When you talk to Kaliesha West you might get the impression she’s a host for Disneyland. There’s not a hint of aggressiveness or ill will toward anybody and she’s all smiles.
That doesn’t fool her opponents.
The number 10 ranked West (5-0) faces Elizabeth Cervantes in a six-round bantamweight bout at the Pechanga Resort and Casino on Friday. Don’t expect a smile during her contests. She’s serious once the boxing gloves are laced up.
With her left jab and rapid combinations, West, who lives in Moreno Valley, has quickly built a reputation for eagerness to battle.
“Kaliesha loves to get in there and fight,” says Juan West, her father and trainer.
West and a slew of other Riverside-based prizefighters will take part in the fight card in Temecula this Friday. Get your tickets now it could sell out.
Last Saturday, in the Fontana Boxing Club, about six of the participants showed up early in the morning to get some sparring. Those who got work in and are also appearing on the card were Jose “Pepe” Reynoso, Hector Reynoso, Lavelle Nichols and several other excellent boxers.
West, 19, sparred with former US National Amateur champion Jennifer Barber who will be making her pro debut in April at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello. Both boxers had some aggressive action on a quiet Saturday morning.
“We have a little history,” said West, who fought Barber at a higher weight and lost by decision as an amateur.
But the undefeated West is preparing for her pro rematch against Cervantes who she beat last summer in Montebello.
“She has a wild left hook,” West says of Cervantes. “I can’t lie, she caught me with it a couple of times. It’s kind of a weird punch, it looks like she is going to fire a right and she throws this left instead. It’s kind of weird. I don’t want to get hit with that punch again.”
Despite Cervantes (1-6) poor record, she’s fought some of the best fighters in the world and all ranked contenders. Her lone victory came against someone with three wins and one loss. So she has the skill.
“She has a hard head too,” says West. “I hurt my hand hitting her.”
The effervescent teen West has big plans for her boxing career as well as various options outside of sports.
“I want to go to college,” West says. “I can probably make a lot more money if I go to college than if I just worked in a department store.”
Meanwhile, she has immediate plans inside the ring.
“I want to be the world champion soon,” West says.
In less than a year she shot to number 10 in the WBC and WIBA bantamweight standings.
“Kaliesha is ready,” said Juan West.
For tickets and information call (888) 732-4264.
Rhonda Luna loses
A televised fight card featuring three female world title fights proved pretty action-packed. Probably the best fight of all featured world champion Kelsey Jeffries defending her featherweight title against Rhonda Luna at the Isleta Casino in New Mexico.
Luna ignited the eager exchanges with her pressure style and forced Jeffries to seek a hit and run style for most of the fight. In a tight 10 round battle, Jeffries won by split-decision over Luna. The crowd cheered throughout the contest.
“They were shouting Rhonda’s name,” said Jacob Luna, who manages his sister and was in attendance. “We thought she did enough to win the fight.”
Regardless, the fans roared their collective approval of the action.
On the same fight card Canada’s Lisa Brown captured the IFBA junior featherweight title from Jackie Chavez and Holly Holm won another welterweight title from Ann Saccurato in a hug fest that proved to be the worst fight of the night. Holm’s run and hold style is pretty awful unless you’re from her hometown. It’s understandable why she only fights in New Mexico.
Crystal Morales loses
Oxnard’s Crystal Morales tangled with Gloria Ramirez once again. It was just two weeks ago that Morales won a split-decision over Ramirez who trains in Westminster. Not this time.
Ramirez fired combinations throughout the fight and forced Morales to box moving backwards.
“I took this fight more seriously,” said Ramirez who has fought several world champions in the past. “Last time I left the ring mad. I thought I won that fight too.”
Ramirez took all six rounds according to the three judges who scored it 60-54 for Ramirez.
Also in attendance was Mia St. John who helps Morales.
Dominic Salcido wins
Rialto’s Dominic Salcido is making up for lost time. The flashy junior lightweight jumped back in the ring and scored a convincing eight round victory over Oxnard’s Barbaro Zepeda at the Doubletree Hotel in Orange, California last Saturday.
Salcido, 23, was just plain quicker and stronger than Zepeda as he zipped jabs and right crosses through Zepeda’s guard. Though he connected often, he wasn’t able to seriously hurt the Oxnard boxer.
“He can take a punch,” said Salcido (10-0, 5 KOs) who fought just last month in Ontario. “I was just having fun in there.”
Salcido is promoted by Thompson Promotions who also promote Josesito Lopez and Timothy Ray Bradley. The local trio is blazing a trail to world title contention in quick fashion.
Librado Andrade loses world title bid
Super middleweight contender Librado Andrade lost by unanimous decision to Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler in Copenhagen last Saturday.
Andrade lasted all 12 rounds and never looked seriously hurt but was out-punched by the skillful Kessler who was making his first appearance for American audiences and holds the WBA and WBC world titles.
The fight was televised by HBO and perhaps the winner of the Peter Manfredo Jr. and Joe Calzaghe bout that takes place on April 7 will meet Kessler.
“He’s an excellent boxer,” said the classy Andrade to HBO’s Max Kellerman.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Mary Jo Sanders (23-0) vs. Valerie Mahfood (19-12-3).
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Jhonny Gonzalez (33-5) vs. Sammy Ventura (25-17).