Female bantamweight contender Kaliesha West leads a night full of undefeated fighters that includes a number of future prospects at two locations in the Inland Empire in Southern California.
At one location it’s Golden Boy Promotions staging another boxing card at Morongo Casino that begins at 4:30 p.m. and in another location Thompson Boxing Promotions has a strong card at the Doubletree Hotel 50 miles west.
Many call West a female boxer with the style of another fighter from the I.E., Sugar Shane Mosley.
For once the bantamweight contender is fighting near her home, but there is a price: she has to move up two weight divisions to fight featherweight Elizabeth Villarreal (5-6-3) in a bout scheduled for six rounds.
Still, West is very happy.
“It’s the only fight that feels like I’m fighting at my home,” said West, a 20-year-old sparkplug who is ranked number eight by the IFBA and is considered one of female boxing’s future stars. “It feels good to fight so close.”
The high-octane style of West has prevented many opponents from accepting fights. Another reason is that because of her strong amateur background the Mexican-Puerto Rican female fighter also finds it difficult to have the California State Athletic Commission allow willing fighters step in the ring with her.
A dearth of talent in female boxing makes it even more difficult.
That’s why West accepted a match against the bigger, taller and perhaps stronger Villarreal who comes from San Antonio, Texas.
Villarreal has beaten several tough female featherweights including Tammy Franks twice, Crystal Morales and she gave Hondi Hernandez her first loss.
“She’s going to be stronger than the girls I fought in the past,” said West. “But I’m just going to be too fast. You can’t hit what you can’t see.”
West, who lives in Moreno Valley, a suburban town located between Riverside and Hemet, spent most of her last eight years trekking from gym to gym in search of perfecting her boxing weaponry.
She’s willing to travel anywhere to find a fight.
Several months ago West journeyed across the border to Ensenada, Mexico where she fought Flor Verdugo. The boxing match only lasted two rounds with West pummeling the Mexican fighter and forcing the referee to stop the fight. But the worst part was going home without getting paid.
According to Juan West, the father and trainer of Kaliesha West, an unknown person or persons absconded with the gate money.
A month ago West was asked to travel to Texas by new promoters to face a former world champion Maribel Zurita. Perhaps because of her willingness to fight the promoters kept cutting her fee and eventually asked West to fight for free.
She declined. It can be a cruel world for female fighters.
Still, West has an effervescent attitude about her sour experiences and feels excited about fighting on a boxing card at the Morongo Casino. She has big plans.
“I want to blow up,” says the spunky West, who also wants to be an actress. “Maybe win four or five titles.”
West expects her toughest battle yet against Villarreal.
“She can fight,” West says.
In the men’s main event at Morongo, Abner Mares (16-0, 10 KOs), the WBO bantamweight titleholder, was supposed to fight Colombia’s Kermin Guardia (37-8, 21 KOs) in a non-title fight. But due to problems with his medical tests, Guardia was scratched.
Now fighting Mares will be his stable mate Jonathan Arias (15-1, 8 KOs). Both are trained by Mexico City’s Nacho Beristain.
It’s an awkward arrangement.
Mares blasted surprisingly blasted out his last opponent, Diosdado Gabi, a rugged Filipino veteran, in two rounds. It was supposed to be a tough fight and a test for Mares, 22, a former Mexican Olympian.
“My proudest moment was proving to everybody I am a good fighter at a world championship level and that I belong on the big shows,” said Mares, who lives in Norwalk, Calif.
For more than a year Mares has been living and training in Mexico City with famed boxing trainer Beristain who also guides the brothers Rafael and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“It’s a second home to me. Sometimes it feels more like home now that I’m always over there,” said Mares, who now fights at the bantamweight level instead of junior featherweight. “I’ve been fighting a lot so I’m always in Mexico City. I like it.”
Now Mares is battling someone who knows his every move and has probably sparred countless rounds with him.
Will it make a difference?
Also on the fight card will be undefeated prospects from Golden Boy’s stable including the brothers Carlos and Juan Velasquez of Puerto Rico. Both have seven wins and no loss. Another countryman on the card is tall Hector Sanchez (13-0, 5 KOs) who at six feet two inches and 140 pounds, simply towers over opponents.
The semi-main event features Nestor Rocha (18-1, 6 KOs) of Montebello against Mexico City’s Jose Beranza (30-12-2, 25 KOs) in a junior featherweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds.
For tickets and information (800) 252-4499.
Ontario Doubletree fight card
Rialto’s ultra speedy undefeated Dominic Salcido (15-0, 8 KOs) returns to action against Tijuana’s Luis “Vampiro” Arceo (19-6-2, 13 KOs) after getting married and recuperating from various undisclosed injuries. But now he’s ready, says his matchmaker Alex Camponovo.
“He’s been looking real good in sparring,” said Camponovo.
Salcido, 24, had a busy year in 2007 as he participated in seven pro bouts. But last September was the last time he stepped in the ring in front of people. But he was still working and sparring against one of the best fighters in the world.
New WBC junior welterweight titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley said it was Salcido who helped to prepare him for his title-winning fight against England’s Junior Witter in May.
“He used to write on his body ‘hit this’ so I would concentrate on the body,” said Bradley after winning the title. “Dominic gave me great preparation. He’s so quick.”
Joel Diaz, who trains Salcido and Bradley, said there were days that the Rialto junior lightweight would be sore from withstanding the body blows from the bigger Bradley.
“Everyday I would ask him if he wanted to continue and every day he would get in the ring with Timothy,” said Diaz. “If it wasn’t for Dominic the fight with Witter would have been much harder.”
It was Salcido’s lightning reflexes and ability to switch to southpaw that gave Bradley the necessary preparation for his world title win.
“I’ll always be thankful,” said Bradley.
Also on the fight card will be Colombia’s undefeated Yonnhy Perez (16-0, 12 KOs) against Mexico’s Oscar “Pajarrito” Andrade (36-32-3, 18 KOs), a savvy veteran who has beaten some very good fighters.
Perez captured the WBC Continental America’s bantamweight title a year ago but hasn’t defended it after knocking out Sammy Lopez in May 2007. But he has been shown on television a couple of times including a second round demolition of fellow Colombian Antonio Cochero Diaz at the Chumash Casino last September.
Perez’s opponent Andrade is known as “a spoiler,” a boxing term used to describe his ability to upset prospects and contenders. Last year he upset undefeated Jonathan Oquendo in a televised fight card. He also extended current flyweight champion Nonito Donaire and former junior bantamweight titleholder Martin Castillo for 12 rounds.
Andrade can upset even the best fighter.
(photo by Jerry Gonzalez)