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Ponce De Leon-Hernandez on Saturday

On Saturday, November 16, The Grand Oasis in Cancun, Mexico, will be the host for an intriguing all-Mexico doubleheader featuring former two-division World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon and 18-year-old lightweight phenom Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez.

In the super featherweight main event, scheduled for 10 rounds, Cuahutemoc’s Ponce De Leon begins his road back to a world championship against Ensenada’s Joksan “El Torito” Hernandez. In the co-main event, scheduled for 10 rounds, Los Mochis’ Manzanarez battles Mexico City’s Alejandro “Zorrito” Barrera in a highly anticipated rematch.

Both bouts will be aired live on Televisa and FOX Deportes.

Ponce De Leon vs. Hernandez is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Cancun Boxing de Pepe Gomez and sponsored by Corona, Periodico QueQui, The Grand Oasis Cancun, Quintana Roo Tourism and Cancun Tourism. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. CT and the first fight begins at 6:30 p.m. CT. The FOX Deportes broadcast will air live at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT and the Televisa broadcast will air on Canal 5 beginning at 10:30 p.m. CT.

A beloved Mexican warrior who has represented his nation proudly over the course of his nearly 13-year career, former Olympian Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-5, 35 KO’s) has put together a resume worthy of envy, winning world championships at 122 and 126 pounds while taking on the likes of Abner Mares, Jhonny Gonzalez, Adrian Broner, Orlando Cruz, Gerry Penalosa, and Juan Manuel Lopez. A knockout artist with an exciting style, the 33-year-old southpaw from Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua Mexico is back in the title hunt, and Hernandez is the first obstacle in his way.

Former WBC Continental Americas super featherweight and IBF Latino featherweight Champion Joksan “El Torito” Hernandez (23-5-1, 15 KO’s) from Ensenada, Baja California Mexico is a hard-hitting competitor who will meet Ponce De Leon in the middle of the ring and go to battle from the opening bell. A pro for a decade, the 27-year-old is unbeaten in his last two bouts, drawing with 18-1-2 Ricardo Alvarez and knocking out Hector Rivera.

One of Mexico’s top rising stars, teenage sensation Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez (24-1, 20 KO’s) from Los Mochis, Sinaloa Mexico has put together a remarkable record since turning pro in 2010 at the age of 15. Winner of three straight since the lone loss of his career to Alejandro Barrera in 2012, Manzanarez gets his shot at redemption on November 16.

A seasoned veteran who has been fighting professionally since 1998, 34-year-old Mexico City’s Alejandro “Zorrito” Barrera (22-15, 15 KO’s) was expected to be a stepping stone for hot prospect Roberto Manzanarez when they met in November of 2012, but Barrera stunned the boxing world with a sixth round technical knockout victory. Now he’ll look to repeat that win in front of the fans at The Grand Oasis Cancun.

Hollywood Fight Night VI * Trainer Spotlight: Henry Tillman

By Chris Strait

Winning a gold medal is prestigious enough, especially these days where Olympic boxers from the United States have better odds of winning figure skating gold than boxing gold. However, getting to win it in front of your home country AND hometown? It can’t get any sweeter than that. Thus is the story of Henry Tillman. Tillman is a former heavyweight gold medalist, who attained this goal in the Los Angeles games of 1984. Tillman also beat Mike Tyson twice in the amateurs.

What followed was a professional career with many ups and downs, including title shots and big name opponents. Yet, for Tillman, who has been training fighters for over 20 years now, it has all come full circle. One of his fighters, undefeated heavyweight KO artist, Charles Martin, is fighting on the Hollywood Fight Night show at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, November 14th. Tillman talked with Chris Strait for this show’s trainer spotlight.

CS: You came to boxing late, correct?

HT: Yes, they had a program up in Chino, when I was a teenager.

CS: I know you were trained by Mercer Smith at Broadway Gym. What were some of your other amateur accomplishments, besides the gold?

HT: I also trained out of Hoover Gym, but I think I had like 73 fights, and only lost 9. I won the Nationals in Colorado Springs. I won silver in the Pan Am games. I was set to win gold in the nationals in Kansas City, but I broke my hand, and Tyson won in a walk over.

CS: You got your revenge, though, beating him twice in the trials. What was the biggest difference fighting him in the pros versus the amateurs.

HT: Well, we were both bigger and stronger, but the difference was he caught me early.

CS: How long have you been training fighters now?

HT: I started in about 1992, training amateurs. When I got together with Jamal Abdullah, we started training pros.

CS: Do you like getting fighters who have a background in boxing already, or taking them from the beginning?

HT: With most fighters, I start them from the beginning. Like Charles (Martin).

CS: How do you start a fighter’s learning process? With offense, defense, movement?

HT: It’s all footwork. Building a fighter is like planting a tree… it’s from the roots up. If they can’t stand, they can’t fight.

CS: Charles Martin just had a big win over another unbeaten prospect, Vince Thompson… near Thompson’s hometown of Seattle. How is Martin coming along?

HT: Getting better every fight. We’ve been working on his lateral movement, getting him to stop pulling straight back, and putting him in with tougher guys.

CS: You have your own gym now, in Carson, correct?

HT: Yes, Henry Tillman’s Championship Boxing Club. The website is for more info. We have a few heavyweights from the All-American Heavyweight team and a few smaller guys, too.

CS: Is there any other fighter in particular we should look out for?

HT: I think Joe Hanks… he’s coming off a loss against Andy Ruiz, but he’s improving in the gym, and I think he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

San Diego Super Welterweight David Barragan Takes the Long Road!

(San Diego, CA) – Undefeated San Diego super welter David Barragan (6-0-1, 3KOs) has never taken a short cut. Even after suffering a devastating life threatening automobile accident, Barragan decided to take the long road. Coming home from an early run, David along with his father Carlos where struck by a drunk driver in a head-on collision. The young David, a highly decorated amateur who won his first national Silver Gloves tournament at thirteen and amassed over 90 amateur fights, was given the choice of fusing his damaged vertebrae and being well in a matter of months or taking the longer and more painful option of letting them heal on their own with the help of a cast. He went with option two.

“It all began with a punching bag in the backyard and bible studies on Friday,” Carlos Barragan Jr., father and trainer of David, answered when asked how the family got involved in boxing. “My father, Carlos Sr., always loved the sport so we decided to help kids in National City, eventually we got a gym in the backyard and it took off from there.”

With that environment, it was only a question of when David would join the family business. After two months of training at the tender age of eight, David had his first amateur fight in Brawley, CA. He never looked back while collecting trophies and belts including a silver medal at the Junior Olympics in ’05 and participating in the Nationals for the United States and Mexico.

“I’ve traveled a lot, all over the United States and some parts of Mexico, that is one of the things I most like about boxing,” David shared. “I’ve been to Tahiti twice and those where trips of a lifetime. I was invited to an invitational by the southern California USA amateur coach to compete against the Tahitians. I jumped on the chance.”

Turning pro was the next logical step in his career and he did so in late 2011 in Orange County. He scored a quick knockout of John Ferrari who was not quick enough to stay away and went down in two rounds. Four months later, Barragan suffered the only blemish in his ledger with a draw against Marquise Bruce. Taking it slow and looking for the best options unlike many young fighters who take fights without weighing in different options, Barragan took five months to step in a ring again. This time Beau Hamilton was stopped in two and four months scored a unanimous decision over Carl Hill.

A graduate of Sweetwater High School and a business student at a local community college, the twenty-three year old Barragan is co-owner along with his father of the House of Boxing Training Center located in National City. “It’s been a blessing, this is all I know, I have been in gyms all my life. It was an easy choice to open the gym and my dad and grandfather have been a lot of help and together we have built the gym.”

Barragan made his hometown debut on a Bobby D Presents fight card earlier this year with his numerous House of Boxing fan base behind him at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel. “It is very motivating to have my House of Boxing family at the fights but the day of the fight, I’m all business.”

Despite tasting the canvas for the first time in his pro career, Barragan got up and fought on to take a unanimous decision over the tough Jose Martell. Two months later he scored the knock out of the night over Moses Alvizo.

Again in usual Barragan fashion, he took the tough road in his last fight looking for a challenge. Facing a first timer in Matt Dumais, a Canadian amateur stand out training out of the famed Justin Fortune Gym, Barragan dropped him in the first but he knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“I knew he was tough and very experience so I didn’t get that excited when he went down in the first round, I knew he was going to come back strong,” the affable Barragan said thoughfully. “I listened to my corner, fought smart and didn’t get ahead of myself and we were able to come out with the win.”

In his first six rounder of his career tonight, Barragan looks to continue the trend in 2014 and look to step up to eight round bouts soon. “I think I will look to step it up next year. Fighting more often and looking to see what doors open.”

The Crowne Plaza Hanalei Hotel is located at 2270 Hotel Circle North in San Diego. Tickets are still available at or by calling 619.420.8866. Doors open at 6:30 with the first punch thrown at 7:30pm.

“San Diego Fights” is proudly sponsored by Mossy Automotive Group, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Car Czar, Everlast, David G. Schmidt General Contractor, House of Boxing Gym and Boxing Fraternity Apparel and features the San Diego Bikini Dolls.

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