A few of Southern California’s best prospects enter the boxing ring this weekend.
One of them to be on display but Giovanni Santillan suffered an injury during training and his bout with Kendal Mena has been postponed. In his place will be Riverside’s super bantamweight punching machine Juan Reyes (12-1-3), matched against Mexico’s Robert Castaneda (21-9-1), in a co-main event Thompson Boxing Promotions will hold this fight card on Friday, May 29, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.
Also on the same card, former Venezuelan Olympian Cesar Villarraga (6-0, 4 Kos) fights Mexico’s Erick Aguirre (6-6-2, 4 Kos) in a lightweight bout. In his last two fights Villarraga has seemed to find his footing as a professional. No longer is he tentative and keeps the pressure on once he’s hurt an opponent. Before, he seemed to allow opponents to gain confidence. No longer. He’s not in the amateurs any longer, where he fought more than 200 times. He seems to realize the difference now.
Others on the Thompson Boxing card will be Danny Roman, Juan Reyes and featherweight contender Efrain Esquivias.
Another blazing hot prospect returns to the ring when big punching Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (16-0-1, 13 Kos; pictured above surveying his work, in Al Applerose photo) fights undefeated Antonio Capulin (14-0, 6 Kos) in a lightweight clash on Saturday, May 30. The Top Rank event will be televised on UniMas and takes place at historic Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, Ca.
Speaking of UniMas, they recently devoted a 90-minute show to Rodriguez’s slew of eye-popping knockouts. They weren’t able to show all 13 blowouts but they showed the most recent and with slow-motion replays, the knockout wins were even more impressive.
Rodriguez, who hails from Riverside, Calif. has caught the television world by storm. This storm wages all across the globe, including Great Britain, where its premier boxing show Box Nation mentioned the lightweight as one of the prospects ready to crash the elite plateau.
It’s still early in the career for Rodriguez, who recently turned 22 years old.
The lanky built Rodriguez trains daily under the tutelage of Eduardo Garcia, who has built up three boxers of note from the amateurs to pros. Those three pros became world champions; Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas and Garcia’s own two sons Robert Garcia and Mikey Garcia are the trio. His older son, Robert, as many of you know, is head trainer of many fighters in Oxnard. He also trains Saul Rodriguez and Mikey Garcia nearer to their fight dates.
Oxnard to Moreno Valley move
Speaking of Oxnard, Team Robert Garcia is just about ready to move the whole outfit to Riverside County. In a week or two a new gym will be opened in Moreno Valley, a city in Riverside County that’s located about 65 miles east of Los Angeles off the 60-freeway. The whole team, including Brandon Rios, is expected to make the move.
Mikey Garcia and his father Eduardo Garcia already live in Moreno Valley. The trainer Robert Garcia had been driving back and forth the past several years to work with brother Mikey and Saul Rodriguez. Several times the two fighters spent months in Oxnard but apparently it was more feasible for the trainer to move to Moreno Valley too.
Currently, Saul Rodriguez and Mikey train in Willie Schunke’s 2 Feathers Gym located in the hills of Riverside. It’s the same gym that heavyweight contender Chris Arreola, welterweight contender Josesito Lopez and several others train and prepare under Henry Ramirez.
Robert Garcia should be able to find new talent in Riverside County with dozens of amateur boxing clubs already existing in the area.