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Chris Arreola & Gang of Contenders in San Diego Gym



Mexico’s border is a mere five minutes away from the gym where Riverside’s Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola has trained the past few weeks. It’s walking distance to the wild and crazy town filled with cantinas, restaurants and night life that can make Las Vegas seem tame.

So, how many times has Arreola crossed the border?

Not one time, is the answer.

“He’s afraid to go to Mexico,” said welterweight contender Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez on Thursday. “He says he stands out too much because he’s so big.”

Instead the heavyweight contender Arreola (36-3, 31 Kos; above photo by Ray Flores, left to right, Javier Molina, Josesito Lopez, Chris Arreola and Oscar Molina).

Arreola prepares daily going through some rigorous and unusual exercises at the House of Boxing Gym in a quiet San Diego neighborhood. In a few weeks he will fight Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 Kos) for the vacant WBC heavyweight title in Los Angeles.

“I’m not going to lie, I got my ass kicked,” said Arreola of their first bout. “But I was still there for 12 rounds after my nose got busted.”

Arreola, who recently turned 33, agreed to once again move training camp to a location other than his Riverside residency. He admits that if he’s near a familiar setting that finding an excuse to not go to the gym will overcome his need for preparation. The heavyweight also says that if he has a set of car keys he’ll drive off with a handful of excuses ready to deliver like “an oil change for his car” or some other meager excuse.

“I can’t be trusted,” Arreola says.

Inside the House of Boxing gym there are easily a dozen prizefighters going through routines. Arreola sparred with big Joe Hanks a hard-hitting heavyweight, who has 21 wins in 22 fights. His last fight was a loss to Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz, who grew up a few miles across the border from where the gym is located.

Hanks and Arreola spar for about four rounds with each fighting at about 85 percent intensity. The Riverside heavyweight is very mobile and more defensive minded than in the past. Hanks has length and speed to go along with his power. Both have their moments but neither heavyweight is looking to knock the other out. It’s basically a defensive drill and each boxer is not delivering the big blockbuster shells they’re capable of sending.

After the sparring session, the big Mexican-American heavyweight goes through a number of boxing drills before ending the regular boxing apparatus. He then proceeds toward a yellow contraption that is placed on the floor, which vaguely resembles a plastic ladder or make-do hopscotch mat. A half hour later the thoroughly drenched Arreola has finished the various tiptoe routines.

“I’m working my butt off,” says Arreola, adding that his previous encounter with Stiverne taught him a huge lesson. “I’m not going to do that to myself ever again.”


Also training in the San Diego gym is Lopez, who has a fight date next week against Aron Martinez of East L.A. at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in Rancho Mirage.

Lopez recently fought Mike Arnaoutis in a tough scrap, which was very close and included a knockdown of the Riverside boxer who rallied to win by technical decision. Before that, Lopez was in a great fight against Marcos Maidana, who was behind on points when they fought at the StubHub Center, and rallied to win by stoppage.

Maidana’s win over Lopez resulted in a fight against Adrien Broner, who he defeated and now he faces Floyd Mayweather for the WBC welterweight world title. There are a number of what if’s that Lopez is well aware of.

“One punch can change the fight,” says Lopez, who acknowledges that it could have been him in Maidana’s place had he defeated the Argentine boxer. “This fight coming up is my chance to prove I belong among the elite class.”

Lopez sparred with junior welterweight Antonio Orozco, who’s based in the San Diego gym. Although each was only fighting at 85 percent intensity for the first two rounds, the last two they boosted it up a notch and were firing blazing combinations at each other.

“It was real quality sparring with Antonio Orozco,” said Lopez.


Orozco will be fighting Mexico’s former champion Martin Honorio a few days later than Lopez on April 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson. It’s scheduled for 10 rounds.

The San Diego prizefighter was in a rugged fight against Miguel Angel Huerta a few months back,which ended with a knockout win. He’s been pushing up the rankings and many believe he will be a world champion soon.

Molina Brothers

Carlos Molina will be fighting Adrien Broner on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana on May 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Molina’s last fight was over a year ago when he suffered a stoppage against Amir Khan at the L.A. Sports Arena. It’s his only loss but he has an opportunity to make heavy impact when he faces Broner, who suffered his first loss too, against Maidana.

“We picked up some things we saw in Broner’s fight against Maidana that we’re working on,” said Molina, who was joined by his younger brothers, the twins Oscar and Javier. “We also saw a lot in Paul Malignaggi’s fight (against Broner) too.”


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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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