By Francisco Salazar
Southern California has seen plenty of rain and cold weather in recent days. As the weather has been erratic lately, professional boxing has been consistent with competitive fight cards lately. Stellar fight cards on the horizon, as two fight cards on Friday night and the big HBO card on Saturday night will highlight the action in the coming days.
Golden Boy Promotions brings boxing back to the desert tonight with a fight card at the Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio. In the main event, lightweight Vicente Escobedo will take on Walter Estrada in a 10 round bout. Also on the card is unbeaten lightweight Sharif Bogere (18-0, 11 KO’s) taking on Shamir Reyes (18-8-2, 7 KO’s) in an eight round bout. Local fighters Randy Caballero and Hugo Ramos face off in a four round bout. For tickets, contact the casino at 1-800-827-2946.
Also on Friday night, boxing returns to the San Fernando Valley with a double main event at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. Bash Boxing and Art of Boxing Promotions present “Warner Center War III” with a 12 round light heavyweight elimination bout between Otis Griffin (23-6-2, 9 KO’s) and Yusaf Mack (28-3-2, 17 KO’s). Also, Raymundo Beltran (23-4, 15 KO’s) will take on Carlos Vinan (10-8-4, 2 KO’s) in a 12 round bout for a regional title belt. Tickets for general admission are priced at $50. Doors open at 7PM, with first bell scheduled for 7:30PM.
Much has been made about Saturday night’s fight card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, featuring Saul Alvarez taking on Matthew Hatton and Daniel Ponce De Leon taking on Adrian Broner. However, fight fans might want to show up early (3PM local time) to watch hard-hitting James Kirkland and Daniel Jacobs in separate eight round bouts. Kirkland faces Ashandi Gibbs, while Jacobs takes on Robert Kliewer. Heavyweight Seth Mitchell battles Charles Davis in a 10 round bout. Tickets can be purchased on the dayu of the event or by calling (714) 704-2400.
Boxing returns again to Orange County on Friday, March 18th at the Hangar at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. After 26 years of Battle in the Ballroom fight cards at the Marriott in Irvine, promoter Roy Englebrecht began a new series called Fight Club OC last month at the OC Fairgrounds to rave reviews. On the March 18th show, unbeaten lightweight Luis Ramos, Jr. will take on Jose Hernandez, while unbeaten super featherweight Ronny Rios faces Alejandro Perez. Both bouts are scheduled for eight rounds. For tickets and information, call (949) 760-3131.
One week later, All Star Boxing Promotions will present a crossroads bout between two fighters hoping for another crack at a significant payday. Former world title challenger Jose Shibata Flores will take on Roberto Garcia at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, CA. Flores has won his last two bouts since returning from a hiatus of recording music. Garcia’s last fight was a 10 round unanimous decision loss to Antonio Margarito in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Stay tuned for ticket information on this card.
Last Friday night in Tijuana, unbeaten Riverside featherweight Michael Franco (18-0, 12 KO’s) was victorious with a fourth round knockout victory over Martin Armenta. Originally, Franco was supposed to fight last week at the San Manuel Bingo and Gaming Casino on the undercard of the James Toney-Damon Reed fight, but the fight fell through.
On a final note, congrats to Oxnard’s Brandon Rios, who won a world title belt last weekend in Las Vegas with a sensational stoppage victory over Miguel Acosta. Rios, who is never shy with the media, has done well for himself since making his professional debut six years ago. After a few brushes with the law in Ventura County, Rios has found stability in his life as a married man and a father. With Robert Garcia and Cameron Dunkin in his corner, Rios has answered most questions that he has come across. Despite an injured hand he suffered in the fight with Acosta that will keep him out of action, look for Rios to stay in the limelight.
From fans, promoters, managers, publicists, fellow members of the media, and boxers, thank you for all the emails and the kind words. They definitely keep this reporter humble and eager to do his best.
Come say hello to me at ringside.