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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Castro, Ramos and Lavalee Win, Oh, Marlene and News

Boxing Fans, Iron Boy 27 presented 10 bouts at the Celebrity Theatre on September 26 and the majority of the bouts were entertaining and a testament to the organizational skills of Iron Boy Promotions who managed to overcome a few nixed bout matchups to deliver a show enjoyed by a partisan hometown crowd that included Marlene, a super loyal fan of Main event participant Carlos Castro, 13-0, (UD winner) who dominated Jose Silveria, 15-18, in their 6 round lopsided faceoff. Castro proved he is ready for bigger and better tests.

Marlene and a girlfriend screamed and shouted their support during the entire Castro vs. Silveria bout and to heighten the drama, the adventurous Marlene climbed over three rows of seats to reach the apron of the ring where she continued to demonstrate the behavior of an out of control fanatic. Her actions almost ruined the main event for me.

I wasn?t the only terrorized and polarized spectator, dozens of fans moved away from Marlene and some of the paid patrons actually left the venue and headed home before the conclusion of the main attraction. Why security didn?t talk to Marlene or escort her out boggled my mind. The official word was a supervisor was called, but didn?t respond to the request.

On his way out of the venue, Ring Judge Craig Harmon walked by me and told me he hoped I would write something good about the judging; without equivocation I can say every verdict was , a boast I rarely make. I wanted to ask Mr. Harmon if he heard or noticed Marlene, but he strolled by me before I could bring up the subject.

The introductory bout of the evening featured French Canadian Kevin Lavalee (14-0-1) against Mexico?s Pablo Batres (8-13-1) in a 6 round bout that was mentioned as a tune-up for the 132 lb. Lavalee who was entering the ring with a thick layer of rust after a long layoff. He (Lavalee) told me that he was set to fight contender Joel Diaz in March, but the deal fell through for unexplained reasons. The Montreal born boxer fought flat footed throughout the contest to highlight his power against a fighter who has been stopped four times in his career. Bates went the distance, but was outworked by the Roy Jones Jr. signed pugilist who earned a unanimous decision by a wide margin. Lavalee hopes to fight Diaz in the near future; Kevin, be careful what you wish for!

The Co-Main event demonstrated why 142 lb. Arizona Pugilist Abel Ramos (14-0-2-9 knockouts) is arguably one of the most popular active fighters living in the Grand Canyon State. He schooled Mario Hermosillo (12-21?4) for three rounds until Mario?s corner signaled no mas by tossing a white towel in the ring. In my humble opinion, Ramos is close to fighting for at least a minor title. In a recent online survey, Arizona boxing fans ranked Ramos as the best active professional boxer in a state that has produced two world champions; others receiving votes included Jose Benavidez Jr-interim world champion), youth champion David Benavidez, Francisco C. De Vaca and Carlos (The Chosen One) Castro. It should be noted that the online poll is less than scientific. Tucson boxing trainer Brad Carlton led in the trainer category at last count.

A friend of mine enjoyed the Chad Davis vs. Anetelea Opetaia 4 round heavyweight bout, but I thought it was the least entertaining fight on the card. Opetaia, the heavier puncher, rocked Davis early and the 36 year old veteran (5-14) spent most of his ring time hanging on to the victor (Opetaia) as if he had found a new mama. Davis was warned several times and finally was penalized twice for holding. Opetaia (winner via UD) upped his record to 2-1 while continuing to show promise. Davis may have fought his last fight.

In addition to Abel Ramos, Journeyman promotions was also represented on the card by Joshua Greer Jr. and Ernest Muhammad Jr. and both fighters from the windy city of Chicago won. Muhammad hooked (2-0) up with Cliff Jordan (1-1)of Phoenix in a spirited 4 rounder and it was arguably one of the best fights of the night. Neither man backed down; the UD decision awarded Muhammad may have been a bit generous. I had Muhammad winning by a split decision because he threw and landed more punches; both fighters received a standing ovation. Greer (1-0) knocked out a nervous Luis Rangel Guerrero in the second round of their scheduled 4 round bout.

Another good fight on the card pitted undefeated Junior Rodriguez (3-0) aka Jose Rodriguez Herrera against perennial loser Misael Chacon (1-11) who wasn?t given a snowballs chance, but he continued to battle even though he wound up losing a UD decision although I had the bout much closer. The audience put their hands together for this one and rightfully so.

Crowd favorite Paul ?Ziggy? Romero?s bout with Gerardo Avila was changed to 6 rounds from the originally scheduled 4 and both men tired in the final stanza. Romero showed too much guile for the less experienced Avila and the Phoenix fighter upped his record to 6-0-1 while Avila boxing resume dropped to 3-5-2. It wasn?t Romero?s best performance, but it was good enough to win.

10/10 Special: Arizona Olympic hopefuls Eben Vargas and Christopher Gonzales (141 lb. division) will box-off on 10/10 at Greenfield Elementary School in South Phoenix and the winner will receive a $500.00 stipend from USA Boxing Arizona and an invitation to the final USA Olympic boxing qualifier in Memphis, Tennessee October 26-31. It was my understanding that the Olympic boxing team qualifiers were completed in Philadelphia, but USA Boxing has scheduled one more qualifier. I sent an inquiry to USA Boxing for an explanation of the October qualifier, but no response.

The second place finisher at the 10/10 event can go the final qualifier without the benefit of a travel aid stipend from USA Boxing Arizona. The top two finishers at the final qualifier in Memphis will advance to the USA Olympic box-off team finals held in Reno, Nevada on December 7-12.

At the conclusion of the Nevada held event, the two top finishers from each weight division automatically become members of the 2016 USA Olympic boxing team with the winner from each category serving as the USA representative and the runner up goes as the alternative. So, far 108 lb. Adrian Servin (Guadalupe Boxing) is the only Arizona boxer advancing to the box-offs in Reno; good luck to Vargas & Gonzales. I was told that Gonzales beat Vargas in June of this year; so Vargas will be looking for redemption.

In addition to the Gonzales vs. Vargas bout, the Greenfield Elementary School held smoker will present 24 other bouts with two boxers traveling from Canada and event host Ricky Ricardo promises to pass out free boxing vouched ( good for up to 4 tickets) to the upcoming Wednesday October 14 ESPN televised boxing show. Doors open at 1 PM and Greenfield Elementary School is located on 10th Street in South Phoenix; see you there. 1st bout at the smoker starts at 2 PM.

Boxing Noise: Congratulations to bantamweight Alexis Santiago (19-3-1) for his signing with Mayweather Promotions and his recent victory (9/8) over Javier Gallo (21-12-1) at the Hollywood Palladium in California. According to my sources, Santiago may be added to the October 14 ESPN card at Gila River Arena in Glendale; David Benavidez is also mentioned as a possibility.; remember, very few things in boxing are absolute.?. Hats off to Iron Boy Promotions for introducing Arizona boxers Trevor McCumby (20-o), Emilio Garcia (9-2-1) and 2016 USA Olympic hopeful Adrian Servin (Arizona) at their recent Celebrity Theatre show (9/26); it was a nice touch. The introduction of McCumby & Garcia coincides with their upcoming bouts on the October 17 Top Rank/Iron show at the Celebrity Theatre. Servin wasn?t wearing his silver medal earned at the Box-off in Philadelphia ay the Celebrity event; too modest, I guess. The well-mannered youngster has promised to appear at the October 10 Greenfield Elementary Smoker and the well-earned medal will be hanging around his neck when introduced by USA Boxing Arizona legend Richard Soto?? Undefeated Luis Olivares is matched and ready to fight on the Iron Boy/Top Rank show on 10/17 at the Celebrity Theatre; very impressive card from what I know about it. Matchmaker Mike Sanchez is still adding last minute additions.

Showtime Update: I spoke to Roy Jones Jr. Promotions match maker Guy Taylor and the affable Taylor informed me that rising Arizona prospect Victor Castro (15-0) would not be appearing on the undercard of the 10/23 Showtime televised show from the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix because a mutually agreed upon opponent couldn?t be found. Iron Boy matchmaker Mike Sanchez hopes to find a local replacement for the card, soon. In the meantime, Castro has secured a spot on the 10/17 Top Rank/Iron Boy Show at the Celebrity Theatre; in the words of Laugh-in legend Arte Johnson: ?very interesting.? The Showtime show (4 televised fights) is co-promoted by Iron Boy and Roy Jones Jr. Promotions and the presentation won?t be blacked out in the Phoenix area. Here is the latest lineup for the 10/23 Celebrity Theatre show: Main Event, Louis Rose (13-2-1) vs. Rob Brant (17-0) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Championship-10 rounds. Also Televised: Jarrell Miller 14-0 vs. Akhror Muralimov 16-1- (Heavyweights-8 rounds), Samuel Clarkson 16-3 vs. Lavarn Harvell 15-1 (Lt. Heavyweights-8 rounds), Super Featherweight Hermanito Dela Torre 16-0 vs. TBD; for the record, TBD doesn?t stand for Tom ?Bad Boy? Delaney.

3 non televised fights are expected on the Roy Jones Jr./Iron Boy show and we can confirm local talents Keenan Carbajal (8-2-1l and Paul ?Ziggy? Romero (5-0-1), but the names of their opponents haven?t been disclosed; this doesn?t mean they are in the witness protection program. A third bout featuring at least one Phoenix area fighter will be announced soon. It appears to be a strong card and don?t delay buying tickets; the seating capacity at the Celebrity Theatre doesn?t rival the Staples Center in Los Angeles. You know the routine: online or at the box-office.

Triumphant Return: Boxing Coach Juan Mendoza (Mendoza Boxing) entered three of his prized boxing pupils in a recently PAL Tourney (Oxnard, California) and Bernardino Hernandez won Silver and Fernando Martinez won gold in a ring battle that was described as a war. Team Mendoza wasn?t able to raise enough money for a rental car; so, the Martinez family loaned the team their car for the trip. There is no I in Team; another example of why amateur boxing needs to come up with a logical way to help finance trips to sanctioned boxing events. Both winners and their coach will attend the Greenfield Elementary boxing smoker on October 10.

Heavyweight Comeback: 6? 6? Malcolm Tann was considered a heavyweight prospect until two consecutive knockout losses led him to retire in 2007; one of those stops was to Chris Areola.

Tann (27-4 as a professional) took up boxing while serving in the United States Air Force. In 2002, Malcolm won a National Super Heavyweight Golden Gloves Title. The North Carolina Native is currently working out with Neutral Corner Boxing Coach Brad Carlton (Tucson, Arizona) and is close to resuming his ring career according to Carlton. The former Tar Heel resides in Gilbert, Arizona and recently was seen sparring at Central Boxing in Phoenix with Anetelea Opetaia. At age 37, time is of the essence.

Malcolm officially trains at Knockout Fitness in Gilbert and his management team plans to take him to Los Angeles soon where he will spar with cruiserweight/heavyweight Lateef Kayode. If all goes well, Tann could begin his boxing comeback in December.

Quick Jabs: The Iron Boy/Top Rank Show at The Celebrity Theatre on 1o/17 has added Victor Castro to its? impressive lineup of fights on the card. Instead of naming the show Iron Boy 28, the marquee could read: Night of the Undefeated. The list of undefeated young prospects include Jesus Gabriel Magdaleno (21-0-15 knockouts), Trevor McCumby (20-0-16 knockouts), Francisco C. De Vaca (12-0-4 knockouts), Victor Castro (15-0-7 knockouts) and Iron Boy 28 marks the return of Luis Olivares (8-0-5 knockouts). Luis took some time off to heal from a rib injury, but he is ready to resume his pugilistic career. In addition to being able to fight- these young men are good character guys according to all reports; good to hear!

More Jabs: Catch the Copper Gloves at the Arizona State Fair o October 27-28. General admission ticket is good for entrance to Jackson Browne Concert at the Coliseum on 10/28; check website for discount tickets and special ride offers?.. For info on the Gene Lewis three day tournament in November, contact Josh at 480-834-1216?Boxing at the Victory Outreach, 10/24 on McDowell Road; call Juan at 602-327-6901 for further details, doors open at 1 PM., Saturday 10/24. Juan told me that if he does run for a position in the upcoming USA Boxing Arizona election; it would more likely be for VP and not President. We encourage everyone, who is eligible, to vote?.last chance to register online to enter the 23rd Annual Susan G. Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure (individual) is 10/9 at .Starting line for participating runners is Cesar Chavez Plaza in Downtown Phoenix. Fans and runners are asked to arrive at 6 AM. Several area boxers are planning to race for the cure. If you?re a procrastinator, day of race registration is available on Sunday 10/11, 2015.

10/14 ESPN Show: Sorry to report I am getting very little cooperation from ESPN regarding news on their 10/14 show at Gila River Arena in Glendale. It seems that conducting a s?ance with Jimmy Hoffa would be more productive in acquiring info about the card. No word on whether or not the show will be blacked out in the Phoenix area and the network is mum on whether or not any local fighter will appear on the card; rumors aren?t confirmations. Here is what we know about the still developing card: Main Event: Devon Alexander vs. Aron Martinez, Title fight between IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby and Challenger Fernando Montiel 12 rounds, Welterweight bout between Javier Molina and Jesus Gurrola, Damien Vasquez and fellow flyweight Francisco Lapizco are linked to go 6 rounds, lightweights Ivan Redkach and Miguel Zamudio are inked for a ten rounder?. still waiting for to be announced foes in matches with Junior Middleweight Mark Hernandez, Welterweight Terrell Williams and junior featherweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar . I applied for press credential to cover the show, but I have a sinking feeling, Marlene will be inviter before me; let?s hope she doesn?t wear her torn jeans, again. The card actually looks terrific and hats off to ESPN and the promoters of the show for distributing free ticket vouchers to the Arizona Boxing community; good gesture. ?..Until Next Time!

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

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