A surprise match between junior featherweight Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton and former IBA junior featherweight titleholder Kelsey “Road Warrior” Jeffries was almost magically picked up from thin air. Both fight for the vacant IBA junior featherweight belt.
Jeffries of Gilroy, California clashes against fellow Californian Julaton on Sept. 12, at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Roy Englebrecht Events is staging the female IBA title bout that will be the main event.
“I was pretty surprised myself,” said Jeffries (41-9-1) about the title fight promoted as the main event at the San Jose arena. “It's good for the women fighters. Me and her are going to put on a really good show.”
Expect a sell out.
With Julaton and Jeffries both living less than 100 miles from San Jose, the fight is expected to draw and sell out all 5,000 seats established for the fight venue.
“All my relatives and friends will come out from Seattle and the Bay Area,” said Julaton (4-1-1) who lives in Daly City near San Francisco. “I also called my relatives in Southern California. They’re really pumped up about it.”
It’s the first time ever that a female boxing bout will be featured as the main event and comes on the heels of mixed martial arts star Gina Carano fighting Cyborg, in another main event, at the same venue this Saturday.
“Women in MMA get the TV exposure, but I still think in boxing there are better fighters,” said Jeffries, a veteran prizefighter for 10 years.
Jeffries should know. She’s not called the Road Warrior for nothing. Since 1998 she’s traveled around the world and fought from 118 to 130 pounds. She’s fearless.
“I fight like a Latino,” said Jeffries. “I love it.”
The pixieish Jeffries is one of the few active female fighters in the world to have more than 50 pro fights. Only Christy Martin, Mia St. John, Belinda Laracuente and Stephanie Dobbs have reached that plateau.
“I’m amazed and I’m shocked myself. It’s a pretty big accomplishment for a man as well,” said Jeffries who has world titles in the featherweight divisions as well. “I’m very proud of it. Starting out I was hoping one or two fights let alone 50. Sometimes I look at my record and say where did I get all those fights.”
Julaton was scheduled to fight Melissa Hernandez for the featherweight world title two weeks ago but that fight was dropped off the card when no room was available. Many female fight fans were disappointed. So was the Filipina-American.
“Honestly, going through the whole turn out of the last fight and going into this fight, I’m just happy we have a contract and we both have signed it,” said Julaton, who still wants to fight Hernandez. “Jeffries is a great fighter who isn’t afraid to fight anyone.”
Julaton doesn’t have the bulk of professional fighting experience that Jeffries has, but with her amateur background and aggressive fighting skills it should make for a fight fan’s kind of battle.
“I saw her fight Carly Batey,” said Jeffries. “I anticipate a really good fight because of her style and my style.”
Which Pay-Per-View Should You See This Saturday?
Dueling pay-per-view boxing events take place on the same day when explosive boxer Nonito Donaire moves up in weight in Nevada and former heavyweight, light heavyweight, super middleweight and middleweight world champion Roy Jones Jr. fights in Mississippi.
Both fighters want your dollars.
Hard Rock Las Vegas
Donaire, a native Filipino who now lives in Northern California, faces Panama’s Rafael Concepcion (13-3-1, 8 KOs) on Saturday Aug. 15 in Las Vegas. The junior bantamweight fight will be televised on pay-per-view.
The left-handed gunslinger is one of the newly recognized pound for pound best prizefighters who is quickly gathering fame for his super quick reflexes, easy smile and shocking power that enables him to end a fight immediately. A few months back, he put that punching wattage on display with a devastating knockout victory over formerly undefeated Raul Martinez.
“I’ve got to blast this guy and everyone else who gets in the ring with me,” said Donaire (21-1, 14 KOs) of his next opponent Concepcion.
Ever since Manny Pacquiao mowed through several of the best Mexican prizefighters in the featherweight division, the boxing world began scrutinizing Filipino boxers and discovering other gems.
Donaire is one of those gems.
“I believe from this point everybody (Filipino fighters) will be tied in with Manny Pacquiao. I don’t care about being labeled,” said Donaire who has friends and relatives in Riverside County. “Manny Pacquiao has shown everybody that with the Filipino heart of champion you can do anything.”
On the same day and about 1,000 miles southeast, the formerly recognized pound for pound great Jones (53-5, 39 KOs) steps in the ring against Jeff Lacy (25-2, 17 KOs) in a light heavyweight battle in Biloxi, Miss. It will be shown on pay-per-view.
At one time Jones could fire a five-punch combination with blinding speed. Another amazing attribute was his ability to seemingly fly around the ring and cover a 10-feet distance in a blink of an eye.
“I still can,” Jones, 40, said by telephone. “Now I am back to the fighter I was when you saw me fight Julio Gonzalez. As a matter of fact, I’m even better now than I was on that night. Now I am back to that Roy Jones and that Roy Jones was a technician.”
Former super middleweight world champion Lacy, who also lives in Florida like Jones, is eager to prove that the two losses on his record to elite fighters Jermaine Taylor and Joe Calzaghe are in the past. And that Jones won’t make it three.
“Roy Jones poses a challenge. He’s got me up every morning knowing that this is going to be a real fight,” said Lacy during a conference call. “He’s going down as a legend and I want to be the one that beat the legend.”
Jones was spotted last Saturday surveying a mixed martial arts card featuring Brazil’s Anderson “Spider” Silva. There’s a possibility that Silva and Jones will fight should the Florida boxer emerge victorious on Saturday but that’s another step.
“I can’t go onto the next step because I have to take the first step,” said Jones, adding that his fight with Lacy is the first step. “You never know what the next step might be. I may feel so good that I may go back to heavyweight.”
Both separate pay-per-view fight cards begin at 6 p.m.
Corona fight card
Two Riverside junior welterweight fighters will be on the same card on Friday Aug. 14, at Omega Products International.
Undefeated Mauricio "El Maestro” Herrera (11-0, 5 KOs) faces Washington’s Jason Davis (11-3-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round bout at the Corona outdoor facility.
Another Riverside junior welterweight ,Josesito Lopez (24-3, 14 KOs) returns to the ring after a four-month layoff and squares off against veteran Sergio De La Torre (11-11-3) in a six round bout. In Lopez’s last fight he knocked down Venezuela’s Patrick Lopez to win a close decision.
Both Lopez, 25, and Herrera are promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions so it’s conceivable that a showdown could occur.
Herrera, 29, is a defensive wizard who can sit in the pocket and slip and dodge combinations with amazing deftness. Lopez is a tall boxer-puncher who likes to attack his opponent’s body and he has a good chin. He was dangerous puncher Edwin Valero’s primary sparring partner a few months back.
Still another junior welterweight promoted by Thompson Boxing is current WBO world champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. His wins over Junior Witter, Edner Cherry, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell may have awakened the rest of the world to the boxing talent in the Riverside County region.
The very next junior welterweight world champion could be either Herrera or Lopez, but due to his age, “el Maestro” would probably get first crack. Another reason is Lopez could move back down to lightweight where his height and power could give him a distinct advantage over 135-pounders.
For tickets and information (714) 935-0900.
Sugar Ray Leonard said he’s working on an autobiography about his life as an amateur and professional boxer, promoter and celebrity. He expects the book to be published before the end of the year. “I worked on the book for the past five months. I was approached many years ago to write a book but I always felt the final chapter was not done. I was in my 20s. Now in my 50s and you’ve got to look at your life in retrospect to appreciate what you’ve done. I’m in a different place in my life now.”
Riverside heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola is training in Van Nuys at Joe Goossen's boxing gym. The number one ranked heavyweight is set to fight WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine on Saturday Sept. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “A lot of people are not giving Chris a chance, but they don’t know Chris,” said Henry Ramirez who trains Arreola. “He’s a very intelligent fighter.”
Commerce fight card
Super middleweights Daniel Perez and Benjamin Diaz clash at the Commerce Casino on Thursday Aug. 20 in Commerce, California. The fight card is promoted by All Star Boxing. For tickets and information (323) 816-6200.
Pala Casino fight card
Former Contender TV reality show winner Grady Brewer meets Anthony Thompson in a super middleweight fight for the vacant IBO title at Pala Casino on Saturday, Aug. 22. For tickets and information call (877) 946-7252.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Vivian Harris (29-3-1) vs. Noe Bolanos (20-4-1).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Antonio Pitalua (46-4) vs. Jose Reyes (23-6).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Nonito Donaire (21-1) vs. Rafael Concepcion (13-3-1); Steve Luevano (36-1-1) vs. Bernabe Concepcion (29-1-1).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Roy Jones Jr. (53-5) vs. Jeff Lacy (25-2); Danny Green (26-3) vs. Julio Cesar Dominguez (20-4-1).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV