RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA-Lightweights Josesito Lopez and Luis “El Vampiro” Arceo met in Riverside on Thursday to promote their upcoming clash at Soboba Casino on Aug. 18.

Soboba Casino is located near Gilman Hot Springs where hundreds of boxers from yesteryear prepared for some of the biggest prizefights in the history of the sport including Sugar Ray Robinson, Archie Moore and Muhammad Ali.

Back then few fighters emerged from that area or in any part of Riverside County for that matter, but now there are more than 30 boxing gyms in the area and more than 60 if you include San Bernardino County.

Robinson and Moore used the area for several big fights. Now it’s Lopez and Arceo.

Both fighters have big dreams for their careers.

Arceo, a tall lightweight who lives in Tijuana, has been crusading for a spot among the elite lightweights for a number of years.

“I don’t have a promoter or manager so it’s difficult to know where I’m going to fight,” said Arceo (19-5-2, 13 KOs), who is originally from Aguascalientes. “My goal is to become a world champion.”

Though Arceo, 28, has lost four consecutive fights, don’t expect the Mexican fighter to lie down and take a beating. He gives beatings even in defeat.

“I’m always fighting the hometown fighter,” says Arceo, a humble speaker with steely blue eyes. “I’m a warrior that’s how I want to be known.”

Lopez (20-2, 12 KOs) has slowly moved up the congested lightweight ladder and is currently ranked number 15 by the WBC. Since losing to Wes Ferguson in a much-disputed decision in Las Vegas, the Riverside native has won four consecutive bouts and is hungry for exposure.

“This is my toughest fight because he’s experienced and a good fighter,” said Lopez during a press conference and workout for the media at the Lincoln Gym in Riverside. “I’ve never fought anybody as tall as him.”

But the young Riverside fighter seeks upper tier opponents. He’s eager to prove he belongs with the best junior lightweights or lightweights in the world.

“I want that exposure,” says Lopez, 23, whose best friend is heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola a rising heavyweight. “I’m ready to fight the Jason Litzaus or the Juan Salgados.”

Lopez was scheduled to fight Salgado earlier in the year but the Mexican fighter was injured. Litzau is fighting 50 miles away the day before in San Diego. In his pro debut

Lopez knocked out his younger brother Allen Litzau.

“I’ll fight the older brother too,” said Lopez. “I’d really like to fight someone like Jason Litzau.”

The fight card promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions marks one of the rare times this year a boxing event is taking place at the historic area.

Also on the fight card will be a number of hot prospects including Dominic Salcido, John Molina, Carlos Molina and Hector Serrano.

For more information call (714) 935-0900 or (951) 654-2883.

Ornelas Fights for NABF crown

Enrique Ornelas faces veteran Bronco McKart for the NABF middleweight regional title in Philadelphia on Friday.

Ornelas, who is the younger brother of super middleweight contender Librado Andrade, had been sparring with Bernard Hopkins and others. McKart is the only boxer to meet Winky Wright in the ring three times.

“Enrique is one of the best gym fighters around,” said David Martinez, who trains Ornelas at La Habra. “He needs to translate that into the ring during a fight.”

In his last fight Ornelas was beaten in a majority decision by Sam Soliman at Soboba Casino in November. McKart has won his last two fights by decision.

Holyfield Gets World Title Bid

Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, 45, will get another shot at the heavyweight title against WBO heavyweight titleholder Sultan Ibragimov (21-0-1, 17 KOs) in Moscow, Russia on Oct. 13.

Holyfield (42-8-2, 27 KOs) will attempt to become heavyweight champion for the fifth time.

“I won’t call myself champion until I unify all the titles,” said Holyfield.

Russia’s Ibragimov captured the WBO title against Shannon Briggs by unanimous decision last June 2, in Atlantic City. He was slated to fight Ruslan Chagaev the WBA titleholder who beat seven-foot giant Nicolai Valuev. But Chagaev is suffering from a malady.

Holyfield was given the title bid after winning four successive fights. It was the first time he had won four consecutive fights since 1998.

Kaleisha West at Harrah’s Rincon

Moreno Valley’s Kaliesha West, 19, faces Carley Batey at Harrah’s Rincon Casino on Friday Aug. 17.

West (6-0) has rocketed to the top 10 standings of female boxing as a bantamweight. Her most impressive win came in her first pro fight against Suzannah Warner who later captured a world title in a lighter weight division.

Batey (3-1-2) is a talented fighter originally from England who fought Monica Lovato to a split-decision for the NABF bantamweight title last April.

“We know a lot about Carly Batey and we’re preparing hard,” said West. “We’ve been sparring with different fighters so we can get ready for anything.”

For tickets or information call (760) 751-3100.

Rocky Juarez to fight Juan Manuel Marquez

After Jorge Barrios was scratched in his match with Mexico’s WBC junior lightweight titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez, instead of Joan Guzman Golden Boy Promotions announced that Rocky Juarez will fill the vacancy on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.

It’s a good fight but the better fight was between Juarez and IBF featherweight titleholder Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.

Both guys emerged from the amateur ranks to the professional level at the same time and were familiar with each other. Both had always dreamed of fighting each other.

Who fights Guerrero now?

Before Barrios was felled by the bad eyes the fight card was almost perfect.

Guzman would have been a better choice for Marquez but the titleholder supposedly nixed that fight. Too bad. Maybe they’ll meet next year.