Southern California has a busy week in the world of pro boxing on Memorial Day weekend.
First, Philadelphia’s Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter (20-3, 10 Kos) battles Antonio Escalante (29-7, 20 Kos) in the main event on Friday, May 22, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. The Golden Boy Promotions card also features China’s giant heavyweight Taishan Dong. Also, signing autographs will be female boxing star Mia St. John.
Taishan, a massive heavyweight, shows athleticism inside the ring. He’s not the fastest heavyweight but he takes a decent punch and when hit, he returns fire with a fury. It’s going to be interesting to see if he can improve as he moves up the ladder. The power remains average so far for a heavyweight. But his counter-right has been on the mark. He faces Lance Gaunche (5-8-2).
Two local prospects are on the card. One, Abraham Lopez (17-0-1, 12 Kos) has his hands full against Alfred Tetteh (23-3-1, 20 Kos) and in a featherweight match Hunter (20-3, 10 Kos) faces Escalante Jr. (29-7, 20 Kos). Another local prizefighter is Joet Gonzalez (9-0, 4 Kos) who is facing veteran Mexican fighter Jose Angel Beranza (36-32-2) in a super bantamweight clash. These are all good tests to see where they are on the skill gauge.
About 80 miles west, heavyweight contender Andrey Fedosov (27-3, 22 Kos) faces Donovan Dennis (12-1, 10 Kos), also on Friday, May 22, at Omega Products International in Corona. In the co-main event junior middleweight Brandon Adams (17-1, 12 Kos) meets John Thompson (16-1, 5 Kos).
Several Riverside County prizefighters are gearing up for their respective fights.
Last night, in Jurupa Valley, undefeated West Coast banger Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (16-0-1, 13 Kos) of Riverside sparred with world champion Mikey Garcia and Oscar Santana to prepare for his main event next week on a Top Rank fight card in Hollywood.
Rodriguez, 22, meets another undefeated lightweight in Antonio Capulin (14-0, 6 Kos) of Houston at the Florentine Gardens on Saturday, May 30. The fight card will be televised by UniMas.
UniMas television will be devoting this coming Saturday night to show highlights of Rodriguez’s previous knockout wins. If you haven’t seen the slim kid from Riverside perform, he’s racked up a number of eye-popping knockouts. He reminds many of a late skinny slugger named Diego Corrales, with that one-punch power on a thin frame.
When Rodriguez first turned pro, he was a wide-open flailing offensive machine with a lot of holes on defense. But when you regularly spar with someone like Mikey Garcia you quickly discover those flaws exist. Plus, his trainer Eduardo Garcia won’t stand for defensive inadequacies with his fighters.
“I work on my defense a lot,” says Rodriguez. “I don’t work on my power, mostly my defense.”
Earlier in his career Rodriguez was a big fan of Mike Tyson.
“I’d study his tapes all day before a fight,” Rodriguez says, adding that his taste have changed a bit. “Now I really like to see Guillermo Rigondeaux. He’s my favorite fighter to watch. He’s smooth.”
Rodriguez quickly adds that Tyson is still his all-time favorite fighter.
“I still watch his fights,” Rodriguez says. “They get me pumped up.”
Rodriguez expects a tough match with Capulin in their battle of undefeated prospects.
“It’s an important fight for both of us,” Rodriguez says. “I want to be a ranked contender.”
Earlier in the week Tim Bradley arrived in downtown L.A. to attend a press conference for his coming world title match with undefeated Jessie Vargas. Both will battle for the vacant WBO welterweight title that Bradley held until losing it to Manny Pacquiao. When Pacman lost to Floyd Mayweather, the victor abandoned the WBO version, so now it’s up for grabs.
“I want that WBO title,” said Bradley, who looked surprised at Vargas’ height when standing next to him for photos on Monday at the Conga Room.
Bradley trains at his own gym in Palm Springs.
Vargas trains in Las Vegas under Roy Jones Jr., who was present at the press conference on Monday.
Other Riverside County action
Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera is preparing for his showdown with Hank Lundy on July 11, at the L.A. Sports Arena.
Herrera trains about two miles from Saul Rodriguez in the Mira Loma area. The wiz boxer-puncher will be the headliner for the Golden Boy Promotions fight card.