Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Jerwin Ancajas Defends Title, Valdivia Loss & More
By Don Smith
Sun, 14 Jan 2018
Boxing Fans, It is difficult not to compare IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas ((26-1-1-18 knockouts) with his idol and co-promoter Manny Pacquiao. Both Filipino fighters are southpaws and both men endure a conditioning program that would buckle the knees of most fighters. There are other similarities; both men are humble and generous to a fault when it comes to providing for the poor and less fortunate members of their community.
Stylistically the legend and the rising star differ when in the ring. Jerwin is more of a punishing body puncher while the fighting senator aims more to the top from revolving angles.
Ancajas isn’t Pacquiao but his sudden emergence as a rising star gives Bob Arum and Top Rank another star to build their boxing empire around. Manny recently celebrated his 39th birthday and his loss to Horn last year caused the boxing world to pause and realize that the brilliant career of Many Pacquiao is sadly nearing an end.
Ancajas will make his American debut on 2/3 in Corpus Christi Texas when he defends his title against once beaten Israel Gonzalez (20-1—8 knockouts) of Mexico.
Jerwin training habits are comparable to Pacquiao’s: he runs 15 miles a day on jungle paths and he throws more than 2,000 punches per day at his workouts in the mountainous regions around Manila. I hope he remembers to use snake repellent.
He will arrive in Los Angeles, California on Friday, January 26 and then proceed to Corpus Christi where he will defend his title on 2/3 against the upset minded challenger Israel Gonzalez (20-1-8 knockouts) of Mexico in the co-main event. In the marquee match-up WBO super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez (36-0-24 knockouts) faces Habib Ahmed (22-0-17 knockouts) of Accra, Ghana. The event will be televised on ESPN and in a special bout; Jose Benavidez Jr. will make his return to the ring after a long absence. Also on the card is the exciting lightweight Teofimo Lopez (7-0-6 knockouts) whose motor runs nonstop in the ring. Remember fans, if you can’t go watch it on ESPN, live. ABNN will cover the event and file a report upon return.
Mail Bag: Tito Arias of Mesa wants to know if Arizona Has a Boxing Hall of Fame. The official answer is no! Several years ago when the city of Phoenix City Council voted tear down the old Phoenix Madison Square Garden located in downtown Phoenix, members of the community convinced city leaders to dedicate space to commemorate the popular venue that hosted boxing, wrestling and entertainment shows from 1929 until it closed in 1979. Eventually (about a decade ago) a parking garage and office building was built where the Garden once stood and now the memories are under less than hallowed concrete.
As a consolation prize, the politically correct city established a scaled down Phoenix Madison Square Garden Museum and on display are pictures of boxers, wrestlers and entertainers who performed at the Garden. I visited the museum once and I know it is located downtown in Phoenix near Adams Street but a Google search failed to come up with an address or phone number. It isn’t open to the public unless someone calls and arranges a tour of the small room that has been described as the size of a closet. Arizona boxing icon Al Fenn contribution to Arizona boxing history is well represented in pictures and donated artifacts and deservedly so. In my opinion, the museum is a polite slap in the face of boxing fans that expected and deserved more from the calloused members of city council with a limited knowledge of boxing.
Some fans mistakenly believe the murals of boxers on the exterior walls of the Central Boxing Gym in Phoenix represent Arizona’s Boxing Hall of Fame; However, Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson and other boxing greats featured on the walls represent other states; not Arizona. Six times World Champion Michael Carbajal and two time world champion Louie Espinoza are featured but the condition of the murals are in need of repair and some of the pictures need to be painted over and replaced. The alleged “hall of fame” is beginning to look like a hall of shame.
Furthermore, what about the omissions on the wall ? Native born David Benavidez recently won a world title and because of that distinction, belongs on the wall. Others due consideration include the late Walt Hoskins, despite his temper, longtime USA Boxing Arizona official Richard Soto and former USA Boxing Arizona President Mike Sanchez who has managed and trained boxers in Arizona for more than three decades. Arizona is way behind the 8 ball with the issue of addressing the preservation of sports history for future generations to reflect upon.
I would like to see Arizona establish a Boxing Hall of Fame and hold an annual induction ceremony like other states such as California, Nevada, etc. If successful, the venture could produce revenue to aid and promote amateur boxing which is struggling in Arizona. For example our annual Golden Gloves tournament in Arizona is currently poorly attended and almost obscure in importance.
Equally ignored, the recent Silver Gloves tournament held in Goodyear, Arizona presented a mere 11 bouts on each of the 2 day event and organizers had difficulty in finding a venue and designating a date before settling on a last minute venue: Sonny’s boxing gym.
We hear rumors that Arizona ring Announcer Ralph Velez Jr. is working on the development of an Arizona Hall of Fame and if so, we hope the process is clean and fair and not guided by ego or bias. As one Arizona boxing insiders recently told me, “There are a lot of haters” in Arizona and until our perceived image is changed, Arizona boxing will continue to be summarily dismissed by the industry. Instead of lamenting, let’s do something.
Amateur News: Add the name of Arizona amateur boxer Mario Ruiz to the list of 2020 Olympic hopefuls from the Grand Canyon State. Mario is 16, weighs 119 and trains with his dad Mario Ruiz Sr. at Campeones Boxing in Mesa. We wish him the best in pursuing his dream.... 10 year old Angel Urieta (Rodriguez Boxing) won outstanding boxing honors at the Silver Gloves Tournament in Compton and a 1st place trophy for winning his weight class (65 lbs.). On March 4-10, the Western Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships will be held in Albuquerque New Mexico and a numbered of Arizona gyms are planning to send athletes; including Hard Knocks Boxing Gym, Hammer Gym (Elijah Garcia, Jose Vargas and Jake Girardot) , Cross Driven Boxing Academy (Brady Ochoa, Alex Moreno & Angel Young) Campeones Gym (David & Angel Reyes, Mario, Ramon & Reina Ruiz), F-1 Boxing (Sebastian Mitry, Esteban Inzunza) ), Sonny’s Boxing (Zeus Pinder), Fuentes Boxing (2 possible), Mendoza Boxing (Luis Retana)......Pete Quezada (Tucson Southwest Boxing) is hosting a smoker in Tucson at the El Casino Ballroom on 2/3. The venue is located at 437 E. 26th Street in Tucson Arizona 85713. Pete plans to showcase 20 bouts and hopes to introduce one of his boxing pupils; 17 year old Mazo (sledgehammer in Spanish). According to Pete, Mazo (although new to the sport) is a natural talent. The weigh-in is scheduled 7:AN- 9:30 A.M and 1st bout begins at 1 PM; for further information dial up Pete at 520-271-4322.....Moises Rosales (Fuentes Boxing) is headed to Mexico (Rocky Point) to fight in a WBC sponsored tournament for a championship but on 2/3........USA Boxing Arizona has two important volunteer positions to fill and the vacancies are putting a strain on the program; so, pick up the phone and call Jacob (USA Boxing Arizona) at 928-848-3417 to volunteer; you will be happier than a piglet in fresh mud if you do and the kids will benefit, immensely.
The 43rd Annual Gene Lewis Invitational is set in stone for 11/09-10 & 11, 2018. Put aside all the complaints lodged against event organizers last year and make this one the best ever. Contact Joshua Benjamin (480-834-1216) for more information. The Gene Lewis Boxing club is located at 59 E Broadway Road in Mesa Arizona 85210.
Iron Boy Update: Tickets are now on sale for the Iron Boy 43 boxing show that features Super Bantamweights Carlos Castro (19-0-8 knockouts) versus Alexis Santiago (21-5-1-8 knockouts) at the Celebrity Theatre on 2/24 with the first bout starting at 6 p.m. Our story last week reported that the tickets were already on sale, oops. According to several sources, tickets are being snapped up rather quickly and waiting until the last minute to purchase tickets may find fans watching the main event on BeIN Sports Network.
At stake is the vacant USNBC WBC Super Bantamweight title and we having 4 updates on the undercard. Chris Sullivan (Ramos Boxing is a tentative to make his debut ) Mark Garcia (Madison Boxing) was mentioned as on the card but that suggestion was wishful thinking by boxer’s management team. Iron Boy Matchmaker Mike Sanchez read our column and was surprised to see Garcia listed. Sanchez has also tentatively added featherweight Edward Ceballos (7-1-1-3 knockouts) on the card and Luis Espinoza is a scratch due to a hamstring injury. Here is a reprised list of the fighters prepared to appear on the 2/24 Iron Boy 43 card: Fidel Hernandez ((17-4-10 knockouts), Luis Espinoza (8-0-3 knockouts), Adrian Servin ((5-0-1-2 knockouts), Jesus Ibarra (3-0-2), Waldo Cortez (1-1-1 knockouts), Edgar Ortiz (I5-1-1-3 knockouts), Adam Stewart (4-0-1-2 knockouts) and Chris Scala (1-0). As usual, all bouts are subject to change.
Ticket prices range from $25.00-$55.00 plus service charge on each ticket. Everyone must have ticket even children. During the intermission, Iron Boy Publicist Emily Pandelakis will marry her longtime boyfriend; a first for Iron Boy Promotions. All of the boxers listed on the card were given tickets to sale and some of the fighter/vendors have asked for more. If you know any of the boxer/sellers, hit them up.
Top Rank Show: California Middleweight Danny Valdivia (14-2-10 knockouts) failed to win his rematch with Vladimir Hernandez ((10-2-6 knockouts) on Thursday 2/11 at Tachi Palace Casino in Fresno, California, 44.13 miles from Tulane California, Valdivia’s hometown. Scores favoring Hernandez were 77-75 x 2 & 78-77.
Hernandez, from Denver, Colorado, previously defeated the Californian when the two pugilists fought on June 24 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. The fight was promoted by Top Rank and to the disappointment of yours truly; the event wasn’t televised. I called the venue midway into the fight and was told that all seats were filled. Fresno is becoming a hotbed for boxing.
Prior to the Fresno matchup, there were rumors that Valdivia would fight Irish Canadian Janks Trotter on the upcoming Iron Boy 43 card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix but all rumors are subject to change. Trotter will fight Alberto Onolunose in Calgary, Alberto in April; that’s not a rumor!
6 other bouts were served on the TR boxing menu with the following results: In a lightweight contest, Bryan Lua (3-0) outpointed Mario Aguirre whose record dropped to 2-11. Super middleweight Calvin Metcalf (8-1) won a majority decision over Joe Louie Lopez (9-3). Super featherweight Victor Morales (8-0) ended the night for Edgar Cantu (7-3) in the 5th round of their scheduled 6 rounder with a TKO victory.
The other TKO victory of the evening was scored by Angel Gordon (2-0) when he stopped Johnny Estrada (0-4) in the 3rd round. In the other 2 bouts, Edgar Martinez (4-0) defeated super lightweight Javier Rodriguez (1-2) with an identical 38-37 score from all three judges and super featherweight Isidro Ochoa (4-0) dropped Gabriel Rodriguez (3-1) from the unbeaten ranks with scores of 40-36x3. Special thanks to Top Rank for forwarding the results and a high five to our volunteer insider at Tachi Palace Casino who revealed the event was a sellout. The next major TR show (Ramirez vs. Ahmed) will be carried live from Corpus Christi Texas on ESPN. The card will also carry Jose Benavidez’s return to boxing after an absence of more than 20 months.
Boxing News: According to all reports, WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1) will defend his title on April 21 at T Mobile Arena against the undisputed king of the super lightweights, Terrence Crawford, a top choice in the pound for pound conversation. Crawford sports an unblemished mark 32 wins and 23 of those victories are via knockout.
Horn, born in Brisbane Australia, gained instant fame with his upset victory over boxing icon Manny Pacquiao on July 2, 2017. At the post fight press conference in Brisbane, there was talk about a rematch between Horn and Pacquiao but the two sides could never settle on a date or price; so Horn is now moving on to a mandatory challenge from Crawford who is an early betting favorite and on paper, at least, Horn looks like an easy prey for the fighter from Nebraska. ...........Arizona middleweight Andrew is thinking about fighting undefeated Russian Sergiy Dervyanchenko (11-0-9 knockouts) on the Spence/Peterson card at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn on 1/20, televised on Showtime. The short notice doesn’t bode well for Hernandez who is coming off an ankle injury from his last fight, a controversial loss in Tacoma Washington that is legally being contested. The 32 year old Phoenix Native has lost his last 3 fights and he knows another setback could spell the end of his boxing career; good luck with the decision. .....Arizona flyweight Lorenzo Smith (2-0-2 Knockouts) was victorious in Mexico (Chihuahua) on Friday, January 12, Lorenzo works out at Madison Boxing in Phoenix and the young man is 22 years old. BoxRec has him erroneously listed as a welterweight living in Mexico..... Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos has 2 tentative dates, 1 in Kansas and 1 in Nevada but tentative doesn’t pay the bills. In meantime, he continues to work out at Ramos Boxing in Casa Grande Arizona. Abel is trained by his brother, Jesus and managed by Journeyman Promotions.....Heavyweight Angel Young (Cross Driven Boxing Academy) won second place in his division at the Nationals last month in Salt Lake City Utah and we apologize for the late announcement ;but, we didn’t receive word of Young’s accomplishment until I talked to CDBA Coach Ochoa recently......Heavyweight Malcolm Tann (25-6-14 knockouts) is waiting for his next fight and I talked to a spokesperson for his team who suggested the 39 year old challenge 38 year old B J Flores (34-3-1- 21 knockouts to a showdown that could be staged at the Celebrity Theatre and promoted by Iron Boy Promotions. Flores holds a WBA-NABA heavyweight title son in the words of H.O.F. referee Mills Lane, “let’s get it on.” Flores is aware of the challenge by Tann and doesn’t seem eager to fight the taller and better conditioned heavyweight who resides in Gilbert, Arizona and trains at Cross Fit Boxing Academy near his home. Flores turns 39 this month and resides in Chandler according to BoxRec. ABNN proudly announces a formal challenge and we will report any response to the sportsmanlike challenge....Until Next Time!
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