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Southern California’s Inland Empire jumps into high gear with Jose “Gato” Roman (pictured), Antonio “Relentless” Orozco and Jojo Diaz headlining fight cards on back-to-back days.

Roman (22-1-1, 15 KOs) returns to the ring to face Venezuela’s Carlos Cardenas (21-10-1, 14 KOs) on Friday July 29, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. It’s his first fight since losing his father who passed away a few months ago.

Last month Roman’s boxing ring return was nullified when the Mexican opponent was unable to make weight. But now, the Garden Grove prizefighter finds himself facing a South American veteran with pop.

Roman, 28, has proven to be right on the fringe of breaking through to the top 10 in the lightweight division. He has world titles in his sights.

“I don’t have nobody in mind, whoever gets me the best pay that’s who I want to fight. Most of us (fighters) are here because we want to survive,” Roman says emphatically about his championship goals. “I don’t know anything about my opponent. You just need to adapt to any style.”

The near six-foot tall prizefighter can box, punch or defend. But in all fights he prefers knockout endings.

“My favorite fights are those that end quickly,” he says.

The Thompson Boxing Promotion fight card also features Tijuana’s Carlos Carlson (21-1) facing Torreon’s Gerardo Hernandez (13-4-1) in a battle between Mexican bantamweights for the vacant NABF bantamweight title. Rounding out the main card will be Ontario’s John Delperdang (6-1) versus Andres Figueroa (7-1) in a lightweight clash.

For more information call (714) 935-0900.

Fantasy Springs

San Diego’s Antonio Orozco (24-0, 16 KOs) was just recently tabbed the number one contender in the super lightweight division by the WBC. He will be facing Abner Lopez (23-5, 19 KOs) in the main event at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio on Saturday July 30. HBO Latino will televise.

“It’s a blessing,” said Orozco about being tabbed number one by the WBC. “There are moments as a pro that you look forward to. I have a tremendous fight to face in Abner Lopez. And I’m sharing the card with a future champion from the Olympics, Jojo Diaz.”

Orozco is managed by Frank Espinoza who also has new world champion Oscar Valdez. Could Orozco be the next champion for Espinoza?

“He’s (Orozco) more than ready for his shot,” said Espinoza who also managed former champions Israel Vazquez, Martin Castillo, Abner Mares, Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan and Daniel Ponce De Leon. “He’s got the tools.”

Jojo Diaz, 23, the former US Olympian from South El Monte, says the time has blitzed by quickly in the past four years and he feels compelled to make a name for himself.

“I’m excited to be fighting on the card,” said Diaz. “I want to show I’m at the level of all the champions at my weight class.”

Diaz (20-0, 11 KOs) faces Mexico’s Victor Proa (28-1-2, 21 KOs) a hard-hitting veteran from the city of Monterrey who returned after a six year layoff with a first round knockout win last February. It will be a stiff test for Proa in facing the speedy Diaz.

Also on the fight card will be East L.A.’s Roy Tapia, West L.A.’s Nick Arce and others. Doors open at 5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information call (800) 827-2946.

Inland Empire

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