A triple delight takes place this week starting in Tucson, then going to Ontario, California, then moving to London for a fight that will be combined for TV viewing with other fights taking place in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Mexicali’s favorite son Diego De La Hoya (17-0) faces Oxnard’s Erik Ruiz (16-6-1) in a super bantamweight showdown tonight (Thursday, May 18), near the OK Corral; it’s Tucson, Arizona to be exact. The gunfight takes place at Casino del Sol.
ESPN will televise the smoking Golden Boy Promotions card.
De La Hoya (pictured on the left), the younger cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, the Golden Boy boss, has been kept under wraps like a hired gun. Lately, the L.A.-based company has been using him whenever they need a surefire hit.
Facing the Mexicali gunner will be Ruiz who doesn’t have the undefeated record, but a reputation of slipping the rug out of prospects who take him as a mark. He’s no mark.
Ruiz toppled favorite Hanzel Martinez, drew with Horacio Garcia and handed Roy Tapia his first loss. He’s a well-trained and tough-minded boxer with solid fundamentals. But he’s facing someone with outstanding athleticism in De La Hoya.
Ever since his pro debut De La Hoya has shown outstanding speed and agility but at times seems ordinary until you match him with a fighter of equal measure. Will he think he’s too good for Ruiz?
“Yes I like to fight the best,” said De La Hoya, 22, while also admitting he loses interest against mediocre competition.
Recently, the young De La Hoya sparred with Rico Ramos to prepare for his next fight. Ironically, it was Ramos who last defeated Ruiz two months ago. Will that inspire or devalue the fight in De La Hoya’s mind?
Also on the card will be a trio of young prospects from trainer Robert Garcia’s gym in Riverside. Hector Tanajara, Joshua Franco, and Jonathan Navarro all take steps toward the next stage as professionals.
Another on the Thursday night card is Arizona’s own Robert Manzanarez (34-1, 28 KOs), a tall lefty lightweight from Phoenix. After fighting all over Mexico the southpaw made his American debut last February at Belasco Theater and knocked out former world featherweight titlist Gamaliel Diaz. This time he faces Erick Martinez (13-6-1).
Thompson Boxing Promotions was planning to showcase its super lightweight contender Giovanni Santillan. But dehydration problems from trying to make 140 pounds forced the San Diego southpaw to postpone his fight.
Now, on Friday May 19, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif. the canny Southern California promotion company will be inserting its co-main event to star status with featherweights Isaac Zarate (12-2-2) of San Pedro, Calif. facing Erick Ituarte (16-1-1) of Santa Ana, Calif. in an eight round affair for the vacant NABF featherweight title.
“The main event is Ituarte going to 126 pounds for this fight. He had been fighting at 132 pounds but his manager thought 126 would be his best division,” said Alex Camponovo, the matchmaker for Thompson Boxing. “Zarate is moving up to featherweight. Ituarte is looking very good and Zarate is an action guy so we have a very good main event.”
Also on the card will be another featherweight, Ruben Villa (5-0, 3 KOs), a speedy southpaw from Salinas, California. He’s co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. He’s still learning how to adapt to the professional style but had an excellent amateur career.
The fight card will be streamed live on Facebook on the Thompson Boxing Promotions page and will be covered by analysts Beto Duran and Steve Kim. The first bout begins at 7:45 p.m.
IBF super featherweight titlist Gervonta Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) makes his first world title defense across the ocean on Saturday when he meets Liam Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) in Hackney Wick, London. It’s pretty heady stuff for a 22-year-old from Baltimore.
Davis fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner. So when you basically come out of nowhere you got to go somewhere to make yourself known. Floyd Mayweather never fought out of the country during his storied career.
It will be southpaw versus southpaw when Davis meets 30-year-old Walsh. Will the ultra-speedy Davis be able to use that to an advantage against the veteran Walsh? Showtime will televise the title fight at 6 p.m. ET. More fights will follow.
Photo credit: Tom Hogan Photos / Golden Boy Promotions
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