Late Breaking

Northern California Notebook


Miranda to Headline in Lemoore
Power-punching super middleweight Edison Miranda (32-4, 28 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will return to the ring on October 22nd as the headlining attraction at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. Miranda, the IBF #10/WBC #11 ranked 168-pounder, will attempt to take a step back towards relevancy as he takes on unknown Francisco Sierra (20-2, 19 KOs) of Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico in a twelve-round bout for the vacant WBO NABO Super Middleweight title.

Miranda, a former title challenger, was last seen in May when unbeaten contender Andre Ward completely outclassed him over twelve rounds. Miranda burst on the American boxing scene in 2005 and had the look of a dominant future champion. Three fights after a controversial loss to Arthur Abraham in an IBF Middleweight Championship bout in Germany, Miranda was knocked out by current champion Kelly Pavlik and it has been pretty much downhill since. In his two major bouts since the Pavlik fight, Miranda was starched by Abraham in the rematch and suffered the loss to Ward. If Miranda is to make one last run, it will have to begin with a win over Sierra.

Sierra has fought in complete obscurity, with all but one of his 22 bouts taking place in his native Mexico. The only two names on his resume that even the most dedicated boxing observer would recognize are Esteban Camou and Henry Porras, who Sierra dispatched in seven and nine rounds respectively. In his last fight, Sierra claimed the Mexican Super Middleweight title with a third-round knockout of Roberto Baro.

Rising heavyweight contender Manuel Quezada (28-4, 18 KOs) of Wasco, California will look to stay busy and maintain his WBC #4 ranking in the co-feature. Quezada’s stock rose after his last performance, a shocking first-round stoppage of fringe contender Travis Walker in Lemoore this past July. Quezada will take on the well-traveled Nicolai Firtha (16-6-1, 7 KOs) of Akron, Ohio in a ten-round fight. Firtha, a former amateur standout, had won six straight before losing his last two. Most recently Firtha was stopped by the gigantic Tye Fields in six rounds this past June.

Three well regarded and undefeated prospects, Malik Scott, Mike Dallas Jr. and Javier Molina, will see action on the card as well. Scott (32-0, 11 KOs) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will look to continue his slow rise up the heavyweight ranks in a ten-round heavyweight bout. Scott, who won the National AAU title as an amateur a decade ago, has been moved methodically but appears primed to make a move up to the next level. Dallas (10-0-1, 2 KOs) of Bakersfield, California will fight in a six-round light welterweight bout. Dallas is coming off of an impressive decision win over previously unbeaten Vincent Arroyo. 2008 U.S. Olympian Molina (2-0, 2 KOs) of Commerce, California will see action for the first time since April in a four-round welterweight fight.

Fresh off of his impressive upset of former amateur star Aaron Alafa at the Tachi Palace in April, Ephraim Martinez (2-0) of Bakersfield will take on Hugo Ramos (2-3-1, 1 KO) of Palm Springs, California in a four-round super bantamweight fight to round out the card.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, will be made available online at Tickets.com.

Boxing Back at the Big Fresno Fair

The tradition known as “Knockout Night” will return to the Fresno Fairgrounds in Fresno, California on October 11th with a four-bout card. Over the years live boxing has been one of the more popular attractions at the annual Big Fresno Fair.

The opener will feature a hometown debut, as Fresno’s Benjamin Rodriguez will begin his professional career against Moris Rodriguez (1-0) of Chico, California in a four-round light welterweight fight. Moris Rodriguez turned pro in May, swapping knockdowns with Eduardo Herrera before taking a thrilling four-round decision victory.

Unbeaten heavyweight Scott Alexander (3-0, 3 KOs) of Los Angeles, California will take on Michael Ward (1-1) of Spirro, Oklahoma in a four-rounder. Decorated former amateur star Jacob Hernandez of Gilroy, California will enter the paid ranks against Kevin Hoskins (1-0, 1 KO) of Moreno Valley, California.

In the final fight of the evening, unbeaten Terrell Hendrix (3-0-1, 1 KO) of Hollywood, California will take on local product Ray Seja (1-3) of Fresno. In meeting Hendrix, Seja continues his trend of taking on tough opponents as he looks for elusive win number two in front of the hometown crowd.

Admission to the event, promoted by Roy Englebrecht Events, is free with paid entrance to the fair.

Something for Everyone at Rumble in Richmond

California fight fans with eclectic tastes have a fight card to look forward to later this month. On October 24th at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, three combat sports will be on display in the same night. The card will feature mixed martial arts, boxing and Muay Thai.

In the MMA main event, former PFC Bantamweight Champion Rolando Velasco (5-1-1, 2 KOs, 1 Submission) of Oakdale, California will take on Chris Cariaso (8-1, 1 KO, 2 Submissions) of San Francisco, California for the ISCF Bantamweight title in a five-round round bout. Velasco defeated respected Shawn Klarcyk to claim the PFC title in January of 2008. Velasco comes into the October fight off of his first defeat, a split verdict to Walter Patterson in August. Cariaso has scored two straight submission victories to rebound from a knockout loss to Mark Oshiro on a ShoXC card in March of last year.

Three other MMA title bouts will be on the card as well. Andrew Valladerez (3-3, 1 KO, 1 Submission) of Milpitas, California will take on David Barrios (2-4, 2 Submissions) of San Jose, California for the ISCF California State Bantamweight title in a three-round round fight.

Bryant Munoz (3-1, 3 Submissions) of Riverbank, California will go against Alvin Cacdac (6-6, 2 KOs, Submissions) of Sunnyvale, California for the ISCF West Coast Bantamweight title in a three-round fight.

WCSC Super Bantamweight Champion Gabriel Solorio (3-2, 1 KO, 1 Submission) of Turlock, California will meet Evan Esguerra of San Jose (2-2, 1 KO) for the ISCF California State Featherweight title in a three-round fight.

The card will also feature one bout of professional boxing, as light welterweight debutants Al Simpson of Oakland, California and Luis Sanchez of Fairfield, California will clash in a four-rounder. Luis’ brother Alan Sanchez (2-0) has impressed observers since turning pro in June.

Six Muay Thai title bouts round out the card. Dan Ash will take on Kenneth Giang for the IKF Super Lightweight title. Amber Pope will meet Julie Jackal for the IKF Light Welterweight title. Daniel Kim will take on Dion Pamintao for the IKF Middleweight title. Quincey Shammon will fight Byron Petro for the IKF North American Welterweight title. Rick Eriec will meet Jeremy Murphy for the IKF West Coast Super Lightweight Title. Rounding out the stacked fight card, Keri Wilson will meet Brittney Christian for the IKF West Coast Super Lightweight title.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Paco Presents and LTD Productions, are available online at LTDProductions.net.

Boxing Champion Rakoczy Enters the Cage

NABF Lightweight Champion Jessica Rakoczy (31-3, 11 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nevada will enter the unfamiliar confines of a cage on the very familiar tribal grounds at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore on October 8th. The nine-year veteran boxer will make her MMA debut as she takes on Michelle Ould (3-2, 1 KO) of Sacramento, California in a three-round flyweight fight.

In the main event of the evening, rising local star Chad Mendes (4-0, 2 KOs, 1 Submission) of Hanford, California will take on Mike Joy (7-4, 4 Submissions) of Bend, Oregon in a three-round featherweight fight. Tickets for the event, promoted by Tachi Palace Fights and Gladiator Challenge, are available online at Tickets.com.

Nave Back in San Rafael in November

Former WBF Welterweight Champion Paul Nave (17-8-2, 7 KOs) of San Anselmo, California recently announced that he will make the third appearance of his comeback on November 20th at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall in San Rafael, California.

Nave will take on the dangerous TBA in the six-round main event. Four additional bouts yet to be solidified will make up the undercard. In his most recent outing, Nave took a six-round split decision over muscular journeyman Derrick Thomas in May. In meeting Thomas, Nave, a light welterweight for much of his career, took on a natural 154-pounder. Nave seized control of the fight in the third round and outworked Thomas, a fighter twelve years his junior, down the stretch. The plan is for Nave to campaign at welterweight as he continues his return from a nine-year hiatus to recover from back surgery.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Liberty Boxing Enterprises, are available online at Ticketmaster.com.

Mario Ortega Jr. can be reached at ortega15rds@lycos.com.