Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Ramos Bout Aborted, Masters Tournament & More
By Don Smith
Thu, 23 Nov 2017
Boxing Fans, Several of our readers contacted us inquiring about why Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos didn’t fight on the Roy Jones JR boxing card on Friday 11/17 in Sloan, Iowa, a suburb of Sioux City Iowa. I was told by a spokesperson for RJJ Promotions that Ramos didn’t fight because his opponent (Eudy Bernardo 23-2-17 knockouts) fell out at the last minute. Ramos (18-2-2-13 knockouts)was in Iowa for the weigh-in and fight; so the cancellation came as a last minute surprise that cost him a much needed paycheck and a delay to his campaign to earn a title shot; at least a try for a NABF type championship belt.
I wanted to know more about the rationale of the last minute fallout; so, I made a few calls and found out that Bernardo wasn’t allowed to fight because he was serving a suspension after suffering a 2016 knockout loss in 2016 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in New York, owned and operated by the Oneida Tribal Nation. After the Knockout loss, Bernardo was required to undergo a neurological test and discontinue fighting until the results of the mandated test were reviewed by the issuing commission.
The Dominican Republic born fighter failed to heed the order and would fight three more times before Joe Walsh, State of Iowa Combat Sports Commission, discovered the suspension was still in effect. Bernardo’s first fight after his knockout loss in New York was held in Humble, Texas (a split decision loss) and it was wrongfully sanctioned by the Texas Boxing Commission. His next two bouts (2 knockouts wins) were unsanctioned and held in the Dominican Republic (his native country). For the record, Eudy Bernardo was idle 11 months after the knockout, plenty of time to see a neurologist and have the test administered. Bernardo wasn’t the only MIA boxer; unbeaten middleweight Shady Gamhour (5-0-4 knockouts) didn’t don gloves on 11/17 after his unnamed opponent was determined less than credible by the Iowa boxing commission. Iowa sanctions an average of 10 bouts per year and safety is their top priority.
The show must go on! Here are the results from the six completed bouts at the Winnavegas Casino & resort: Iowa Jr. Welterweight Drake Rodriguez (1-0) won his debut with a knockout over fellow debuter Shane Moffitt (0-1) from St. Louis Missouri. California Lightweight Hector Lopez Jr. (8-0-5 knockouts) scored a knockout over Jeremy Longoria (9-9-3 knockouts) from Corpus Christi Texas. Chicago native Joshua Greer JR (15-1) scored a victory via RTD and Chicago welterweight Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) scored a stop in his brief fight. And Nevada favorites Randy Moreno (11-1) & Max Ornelas (10-0) scored televised wins (BeIN Sports) before what was described as an enthusiastic crowd. I hope to meet up with Nate & Joshua when I visit Chicago in January.
Ramos hopes to fight on the 12/8 RJJ card in Austin, Texas against Bernardo if the Dominican can get the suspension lifted. We hope to print an update on the Austin Card in our next issue.
Mail Bag: Naomi Watson of Chandler, Arizona sent a copy of the 2017 All-Arizona HS. Wrestling Team and asked if ABNN would print the list of the team members, here it is: Carlos Vargas-Glendale Deer Valley 106 lbs.….Skyler Pike-Camp Verde 113 lbs.….Byron McKay-Finch, Safford 120 lbs.….Brandon Courtney-Goodyear Desert Ridge 126 lbs.….Roman Bravo-Young-Tucson Sunnyside 132 lbs.…. Hayden Uhler-Camp Verde 138 lbs.….Gator Groves-Tempe McClintock 145 lbs.…Vincent Dolce-Tempe Corona del Sol 152 lbs.….Marco Groves-Tempe McClintock 160 lbs.…..Trayvin Cato-Paradise Valley 170 lbs.….Adam Henderson-Blue Ridge HS 182 lbs.….Christian White –Morenci HS 195 lbs.….Tanik Sutkovik-Phoenix Thunderbird 220 lbs.….Kolo Uasike-Mesa Skyline 285 lbs. Thank you Naomi for sending the information and good luck to the students with their future endeavors.
Louis Williams is a boxer from El Mirage, Arizona and he wants to know about the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot held in Phoenix, Arizona. Louis, this year’s Turkey Day event is held at 1700 West Washington Street near the Arizona State Capitol. Participating runners and volunteers should arrive between 5-6 a.m., race starts at 7 a.m. Distances include 5k, 10k and a tot trot. There is a runner’s fee but part of the proceeds goes to benefit reputable local charities. For more information call 602-320-8883 or just show up, should be fun and ABNN will be there as a volunteer.
Also, we received calls and emails from retired and current judges, inspectors and referees who expressed hope that the monthly Arizona Boxing/MMA commission meeting scheduled for 11/29 (Wednesday 10 a.m.) will be tension free and respectful of varying opinions and suggestions; hostility breeds contempt.
Iron Boy MMA 9: Iron Boy Promotions presented Iron Boy MMA 9 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 11/18 and here are the results, courtesy of Matchmaker Mike Sanchez: Loai Abuharr defeated Ivan Tera (135 lbs.), Clifton Looper defeated Paul Oraha (142 lbs.), Derick Flores defeated Mike Owens (115 lbs.), Steve Coard defeated Jacob Kelewood (155 lbs.), Brian Trubl defeated Daniel Mayer (185 lbs.), Wes Pierce defeated Daniel Trejo (170 lbs.), Andy Perez defeated Israel Aquino (175 lbs.), Alex Nicholson defeated Daniel Madrid (205 lbs.)
News & Notes: Gilbert, Arizona heavyweight Malcolm Tann upped his record to 25-6 with 2nd round knockout over Ernest Reyna in Fort Walton Beach Florida on11/18. The 39 year old Tann is 2-2 since returning to boxing after a 9 year self-imposed layoff… 2 times Olympic Bronze Medal winner Ivan Dychko (representing Kazakhstan) is 2-0 w/2 knockouts as a professional and the 27 year old 6’9” fighter next bout is set for 12/1 at the USF Sundome in Tampa Florida. Christian “MC” Camacho (son of the late Hector Camacho SR) battles Rudolph Hedge (10-5-3) in the main event. Camacho record stands at 5-1; but, the 25 year old super featherweight claims his loss to Mexican fighter Distrito Federal (Camacho’s pro debut) should be discounted because he (Federal) entered the ring with a 9-1 record and not 1-1 as advertised on the official bout sheet. Camacho had more than 150 amateur bouts before starting his professional career in 2013. Establishing accurate name and record of fighters based in Mexico is a common complaint and concerned commissions around the world are seeking a solution to the serious problem…. Yes, the rumor is true. Iron Boy Promotions publicist Emily Pandelakis is getting married to her longtime boyfriend at the next Iron Boy show on 2/24 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. The ceremony will take place during intermission and Emily tells me a gift isn’t necessary; but, ABNN suggests a gift card would be nice……Can’t confirm rumor that has Phoenix fighter Carlos Castro fighting in Tucson in January for a title at the Casino Del Sol and Resort…..12/9 is the ultimate fight night for boxing fans, ESPN/Deportes will be showing Lomachenko/ Rigondeaux- Salido/Roman on HBO and Degale/Truax on BT Sport & Box Nation. A reminder, I will be in New York at Madison Square Garden.
More News: Welterweight Jose Benavidez JR (19-0-17 knockouts) and his team have nixed plans for the former interim champion to fight on the Horn/Corcoran WBO welterweight championship Card in Melbourne on 12/13.
Trainer Jose Benavidez SR told ABNN that the time is better spent preparing David Benavidez for his rematch with Ronald Gavril (18-2-14 knockouts) whom the 20 year old defeated to win the vacant WBC super-middleweight title. The rematch is set for January 27; but, a venue and location is still under consideration. Jose hopes to fight in early 2018 somewhere in the United States. Skipping the trip means tasting grilled Kangaroo will have to wait.
Arizona super middleweight Andrew Hernandez (19-8-1) lost his bid to win the vacant WBA-NABA Super Middleweight championship after possibly fracturing his right ankle in his battle with declared winner Mike Gavronski (25-2-1- 15 knockouts). The title tiff took place in Tacoma Washington at the Emerald Queen Casino where Gavronski is a fan favorite.
The end came in the 8th round when Gavronski clearly tripped and pushed Hernandez to the canvas. The foul was ruled unintentional therefore officials went to the scorecard when it was obvious the Hernandez couldn’t continue due to the extent of the injury. Two judges had it 78-74 in favor of Gavronski while the other judge saw Hernandez winning 77-75.
I talked to Andrew via phone 3 days after the contest and he felt he was ahead when the contest was stopped and the majority of people I talked to thought the proud and charismatic middleweight won by a wide margin. Hernandez told me he would appeal the decision and he told me that one WBA official told him that he would ask for a mandatory rematch. If the rematch doesn’t happen, Andrew has an offer to fight in Germany after the ankle has healed. At press time, the full extent of the injury was unknown. ABNN left a message for promoter Brian Halquist Productions asking if a rematch was possible and BHP has failed to respond…..Some of our readers thought our comments about the 42nd Annual Gene Lewis Invitational were too kind. Yes we did pull our punch; but we believe USA Boxing President when he tells us, he will lift the hood and refine the engine. I thank our readers for alerting us to the problems incurred and from all reports-there was too many glitches to count. We firmly believe Tournament Director Josh Benjamin will present a much better organized Tournament next year and we hope everyone will give the event a second chance to redeem itself.
Masters Tournament: The two day second Annual Sonny’s Master Boxing Tournament, held in Goodyear Arizona, ended on Saturday, November 18 with Bryan Webster of Arizona winning the tournaments best bout performance. Ironically, Bryan, an IT project manager, left the venue before the announcement was made. He did comeback and pick up the trophy.
Bryan would later tell me he was honored to receive the award and he takes great pride in the craft. I asked the 39 year old Arizona resident to send me a one paragraph statement telling our readers when he began boxing and a bit about himself. Ask and you will receive. After 3 hours reading, re-reading and editing his emailed statement, I have managed to capture the essence of his poignant story. Actually, given the contents of the text, I have no qualms about the length of his very personal story and I thank him for sharing it with our readers.
Bryan sent 4 typed pages with a picture of his best friend Dodge Ackerman, a boxing teammate while both men attended Santa Clara University. Dodge won the NCBA 147 lb. weight class in 1999 and was awarded “Outstanding Boxer” that year as a freshman at the University. That same year, Bryan won the 195 lb. weight class.
Tragically, Dodge died of Testicular Cancer a few years later at the age of 23 in 2003. Bryan admits he thinks of Dodge nearly every day and when he gets in a pinch. He asks himself “What would Dodge do”.
Bryan says Dodge’s life was about honor. Every year in February, the memory of his friend is honored with the Dodge Ackerman Memorial Boxing Tournament. The loss will always remain with him and he believes his friend is watching over him and he thanks the Santa Clara University boxing team, his teammates, the coaches, and alumni sponsors for helping make the memories possible. As to his immediate boxing plans, Bryan discloses a personal goal: “I am 39 years old, my last year of amateur eligibility. I turn 40 in June of 2018. My goal is to compete in the Ackerman Memorial Tournament as an amateur boxer in 2018. Next year marks the 15th year since Dodge’s passing. I want to do this because I know he would be totally supportive of me boxing college kids as I near 40 years of age.
I’m in touch with Dodge’s family and message his sister regularly. She and her mom usually attend the matches in Santa Clara. This coming year may be the first time Dodge’s Dad will be able to attend. They live on the big Island of Hawaii, so it’s no small effort for the entire family to attend the event”.
As to how he got into boxing, it was a freak accident that gave Bryan the opportunity to find time for boxing. Basketball was his first choice but he broke his collarbone prior to tryouts; so, he decided to try boxing after the injury healed because the basketball season had already started. Bryan also recalls a summer league basketball league game when he got punched by another player and he didn’t offer a response. The antagonist was prosecuted and a year later, Bryan became a member of the Santa Clara Boxing team and that decision has him better prepared to handle threats from bullies.
I asked 20 boxers at the tournament the same question I asked Bryan and few responded stating their story too personal to print in my syndicated column. One man told me he took up the sport to lose weight and overcome his memories of child and drug abuse. Another man told he was a cotton farmer in Arizona and invited me to spend a day on the farm with him I asked him how long his work day days were and he replied “17-18 hors” and I politely told him no , thank you.
The most frequent answer I heard in response to the “why” question was to lose weight. Texan Deborah Bedford admits losing 12o lbs. through boxing and Californian Larisa Eichacker dropped 100 pounds and feels great. The two women met in the finals with Larisa winning and it was a poignant scene to watch Larisa console Deborah who began sobbing after the loss. The women embraced for at least 2 minutes until Deborah’s tears turned to smiles.
Linda Lopez’s story is very similar. Linda, a physical Education teacher and mother of four sons, noticed she was putting on additional weight after the birth of her youngest son so she went to Brad Carlton (Neutral Corner Boxing) and started shedding pounds. Ironically, she won a championship belt and Coach Carlton had to settle for a second place medal after his legs locked up and limited his mobility.
There were 2-3 war veterans and one of them suffered injuries in Iraq and he took up boxing as a therapeutic tool. Glad to say, he won a belt but he wanted his name withheld.
Air Force LT. Colonel Eric Lazenty has served in the military for 18 years and is currently stationed Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. He joined the Victory Boxing Club in Edmond Oklahoma and plans to continue competing. The Officer plans to return to Sonny’s Tournament next year and enjoyed tis years’ experience, winning a second place medal. Eric admits finding time to train isn’t easy after he addresses his flying time, spending time with the family and dealing with life in general but the career Air Force Pilot and administrator manages to sneak away for some gym time and sometimes uses his lunch break time to work out. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I was particularly impressed with Rick Bobigian, a 69 year old resident of Houston, Texas. He was gracious enough to send me a brief summary of his life.
Rick was the oldest competitor and the oldest to win a championship belt at the master’s event. Before I forget to mention it, each belt is valued at $150.00 according to tournament director Sonny Gutierrez.
Rick learned to fight in the tough streets of South Boston and eventually took up boxing at 16. His favorite memory as an amateur was fighting in an amateur event in the Boston Garden Arena Annex. He left the state of Massachusetts for college in the fall of 1966, ending his amateur career at 10 official bouts.
Rick lost his desire to actively box for more than 40 years; but he remained a fan and watched the sport on television. In 2010, he walked into the Main Boxing Gym which was owned by former IBA Heavyweight Champion Lou Savarese and his longtime trainer Bobby Benton. He sparred with the champ and admits he was pooped before he end of the first round. He hired Bobby Benton on the spot and set a goal to develop enough stamina to 10 3 minute rounds. After working hard for a long time, the tireless worker was ready to test his mettle.
In March 2017, Bobby Benton, Allen Case (fellow boxer) and Rick traveled to Kansas City to participate in the Ringside Masters Tournament He was lucky enough to get matched for two fights and win both. A rolling stone gathers no moss. After Kansas City, he competed in the International Masters at Gleason’s Gym in New York and with the trek to Sonny’s; the ageless wonder has chalked up 3 master tournaments for 2017. He is getting ready for next year.
In addition to his boxing prowess, Rick included personal facts about himself: served in the US Army 1068-1972 (active), inactive reserve (1968-1972), graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in Geologic Engineering. In addition, Rick is President & CEO of 3 private equity funded oil and gas companies located in the Houston, Texas. Rick is an adjunct instructor for the Petroleum Extension Service, Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas. He has taught at the University for 40 years. The teacher/businessman/fighter is married (Julie Johnson) and they reside in Houston. They also have a grown son (Tim Bobigian).
Here is the list of championship Belt Winners at the tournament: Joshua Massoud-Texas, Laith Alsarraf-California, Paul Demoranville-Arizona, Laura Maxwell-Texas, Allen Case-Texas, William Monastero-Arizona, Matt McManus-Texas, Linda Lopez-Arizona, Bryan Webster-Arizona, Tyson Stuhr-Arizona, Kenny Edwards-MN, Thomas Fallon-Massachusetts, Michael Winn-Massachusetts, Simon Doering-New Mexico, Laris Eichacker-California, Israel Orais-California, Hunter Hardesty-Texas, Rick Bobigian-Texas, Zhiyuan Zhang-California, Frank Aldaco-Texas, Sue Knaup- Arizona, Alex Stallman-California, Jeff Dykstra-Arizona, Wayne Heather-Alberta, Canada, Lionel Starr-Colorado, Paul Soto-Colorado * if we didn’t mention all of the winners names, please accept our apology. The event will return next year at the same venue in Goodyear Arizona.
My analysis of the event, it was fun and the majority of the bouts were competitive; but just as important was the sportsmanship exhibited and the effort put forth. Everyone displayed the heart of a lion and the spirit of a winner. A special thanks to Sonny Guttered, Jennifer Resnick and Geoff Ronning for their heroic collaboration in promoting and producing the effort. Attendance, near capacity, was estimated at 90 and the majority of the athletes are expected to return next year. Everyone was saddened to hear about the passing of master boxer Dominic Casias aka El Toro Casias. He fought in last year’s tournament but he passed away shortly before this year’s tournament and we mourn his death and pass on our condolences to his family…. Until Next Time!
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