Fight Night in Calgary, Unification in March & More
By Don Smith
Boxing Fans, 6 times World Boxing Champion Zab Judah (43-9) headlines the latest “Fight Night” presentation from Dekada Promotions, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Judah will face Noel Rincon (21-13-1) in a 10 round main event staged at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary on January 27. The two entities plan to present a total of 6 events between now and January 19, 2019.
Michael Short and Dennis Hermann created Dekada Promotions in 2015 and the long term plan is to develop a boxing product, Canadians can support. Bringing a name performer like Judah to Calgary is a step in the right direction even though the former champion at age 40 can only remember his glory years.
The under card is solid and features another well-known veteran middleweight (Albert Onolunose) and Canadian welterweight prospect (Devon Reti). Onolunose (21-1-1) faces Victor Manuel Palacios (16-16-2) while the 24 year old Reti (8-0) puts his undefeated record on the line against Isidro Toile (10-6-1) fighting out of Mexico.
If Onolunose wins, the plan is for him to face Irish Canadian Janks Trotter in a rematch on April 7. The tightly contested first encounter saw the boxers settle for a majority draw in their previous meeting in 2017. Trotter thought he won the bout and still gets upset when the subject is brought up in conversation. ABNN plans to be there for the rematch.
In remaining bouts, Super Featherweight Alvin Tam (13-6) faces Arturo Garcia Lujano (9-11), Calgary favorite Gwyn Lewis (1-0) faces a stiff challenge from Cristobal Diego (3-0) and light heavy Zach Manywounds (2-0) faces winless Justin Schmit (0-3).
Jab Judah will arrive in Calgary on January 21 and acclimate himself to Calgary while making the rounds to publicize the fight for the 4 days. On January 25, the born again Christian will meet with school kids at the fight venue and deliver a motivational speech. The fighter has led a life with personal peaks and valleys. Tickets prices range from $50-$125 Canadian dollars and are available at the venue box-office or online.
It is Dekada’s best card to date and if any of our readers are in the Calgary area on January, we suggest they drop into the Casino and catch the event. Dekada Promotions is a class act and in boxing that is a rarity.
Parker vs. Joshua: The battle of words is over; Joseph Parker (24-0-18 knockouts) and Anthony Joshua (20-0-20 knockouts) have agreed to do battle at Cardiff’s Principality in South Wales on March 31. Duco Events is co-promoter for the fight and television coverage in the USA is uncertain but the heavyweight championship is available via PPV on SKY UK and SKY NZ. Joshua is from England and Parker hails from New Zealand. At stake are Parker’s WBO belt and Joshua’s IBF, WBA Super and IBO belts.
Parker has been calling out Joshua for some time. Boxing insiders favor Joshua because he is more athletic and his opposition has been a bit tougher. Parker isn’t a member of Joshua’s fan club and thinks the Englishman is overrated.
Parker is awkward enough to give Joshua some trouble and he (Parker) has never been knocked down. If he is able to avoid Joshua’s dynamite right hand, he may pull an upset over the popular Englishman. And don’t forget, Parker has won 75% of bouts via knockout. Both fighters measure equally in size, age and reach.
The winner will challenge WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (39-0-38 knockouts) if the American is able to defeat Cuban Luis Ortiz (28-0-24 knockouts) on March 3 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. 2018 is beginning to look like a banner year for heavyweights. In the minds of some, the heavyweight title won’t be unified until the ultimate winner of the two scheduled title bouts meets the deposed former champion Tyson Fury (25-0-18 knockouts) who vows to return to championship form this year.
Boxing News: WBC Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez (19-0-17 knockouts) is scheduled to spar with Dmitry Bivol(12-0) this week in preparation for his rematch with Ronald Gavril at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on 2/17. David and Gavril went the distance in their first encounter at Hard Rock Casino (Las Vegas) in September that saw Benavidez winning a majority decision. Critics chastised the then 20 year old Arizonian for not knocking out the tough Romanian who rallied strong to make the contest close.
Team Benavidez knows fans love knockouts and privately members of his team are predicting a KO on 2/17 but won’t push the issue; if it happens, so be it.
I was on the phone with co-manager/head trainer Jose Benavidez Sr. recently and he read our column that suggested David didn’t answer my submitted questions because Sampson (David’s Promotional Company) overruled the request. The real reason, according to Jose was an electronic glitch that prevented David from receiving the emailed questions through his dad’s Smart Phone. We agreed to conduct the interview after I arrived in Las Vegas on 2/15.
An obvious question to ask him if winning the title has changed him and if so how? One thing for sure; winning can attract an entourage of bloodsuckers who hang on like fleas on a dog. Jose Sr. is smart enough to know the difference between fleas and friends.
In addition to granting my wish to interview the 21 year old champion, I was glad to hear that the boxer has agreed to sign a pair of gloves for a Phoenix boxing gym trying to raise money to send amateur boxers to New Mexico for a tournament. His gesture is a confirmation of his sense of humility and a long standing promise to help others when he can.
I was also informed that Brother Jose Jr. will sign a pair of gloves for the non-profit boxing gym. The owners of the boxing gym will travel to Vegas and have the brother’s sign the mitts sometime before the fight; so cool. Junior (25-0-16 knockouts) fights in Corpus Christi Texas on 2/4 and the fight vs. Matthew Strode (25-6) marks a return to the ring after an absence of 19 months from ring activity.
Several Phoenix boxing fans wanted to make the journey to David’s title fight but found the ticket prices pricey and the travel expense just as painful; so, they will stay home and watch it on Showtime. Tickets at the Hard Rock went for $50.00-$100.00 compared to $113.00-$528.00 for the show at the Mandalay Event Center on 2/17, ouch!
Thank goodness, I found a room at a Howard Johnsons near the venue for less than half the price quoted to me by the front desk at the Mandalay Hotel & Resort. Unfortunately, HJ cut out the free breakfast they used to serve guests.
I owe a pat on the back to Eric (Mandalay Hotel concierge) for giving me an update on ticket prices and sales. A pat on the back is cheaper than giving a tip.
More Boxing News: Arizona welterweight Eben Vargas has been added to the Iron Boy 43 card on 2/24 at the Celebrity and the youngster is scheduled to box at a pro/am event in Tijuana, Mexico on 2/10. Eben’s trainer (Tony Vargas) is taking 3 amateurs to participate and Campeones Boxing (Phoenix) is transporting members of his amateur boxing family; Mario, Reina and Ramon Ruiz to the event under the watchful eye of trainer/dad Mario Ruiz Sr. Americans going down to Tijuana have to check the weight and birth certificates of their opponent; drinking the water in Mexico isn’t the only worry boxers have when they cross the border……. 39 year old Phoenix heavyweight Chad Davis (5-13-1) is making his umpteenth comeback attempt and this time he has the advantage of having fitness guru Edward Ochoa (Cross Driven Boxing Academy) in his corner. Edward has been working with him for 3 months and tells ABNN that Chad is becoming hard as a rock with a more explosive sock. According to Ochoa, Davis is close to fighting shape and ready to re-enter the ring for a paycheck and victory; an ingredient missing in Chad’s recent boxing adventures. We wish Chad well and at least a modicum of success at this late stage in his career. In the past, Chad blamed his management for his mediocre performances; finally he has a team that knows what he lacked to be a winner, discipline…Fight Hard Promotions boxer Jesus Serrano (17-5-2-12 knockouts) will fight ranked junior lightweight Avery Sparrow (9-1-3 knockouts) at the Parx Casino in Bensalem Pennsylvania on Friday March 9. His management was against him facing Sparrow but Serrano signed the contract without their blessing…..Roy Jones JR. Promotions & Montoya Boxing are presenting “Stars Over Texas” at the Bomb Factory in Dallas Texas on 2/9. The headline match pits fan favorite Ray Ximenex (16-1-4 knockouts) vs. John Moralde (19-10-10 knockouts) from the Philippines…..Iron Boy Promotions hopes to lure Elihu Soto (5-0-3 knockouts) and Francisco Chavez on the Iron Boy 44 card on April 28 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Chavez shocked Arizona prospect Adrian Servin (5-0-1-2 knockouts)by battling to a draw with the flyweight on the Iron Boy 42 card.
Official Denial: Tom Loeffler, GGG Promotions, talked to boxing scene recently and told a reporter that the rematch bout between GGG and Canelo is 90% done but he went on to add that until it’s 100 % done, that “10 % can derail the negotiations. So, despite headlines also the country stating that the anticipated match will take place on May 5, the deal isn’t final so don’t call Ticketmaster for tickets. When the deal is finalized, expect a rush on exorbitant priced tickets a PPV price tag of $100.00. HBO will televise the event and the sports bars like Twin Peaks are expected to show the event with a modest cover charge and minimum spend limit. Chicas Cabaret, 35th Avenue in Phoenix, has already announced it will show the event without a cover charge and Bandaids Cabaret, on 7th Street in Phoenix, will also show the event. ABNN will keep readers updated on further details of the event. It is going to happen; just a matter of when!
Iron Boy 43 Update: Super-size Phoenix heavyweight Dante Stone will make his professional debut on the Iron Boy 43 card at the Celebrity Theatre on 2/24. Dante is easy to recognize at 300 + pounds. He will face Waldo Cortez (1-1-1 knockout) in a 4 round match that could test the durability of the ring canvas. Iron Boy matchmaker Mike Sanchez has added middleweight Eduardo Ayala (1-0) vs. Lenny Correra (debut) to the card. Team Ayala is miffed because Ayala’s one fight and victory isn’t listed on BoxRec; so, I called Arizona Boxing Commission PIO Caroline Oppleman and she will find out how the results are posted and by whom. Welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2-13 knockouts) , one of Arizona’s premier fighters, will face hardnosed Jose Marrufo (10-7-1) on the undercard.
Marrufo is a rough and tumble styled fighter who never backs down, it could be an entertaining tussle. The bout is a welcome adds on to the original lineup. There is a lot of interest in the USNBC WBC title fight between Phoenix favorites Carlos Castro & Alexis Santiago is creating a run for tickets at the Celebrity Theatre box-office, better hurry before one of your friends buys the last ticket. It will be a sellout; especially since the intermission will feature a wedding; honest!
Short Jabs: Fight Hard Promotions CEO Rigoberto Ledezma plans to fight lightweight Rafael Casas 8 times in 2018. The promoter is waiting for paperwork on the Mexican fighter before he starts booking fights for him in the USA. Casas is 22 and has yet to fight in the U.S.A. Arizona Boxing News & Notes has contacted Golden Boy Promotions to see if GBP is planning a show at Tucson’s Casino Del Sol in the near future. At least two local fighters thought they were fighting in January at the Casino; but, boxing action at the venue is in limbo for now……Until Next Time!