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The Avila Perspective, Chapter 9: In L.A., Three Fights in Four Days

David A. Avila



Two Los Angeles-based promotion companies unfurl three fight cards in four days in both Hollywood and downtown L.A.

360 Promotions brings a bevy of prospects to the Avalon Theater on Vine Street on Wednesday Aug. 8, including prospects from New York City, nearby Rowland Heights and Kazakhstan. The boxing events will be streamed on Facebook on the 360 Promotions page or at

The actual boxing starts at 6 p.m.

Ali Akhmedov (11-0, 8 KOs) a light heavyweight from Kazakhstan has been training in Big Bear with Abel Sanchez. He’ll be facing San Diego’s Jorge Escalante (9-1-1, 6 KOs) in the co-main event at the Avalon.

360 Promotions prospect Brian Ceballo (3-0) out of New York makes his third appearance at the historic venue. He made his pro debut at the Avalon back in March and this will be his third fight at the theater that opened in January 1927. The theater has gone through a number of name changes including the Hollywood Playhouse, WPA Federal Theater, El Capitan, the Hollywood Palace and the Jerry Lewis Theater.

A large number of celebrities have graced its floors over the decades including Cyd Charisse, Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Ginger Rogers, Louis Armstrong and Bette Davis among many others.

On Wednesday, Ceballo (3-0) the boxer makes his third appearance when he faces Tavorus Teague (5-20-4) in a six round welterweight contest.

A female fight showcases Elvina White (2-0) versus Jasmine Clarkson (4-11) in a four round welterweight fight. White, 24, signed with 360 Promotions and has fought at super lightweight in the past. For this fight it will be in the welterweight division and against young veteran Clarkson who fights out of Dallas and has clashed with Katie Taylor and Selina Barrios. Too bad it’s only four rounds.


In downtown L.A., about eight miles east of Hollywood, a Golden Boy Promotions fight card takes place at the Belasco Theater on Hill Street and 11th on Friday Aug. 10. Two top prospects will be severely tested.

Pacoima’s Emilio Sanchez (15-1, 10 KOs) returns to the ring five months after losing by knockout at Fantasy Springs Casino. The featherweight will be facing the dangerous veteran Christopher Martin (30-10-3) who makes a habit out of derailing prospects including Daniel Franco, Chris Avalos and others. It’s a do-or-die fight for Sanchez who ran into a punch in his last fight back in March. Was it a fluke or lucky punch?

Sanchez, 24, changed trainers and is now in Indio, Calif. working with brothers Joel and Antonio Diaz. His own younger brother Saul Sanchez, 21, has been training there for a while. Now the two brothers will be working together again.

Also on the card will be San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara (14-0, 5 KOs) meeting Emmanuel Morales (7-2) in the co-main event set for eight rounds. Tanajara, 21, trains in Riverside with Robert Garcia and has shown an ability to adapt to different circumstances. After knocking out three out of his first four opponents, the knockouts have been few. But he’s only 21 and learning the art of boxing will serve him better than knocking everyone out.

The Golden Boy fight card will be televised on Estrella TV and streamed on and on Facebook. Doors open at 6 p.m.


Boxing returns to the Avalon Theater in Hollywood on Saturday Aug. 11, with a Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions card. Doors open at 4 p.m.

A world title match between WBA featherweight titlist Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) and challenger Jojo Diaz (26-1, 14 KOs) headlines the card that will be streamed live on Facebook. It’s a good one.

Puerto Rico’s Rojas, 31, grabbed the title with a vicious knockout win over former champion Claudio Marrero last year in Las Vegas. Speed means nothing to Rojas, a hard-boiled fighter who’s willing to take a punch to give a punch. Plus, Rojas has a heck of a chin and showed it when he battered Abraham Lopez a year ago to win by knockout.

“I’m ready to come back after almost a year off,” said Jesus Rojas. “I’ll defend my title for the first time on a very important Golden Boy card which will start a new association with Facebook. Diaz Jr. is tough, intelligent and fast, but I have the power and the experience to score a spectacular win against him.”

Now he faces another speedy southpaw in Diaz (shown working the pads) who lost a title bid against Gary Russell Jr. just two months ago.

“I think his style suits me better than Gary Russell. He (Rojas) is going to be coming for me and that fits right into my style,” said Diaz who trains in South El Monte, Calif. “This is my second shot at a world title and I’m not going to lose.”

Diaz, 25, is a former 2012 Olympian with plenty of speed and willing to mix it up. But against Rojas that will be a bad thing.

“Marrero tried to exchange with Rojas and got caught,” said Diaz, who eagerly accepted the opportunity to fight for the world title. “I know Rojas is a tough guy and I’m not underestimating him. He’s good.”

Also on the card will be a battle of undefeated super lightweights featuring Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (15-0-1, 5 KOs) versus East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (14-0, 7 KOs) in the semi-main event.

Philadelphia versus East L.A. can’t miss. Both towns are historically known for having aggressive styles.

“I like these kind of fights,” said Navarro who turns 22 today and trains in Riverside with Robert Garcia. “I’ve been preparing for these kind of fights. I get excited fighting good fighters. This is what it’s all about.”

Two weeks ago Navarro was in downtown Los Angeles watching his teammate Mikey Garcia defeat Robert Easter Jr. in a battle of undefeated lightweight world champions. It was inspiring.

“Mikey is like an older brother to all of us. We look up to him,” said Navarro. “He tells us how to act, how to save our money and how to be smart.”

The fight card will be streamed on Facebook on Golden Boy Fight Night page.

Old L.A.

Back in the 1980s, when the Olympic Auditorium and Inglewood Forum had regular fight cards, it was common to have dueling boxing cards every week. On one card would be Danny “Lil Red” Lopez and on another Bobby Chacon.

Today, boxing cards still compete but the audience area has become much wider. Next week a fight card in downtown L.A. competes with another in Studio City on the same day. As the population has expanded in recent years, the thirst for boxing has expanded too.

This weekend’s three boxing cards on three separate days serve as a reminder of how boxing used to be in the past.

Just a few blocks east, the Hollywood Legion Stadium building still stands. Now it’s a workout gym but from the 1920s to the 1960s boxing was a regular event there on Hollywood and Gower. Movies stars like George Raft and Ann Miller were regulars.

Boxing has a certain flair that attracts movie stars, musicians and never seems to extinguish. A number of celebrities will be present at one or all of the shows this week.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Promotions

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Odds Review for Friday’s Boxing on Telemundo

Miguel Iturrate



boxing odds
South Florida promoter Tuto Zabala Jr has a seven fight card planned for the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee this Friday, February 22nd that sees three undefeated prospects headline the show. For more than two decades, Zabala Jr has promoted the sport in Mexico and Florida and Friday’s event will air on Spanish language Telemundo in the United States, so check your local listings for start times.
A pair of ten round bouts hold the main event spots as undefeated Yomar Alamo faces veteran Manuel Mendez at welterweight and likewise unbeaten Carlos Monroe takes on Jonathan Tavira in a middleweight bout.
The 23 year old Alamo is from fight hungry Puerto Rico and he is considered a key piece to promoter Zabala Jr’s plans to run shows back on the island. The 28 year old Mendez once carried the ‘prospect’ label as well but Mendez is 1-3-1 in his last five fights. The experience of being in there with the likes of Sonny Fredrickson (19-1) and undefeated Johnathan Navarro (15-0) will make him Alamo’s toughest test to date. The welterweight division is crowded and Alamo is going to need to keep winning beyond Friday to get noticed, but he already banks on the fervent support of his “boriqua” crowd. Promoter Zabala Jr may be wondering if matchmaker Ruben DeJesus picked the right guy in Mendez. Alamo’s record in Puerto Rico looks to have a good bit of fluff. He didn’t face an opponent with a single pro win until his seventh fight. He faced 40 year old vet Edwin Lopez in 2016, but Lopez hurt his hand in the first round and could not continue, so Alamo is largely untested.
Middleweight prospect Carlos Monroe looks to go 12-0 as he steps in to his first bout scheduled for ten rounds. Veteran Jonathan Tavira provides the opposition for the 24 year old Monroe, who turned pro in December of 2017 and notched 10 fights in calendar year 2018. Monroe has been brought along carefully, as the combined record of his 11 opponents stands at 46-98-8. Tavira has been in there with the likes of Arif Magomedov, Dario Bredicean and Esquiva Falcao, all undefeated fighters on the way up. Tavira hits hard but he has been stopped five times in his six losses, so look for Monroe to improve on his eight KOs to date.
2016 U.S. Olympian Antonio Vargas looks to improve to 10-0 in an eight round bantamweight bout against Lucas Rafael Baez (34-17-5). Vargas was originally scheduled to take on Wilner Soto, a veteran with a 21-5 record and he was a big favorite in that match-up.
Below are the current lines as we start off fight week.
Fri 2/22 – Osceola Heritage Center – Kissimmee, Florida
Welterweight 10 rounds –
Manuel Mendez(16-4-1) +160
Yomar Alamo(15-0)         -210
Middleweight 10 rounds –
Jonathan Tavira (17-6)            +550
Carlos Monroe (11-0)             -1050
Bantamweight 8 rounds –
Lucas Rafael Baez        +1150
Antonio Vargas            -2450
(Opponent change for Vargas, line should be similar for new opponent Lucas Rafael Baez)

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Blake Caparello Looks To Grab WBA Regional Belt This Friday

Miguel Iturrate



This Friday night in Australia, light heavyweight contender Blake Caparello returns to action as he faces youngster Reagan Dessaix for the WBA’s Oceania title in the main event of a planned six fight card at The Melbourne Pavilion.
Dessaix currently holds the belt that Caparello held back in 2017, and the 22-year-old is hoping a win on Friday will put him on the international radar. It is where Caparello, who enters this fight as a 32-year-old, has been and hopes to get to again.
Those are the basics of Friday’s main event, the youngster Dessaix making a significant leap in competition level as he looks to get ranked internationally, while the veteran Caparello is hopeful a win will propel him closer to another world title shot.
Caparello laid claim to the IBO’s world title at 175 pounds back in October of 2013 when he won a comfortable unanimous decision over veteran Allan Green. Caparello, who was 17-0-1 at the time of the Green fight, went on to an introductory fight in the United States, and a win there saw him earn an August of 2014 title shot against WBO champion Sergey Kovalev.
Caparello has to feel he was close to a world title as he had the feared Kovalev down in round one before the “Krusher” took him out in round two. Since then, he has fought Isaac Chilemba and Andre Dirrell, extending both ranked veterans the full fight distance. The March of 2018 loss to Chilemba was for the WBC’s world title, and Caparello managed to go 2-0 the rest of the calendar year.
Green, Kovalev, Dirrell and Chilemba. The bottom line is that Dessaix had a solid amateur career in Australia, but there is no one with resumes like the men Caparello has faced when asked to step onto the world scene.
The WBA’s current world champion is Dmitry Bivol (15-0), who is making the fourth defense of his title in March against hard hitting Joe Smith Jr. The veteran Caparello could mount a case for a mandatory shot against either man with a win on Friday, while Dessaix would likely have to keep fighting and winning before earning a shot at a world title.
The co-feature bout is for the Australian title at 154 pounds and sees 31 year old Billy Klimov facing Joel Camilleri. Camilleri is favored as he has had a lot more professional experience than Limov, who turned professional at 29 years old. Strictly regional stuff here.
Both fights have lines at some of the sportsbooks. Check out the numbers as they were at the start of fight week below.
Fri 2/22 – The Melbourne Pavilion – Victoria, Australia
WBA Oceania Title
Light Heavyweight 10 rounds –
Reagan Dessaix(16-1)         +255
Blake Caparello (28-3-1)    -365
Australian Title
Super Welterweight 10 rounds –
Billy Limov (4-0-1)     +200
Joel Camilleri(16-5-1) -280
Check out the link for the live event right here.

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Will Fury’s Deal With ESPN Torpedo The Fights That Fight Fans Want to See?

Arne K. Lang



Fury's deal with ESPN

For the past few weeks, boxing fans have been led to believe that the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was ever so-close to being a done deal. But in the world of professional boxing where Machiavellian characters seemingly hold all the positions of power, nothing is ever a done deal until it’s finally finalized. Today’s announcement that Tyson Fury has signed with ESPN is the latest case in point. It’s a three-fight deal that will reportedly earn the Gypsy King $80 million if he can successfully hurdle the first two legs.

As Thomas Hauser has noted, what we have in boxing today is something similar to leagues in other sports. There’s the Top Rank/ESPN League, the Matchroom/DAZN League, and the PBC/Showtime/FOX League. We would add that these are intramural leagues. Occasionally there’s cross-pollination, similar to when the Yankees play the Mets in a game that counts in the regular season standings, but basically the boxers in each league compete against each other.

We have no doubt that WBC/WBA/IBF heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua will eventually fight Wilder and/or Fury, but it now appears that these matches, when they transpire, will have marinated beyond the sell date. The action inside the ring may mirror the Mayweather-Pacquiao dud.

A match between Joshua and Wilder is already somewhat less enticing than it would have been if it had come to fruition last autumn. The odds lengthened in favor of Joshua after Wilder’s raggedy performance against Tyson Fury on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles.

True, the Bronze Bomber almost pulled the fight out of the fire with a thunderous punch but he was out-slicked in most of the rounds and it wasn’t as if he was fighting a bigger version of Pernell Whitaker. Before that fight, casual fans were less tuned-in to Deontay Wilder’s limitations.

It was reported that the Wilder-Fury rematch was headed to Las Vegas or New York, but that Las Vegas fell out of the running when the State Athletic Commission insisted on using Nevada officials. Fury was the one that balked.

In hindsight we should have seen that this was fake news. No Nevada officials were involved in Fury-Wilder I. The judges were from California, Canada, and Great Britain. The California judge voted against Fury, scoring the fight 115-111, a tally for which he was excoriated. The judge from Great Britain, like many ringside reporters, had it draw. The TV crews, especially the crew from Great Britain, left no doubt that Fury should have had his hand raised and the controversy made the hoped-for rematch more alluring.

So who will be Tyson Fury’s next opponent? Speculation immediately centered on Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev.

Pulev, who turns 38 of May 4, sports a 26-1 record. He was slated to fight Anthony Joshua in October of 2017 but suffered a torn biceps in training and was forced to withdraw. In his most recent bout he outpointed Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin. He’s currently ranked #1 by the IBF.

On Dec. 8 of last year, Bob Arum announced that he had hammered out a deal to co-promote Pulev. It was subsequently reported that Pulev’s first fight under the Top Rank/ESPN umbrella would be against Finland’s Robert Helenius on March 23 in Los Angeles. Six days ago, the distinguished European fight writer Per Ake Persson told his readers that the fight had fallen out, ostensibly because the parties could not come to terms.

Tyson Fury is the most charismatic white heavyweight to come down the pike since Gerry Cooney and the big galoot is bigger than Cooney ever was as he has avid followers on both sides of the Atlantic and Cooney didn’t have social media to enhance his profile. I have little doubt that ESPN will recoup their investment in him. However, deals in boxing are never consummated with an eye on uplifting the sport – on patching things up with the disaffected – and here’s yet another example.

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