wise to find a spot for him on the July 25th Card. He is a keeper!

I had a four minute conversation with Jamaican American Nate Gallimore before his scheduled four round encounter with Mexico?s Edgar Ruiz. It was a brief battle lasting 45 seconds as Gallimore raised his record to 4-0- 4 knockouts and a disappointed Ruiz went home with a 0-2 record. Gallimore, during our chat, was cool as a cucumber and boldly confident that he would leave the venue with a knockout. Ruiz told me, in his dressing room, that Gallimore has awesome power; Trainer George Hernandez has a definite prospect. Gallimore is signed with Journeyman Promotions and he hopes to fight on the July 25th card at the Celebrity Theater. Gallimore wore Jamaican colors on his trunks to remind people of his heritage. We laughed about Jamaica?s Olympic Bobsled experiences. His boxing skills are no joke.

Alfonso Olvera (4-1) recently signed with Iron Boy Promotions and his first effort under their banner resulted in a 3rd round knockout over Jose Adolfo Caro (debut) of Mexico. It wasn?t a bout that will be used as a study guide for future boxers, but it was high octane action with more emphasis on going for da knockout than exhibiting the sweet science of boxing. Fans enjoyed the wild slugfest, but I remember when Olvera was a well-schooled boxer fighting out of Neutral Corner Boxing in Tucson; both men need to work on ring discipline.

In the co-main event, Carlos ?The Chosen one? Castro took (10-0) on tough Angel Monrreal (5-6-1) and Castro in his new energized style put a whooping on Monrreal until referee Richard Soto stopped the contest early in the fourth round of a bout scheduled for six. In the past, Castro was more of a methodical fighter who didn?t seem to have the killer instinct and fans can get behind this new self-wound Castro, he is fun to watch. Castro will be on the July 25th Iron Boy Card and I hope he takes his show on the road where he can show off his new found prowess and gain some personal maturity. Castro is trained by Jose Benavidez Sr. who now hosts a talk show (Outside the Ring) on Channel 44 every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 PM, what doesn?t he do? I talked to Castro after his win and told him of my past criticisms with some of his previous performances and he replied that he respected honesty and harbored no ill will
towards me or my critiques and he was smiling as he spoke.

Main Event: as a gesture of good will, fans sitting in higher up seats were moved down closer and better seats before the start of the main event which featured super lightweights Jose Marrufo and Rashawn McCain in a scheduled for six round contest. Marrufo is old school in that he comes at his opponent and doesn?t stop throwing punches even when he became arm weary after the fourth round. McCain can box, but he made the mistake of swapping wild leather with Marrufo toe to toe instead of working off his jab. Marrufo has a strong fan base and that factor could have influenced the judges who gave the contest to Maruffo by a reasonably wide margin, I had Marrufo winning by a much closer spread.

I would like to thank ring announcer Sonny Franco for asking the military veterans present to stand and take a bow, so to speak. I don?t know if Mr. Franco was aware that at least two small children stood to receive the acknowledgement. It was a fun night and unfortunately too few people saw the show. Next Iron Boy Show is scheduled for July 25.

Boxing News: The Alexis Urbina Memorial Tournament was postponed according to a reliable source who called in the news tip. It was scheduled to be held at South Mountain High School. For an update, contact Andrew Soto at Phoenix?s Knockout Boxing Club for more information. We expect the event to be rescheduled for some time this year?.. Popular Phoenix fighter Victor Castro is featured in a highly anticipated title bout on the Iron Boy XXIII show at the Celebrity Theater on July 25. Other combatants expected to perform on the Celebrity card are Francisco C. De Vaca, Carlos Castro, newly signed Mikayla Nebel, Joey Ruelas and Emilio Garcia who has a hard time finding opponent. Ruelas is a different fighter since his hookup with Busted Knuckle Boxing: more aggressive and more confidence and more of anything is usually better. Castro is now trained by Jose Benavidez Sr. and since the change of trainers the boxer known as ?The Chosen One? is beginning to look like a prospect instead of a club fighter who only knows how to counterpunch.

The announcement that Iron Boy is holding their Iron Boy XXIII show at Celebrity on July 25 means Iron Boy has severed ties with MMA USA EXPO 15 and will not participate in the Expo Event at Phoenix Convention Center (7/25)as previously announced. What soured is anyone?s guess, but my inside sleuth said a lack of trust was missing. In boxing, everything is subject to change.

More Expo News: I reached Mark Green, associate Director of the Expo event, via phone and he said Mr. Vargas had reservations about the show and withdrew his support; much to his chagrin. Green went on to state that the show will happen on July 25 at the Phoenix Convention Center with or without the participation of Iron Boy Promotions and boxing would play a role in the Expo. He said the other pieces are in place and he expects a strong turnout. I called the Phoenix Convention Center and a spokesperson for the venue told me the event remains listed for June 13-14 until it is officially changed and any date change has to be approved by the Arizona Boxing/MMA commission. MMA USA EXPO 15 promises to present wrestling, boxing (professional & Amateur) MMA, Bikini Contest, Body Building Contest, Tattoo Artists and a diverse group of vendors. Flyers advertising the event acknowledge the July 15 EXPO 15 show will benefit servicemen from all branches of the service with tickets and monetary donation. Tickets are on sale through ticket and the Phoenix Convention Center. A word of advice, don?t purchase ticket until the new date (7/25) is confirmed. Mark dismissed any suggestion that the show wouldn?t be in play on July 25 in Phoenix at the Phoenix Convention Center.

More Boxing News: Young amateur boxer Jesus Ramos Jr. (Ramos Boxing Gym) had to withdraw from the Battle at Broadway Tournament due to a neck sprain that occurred during a recent fight. We wish him well and he will be on hand to watch his Uncle (Abel Ramos) fight on the Fight Hard Card scheduled for June 13th at the posh Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, Arizona. Mario Ruiz was tabbed to replace Ramos on the Arizona State Junior Olympic squad traveled to Ogden, Utah for regional J.O. competition. ?USA Boxing Arizona took the JO team trophy at Ogden .?.Smooth punching Ariel Arismendez won a Bronze Medal in Taiwan recently and she hopes to qualify for the 2016 USA Women?s Olympic Boxing Team.

Here is a list of Arizona based boxers who won in Utah and advanced to the JO Nationals to be held in Charleston West Virginia, June 8-13: Xavier Gloria (80 lb.), Bryant Miranda (85 lb.), James Bahe (85 lb.), Dorian Kahn (90 lb.), Micky Scala (101 lb.), Xavier Gordin (114 lb.), Anthony Clark (106 lb.) Armando Chavez (119 lb.), James Browning (125 lb.), Carlos Velazquez (132 lb.), Jose Cordero ( 138 lb.), Mariah Martinez (65 lb.), Mariah Bahe (70 lb.), Reina Ruiz (95 lb.)), Diana Avalos ((101 lb.), Alicia Martinez (119 lb.). Special thanks to Jason (All Heart Boxing) in Utah for supplying me with the final results?.Heavyweight Anetelea Opetai and super welterweight Anthony Hill have been added to the Steve Ayala promoted private boxing show at the Phoenician Hotel on June 4, the same day, according to boxing gossip, a big boxing announcement introducing a new boxing promoter who plans to set up camp in Arizona; I don?t have a clue to whom the mystery promoter could be.

Explanation: At the Us Airways show on May 15, I took a single boxing glove and asked Ray Mancini and Timothy Bradley to sign it with plans to donate the glove to help someone who needs help paying medical bills or any other worthy cause. Someone (name withheld) took to social media and suggested that I was being unprofessional by asking for two autographs while at a working venue. Mr. Mancini was kind enough to sign before the event started and Mr. Timothy Bradley signed after the last fight. Iron Boy has no problem with my action and the hundreds of people I have helped by donating signed collectibles, understand my motive and if readers find it distasteful and unprofessional that I brought a glove (that I paid for) and had it signed and donated it to help an individual or family to ease their physical or financial burden; then I humbly apologize to my readers. Three years ago, on Easter day, the Arizona Diamondbacks honored me and five other persons for our charitable contributions and I continue to contribute to several 501 c-3 non-profit organizations.

Despicable me, at least I have never taken an ?arm piece? to an event and passed her off as a photographer when she didn?t have a camera. I would like to thank the dozen or so readers who keep up with the mindless chatter online and defend me from toxic and unwarranted attacks; thank you very much, good night and good luck!

Mad Caller: A caller claiming to be Boxing Trainer Andrew Soto called and complained about something I wrote. Mr. Soto or whomever screamed at me until I thanked the caller for his opinion and hung up. After the episode, I called my attorneys and they read the column and told me I have nothing to worry about legally, ethically or morally. I don?t have caller ID; so I really don?t know who the caller was and don?t care.

When I make a mistake, I admit it, but that isn?t the case in this instance. All of us are occasionally wrongfully accused of something and I harbor no hard feelings whenever it happens. I don?t want to rehash the particulars, but feel free to call me or email me if you disagree with what I write or say in public. Remember, my word is my bond, Peace!

News Jabs: Boxing Trainer and Central Gym Manager Tom Garcia is taking a well-deserved two week respite from boxing and headed for Myrtle Beach North Carolina beginning Saturday, May 30; best friend and brother Joe Garcia is holding the fort until Tom returns. Stay safe and enjoy!

Phoenix ring announcer Ralph Velez Jr. was expected to handle mike chores at the inaugural event of the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Series via LATV Networks, but the prized job has been awarded to veteran announcer Jeff Houston.

The series starts on Saturday, May 30 with three time champion Joseph Agbeko (29-5-22 knockouts) taking on ex WBC Continental light flyweight Champion Juanito Rubillar from the Philippines in El Paso Texas at the El Paso Memorial Coliseum. The Agbeko/Rubillar bout is the first of 12 contracted monthly fights in a broadcast agreement with LATV Networks, a national bilingual (Spanish-English) entertainment network distributed via digital multicast with major coverage in Top Tier U.S. Cities and Puerto Rico. Commentators for the Roy Jones Jr. Series will be multiple Emmy Award winners for live Sports coverage, Fernando Paramo, Rich Marotta and Marcelino Avila.

More Roy Jones Jr. According to an inside source, Mr. Jones Jr. wants to fight on the 4th of July in Arizona, but no venue has been confirmed. Arizona Boxing News & Notes was told that 3 contract offers have been sent to fighters, but not returned. Heavyweight Bronco Billy Wright was ringside at the Iron Boy Show on May 23 and he told this veteran reporter that he would like to be a part of the card. Wright fought victoriously in Arizona recently and I apologized for not being present at his fight, but my invitation to the event was sent mistakenly to the Philippines.

Billy and I agreed to conduct a future interview and he has my contact number, so the next move is his. Ring announcer and Phoenix talk show co-host Ralph Velez Jr. was sitting in front of Mr. Wright and he was the ring announcer for Wright?s last fight. No word on whether he will repeat his role should Roy Jones fight in Arizona on July 4. Fight Hype made mention of Jones wish to fight on Independence Day, 2015, but wishing and hoping isn?t the same as holding a signed contract. For more info don Roy Jones Jr. promoted events, click on his website; you know the drill!

Tournament Update: Be sure to head your car, mule or sneakers in the direction of the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 4550 S. Palo Verde Road in Tucson Arizona on Saturday, May 30 for the Desert Fisticuffs IV Amateur Boxing Event. If you think that is a mouthful, try explaining to Coach Ray Mitchell why you won?t be there unless you wisely marked it on your calendar last week and you are ready for prime time amateur boxing. The Tucson Wolfpack Boxing Team will host and compete in the event. Coach Ray contact info is PH 520-406-7561. 1st bout commences at 1 PM. It is a fundraiser for the Tucson Wolfpack team; so get off the couch and head for Pima County on 5/30.

Fight Hard Show: Co-Promoters Rigoberto Ledezma & Sonny Gutierrez (Fight Hard Promotions) are hoping to sign Undefeated David Benavidez for their Wild Card: ?All In? boxing show on June 13 at the posh Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, Arizona. It appears the charismatic duo is using every lure in the tackle box to land the 18 year old light heavyweight David Benavidez with a 9-0 record including 8 early round knockouts.

I was telephoned a list of fighters expected to compete on the card and it is an interesting collection of predominantly local fighters: Alexis Santiago (defending one of his two titles), Heavyweight Carlos Barnett, Super Middleweight Andrew Hernandez, Undefeated Abel Ramos, Journeyman prot?g? Emanuel Nieves, Fight Hard signees: Mario Esparza, Vincente Cano and Manuel Lopez. Also expected to fight on the card are: Promising California heavyweight Bernardo Marquez, Arizona boxing stylist Paul ?Ziggy? Romero, Jesus Aguinaga and 160 lb. Koral Sangster. Doors open at 4:30 and first fight commences at 6 pm. Tickets are available online, check out the Fight Hard website for more details. The venue is top drawer and the ring girls are classy?..Sitar Gym in Chandler Arizona deserves a high five for hosting the 2015 KEMPO/KEMPO-CRKKL LEAGUE PRE-International Tournament on Sunday July 26th, at 3029 N. Alma School Road in Chandler, Arizona , 85224, Sitar Gym is allowing the non-profit organization to use the facility at a bare minimum cost. The event starts at 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. Call 602-284-4887 for more information??. Until Next Time !

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

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