RIVERSIDE, CALIF-I walked into the boxing gym located in Indian Hills on Thursday morning. It’s an upper scale neighborhood in Riverside that’s built around a golf course of the same name.
Only one car was parked near the location so I was hesitant to travel down the walkway. Usually several cars dot the street near the gym when training is underway. A few minutes later trainer Henry Ramirez shows up in his shiny car. He waves hello and proceeds down the walkway.
Surprisingly, one boxer is already shadowboxing inside the ring when I open the door. It’s Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola who was already breaking a sweat as Ramirez and I enter the gym. One of Arreola’s friends is inside too. But he’s the only boxer there.
As Arreola continues to work out we talk about the rogue police officer Christopher Dorner who gunned down several police officers in the Riverside area earlier in the day. One of the officers died. Already three persons have been killed and a massive manhunt in the Inland Empire has commenced.
Two Riverside Police officers were gunned down while in their vehicle stopped at a signal light. Minutes earlier, in Corona, a city that borders Riverside, two other officers were allegedly in a gun battle with Dorner. Everyone including regular citizens and boxers are on alert.
It’s not safe to be driving in a dark truck as two newspaper deliverers in Torrance discovered when officers fired numerous rounds into their truck. Two women deliverers were injured. In another area a truck was rammed by a police vehicle and that truck was riddled with bullets. Again, police officers shot first and did not ask questions. I’m more wary of trigger happy police officers.
Arreola talks about his friends that resemble the guy. This is not a good time for someone to resemble Dorner. Or to drive a truck similar to the blue Nissan Titan that the former L.A.P.D. officer had been driving until it was reportedly found in Big Bear burned.
After Arreola finishes with his shadowboxing, Ramirez helps put on the boxing gloves to work on the mitts. The Riverside heavyweight looks extremely sharp with one month to go before he meets Haiti’s Bermane Stiverne at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif. The number one ranking is at stake.
The heavy-handed Mexican-American heavyweight takes a keen interest in his fellow fighters from the Inland Empire. Just yesterday, Palm Spring’s Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley had a press conference in Los Angeles. Arreola asks how it went and who Bradley is fighting?
Ramirez tells him that Bradley is fighting the same guy that two other fighters from the I.E. already met. Mauricio Herrera beat Ruslan Provodnikov but Jose Reynoso lost. Bradley will be fighting one week after Arreola’s bout.
Arreola also asks about his stable mate Josesito Lopez who is a big topic in the world of welterweights. Lopez has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Amir Khan and for Paul Malignaggi. A couple of new names mentioned for Lopez are Marcos Maidana and Julio Diaz. That would be war.
The workouts are steady and impressive as both Arreola and Ramirez work on combinations and movements. After numerous rounds Arreola moves to the heavy bag and pounds it for several more rounds. The Mexican heavyweight does not lack power in either hand. Left hooks or a right cross can do the job and it shows when he pummels the bag.
He never seems winded after any stage of the workout. With one month to go Arreola should be at optimum strength when he faces Stiverne.
It’s the first workout of the day. He’s going to return later to work on some other things later in the afternoon.
We walk up the short hill to where the cars are parked and meet Willie Shunke, who has his pup bulldog Chumley. The six-month old puppy is named after one of the Pawn Stars characters who appear on the History channel. He really does resemble the guy.
Other Fight Chatter
Adelanto’s Ryan Garcia, 14, won the National Silver Gloves tournament this past weekend in the senior flyweight division. It’s his ninth national title. Garcia’s regional team captured the National team title by winning 16 titles in all.
East L.A.’s Frankie “The Pitbull” Gomez (15-0, 11 Kos) cruised to victory over Las Vegas boxer Lanard Lane (13-3, 8 Kos) after 10 rounds in a welterweight match in Las Vegas. Gomez proved too quick for Lane. Other winners were South El Monte’s Joseph Diaz, Mickey Bey Jr., Badou Jack and Luis Arias, all winning by knockout at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Former contender Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell (21-1, 14 Kos) defeated Michael Gbenga (14-7, 14 Kos) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a super middleweight clash. The bout was held in McAllen, Texas. It was Dirrell’s first fight in more than a year.
Matt Villanueva (9-0-1, 8 Kos) knocked out Manuel Galaviz (7-10, 4 Kos) at 1:56 of round two in a junior bantamweight clash at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles. Other winners were Terrell Williams, Joshua Clark, Jessie Villanueva and Charles Martin. All won by knockout on Saturday Feb. 2.
Chicago’s Carlos Molina (21-5-2, 6 Kos) defeated former welterweight and junior middleweight world champion Cory Spinks (39-8, 7 Kos) by unanimous decision after 12 rounds. On the same fight card Mexico’s Jose Luis Castillo (64-12-1, 55 Kos) lost by decision to Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 Kos) in a junior middleweight clash. Both fights took place in Chicago.
Canada’s Kevin Bizier (19-0, 13 Kos) faces former world champion Nate Campbell (36-9-1, 26 Kos) in defense of the NABA welterweight title. Their match takes place Friday Feb. 8, in Montreal, Canada. Campbell is a former lightweight world champion who trained briefly in Riverside. ESPN2 will televise the battle.
Melissa St. Vil (3-1-2) of New York City meets Canada’s undefeated Natasha Spence (6-0-1, 5 Kos) in a junior lightweight contest scheduled for eight rounds. The female contest takes place Friday Feb. 8, at Wilmington, Delaware.
Daniel Sandoval (30-2, 29 Kos), a knockout specialist meets Panama’s Miguel Callist (27-8-1, 18 Kos) in a welterweight match scheduled for 10 rounds. The battle takes place Saturday Feb. 9, in Mexico City and is promoted by Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions.
Former world champion Humberto Soto (59-8-2, 34 Kos) meets former world champion Silverio Ortiz (26-13, 14 Kos) in a junior welterweight clash on Saturday Feb. 9. The fight will be held in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico.
Middleweight contender Andy Lee (28-2, 22 Kos) meets Anthony Fitzgerald (13-3, 4 Kos) in a middleweight scrap in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Feb. 9. It’s Lee’s first fight since losing to Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez. Lee was also trained by the late Emanuel Steward.
Juergen Braehmer (39-2, 30 Kos) defeated fellow German Eduard Gutknecht (24-2, 9 Kos) by unanimous decision after 12 rounds this past Saturday in Berlin, Germany. The light heavyweight EBU title was captured by Braehmer.
Female IBF bantamweight titlist Yazmin Rivas (27-7, 9 Kos) retained the world title by decision against fellow Mexican Maria Elena Villalobos (12-9-1, 5 Kos). Their title match was held this past Saturday in Queretaro, Mexico.
Puerto Rican former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez (32-2, 29 Kos) knocked out Aldimar Santos (18-4, 9 Kos) at 1:04 of round nine. The featherweight battle was held on Saturday in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. It was Lopez’s first fight since losing the title to Mexico’s Orlando Salido.