A stacked card of world-class boxers will face off July 3 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino as part of Reno’s centennial celebration of one of history’s most important sporting events — 1910′s Johnson v. Jeffries boxing match. Reno native and super middleweight Joey Gilbert (19-2, 15 KOs), former Jr. flyweight champion Ulises Solís (30-2, 21 KOs) and undefeated up-and-coming middleweight Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales (12-0, 9 KOs) will all trade punches with competitors in the fifth installment of Reno Xtreme Fights. “It’s a world-class card. It has some of the best fighters in the world,” said Let’s Get It On Promotions CEO Terry Lane, who along with Top Rank Boxing, is organizing the fight. “It feels great to bring a top card to Reno.”
The fights are at the heart of a three-day Fourth of July weekend celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the fight that pitted Jack Johnson, nation’s first African-American World Champion, against Jim Jeffries, a man known as “The Great White Hope.”
Johnson defeated Jeffries in 15 rounds to retain his heavyweight crown on a custom-made boxing ring in downtown Reno in front of more than 20,000 spectators. The 1910 victory sparked race riots across the nation, and changed boxing forever. Until Johnson took the heavyweight crown, boxing had never let a black boxer compete for the heavyweight title.
The July 3 fights — featuring Mexican, Filipino and African-American fighters —are a perfect tribute to what boxing has become following the historic Johnson v. Jeffries battle, said Lane.
“This card shows how ethnically and culturally diverse boxing is,” said Lane. “I think the card is a celebration of the multiculturalism of boxing.”
Joey Gilbert, who fights for Let’s Get It On Promotions, will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in his first fight since an impressive knockout of Anthony Bartinelli in Reno May 23.
“He looked spectacular and he knocked out a very tough guy,” said Lane of the 33-year-old former NBC Contender cast member, Reno native and Nevada’s former Golden Gloves champion.
“He proved he has a lot left,” said Lane.
Middleweight Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales’ undefeated record will be on the line July 3. It’s his fifth time fighting in Reno, including a recent controversial decision over Isaiah McFadden, who knocked him down May 23.
“He’s returning to get that monkey off his back and show the Reno fight fans that he’s the best in the middleweight division,” said Lane.
Gonzales, who fights for Let’s Get It On Promotions, will meet James Parison (12-1, 3 KOs).
Mexican native Ulises “Archie” Solís, the current No. 1 IBF flyweight contender will also fight a yet-to-be-determined opponent. Solís, whose hard-charging, yet technical, style delivers a crowd-pleasing spectacle every time enters the ring, will look to notch his third win since a tough knock-out title loss last April to Brian Viloria. If Solís has a good fight July 3, his next bout may be an attempt to take back the flyweight title, said Lane.
“He has a typical Mexican fighting style,” said Lane of Solís. “He likes to be aggressive, to press and engage.”
Finally, a rematch of a razor close split decision between welterweights “Mighty” Mark Melligen (18-2, 13 KOs) and Michel Rosales (27-3, 13 KOs) is already being titled a “grudge match.”
Melligen, a native of the Philippines and veteran of the Asian Games, came up short against the aggressive Rosales in Las Vegas April 10, but will look for redemption July 3 in Reno.
The class of fighters battling it out in the ring July 3 demonstrates that Reno, just like during the Johnson v. Jeffries era a century ago, has the ability to showcase incredible boxing.
“It shows that Reno is one of the great fight towns,” said Lane. “It has been for 100 years and will continue to be. We have the ability to bring big network fights to Reno.”
The July 3 bouts will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net. All bouts are subject to change.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. for the fight on Saturday, July 3 with the first bout at 5 p.m. in the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s Grand Theatre. Tickets are $75, $55 and $35. Tickets for a King’s Row Booth for four are $1,000 which includes an exciting spot to get close to the action with light appetizers and one bottle of alcohol included. To purchase tickets or for more information, please call 1.800.648.3568.
In the days before and after the bouts, a celebration of the Johnson v. Jeffries centennial will include a gala attended by past and present fighters and boxing celebrities, an Al Bernstein boxing party, a historical tour of the original fight site and Johnson-Jeffries training facilities.
For more information on the Johnson v. Jeffries Centennial, visit www.johnsonjeffries2010.com.