One Day In SoCal: Amir Khan, Oscar De La Hoya, Freddie Roach and Women’s Tourney

Southern California recently hosted a number of events including some featuring Amir Khan, Oscar De La Hoya and the World’s International Dual Series in Oxnard.

WBA junior welterweight titleholder Khan appeared at the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood along with his buddy radio personality Tattoo and Nick Cannon the entertainer on Tuesday. Also leading the media day was De La Hoya, whose promotion company Khan fights under.

“Amir Khan has the ability to fight 12 rounds and then fight another 12 rounds,” De La Hoya said about his protégé Khan.

Khan (26-1, 18 Kos) is preparing for his title defense against Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) on Saturday, Dec. 10, in Washington D.C. The title bout will be televised on HBO and is co-promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.

About 50 miles north the women began day one of the dual series tournament featuring female boxers from Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia and the United States. Canada was a late pull-out but there were plenty of talented female boxers at Oxnard P.A.L.

Team USA brought a dozen boxers to the tourney for the three designated weight classes that will compete in the London Olympic Games in 2012. Flyweights, lightweights and super middleweights were well represented.

Russia’s Elena Savelyeva  beat USA’s Poula Estrada in the first bout held at flyweight. The Russian girl was strong and looked like she had a lot of experience. Estrada was making her first appearance in an international style tournament which features marked differences from local tournaments. Scores are tabulated by computer on points. You can win three rounds out of four and still lose the fight on points.

The second bout saw Russia’s Sofya Ochigava use primarily her strong left hand to punish USA’s N’yteeyah Sherman in all four rounds. Ochigava had more of a pro counterpunch style that Sherman just couldn’t crack in time.

Team USA saw Alyssa DeFazio pull out the first win by beating Russia’s Nadezhda Torlopova with a strictly counterpunch style that worked effectively against the pressure style. Torlopova walked in with a tight guard but when she fired she was met with crisp accurate counters by DeFazio, who took the decision.

Poland’s Karolina Michalczuk chased US boxer-mover Christina Cruz effectively and forced the American girl to stand and fight. Michalczuk’s pressure tired Cruz, who though she was not as strong as the Polish fighter did win some points on good counters.

Mikaela Myers of Team USA snapped off solid blows in round one against Poland’s Karolina Graczyk and shook up her timing. For about two rounds the Polish boxer couldn’t find the right blow or movement to beat Myers, who had fought and lost to the same girl in a previous encounter. Not this time. Myers forced Graczyk to walk into big punches. It was a big win for Myers.

Another American, Tika Hemingway, beat another Polish girl, Lidia Fidura, in another close fight that could have gone the other way. The super middleweights slugged it out and the computer scoring favored Hemingway.

American Cynthia Moreno fought Mexico’s Sulem Urbina, who fought wearing one of those helmets that made her look like Magneto in the X-Men comics. Moreno and Urbina slugged it out both inside and outside but it appeared that the American’s speed was the difference. Defense was also a factor in giving the decision to Moreno.

Tiara Brown of Team USA beat Poland’s Sandra Kruk with swift counterpunching and accuracy. Kruk fired a lot of combinations but was wild with her punches. Brown was the fourth American in a row to win.

Tiffanie Ward was the fifth consecutive American to win by beating Poland’s Katarzyna Furmaniak in a back and forth fight. The Polish girl started slow as Ward rattled off combinations, then Furmaniak began to find the rhythm for some stiff and jaw rattling counter right hands. That changed the fight’s momentum as Furmaniak belted Ward with well-timed right hands but not enough to convince the judges who scored Ward the winner.

Germany’s Azize Nimani sped out to a quick lead against Team USA’s Tyriesha Douglas but the American finally realized that forcing her opponent to the ropes could pay dividends. The last two rounds saw Douglas force the action and beat Nimani inside but it was not enough in the judge’s eyes.

Germany’s Julia Irmen beat USA’s Lisa Porter with a strong left hand and a pro style that didn’t allow the American to overcome. Irmen won by decision.

In the last bout Mexico’s Alma Ibarra fought Team USA’s Franchon Crews in a super middleweight match. Ibarra’s punches were all very wide and that allowed Crews to scored inside of those wide punches. Crews won by decision.

Three more days of tournament action were planned for the tournament at Oxnard P.A.L.

Back at the Wild Card, Freddie Roach said that he’s helping both the men and women on Team USA, adding that the women’s squad isn’t fully formed. “There are only two women I’m working with right now,” said Roach. “They still have a tournament in January.”

Rudy Hernandez, who appeared at the Wild Card and is training heavyweight contender Timur Ibragimov, says that women’s boxing has improved drastically in the last decade.

“Before I couldn’t watch women’s boxing,” said Hernandez a former boxer. “But now women have a lot more skills and they’re exciting to watch.”