Whether it’s cabin fever or gym fever, staying in the same cramped and overly familiar setting can seem stifling.
Diego Magdaleno and his brother Jessie Magdaleno had trained in the same Las Vegas gym for many years and decided one day to try a new setting. They moved all the way to Indio, Calif. to find a new boxing home. So far it’s been like a shot of adrenaline.
“It’s a big change overall,” said Diego, a top contender in the junior lightweight division. “We’ve adapted to fighting and training outside of Las Vegas.”
The brothers Magdaleno both perform on Saturday Feb. 15, at the Robert Lee Activity Center in Hawaiian Gardens. Diego (24-1, 9 Kos) meets Jorge Pazos (14-6-1, 8 Kos) in the main event. Jessie (17-0, 13 Kos) faces Roberto Castaneda (20-5-1, 15 Kos) in a junior featherweight fight. UniMas will televise the Top Rank card.
Back in April 2013, Diego challenged Puerto Rico’s Roman “Rocky” Martinez for the WBO junior lightweight title in Macao. It didn’t go as planned and Magdaleno thinks he knows the reason.
“It was the experience factor,” he said. “You need that experience and that’s what I was lacking.
Now teamed with trainer Joel Diaz, the southpaw brothers both notice a significant difference.
“I’ve put in lots of rounds sparring against guys like Omar Figueroa, Fernando Carcamo, Jamie Kavanagh and Gato Roman,” said Magdaleno about the strength of his sparring. “All of the guys are getting ready for their own fights too.”
Diego feels it gives the Indio gym fighters a razor sharp edge.
“They come well prepared. We’re ready to go to war. Whether it’s the distance or whatever,” Diego Magdaleno said. “We all work together and learn from each other.”
Figueroa has a world title challenge coming up against Ricardo Alvarez and the others are prepping for their scheduled encounters. It’s a hornet’s nest of prizefighters inside the Indio Boxing Club that’s located about 140 miles from Los Angeles.
Jessie Magdaleno likes the new digs too.
“It’s not much different,” said Jessie about the gym setting. However, in his opinion the difference in personnel putting on gloves is staggering.
“Not only is there Tim Bradley, but you have a lot of great younger guys coming too like Gato Roman, Jamie (Kavanagh) and Omar Figueroa. They’re just so talented.”
Power-punching Jessie Magdaleno meets Mexican power-hitter Castaneda in a junior featherweight bout scheduled for eight rounds. But training with such a talented team has boosted his own expectations.
“It’s really motivating,” said Jessie Magdaleno. “They all have the same mentality…to make history.”
Winning a world title is on both brother’s minds. Now that they’ve settled into Southern California, they have a lot to prove.
“It’s a great team that we have,” said Jessie.
For Diego, the new brain trust will definitely lead to a world title.
“If I had this experience and a guy like Joel Diaz in my corner for my first title fight I know I would have won,” said Diego. “They (Diaz brothers) have so much experience.”
Other fight chatter
WCK Muay Thai Kickboxing championships take place at Pechanga Resort and Casino on Saturday Feb. 15. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the first bout begins at 7 p.m. For more information call (877) 711-2946.
Undefeated Patrick Nielsen (21-0, 10 Kos) faces Tony Jeter (16-3-1, 11 Kos) in a middleweight fight for the number one ranking in the WBC. The match takes place on Saturday Feb. 15, at Albertslund, Denmark.
Female WBC junior bantamweight Zulina Munoz (40-1-2, 26 Kos) defends the title against Alesia Graf (26-3) of Germany on Saturday Feb. 15. The title match takes place in Merida, Mexico.
In London, Dereck Chisora (19-4, 13 Kos) of United Kingdom meets Kevin Johnson (29-4-1, 14 Kos) of the U.S. in a heavyweight collision set for 12 rounds. Also, Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 Kos) faces Joey Abell (29-7, 28 Kos) in a 10 round heavyweight bout.
Roberto Garcia (34-3, 22 Kos) out-slugged Norberto Gonzalez (20-3, 13 Kos) to bang out a split decision victory on Friday in Chicago. The 10 round middleweight bout was over-officiated by the referee but Garcia maintained focus and kept the pressure on Gonzalez in an action-filled fight.
Junior middleweight phenomenon Tony Harrison (17-0, 14 Kos) needed less than two rounds to knock out veteran Grady Brewer (30-18, 16 Kos) on Friday in Detroit. Harrison is a former Emanuel Steward protégé and a native of Detroit. Brewer is a former winner of the Contender reality TV series.
Big Charles Martin (14-0-1, 12 Kos) stopped Maurenzo Smith (12-8-3) at the end of round three in a heavyweight clash in Hollywood, Ca. Other winners were United Kingdom’s John Quigley, South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden, Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabransky, Kyrgyzstan’s Urmat Ryskeldiev and Southern California’s Louis Rose in an international fight card held last Thursday.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Chris Algieri (18-0) vs. Emmanuel Taylor (17-1).
Sat. Fox Deportes, 10 p.m., Robinson Castellanos (19-9) vs. Rene Alvarado (19-2).
Mon. Fox Sports 1, 6 p.m., Manuel Avila (13-0) vs. Enrique Quevedo (15-6-1).