On Tuesday afternoon, the Borizteca Boxing Management Group held their latest Press Conference at “Cheers” in Tijuana to preview their latest offering at the Salon Mezzanine on Friday night, May 13. The Cheers Bar & Grill, an acclaimed nightspot, has hosted a ton of wild parties and celebrities to include La Princesa Azteca Jackie Nava, actress Sabrina La Brock, comedians J. J. and Franco Escamilla, the “Blue Demon”, etcetera, etc.
Even though this was a dandy location for the Press Conference, with it being May 10th, Mother’s Day in Mexico, and the various travel and work restrictions for the fighters, the promoter had only four of the 22 combatants from the 11 bout fight card present to promote the show. It’s likely the Press Conference wasn’t really that important since there are so many interesting boxers on this upcoming fight card and the Press already had a great many things to write about.
As far as the headliners on Friday’s show, we start with the sons of the late Hector “Torero” Lopez, one of the truly great boxers of our day. Like Maromero Paez and Prince Naseem Hamed, the elder Lopez would go that extra mile to make certain the fight fans had their fill of entertainment. You can ask the people who went to his shows and they’ll all tell you – “what a show he put on!” Come Friday evening in Tijuana, you can see his boys following in his footsteps. Featherweight Adam Lopez will be facing Hector Garcia while his brother Hector Lopez Jr. is scheduled to face Juan Delgado in a super featherweight contest.
Since the Lopez brothers train at the Pullmans Boxing Gym in Burbank, Calif., they will be representing Team Humble Hands of Burbank. On that same team, you have people like heavyweight contender Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (17-0-1) and top female amateur Lisa Porter who formerly trained locally at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista with trainer Sergio Melendrez. The Lopez twins are now trained by Eddie Levine, who himself has a storied career of working with fighters like Juan Carlos Gomez of Cuba, the 1996 Mexican Olympian Fernando Zuniga, Samuel “Zurdo de Oro” Lopez and Hector “Matador” Lopez, from whom he “inherited” the Lopez brothers.
Then, from the House of Boxing in San Diego, you have rookie super middleweight Simon Torres who recently sparred 80 rounds with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to get him ready for his fight against Amir Khan. Torres will make his debut against Juan Beltran of Tijuana who is hoping to rebound after losing in his debut against Reinaldo Paniagua, who is also from Tijuana.
Another representative from the House of Boxing is the popular lightweight Armando Tovar (2-1), who returns to the Salon Mezzanine after a controversial decision left him with his first loss. In that fight, Tovar was not only the victim of five rabbit punches, he was even hit while he was down on one knee. His opponent this time out is Ramón “Muneca” Palma of Tijuana. Prediction: with Tovar’s pent up anger, I wouldn’t want to be in Palma’s shoes.Also f
Also from the next generation of top boxing prospects is Reyes Manon Sosa – Merqui “El Corombo” Sosa’s baby brother who will be representing Battle Tested Inc. out of Oakland, Calif. in his debut. His opponent is lightweight Ricardo Flores (0-1) who made an ill-advised pro debut in 2013. After Roy Jones Jr. faced Reyes Manon Sosa’s older brother, who is now 50 years of age, he made the comment, “Hardest puncher I ever faced. Even the punches when he missed, they hurt.” Reyes is trained by Tony Hirsch, who heads the Athletic Dogtown Boxing Program in Oakland and is the current WBC NABF champion in the middleweight division.
The boxing card also features Michael Williams from the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas who will be debuting against Gabriel Fernandez of Tijuana in the welterweight division. Light heavyweight George Escalante of San Diego (4-0-1, 3 KOs) returns to the Salon Mezzanine in search of his fifth victory. His opponent is Jesus Gonzalez of Tijuana who is making his pro debut. Next, they have Alfredo “Pepe el Toro” Ledezma (4-0) from Tijuana taking on Dario “Chaman” Cervantes (0-6) from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico in a six round super lightweight match.
Another fighter returning to the Salon Mezzanine is 22-year-old super featherweight Alimkhan Jumakhonov (3-1-1, 2 KOs). Jumakhonov, originally from Tajikistan, now lives in Reseda, a neighborhood in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. He will be facing Miguel Villalobos (2-3) of Tijuana in a six rounder. Also known as Ali Khan, he is trained by Lolik Kaminsky, a well-known fitness and boxing trainer, who at one time trained the Israel Armed Forces. Jumakhonov came all the way from Tajikistan to train with him. This will be Jumakhonov’s first fight in 2016, third in Tijuana.
Super middleweight Kevin “KO” Ottley from San Diego by way of Baltimore, Maryland and trained by Berlin Kerney IV is also be making his pro debut. This passed Saturday, May 7th, Ottley’s manager, Jack Ballo, opened a brand new gym on Main Street in El Cajon, Calif. which is appropriately called “The Bomber Squad Academy.” Ottley, a veteran of 42 amateur bouts, feels right at home with this new facility. On Friday night, he will share the ring with Gabriel Fernandez of Tijuana who is also making his pro-debut.
This fight card is part of the World Class Boxing Series, produced and distributed by PAP Sports. Friday night’s event will be a tape delayed telecast to air in Baja California, the United States via LATV Networks, and worldwide over the Internet. Tickets for this “Redemption” fight card are available at the venue. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the first bout scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m. Question for you: With the cost of admission only $8.30, how can you, as a true boxing fan, miss this show?