Hallelujah! The banner says it all. On Friday, you won’t have to hop on an airplane or spend hours crossing the border to see a live professional boxing show. Thanks to the USA CBS Sports Network, promoters Greg Cohen (Greg Cohen Promotions), Patrick Ortiz (Ringside Ticket) and matchmaker Jerry Alfano (RingKings) the local San Diego boxing fan can have their memory refreshed in regards to how grand it is to watch a live Pro boxing event.
As you might expect CBS has more than a few standouts/heavy hitters on their nine-bout boxing card. Rob Brant, the 5′11½″ middleweight from Saint Paul, Minnesota (20-0, 13 KOs) will be in town to face 29-year-old Irish Chris Fitzpatrick (15-4, 6 KOs) from Cleveland, Ohio who will benefit from his three and a half inch reach advantage.
Brant’s Amateur pedigree: 2007 Ringside Champion, 2008 National Champion (18 and under), 2009 USA National Champion and finally 2010 National Golden Gloves Champion at 178 pounds. After going unbeaten in his first fifteen matches, Fitzpatrick has suddenly fallen on hard times, losing four of his last five bouts.
In the Co-featured bout, they have super welterweights, 25-year-old, Skender Halili (10-1, 10 KOs) from Fort Worth, Texas by way of Klina, Kosovo going up against the 36-year-old veteran Ben Odamattey from Silver Springs, Maryland by way of Accra, Ghana (16-14-3, 9 KOs). Odamattey has quite a resume when you consider he’s been in there with such notables as Ricky Burns, Henry Lundy, Wesley Tucker, Eudy Bernardo and Michael Hunter.
Next, they have 20-year-old, 6 foot tall, undefeated super welterweight, Malik Hawkins (8-0, 7 KOs) from Baltimore, Maryland going up against Sean “Beast of War” Gee (3-4) of Portland, Oregon who has also fought in the cage at 135 lbs. which is considerably less than the weight of a super welterweight (147 to 154 lbs.). For his last fight on June 25, 2016, Gee weighed in at 137 lbs. while Hawkins weighed 146 lbs. for his last fight on May 27, 2016. There’s not much we can tell you about Mr. Hawkins other than he likes to make quick work of his opponents. Five of his eight opponents never made it out of round one. Hawkins’ opponent, the magnificently chiseled Gee, has faced the tougher competition to include Ruslan Madiev (7-0) from Big Bear, Calif. where he gets to trains with the formidable GGG, Gennady Golovkin. Many believe this is a fight you won’t want miss. For sure it looks like some additional fact checking will have to be done on Thursday at the weigh-ins.
Then, they have hometown favorite, featherweight Roberto Meza (2-0, 1 KO) from Temecula, Calif. going up against a lightweight, 35-year-old veteran Jose Fabian Naranjo (3-2-1) of Uruapan, Baja California, Mexico. Close attention should be paid to the weights in this clash since Naranjo, the more seasoned fighter, has a history of fighting at a higher weight.
Next is 22-year-old, 6’ foot tall, middleweight Cem “Champ” Kilic (5-0, 2 KOs) from Sherman Oaks, Calif. by way of Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany. He is set to face Jerhad Fenderson who will be making his professional debut. Boxing aficionados like Kilic’s chances of making it to the big-time even though we can’t tell much from his first five fights against competition with a combined record of 4 wins, 17 losses and two draws.
Then, it’s bantamweight Ja’Rico O’Quinn (2-0, 2 KOs) from Detroit, Michigan facing another local favorite Johnny Boy Quiroz (6-3, 1 KO) of Oceanside, Calif. who trains with his brother Brian Nevarez at his Nevarez Boxing Club in nearby Vista, Calif. In a second lightweight match, they have two debutantes Erick Fowler from Las Vegas, Nevada, going up against Will Davis of Sacramento, Calif. Another local favorite, Danny Andujo of Temecula will be making his professional debut against Israel Hernandez (1-2-1) from San Jose, Calif. And, last but not least it will be middleweight Kevin “KO” Ottley (2-0, 2 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., a member of the Bomber Squad Boxing Academy, El Cajon, Calif., going up against the more seasoned Brian True from Hawthorne, Calif. (1-4-1, 1 KO). Like Roberto Meza, Ottley, who is also managed my Jack Ballo of the Bomber Squad, has himself on the fast track. This will be Ottley’s third fight since turning pro on May 13, 2016. And let’s hope Ottley won’t be fooled by True’s record. True has knockout power in both hands and will likely weigh 10 to 15 pounds more than Ottley by the time they step into the ring.
So, there you have it – Danny Andujo, Kevin Ottley, Johnny Boy Quiroz plus Roberto Meza, all local boys, all fan favorites from the local boxing gyms here in San Diego County. They are certain to make you proud on Friday evening inside the Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Grand Ballroom in nearby Temecula.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS: THURSDAY, AUGUST 4
CBS Sports Fighter Meetings: Pechanga Resort & Casino inside Hummingbird Hall.
12:00 p.m. – Rob Brant 12:15 p.m. – Chris Fitzpatrick 12:30 p.m. – Skender Halili 12:45 p.m. – Ben Odamattey 1:00 p.m. – Malik Hawkins 1:15 p.m – Sean Gee 1:30 p.m. – Cem Kilic 1:45 p.m. – Jerhed Fenderson
Official weigh-ins: inside the Cabaret Lounge at the Pechanga Resort & Casino
4:00 p.m. – Paper Work & Licensing
5:00 p.m. – Fighters go on the Scale
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
FIGHT NIGHT: Pechanga Resort & Casino inside the Grand Ballroom
5:00 p.m. – All Fighters Report
6:00 p.m. – Doors open to the public
7:00 p.m. – First Fight begins
8:00 p.m. – the CBS Sports Network Broadcast begins