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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Q & A with Joey Ruelas, Wild Card: ?All In? & More

Boxing Fans, The Ruelas name is synonymous with boxing in South Phoenix. Joey Ruelas, a native Arizona son, donned gloves at age 8 and began winning titles at ?smokers? held across the state as did his father (Nacho) and his grandfather attained a modicum of boxing success in Mexico.

Boxing is in the Ruelas DNA and Joey?s story is powerful and how he survived living in a west side neighborhood that featured more drive by shootings than visits by elected politicians is worth a sit and talk; at least I thought so. Joey and Marcy Ruelas still reside in the same neighborhood with their 4 children and a large contingent of family loved Pit Bulls; call first before taking a trip to the Ruelas home to borrow a cup of sugar!

I asked Joey earlier this year if I could do a story on him, he smiled and nodded his approval. The plan was to send him questions through email and he would answer them with the help of his supportive wife, Marcy and return the answers. I would then write an insightful introduction which would serve as a lead in to the carefully crafted questions answered by the interviewee. The idea of censorship was never mentioned, but he was given the right to answer any or all questions. He chose to leave five blank.

Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner initiated the Q & A formula I prefer to use. It?s simple clean and honest. I never censor answers unless the reply is nasty vulgar in most definitions of the term.

I almost scrapped my interview with Mr. Ruelas when I thought his marketing agent and managing team (8 Count Media) was attempting to censor me and circumvent my creative and journalistic authority to ask fair but interesting questions; few people read moon, spoon, June type of questions and to paraphrase the Tina Turner Classic, I don?t do anything easy because my readers prefer reality and not social media hype or tripe. I can?t say it any plainer without cursing and I don?t utter foul language, so there you have it.

Thankfully we came to a mutual understanding without a moral or artistic sacrifice and I thank the Ruelas Family for defending my right to practice journalism according to the oath I swore to, years ago in Texas as a student. I talked to Jedd Lafleche (? Partner of 8 count Media) and he understood my concerns and we halfheartedly joked about wanting to stay clear of censorship. To my surprise, Jedd (former Hockey player) wasn?t aware of my column although it has appears in Canada (his birthplace) at various times and I was in Calgary on July 6, 2015 to cover Middleweight Janks Trotter?s victory over Phil Rose; hmm, Trotter vs. Ruelas would be intriguing hook-up, in my opinion, if they could agree to fight at 158-160 lbs., just a thought.

I met Joey at Central Boxing shortly after he announced his return to boxing after handling complex personal issues. His record now stands at 9-1-1 with 4 knockouts. We didn?t put any restrictions on the questions asked and Joey and Marcy had the right to refuse to answer any submitted question regardless of rhyme or reason. As mentioned, they decided to leave five unanswered and I defend their decision to do so. Years ago, Mike Tyson only answered 2 of six questions I asked him?we didn?t come to blows, freedom of speech?thank goodness we didn?t come to blows or blow!

Middleweight Joey Ruelas (top photo) at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on July 25 and with his children (above).

Due to their hectic schedule, we extended the column deadline and I appreciate the family finding time to answer the following sometimes personal questions and although Mr. Ruelas refused to answer five of the questions forwarded to him, we defend his right to do so and here are the questions he did forward answers to:

ABNN: Pit Bulls or Children, which is the easiest to teach? We know you have four beautiful kids and rumors suggest you have almost a dozen Pit Bulls at the Ruelas estate; so give everyone the inside story on what it takes to be a good parent and a beloved dog master.

JR: We raise dogs because our family loves the dogs. It teaches the kids responsibility and we enjoy the time we spend as a family. People always have something to say about Pit Bulls and we hope that we can change the way that people think about them.

ABNN: You?re a native of Arizona, a state that is the birthplace of 2 former world boxing champions (Espinoza & Carbajal); is it possible that you could join their elite circle and win a world title? After all, you?re 33 years old and just coming off a probationary restriction that kept you fighting in-state and you have endured several recent injuries incumbent to boxing; are you battling an impossible dream or will the Ruelas Pride factor and strength of heart prevail?

JR: Winning a world title is always the goal and my previous injuries will not stop me from making my dream come true.

ABNN: Recently, you hired a new management team including trainers and you switched gyms where you hold your workouts. What prompted the changes and did you personally orchestrate the moves?

JR: I decided t comeback to Phoenix to be home with my dswife and children because they needed me home. The changes I made were my decision and they were needed to take my career to the next level.

ABNN: On July 26, 2014 you were knocked out by Izaac Cardona in the 1st round in front of your hometown fans at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, but I was told you didn?t make excuses, is that right and how difficult was it to face your most supportive fans after that defeat? Have you always been able to face the truth straight up!

JR: In boxing there dare ups and downs. It?s not about the ups, it?s about how much you learn while you are down that you get back up and keep going. I feel truly blessed to have the best fans that support me through the ABNN:ups and the downs. I don?t make excuses; I try to learn from my mistakes and move forward.

ABNN: You?re a third generation boxer; do you blame boxing for any of your past troubles and what do you tell young pugilists entering the business?

JR: I don?t blame boxing for my past. I would tell young people entering boxing to stay dedicated the sport because at some point it could become your job.

ABNN: Your wife Marcy has stood by you through some dark times, how remarkable is your wife?

JR: She is my backbone. My wife is awesome. I would not be here without my wife and my family. My mom and dad have also stood by me through all of my ups and downs and I am grateful for their support. I have an amazing family; I am truly blessed to have them.

ABNN: You now employ a marketing firm (8 Count Media), strength conditioning coach, dietician, trainer and cut man to prepare you for the business of boxing; so is boxing no longer a sport for you?

JR: It has never been a sport, it has always been my job. Like most professional fighters, for example; Canelo Alvarez, they have a full team-including strength and conditioning coach, dietician, management, and marketing people to help them get to the next level of their careers.

ABNN: You attended Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix and fell short of receiving a diploma, what do you tell your children about getting an education?

JR: Even though I didn?t graduate-I encourage my kids to do the best they can and I stand by all their decisions.

ABNN: According to an unscientific poll conducted recently; you (Joey ?The Boxer? Ruelas) is considered one of the three most popular active boxers in the state of Arizona. What is your reaction and what do you attribute your local popularity to and how much credit goes to 8 Count Media and their online marketing strategy?

JR: 8 Count Media has been a true blessing to me and helped us in multiple ways. They have given me the help I needed to get to where I need to be.

8 Count Media not only handles my media, but they manage me and my career through career through getting sponsors, equipment, keeping the team together and moving forward.

ABNN: A reminder to your fans, your next fight is scheduled for July 25 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix and your current record stands at 9-1-1 with 4 knockouts. As customary, you (the subject) have the last word!

JR: Thank you to 8 Count Media and my whole team and my fans for aqll of their support.

Round II: boxing fans fare waiting to see if Fight Hard Promotions second show at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday, June 13 measures up to the well-received first show earlier this year. Rigoberto Ledezma, Fight Hard co-founder) told me several subtle changes are in effect to make the boxing experience more enjoyable. Thanks to an arrangement with the hotel management, boxing fans can now walk through the hotel lobby to reach the venue instead of the infinite stroll they took last time. Also a box office will be set up for walk-up ticket purchasers. Boxing fans in Arizona love to arrive fashionably late; it?s considered Southwest chic!

Fight Hard admits a few glitches occurred in the last show, but concedes the company goal is to achieve excellence and the affable promoter has signed 11 former Mexican Olympians and 7 fighters from Tucson to add to his stable of signed professional fighters.

Also included in the latest blueprint are plans to present televised casino shows. Mr. Ledezma is an optimist who dreams big and expects things to happen. The weigh-n will be held at Calico Jacks (Westgate in Glendale) on Friday June 12 at 6 pm. The boxing show at the Renaissance Hotel will commence the rumbling at 6 PM and ticket holders can attend the after fight party (free of cover charge) by taking their fight ticket or stub to Calico Jack?s Calico when the last boxing decision is rendered. Oh ,for those interested; the lovely Fight Hard Girls return with a new addition. Here is the updated Fight card which is subject to change:

Jesus Aguinaga 3-3 vs. Manuel Lopez 3-0, Eduardo Tercero 9-5 vs. Andrew Hernandez 8-1-1nc-1majority draw, Mario Diaz 3-1 vs. Paul Romero 3-0-1, Miguel Espinoza 1-0 vs. Mario Esparza 3-0-1, Jesus Serrano 6-2 vs. Vincent Jennings 5-0, Bernardo Marquez 2-0 vs. recently unretired Carlos Barnett 11-2 , John McCarthy (debut) vs. Vincent Cano 1-0, , Roberto Ramirez 13-1 vs. Abel Ramos 12-0-2, Yamani Abreu 4-9 vs. Nathaniel Gallimore 4-0, Mario Hermosillo 12-20 vs. Adrian Granados 13-4-2, Sergio Najera 10-18-2 vs. Keenan Carbajal 5-2-1.

PS: of the fighters I have seen: Ramos, Gallimore, Cano, and Marquez showed an impressive skill set when I last saw them. Mario Hermosillo is better than his record and I am not familiar with Adrian Granados, his opponent; Granados did win a minor super lightweight title in 2014. Overall it is a good card and tickets are available at sites listed on the Fight Hard Website. If you go, parking is free and unless the city closes early, it sounds like a fun night.

More Stuff: Iron Boy called to promise more info on their July 25 (Iron Boy XXIII) show at the Celebrity Theater that will feature Victor Castro battling for his first title. We are still waiting for update; go to Iron Boy website. As you know, middleweight Joey Ruelas is on the card along with local favorites Carlos ?The Chosen One? Castro, heart throb favorite Francisco C. De Vaca and quick hitting Emilio Garcia. Tickets are on sale at the Celebrity theater box-office and online?.The Golden Gloves Jr. Tournament is being held at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa on June 6-7; call 602-799-8536?. Luis Olivares is still on the mend from rib cartilage injury?.there are major questions about the Celebrity Making of a Champion pilot project that was supposed to happen on June 6, but event organizer Gwen Ran?cher is telling her alleged cast people, not the media, that the event will probably happen on June 27 and it may happen in Vegas not Phoenix; don?t pack your bags, yet!...local fighters Tim Riddell and Walter Santibanes are rumored to be on the BMBP show on August 29 Card?

BMBP Steps Up: If you read this column too late to attend, please call 602-252-0553 and see what you can do to help. You may not know the Blanco Family, but they need your help. The mother and father died in da tragic auto accident and their four year daughter remains paralyzed from the same accident. Bout Maker Boxing Promotions announcer JR Cardenas will host a comedy show on June 6 commencing at 6 PM at the Fuengo?s Bar & Grill in Tolleson. Arizona to benefit the family. BMBP isn?t too liberal on sending out press releases; fortunately a reader informed me of the event and I hope boxing fans will travel to 9118 W. Van Buren in Tolleson and give what you can to a family who needs help. If you miss the show (5-9 PM), please consider contacting the number listed above and ask how you can help. BMBP CEO Maritza Miranda Saenz and her family is expected to attend the event. Ms. Saenz has agreed to a Q & A session with Arizona Boxing News and Notes when her scheduling permits. Her team is currently working on a boxing show for August 29 in Phoenix.

Boxing News: Undefeated Light Heavy Trevor McCumby is taking a well-deserved respite while waiting for his next bout?Ticket sales to the July 25 Expo show are don hold until the dates are straightened out. The event was scheduled for June 13-14, but Iron Boy pulled out after feeling a little insecure about the event. Event spokesperson Mark Green assure me the show happen on July 25 ; however, officials at Phoenix Convention Center aren?t as confident?.In my last column, I disclosed what the Retired Boxer?s Association has concluded about the diagnosis and treatment of concussions.

They support the findings of Mayo Clinic and I passed that info on to Arizona Boxing/MMA Executive Director Matthew Valenzuela who told me everyone has an opinion and left it at that?I thought his comment and attitude was rather odd, but he the man.... ?.Alexis Santiago will appear on the Fight Hard August Card in in August. It was thought he would defend one of his two titles on the June 13th show, but no cigar?.Trainer Willie ?The Lion? Borchert was celebrated at Hammers Boxing Gym and the home of George Garcia recently and Louie Espinosa, Johnny Vasquez and other fighters trained by the master were there. I was promised pictures and story by Hammer Gym Owner (George Garcia), but he didn?t come through. George did send me a blurb about Police officer Alyssa DeFazio deciding to fight professional after quitting as an amateur to complete Police Academy training and join the Prescott Police Force. She was a very promising amateur boxer until she took off her gloves and started packing heat. She is expected to make her debut on a future Fight Hard Card according to one source??WBU boxing champion Roy Jones Jr would like to fight in Arizona on July 4, but Box-Rec lists him fighting on August 29 in Philipsburg St. Maarteen and some of his people have ruffled a few feathers in Arizona while trying to set something up in Arizona?..Until Next Time!

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

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