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Column

Southern California Fight Scene

By Francisco Salazar

It is that time again when Southern California fight fans could enjoy live professional boxing in person on consecutive days. From tonight until Saturday, fight fans could see anything from competitive four round bouts to world title fights. One could see prospects starting out, fringe contenders, or even world title belt holders. Oh, it is good to be a fight fans in Southern California. Being a member of the boxing media is not too shabby either.

Tonight, Art of Boxing in association with Bash Boxing presents a nine-bout “Hollywood Fight Night” card at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood. Headlining the card will be unbeaten welterweight Zachary Wohlman (3-0, 1 KO) taking on Jose Martell (2-2-1, 2 KOs). Wohlman trains at the nearby Wild Card Gym and has garnered a local following.

Aside from the Wohlman-Martell fight, I am looking forward to the bout featuring unbeaten Erik Ruiz (4-0, 2 KOs) taking on Raymond Chacon (4-2). That is a competitive and evenly-matched fight between young fighters.

All bouts tonight are scheduled four-round bouts. Seven more bouts round out the card.

Promoter Kahren Harutyunyan, a former flyweight contender and also contributed to Fightnews years ago, along with Steven Bash are starting a new series of fight cards at the Florentine Gardens. The Florentine Gardens has had a long history throughout its existence in the last 75 years, as it has been used as a supper club to most recently, a nightclub.

Tickets start at $35 and could be purchased at bashboxing.com or by calling (626) 388-8888. Doors open at 7PM, with first bell scheduled for 7:15PM. The venue is open to those 18 and older.

The Florentine Gardens is located at 5955 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

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Boxing returns to the San Gabriel Valley on Friday night as the Southern California-based All Star Boxing Promotions present a boxing/ Muay Thai card.

In the main event, Irving Garcia and Roberto Rios Quinones square off in a scheduled four round bout. Garcia (7-1, 5 KOs) is coming off a spectacular one-punch first round knockout over Alejandro Artiaga in his last bout on May 26th in Port Hueneme.

Garcia, who hails from Oxnard, has won his last four bouts in a row, all by knockout, since losing to Artiaga back in November of 2006.

Ironically, Quinones (4-0, 3 KOs) also scored a first round knockout over Artiaga in his last bout in March. Quinones was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Three more boxing fights, including a female fight between unbeaten flyweights Abigail Castaneda (3-0) and Adrienne Alegria (2-0), will round out the card.

Tickets start at $50 and could be purchased at the door or by calling (323) 816-6200 or (323) 781-4871. Doors open at 6:00PM, with first bell scheduled for 7:30PM.

The Quiet Cannon is located at 901 Via San Clemente, just south of the 60 Freeway, in Montebello.

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Boxing returns to the Inland Empire on Saturday night as female world champion Mariana Juarez will defend her flyweight title against Shindo Go at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

Juarez (34-5-3, 16 KOs) will be attempting to defend her world title belt for the 14th time against Go, who has not lost in 10 fights after losing her professional debut in over four years ago.

The scheduled 10 round bout will headline a Finding Productions “Fists of Hope” card that will be televised live on Televisa (in Mexico).

Also scheduled to fight on the card will be unbeaten lightweight Carlos Zarate Jr. (17-0, 12 KOs) taking on Edgar Vargas (11-4, 1 KO) in a scheduled 10 round bout.

Proceeds from tickets sold for Saturday’s fight card will benefit Mundo Maya Foundation and Migrant Women’s Gathering 2012.

Tickets are priced at $30, $60, $86, $95, $170, and $295. All tickets will have an added fee. Tickets could be purchased at the Citizen Business Bank Arena box office or by calling (909) 244-5600. Doors open at 6PM, with first bell scheduled for 7PM.

The Citizens Business Bank Arena is located at 4000 East Ontario Center Parkway, north of Interstate 10, in Ontario.

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I spoke to Brandon Rios over the phone last week. He is currently rehabbing his shoulder that he injured in training camp in Oxnard that prevented him from fighting on this past Saturday’s Top Rank card at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

He was understandable disappointed that he was not able to fight that night. “That’s boxing,” was what Rios said summing up the outcome to his injury.

Rios was vocal about the fallout from his April 14th 12 round split decision victory over Richard Abril, a fight numerous members of the media at ringside thought at Abril deserved the nod.

“No one said anything about Abril holding me during most of the fight or that I barely had any energy when I fought him. We can do a rematch and I’ll knock that (expletive) out.”

“I know the fight was close. At worst, I can see a draw, but there is no way that he won that fight.”

Rios has also been in the news lately, although it was not related to boxing. He participated in the annual Padres Contra El Cancer (Parents Against Cancer) Stand for Hope 5K Charity Run/ Walk in Pasadena on June 24th.

Rios interacted with children who are suffering from cancer by taking pictures and signing autographs. After visiting children with cancer at Los Angeles Hospital last year, Rios called it a turning point in his life.

“It’s a blessing to be involved with Padres Contra El Cancer,” said the Oxnard resident. “I love helping out kids and seeing kids go through chemotherapy, it’s brutal. But I want to show people that we care. Just to give at least five minutes out of the day to spend time with them is something I’m happy doing.”

Rios believes he could return to training in the next week or two.

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I was also able to speak Leo Santa Cruz last week. Santa Cruz is coming off an impressive and dominating 12 round unanimous decision victory over Vusi Malinga last month at the Home Depot Center in Carson. With the victory, Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 KOs) won the vacant IBF bantamweight title.

According to his manager Cameron Dunkin, Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Santa Cruz, inquired about Santa Cruz being available to fight on the September 15th card taking place in Las Vegas.

Santa Cruz, who resides in Lincoln Heights, is up to the challenge if he is able to land on the card.

“I would be ready to fight on September 15th,” Santa Cruz told Fightnews.com. “I know there would be more people on that show. Even a week after the (Malinga) fight, I was back in the gym ready for my next fight.”

Although Santa Cruz was impressive in victory over Malinga, the South African fighter was a major step up in class for the 23 year old. Malinga had fought the better opposition, but Santa Cruz fought the fight of his life so far in his young career.

Most members of the media thought so too, although Santa Cruz played it down.

“I’m more dedicated now to the sport. I even train twice a day and in between training sessions, I go home to eat and rest. In the (Malinga) fight, I trained as hard as I could because I knew he was going to train hard. I think it looked easy only because of the hard work I put in.”

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Unbeaten super bantamweight Jhonatan Romero (21-0, 12 KOs) has not fought since winning an eight round unanimous decision over Adolfo Landeros on May 11th. Unfortunately, Romero suffered a fracture to his left thumb in the fight that caused him to withdraw from a fight against Rico Ramos on June 23rd.

Thompson Boxing Promotions General Manager and matchmaker Alex Camponovo told Fightnews.com Romero is healing well and could return to the ring sometime in September.

Romero’s only national television fight took place in December, when he won a 10 round split decision over Chris Avalos.

You can follow me on twitter at Salazar_soccer .. Come say hi to me at ringside.




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