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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Fight to Remember, Knockout Night at the D

Breaking News: Craig Stanaway, spokesperson for Duco Events, released an emailed statement alerting members of the boxing press that the management team of Hughie Fury doesn?t like the idea of fighting WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker Jr on April 1 in New Zealand. Duco (official promoter for Parker) won the purse bid recently and is looking for a site to hold the event; but Peter Fury, Hughie?s father and trainer, is having second thoughts and he told IFL TV in England that noting is set in stone and the perturbed Dad said he would like the fight to be elsewhere but he did conclude that everything would probably be sorted out this week. Parker is from New Zealand and of course his management team would relish the idea of having the title bout in his homeland.

ABNN thinks the fuss may be about raising interest in the fight and in the end we predict the WBO title bout will take place in New Zealand on April 1 although Fury?s representatives are seriously suggesting England and allegedly Bob Arum (Top Rank CEO) has been consulted on the matter and what specific role he will play in the negotiations is unknown. We thank Duco Events for keeping us abreast of the situation. ABNN will continue to monitor the situation and hopefully a fix can be found.

Fight to Remember, Knockout Night at the D

Boxing Fans: On Friday, 2/10 a sold out crowd of 1,500 highly charged boxing fans streamed into Buffalo Run Casino & Resort (Miami, Oklahoma) to watch Ivan Baranchyk (14-0-10 knockouts) successfully defended his USBA welterweight title against Abel Ramos (17-2-2-12 knockouts) (top photo) with scores of 97-92, 99-91 and 97-93, a margin not shared by ABNN and polled fans who watched the fight on ShowTime?s Sho-Box New Generation Series. Coincidentally, 3 out of the four fighters who hold the distinction of going the distance with the big puncher aka ?The Beast? are from Arizona: Abel Ramos (17-2-2-12 knockouts), Wilbert Lopez (16-7-11 knockouts) and Alfonso Olvera (8-3-1-3 knockouts. And the other combatant able still standing after the final stanza was Zhimin Wang (8-knockouts).

ShowTime broadcaster Barry Tomkins, at the conclusion of the 10 round title bout, called the encounter a candidate for ?Fight of the Year? honors. ABNN suggested the match more than a year ago when we pitched the idea to both camps. Team Baranchyk, at the time of the contact, claimed they were unaware of Ramos who fights out of Casa Grande, Arizona. It is safe to say, Team Baranchyk can?t make that statement now!

Baranchyk was born in Russia, fights out of Brooklyn, New York and avid fans consider Miami his ?adopted? home. The sellout crowd on 2/10 in a city without an airport reflects the deep support for the 24 year old power puncher who remains a diamond in the rough despite his awesome power and potential greatness. His epic battle with Ramos should help his maturation.

Ramos, in our opinion, won the first three rounds by keeping Baranchyk on the outside with jabs that neutralized his power. The Russian did knock down Ramos in the third frame; but, the Arizona fighter returned the favor by knocking Ivan down in the same round.

In the 4th round, Baranchyk scored his second knockdown that helped him win the round with a10-8 advantage. Ramos recovered and I had 25 year old pugilist ahead narrowly 3-2-1 after six hard fought rounds.

Ramos continued his punch count advantage through the later rounds; but his punches were having less effect on Baranchyk who continued to throw bombs and do serious damage to the face and while impairing the vision of Ramos.

At the end of the intense battle, the crowd gave both fighters a well-deserved standing ovation. Ramos has yet to win on ShowTime telecasts (1 draw-2 defeats) but his unfortunate fate shouldn?t deter the network from showcasing his talents again and again. He is a classy boxer who may need to add muscle to his lanky body before he is capable of contending for a world title; but, the young man is a gifted boxer. And when the slick boxing Ramos deploys a stick and move strategy, he is hard to beat.

As for Baranchyk, he deployed a new trainer for this fight but he must continue to work on his footwork and break his habit of occasional lunging before he becomes a legitimate world class fighter. His power is awesome and fighters with that kind of juice have a distinct advantage in their chase for a world title. It was a great night of boxing.

In other televised bouts on the card: New York Cruiserweight Joseph Williams III (11-0-7 knockouts) upset former Olympian Lenin Castillo (15-1-1-10 knockouts) by fighter inside with the much taller Dominican fighter. One judge ruled the contest a draw (76-76) while the other two scoring officials turned in scorecards that read 78-74 and 77-75 in favor of Williams.

The victor, in our opinion, would be better served fighting in the light heavyweight class where he would be quicker and have a better chance to contend for a major title. As for the 28 year old Castillo, he needs to use his length advantage and be more aggressive to advance in the cruiserweight division rankings. On the record; our scorecard showed Williams ahead 77-75.

In the televised opener, 21 year old Lightweight sensation Jon Fernandez (11-0-9 knockouts) had no problem in ending Ernesto Garza?s night at the 1:39 mark of the 3rd round. Garza (7-2-4 knockouts) was game and fought with heart but his porous defense left him wide open to Fernandez?s relentless attack. Fernandez?s boxing stock is on the rise as he works his way up the ranks. His frame could support a move to the welterweight ranks due to his length.

Heavyweight Trey Lippe Morrison (13-0-13 knockouts) was scheduled on the card as part of the Co-Main Event; however, a nasty cut (above an eye) incurred during a sparring session; dropped him from the card. His half-brother James McKenzie Morrison (10-2- 9 knockouts) appeared in a non-televised bout on the card and made short work of heavyweight Dieuly Aristilde (9-9) with a first round knockout. If former WBO Champion Tommy Morrison were still alive, I am sure he would be happy to know that his two sons are following in his boxing footsteps. It was a great night for boxing.

RJJ Show: ?Knockout Night at the D? returns to the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center on Saturday March 11. Arizona Boxing News & Notes has traveled to Las Vegas to catch boxing at the DLVEC venue on several occasions and we have always left feeling Roy Jones Promotions went the extra round to produce solid shows with good match ups and occasional upsets. I recall one show when two of their fighters were upset.

The main event at the D is intriguing. 29 year old Former WBA Super-Bantamweight World Champion Rico Ramos (26-5-13 knockouts) takes on 24 year old Erik Ruiz 16-5-1- 6 knockouts in a 10 round Super Bantamweight Contest.

ABNN is familiar with Ruiz who is trained by the highly claimed Robert Garcia . Ruiz started his career at 13-1 and then suffered back to back losses to current WBO Featherweight Titlist Jesse Magdaleno and to highly regarded contender Manuel Avila (22-0). ABNN saw Ruiz, on short notice, upset Hanzel Martinez at the DLVEC in September of last year to win by majority decision, the vacant WBA international Super-Bantamweight Championship. Most writers present, including yours truly, thought Ruiz won by a comfortable margin.

Ramos won his WBA title in July of 2011 and lost it six months later to current Champ and pound for pound contender Guillermo Rigondeaux who is one of the most feared boxers in the world. The former champ has won his last two bouts and a victory over Ramos would signal that he is back to National prominence. It is a tussle between two Californians who know how to fight.

The Co-Main features 21 year old super featherweight Randy Moreno (8-0-7 knockouts. His opponent is yet to be named; but whoever gets the call better be ready to rumble.

As an amateur, Moreno compiled an impressive record of 48-6. He won the Ringside World Championships kin 2008 and the prestigious Gene Lewis Tournament (Arizona) in 2014. He made his professional debut on March 20, 2016 and has become one of the hottest prospects in boxing.

WBA-NABA Bantamweight Champion Stephon Yong, a real show stopper, brings a record of 16-0-3-6 knockouts to the ring and his motor never stops. I saw him beat Tony Lopez for his title and he is a treat to watch in action. Young hails from St. Louis Missouri and ABNN will be in the Show Me State later this week.

Another young lion on the card is 18 year old bantamweight Max Ornelas fighting out of the RJJ stable and his talent could take him all the way to the top. Max is 7-0-3 knockouts and he is supremely confident and he isn?t a power puncher but that will come as he matures. Bantamweight Ryan Riddell (2-0-1 knockout) represents the State of Arizona on the RJJ card. The 21 year old has speed, power and attitude. He comes straight ahead and there is no backpedaling with Riddell. The card is still under construction and the official matchmaker is Guy Taylor.

Ticket prices range from $27.00 for general admission to $100.00 for a VIP Booth. Ringside seating is very affordable at $57.00 and they go fast. The fourth seating option is available for $37.00. Taxes and fees apply to all tickets. Tickets are available online at or ?.see you there; 3rd street and Carson Avenue across from the D Las Vegas.

News & Notes: In our mention of the upcoming 23rd annual ?Celebrity Fight Night? on March 18, we failed to credit 6 time world champion and his contribution to the inaugural ?Fight Night? in 1994. Carbajal will be on the Red Carpet at the upcoming event with the likes of Sharon Stone, Billy Crystal, Harrison Ford and an array of celebrities from the entertainment industry and sports world.

Michael and NBA All-stars Charles Barkley and his Phoenix Sun?s teammate Dan Majerle were the hit of the evening with a funny boxing spoof with huge gloves. The boxing legend has always been at the forefront in supporting causes that improve the quality of life for everyone and we applaud his efforts.

Fans wishing to attend ?Fight Night? should call 602-956-1121 to purchase tickets. It promises to be a fun night of entrainment and giving. See you there!

More News: ABNN has been informed that the individual who bought fake boxing gear last year from someone we described as ?scum? reports his money has been returned??.130 lb. Ukrainian born fighter Viktor Slavinskiy, winner of the 2016 World Series Amateur Championships makes his highly anticipated professional debut on the Iron Boy 37 card, 2/25 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Viktor won 105 amateur fights with 56 recorded knockouts??..Iron Boy sources report that headliner B.J. Flores will now face Jeremy Bates (26-18-knockouts) in the Main Event (10 rounds) for an NABA Heavyweight title. Bates has faced some tough hombres during his career and won a share of those bouts. Colorful Arizona middleweight Andrew ?Hurricane? Hernandez (17-5-1-8 knockouts) is set to face his former amateur nemesis Sijuola Shabazz (6-2-5 knockouts) in the Co-Main for the UBF Middleweight Crown. ?. ...IBP Matchmaker Mike Sanchez is trying to squeeze Arizona amateur standout Alfredo Escarcega Jr. (140 lbs.) on the Iron Boy Card for his professional debut??Fight Hard Promotions hopes to add Phoenix featherweight (13-2-1) to his upcoming March 31 card at Legends Event Center in Phoenix..??..Once Abel Ramos heals, Arizona boxing promoters might think about matching Tucson?s Wilberth Lopez of Tucson with the popular Casa Grande Arizona fighter. We always hear local promoters say they want to do right by the Arizona fight fans and promote Arizona fighters; the pairing would definitely fulfill their promise and pack a medium sized venue like the Celebrity Theatre or the Legends Event Center (both venues are located in Phoenix) if the proposed headline bout if complimented with other bouts featuring Arizona?s best young fighters. Good idea, but it will take cooperation and that rarely happens with the power brokers controlling Arizona Boxing.

The Feud is ON: Andrew ?Hurricane? Hernandez is looking fit for his 2/25 fight at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. He told me he is having a war of words with Roy Jones Promotions and one of their top fighters, John Vera whom Hernandez Challenged after the Texan successfully defended his WBA ?NABA super welterweight title at the Celebrity Theatre against Salim Larbi.

We reviewed the show and commented about Hernandez climbing into the ring without invitation after the bout ended and began to challenge Vera to a future bout for Vera?s title and then the colorful Phoenix fighter shook the champ?s injured hand and left the ring after a few choice words with Vera?s handlers.

We wrote about the incident and thought nothing of it except to remind Hernandez that he shook Vera?s injured hand and that was inappropriate and he responded by claiming that he it wasn?t a firm intended to hurt handshake that was administered..

Now the feud has reached a new level and can be followed on social media (Instagram). Until it was explained to me, I thought Instagram had something to do with a new Graham Cracker flavor. What do I know about the inner workings of social media?

I was informed by a social media (not the Tweet Commander in Chief-Donald J. Trump) addict about the back and forth trash talk between the two and it included Vera calling Hernandez a bum and Andrew, of course, challenged Vera to settle the issue in the ring. I verified the feud with Andrew and he told me that RJJ Promotions and Rival Glove Manufacturer were also active in publicizing the feud through social media and it is unclear whether or the two will ever meet in the ring. Rival does manufacture gloves worn by both fighters; so perhaps there is a link that could be commercially exploited.

It?s A Wrap: Before we hit the send button, we would be profoundly sad if we didn?t wish Valley of the Sun resident Cellist Taylor Serrano good luck with her upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Taylor is a gifted Violoncello player and her musical accomplishments have made her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Serrano, very proud; as well as they should be- playing in Carnegie Hal is as good as it gets.

I bumped into Joe Serrano at Central Gym near downtown Phoenix; he was there to watch Andrew Hernandez spar and talk boxing with old friends Wes Melton and Gym Manager Tom Garcia. I had never laid eyes on Mr. Serrano before the chance meeting; but I was overjoyed when he told me he read our column on a regular basis and he complimented our efforts to cover boxing. Joe is a former amateur boxer from New York and when he speaks, boxers listen. Once again, congratulations to Taylor and to the Serrano family for allowing their daughter to pursue her dreams.

We are sorry to hear the passing of longtime Arizona boxing figure Richard Vega Rodriguez in Phoenix over the weekend (2/10). Mr. Rodriguez was a promising professional boxer (17-0-12 knockouts) who gave up is career to support his family. Ricky Ricardo Rodriguez (son) told ABNN that his father was a loving dad who loved kids and mentored thousands before he became bedridden after becoming ill, 15 years ago.

The Arizona Boxing Community remembers him fondly as the gentle owner and operator of Madison Square Gym on Van Buren in Phoenix where the Central Boxing Facility stands, today. I met him briefly on two occasions and I respect his enormous contributions to Arizona Boxing and his tireless work with kids of all ages.

We extend our deepest condolences to his brother AL, son Ricky and the rest of his family and please say a little prayer for members of their family as they grieve over their personal loss. Funeral services are still pending: if you can help the family in any way, please call 602-434-7770. An announcement of his death will be made at the 70th Arizona State Golden Gloves Championships held in Goodyear, Arizona at Sonny?s Gym on 2/17-2/19. Mr. Rodriguez and Arizona Golden Gloves Founder Al Fenn were longtime friends, a friendship that began when Richard Vega Rodriguez during the era when Richard was a boxing student and Mr. Fenn served him as a mentor. May he rest in peace. Until Next Time!

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

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