Boxing Chatter

BY David A. Avila ON March 16, 2006

She just might be the best female boxer in the world, pro or amateur.

Elizabeth Quevedo captured her fourth U.S National amateur title last week against New York’s Angelique Bovee in the 138-pound junior welterweight division.

“I wish I could have performed better, but I wasn’t able to prepare at my best,” said Quevedo, 21, who lives in South Gate, California.

Forget Lucia Rijker, Holly Holm, or Mary Jo Sanders, this amateur fighter Quevedo, a 5-11 in height fighting machine out of City of Commerce, Ca. - an incorporated city about 50 yards south of East Los Angeles - won three consecutive national titles in the heavier welterweight division and decided to drop down in weight.

Her trainer Roberto Luna advised her to step into the lower weight class to see if she could handle the lighter fighters.

“We were weighing her in and she kept coming way under the weight limit,” Luna said a few months ago. “Let’s see what happens.”

What happened was Quevedo used her height and aggressive style to puncture a hole in yet another weight division and claimed the junior welterweight division medals to go along with her three welterweight U.S. National awards.

“Ironically, I fought against the same girl last year but in the heavier weight class,” said Quevedo, who felt the scoring was a little off.

The fight ended in a tight 16-15 point decision. Quevedo felt her most difficult match was her second.

“That girl was wild and throwing wild punches,” Quevedo said. “If I had been in better shape it would have been easier. But I couldn’t throw as many punches so I had to pick my shots.”

The South Gate High product began boxing eight years ago to offset her aggressive behavior. She chose the City of Commerce Boxing Club that also harbored a young amateur male superstar named Francisco “Panchito” Bojado. They’re friends.

“We talk once in a while and see how each other is doing,” Bojado said.

Quevedo has been a force in the female boxing scene since capturing her first U.S. Amateur title four years ago at age 17. Just prior to that, Southern California boxing aficionados got a glimpse of the future at the renowned Blue and Gold Amateur tournament in Baldwin Park. It’s a tournament that has seen fighters like Sugar Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas and Sergio Mora pass through its ring ropes.

It was 2002, Quevedo entered the Blue and Gold but few opponents opted to enter the ring with her. Instead she received a “walk over” in the final. But coincidentally, the middleweight final also had a walk over and Quevedo was asked if she wanted to participate.

She eagerly said yes.

A big smile crossed her face when she was given the OK. When the final took place, about 1,000 fans saw Quevedo walk across the ring, give a few feints, then unleash a stunning five punch volley that saw her opponent crushed.

The fight was over in nine seconds. The fastest ever recorded knockout in the Blue and Gold Tournament history.

“I was going to take my time, but I saw an opening and I took it,” said Quevedo.  

The 21-year-old is undecided if she’ll turn professional. She had been counting on competing for the Olympics in 2008, but the Olympic Committee proclaimed female boxing would not be part of the games in Beijing, China.

“When I found out women would not be included in the next Olympics, I cried all night,” Quevedo said. “It was my dream.”

Maybe her dream will come as a professional.

“I may be going to Argentina for an international tournament, but I don’t know yet, we’ll see,” Quevedo said.

Next up for the tall brunette is the district Golden Gloves.

“It’s been hard, now that I know there is not going to be boxing in the Olympics for women,” she said. “It’s going to take me a while to decide what to do.”

Sumya Anani
Finally, Sumya Anani has a match to defend her IBA welterweight title against Terri Blair at the Grand Victoria Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana. The title fight takes place on March 25. Anani fought two months ago against talented Belinda Laracuente. But before that 10-round fight, the feared prizefighter known as the “Island Girl” had a heck of a time getting an opponent. Nobody wanted to step forward against her pressure. It took more than a year to find a brave enough opponent. Anani has victories over Fredia Gibbs, Christy Martin and Lisa Holewyne, but her dream fight was to face Lucia Rijker. “She just won’t fight me,” said Anani who has called out the fighter many proclaimed as the best female boxer in the world. “Lucia Rijker wants to fight Laila Ali, but she won’t fight me.”

The Contender
Several members of the Contender television program are attending the Golden Gloves tournament in San Francisco including Sugar Ray Leonard, last year’s champion Sergio Mora, Peter Manfredo Jr. and Alfonso Gomez. All of the fighters can be heard on KNBR 640 and 1050 AM during the mornings. Mora was a guest on Tuesday. Leonard can be heard on Wednesday and on Monday, March 20, Manfredo on Thursday and Gomez on Friday. The fighters will be talking about the impact the Golden Glove tourneys had on their own careers. The San Francisco event is in its 75th anniversary.

New kids on the Block
Top Rank announced last week that Josesito Lopez would place against Wes Ferguson on April 8, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The main event features Zab Judah against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a welterweight contest. Ferguson is managed by Mayweather and has a similar fighting style. Lopez, who lives in Riverside, is no stranger to Las Vegas. He made his pro debut there and stopped his opponent in one round. “I’m looking forward to putting on the best fight possible,” Lopez said at Camacho’s Restaurant in Universal Studios. Mayweather warned Lopez to “be ready.”

Welterweight contender Mark Suarez
Mark Suarez may also be added to the April 8, fight card at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, said his co-trainer Henry Ramirez who also helps with Lopez. Ironically, Suarez should be fighting for the vacant IBF title that was lost by Judah to Carlos Baldomir a few months back. But, since Baldomir did not pay sanctioning fees to the IBF, that title was given back to Judah who also lost the WBC and WBA belts simultaneously. By some shenanigans Judah was ridiculously tabbed by the IBF as the champion. That left fighters like Suarez out on the cold. “I’ll fight anybody, I don’t care,” said Suarez last week while attending the Pechanga Resort and Casino fight card. “I’ll take on the winner of Mayweather and Judah anytime, any day.”

Rialto, California Speedster
Dominic Salcido was officially added to Thompson Promotions list of fighters that includes Josesito Lopez and Timothy Ray Bradley. It’s an impressive trio. Salcido should be expected to co-headline the next Thompson fight card at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. Salcido, who was raised in Rialto, trains in Colton. The speed boxer-puncher has not fought since

Pro debut win
Congratulations to San Bernardino’s Carlos Martinez who won by first round knockout a few weeks back. Martinez, 18, trains out of Mira Loma with Willy Silva. He’s the adopted brother of the fighting Velardez brothers Armando, Bobby Boy, Alex, John John and Chris.

Kaleisha West is back in business for her second pro fight at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. West, 18, is anxious to step back in the ring. Her father Juan West is her trainer and manager. Though residing in Moreno Valley, she trains at the Redlands Boxing Club. She won several amateur titles before turning pro. “I always wanted to fight pro,” she says.

Stepping up
Colton’s Freddie Barrera took a big step by accepting a fight with Oxnard’s Victor Ortiz. The slick-fighting Barrera, 22, whose last win was a knockout over Daniel Gonzalez in Ontario, will be fighting on national television against the hard-hitting Ortiz. It’s a big challenge for both fighters. Barrera’s skillful boxing approach could be the right antidote for the left-handed power puncher Ortiz. The fight will be held at the Maywood Activity Center.

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