SANTA MONICA, CALIF.-Two popular contenders met the media at a swanky Santa Monica restaurant on Tuesday looking to re-enter the boxing stratosphere after months in cyberspace.
Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse and Philippine’s Mercita Gesta converged at the Malbec Argentinean Cuisine where Argentine food is the specialty. The Golden Boy Promotions affair was held to promote the upcoming fight card at the Fabulous Forum on Jan. 27, 2018.
The last time fans saw Matthysse was on the Cinco de Mayo card against Emmanuel Taylor in a welterweight clash. He won by stoppage in the fifth round. That was seven months ago and the Argentine heavy hitter was not seen again.
“I was just tired,” said Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) whose only fight before last May was almost two years ago in a loss to Viktor Postol for the super lightweight world title. “I just didn’t have the will to train.”
Now the fighter known as “La Maquina” returns to the fight game and will face Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) of Thailand for the WBA welterweight world title. Kiram has never fought outside of Asia. Matthysse has fought only in the U.S. since 2012.
“He’s going to train with us,” said Joel Diaz, adding that the Argentine began working out last Thursday in Indio. “He asked to train over here. He prefers training in the U.S. for this fight.”
The other main event pits the swift Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) against WBA lightweight world titlist Jorge Linares. Freddie Roach will be training the Filipino against his former protégé Linares.
“That’s boxing,” said Roach, adding that it’s not unusual in the sport of prizefighting for fighters to switch trainers. “We are familiar with Linares.”
Gesta formerly was hired as a sparring partner for Linares a short while back. But he’s careful to add that sparring is not fighting.
“Sparring is totally different from fighting,” Gesta said. “It’s not at all the same.”
Despite immense talent Gesta has only had one crack at the world title and that came against Mexico’s tricky Miguel Vazquez, otherwise known as “El Titero” or “the Puppet”.
“I learned a lot from that loss,” said Gesta who was never hurt but frustrated by the zany moves of Vazquez. “Everything is a learning experience. I know now how to fight that style.”
Gesta has one of the better chins in the lightweight division and has a pleasing style. Under Roach’s guidance expect the Filipino to leap ahead another plateau. Roach has that effect on fighters like Gesta.
“We’re going to make a game plan for Linares,” said Gesta. “It’s a blessing just to be in this situation.”
Tickets start at $10 and end at $100. For more information call (800) 745-3000.
Wednesday Fights on TV
Australia’s Jeff Horn defends the WBO welterweight title that he took from Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday morning at 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) defends against Gary Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs) of Great Britain. The fight is taking place in Brisbane, Australia. It’s Horn’s first fight since last July.
Also on Wednesday, but in London, England, Katie Taylor defends the WBA lightweight world title against Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill at 10 a.m. PT.
Taylor (7-0, 4 KOs) is making the first defense of the world title against McCaskill (5-1, 3 KOs). Showtime will stream the fight on its YouTube channel and also on its Facebook channel.
Fantasy Springs Casino
Diego De La Hoya (20-0) leads the Golden Boy Promotions fight card on Thursday Dec. 14, and fights Jose Salgado (35-4-2) in the main event. The super bantamweight fight is set for 10 rounds at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. ESPN will televise beginning at 5:50 p.m. PT.
Other Golden Boy prospects on the card will be Carlos Morales, Joet Gonzalez, Joshua Franco, Jonathan Navarro, Marlen Esparza and others. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.
Undefeated Jose Ramirez will face Amir Imam for the vacant WBC super lightweight world title on March 17, at Madison Square Garden Theater Top Rank announced on Monday.
Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) recently defeated Mike Reed by knockout in Fresno. He’s knocked out four consecutive opponents.
Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) knocked out Johnny Garcia on the same November Fresno fight card and is looking for his fourth consecutive knockout.
This should be good.
Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Hogan Photos / GBP (left to right: Joel Diaz, Lucas Matthysse, Mercito Gesta, and Freddie Roach.)
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