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Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith: Vaca Shines, Challenge Issued, Red Nation Warriors Boxing & More

Boxing Fans,

A near capacity crowd attended the Iron Boy 8 boxing show at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on July 20 despite sweltering heat and a monsoon threat that hit Central Phoenix shortly after the conclusion of the 10 fight program. The star of the evening was highly regarded 18 year old Iron Boy protege Francisco C. De Vaca who fought at 115 lbs., 3 pounds lighter than in his previous bout. Coach Roberto Alcazar told me he plans to have his star pupil fight at 112 lbs. on the Iron Boy 9 Card at the Celebrity Theatre on September 21. The rationale behind the strategy is to put Vaca in a position to win 6 titles in different weight divisions. Pretty ambitious, but the youngster has pedigree and mindset to make some noise. Plus he has champion trainer Alcazar in his corner. Alcazar resume is impeccable. He guided Oscar de La Hoya to Olympic Gold and numerous world titles and the veteran trainer also handles WBC Continental Americas welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. Iron Boy was wise in hiring Alcazar. Vaca's record is now 2-0. More importantly, he has improved significantly after Alcazar joined the team. Smart move by Iron Boy CEO Roberto Vargas and his team of advisors.

In determining who was the fighter of the night, I polled 20 independent people comprised of fighters, fans and boxing related professionals and asked them point blank to put on their investor hat and tell me which fighter(s) would get their dollar. Granted, one fight doesn't make a career, but everyone polled said Francisco C. De Vaca without hesitation. Other pugilists earning high praise from an elite group of observers included Abel Ramos, Candido Lopez, Alexis Santiago, Jensen Ramirez and Mario Esparza. It was a successful debut night for Lopez and Esparza. Santiago (14-3-1) knocked out Jamie Guiterrez in the 3rd round to set up his September 21 WBC USA Super Bantamweight title fight on the Iron Boy 9 card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Opponent TBD!

Not grading well with my handpicked ring observers were Joe Martell, Emilio Garcia and unbeaten "prospect" Victor Castro who was chided for his lackluster performance against journeyman Marcos Herrera (6-10-1). Castro upped his record to 10-0, but fans went online to express their displeasure with his performance. Castro vs. Herrera was listed as the main event of the evening and most fans disagreed with the billing. I like Castro, but he hasto make some tough decisions before he can reach the next level. Garcia graded poor because he was on his bicycle too much. Jensen Ramirez dominated him and after the decision was rendered, Garcia fans left quickly with heads bowed. More on the Ramirez/Garcia match up below.

The best fight of the evening honor belonged to Candido Lopez and Rafael Rivera with Lopez (1-0) winning a majority decision over Lopez (1-5). It was non stop action throughout the four round war. Rivera relied on right hand bombs to score points while Lopez landed more punches in winning his debut bout. Good show and both fighters received a standing O. Lopez is the younger brother of fellow professional Chris Lopez. He was very proud of is kid brother.Rivera is lightly regarded in Arizona boxing circles, but on this particular night, he gave Lopez all he wanted and then some. Good job!

Popular amateur Edgar Brito (Brito's Gym) had a tough time with Ryan Riddell(Hook City Gym) who scored a majority decision win and celebrated like it was 1999. It wasn't pretty, Brito complained of low blows and holding. At times, it looked like wrestling. Brito was frustrated. Riddell scored several points off the break when the referee separated the two fighters. Brito was too nice and didn't respond to the rougher tactics deployed by the much taller Riddell. Brito was to turn professional after the bout, but no announcement came.

The Co-Main Event featured undefeated Emilio Garcia vs. Jensen Ramirez in a highly anticipated 6 round contest that drew a line in the sand. There were no neutral fans for this one. The feud between the two reached a boiling point when Ramirez (AZ Boxing) accused Garcia of faking an injury last year to avoid fighting Jensen. Garcia denied the charge, but never produced a doctor's slip confirming the injury. The 21 year old Ramirez stored the incident in the recesses of his mind and
pulled it out as a motivating tool for the fight. Just like a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Presto, it worked.

Coach and trainer Sergio Zaragoza (AZ Boxing) predicted Ramirez's victory over Garcia and said he was disappointed that his other fighter (Wilbert Lopez) didn't perform well against Mario Esparza. Sergio said Lopez was too slow and tentative to win. He promised a new and improved Lopez, the next time around. Garcia should look at the defeat as a wake up call. Emilio has a wealth of talent, but he needs to rededicate himself to the sport of boxing. Too much clowning and not enough punching. Sergio hopes the two strong performances from his fighters will let Phoenix know that Tucson fighters can go toe to toe with anyone.

On the under card Johnny Ruelas knocked out former MMA tough guy Johnny Jackson in the second round. Ruelas has skills, but 175 is too much for him to pack. I was told, he plans to drop 15-20 lbs. in the near future. Good idea. Joe Martell and I talked about his lackluster bout with Moises Alvizo and he was genuinely embarrassed about his performance. Alvizo won on all cards. Martell is contemplating retirement. He is a class guy, I wish him the best.

In summary, it was a good night of boxing. The only audible complaint was the number and length of intermissions and bout changes made on the original card. Local favorite Juan Garcia was left off because Iron Boy couldn't find him a suitable foe. Undefeated Fernando Samaniego was scheduled to fight Oscar Venegas, but Fernando backed out at the last minute leaving officials furious and Team Venegas allegedly filed a complaint with the Arizona Boxing Commission over the late pullout. I sent an inquiry to the commissioner's office and when the reply reaches me, fans know. Carlos "The Chosen One"
Castro didn't fight because his scheduled opponent Erik Goodell didn't have his paper work completed in time. And all of this last minute confusion

Challenge Issued: Fan Base Promotions has issued a challenge to light middleweight Adam Trupish that is very intriguing: " Fight Janks Trotter (FBP Fighter) again for a winner take all purse or retire and stop pretending to be a fighter." KO Boxing Promotions has agreed to stage the event in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Friday September 13 at the Shaw Conference Center. Edmonton is home to Trupish. The two once beaten fighters met in Calgary, Alberta. Trotter's place of residence, in 2012 with Trupish scoring a dramatic 1st round flash knockout after 72 seconds of furious action. The 29 year old Trotter (7-1-1) hasn't fought since his loss to the 34 year old Trupish. After a shocking KO loss to the light hitting Dashon Johnson earlier this year, Trupish (11-1) may have lost his appetite to fight. I saw the first fight and I may fly to Edmonton to watch the rematch if Adam will lift the pen and sign the paper work. Fans are already inquiring about tickets to a proposed fight that is waiting for Adam Trupish to make up his mind. Fan Base & KO Boxing have agreed to co-produce the event if it happens.

Alvarez Scores Upset: 2016 Olympic Hopeful Dante Stone was beaten by 18 year old Native American Heavyweight Albert Alvarez on Saturday July 27 at the "Beat The Heat Box Off" in Chandler, Arizona. Alvarez represents Red Nation Warriors Boxing in Tucson coached by John Colmenero who didn't seem surprised by his pupil's victory over Stone who has won "four" National Titles. Stone was visibly upset over the decision. Alvarez record stands at 8-2 and Colmenero suggested the young man could try out for the Olympics or turn professional. In the meantime, the coach and his protégé will take one day at a time."

It was an impressive win for Mr. Alvarez and a good day for Red Nation Warriors Team. Team mate Juan Carlos Virgin defeated Rolando Enrique in what was declared the fight of the night. Alvarez's younger brother (Douglas) fights at 122, a few pounds lighter than his big brother. The teamentered 6 warriors and won 3 bouts. In boxing that is a very successful tournament team outing. Now for a bit of history.

Red Nation Warriors boxing is the brainchild of Darrell Rumley who shared a dream with his Native American brethren and nurtured it to fruition. The journey began in 1972 when some young and talented karate students wanted to start a club, but they couldn't come up with a suitable name that embodied the essence of their being and purpose. Mr. Rumely came up the name and eventually the organization evolved into a multifaceted operation that provides a diverse menu of skill set activities for its' eager to learn warriors. Mr. Rumely passed in 2011, but his legacy continues through the accomplishments of every Red Nation Warrior Athlete. Coach Colmenero is very proud of his team's recent success, but he knows there is still work to do. Red Nation Warriors train in Tucson and Mr. Alvarez is a proud member of the Tohono O'ododham Tribe, located in Sells Arizona. A special thanks to Candice Alvarez for her input.

Next amateur boxing tournament is scheduled for Saturday August 3 at Power MMA Fitness Gilbert, Arizona. Boxing and Fitness Trainer Jose Benavidez Sr. is the coordinator for the event.The flyer info promises 20 fights and part of the proceeds will benefit kids with their training and travel expenses. Power MMA Fitness is located at 855 North Gilbert Road in Gilbert, Arizona 85234. Expect rising boxing star Jose Benavidez Jr. to show up with boxing brother David. Call 480-
632-9662 for more details.

Shake Up At Fan Base: Fan Base Promotions has dropped Paul Romero, Isiah McFadden and Eddie Brooks from their roster of fighters. Fan Base President Robert Schmick said their termination came after the trio failed to comply to the following set of requests: own and maintain a reliable telephone, hold a regular job, train daily and report on time, possess the ability to apply for a passport and be willing and able to fight out of state and country. The last stipulation was to stay drug free and warrant free. According to the promoter, all three fighters violated more than one of his "simple" requests. Fan Base hopes to add at least three new fighters within the next two months. Boxing is a tough business. Until Next Time! Emile..Rest in Peace!

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

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