Boxing Preview: Ruben Villa, Bruno Escalante, Francisco Vargas, Jamal James
Thompson Boxing in Salinas
Featherweight Ruben Villa, a Salinas, California native will be competing for vacant World Boxing Organisation Youth Featherweight Title in his hometown against Marlon Olea. Villa, a 2016 U.S. Olympic alternate who lost his spot in the 2016 Olympic Games to silver medalist U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson, is currently one of the most active fighters from the 2016 Olympics and is hoping to win his first title come Saturday, April 14th at the Storm House in Salinas, Ca.
Villa has recently switched over to the legendary Salinas Garcia family in Salinas, Ca, with Max Garcia coming out of retirement to train the blue-chip prospect. I rarely say fighters will be world champions, but I would be shocked if Villa doesn’t acquire at least one world title in his career as he has uncanny foot speed, high-level boxing skill matched with intelligence in the ring. In short, Villa is one of those special fighters, who don’t come around that often and did I mention he is a southpaw as well.
Villa spent time in Southern California for this camp sparring at the famed Robert Garcia Boxing Academy to get ready for this fight.
The full card will stream on Thompson Boxing’s Facebook page.
Mitchell off card
Heavyweight LaRon Mitchell has been pulled from the April 14th fight in Salinas, Ca, as an undisclosed injury forced him out of his fight with Eugene “Big Gene” Hill. We wish Mitchell a speedy recovery as well as we are hearing he might return on the June 30th Thompson Boxing card in Sacramento, CA.
Fight outfit ready for my fight this Saturday April 14 at the storm house in Salinas, CA. Thank you @Worldclassboxingapparel for making this dope outfit designed by my friend Will Coyner. #Pinoysymbol #AlohaKid Aloha Time🇵🇭🇺🇸 * * * #thompsonboxingpromotions #April142018 #NewBlood #TeamSnac #AlohaTimeBoxing #BazzelStrength #teammiguelrios #WorldclassBoxingapparel #Cashthewonderhorse #KerriFolmer #Petezeriaforno #FortChiropractic #grantworldwide #TeamGrant #wartape #AlohaKid #Waimanalo #eastOahuBoxingClub #surfrider #pinoy #cebuano #sibongacebu #BrunoEscalante #EscalanteBloodline
Beloved Bay Area flyweight Bruno Escalante is as active as he has ever been as the flyweight fighter is now fighting for the third time in five months. Escalante is a powerful and explosive former regional champion looking to stay sharp and work his way into contention to challenge one of the bigger names in the division in a high profile fight.
Escalante’s opponent, Diuhl Olguin is no pushover though, as the veteran has pulled off an upset knockout against Horacio Garcia just last year and also fought as high as 126 lbs. against Manuel “Tino” Avila in his last bout. Simply said, Olguin will be bigger than him and has tools to make the fight interesting.
This fight will be telling of where Escalante is at.
Lightweight Pedro Moreno of Sacramento, CA, will return to action and for the first time as a signed fighter to a major promotion as Moreno recently signed with Thompson Boxing after enlisting Charles Bosecker as his manager. Moreno is a hard-hitting lightweight with a traditional Mexican-American style in which he prefers to sit in the pocket and bang with opponents rather than box. Moreno is trained by Marcus Caballero of Caballero Nor-Cal Boxing.
A former Vacaville, CA PAL fighter who use to train with Al LaGardo, who moved down to Southern California for better opportunities for his boxing career, super lightweight, Max Becerra, will also be fighting for the first time under Thompson Boxing after also bringing in Charles Bosecker as his manager.
Becerra had a very competitive fight with Arnold Barboza Jr. on a Top Rank-promoted undercard during Top Rank’s run on UniMas’ “Solo Boxeo”. Becerra has spent a good amount of this camp sparring one of the best in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko in preparation for this bout.
Alberto Torres and Brandon Trejo
Featherweight Alberto Torres of Sacramento, CA will be in action as the veteran southpaw will return to action. Torres is trained by Marcus Caballero, the same coach as Pedro Moreno.
Napa, CA lightweight Brandon Trejo, who is signed with Thompson Boxing will return for the first time in Northern California as well.
Mike Ruiz Jr
Undefeated Alexandru Marin will face Fresno, CA’s Mike Ruiz Jr. in a bout for the super flyweight IBO title. Ruiz Jr. is currently riding a winning streak and is going into Marin’s backyard of Norfolk, Virginia as he is hoping to come home to California with the belt.
On a side note, Ruiz’s best performance of the last couple years was his bout nearly a year ago from the day he fights in Virginia as he was well on his way to beating Rodrigo Guerrero before a head clash stopped the bout.
Solid PBC card
Jamal James vs. Abel Ramos
Premier Boxing Champions returns this Friday with a card based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota on a Fox Sports 1, which takes place at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST. Hometown hero super lightweight Jamal James is coming off the biggest win of his career after knocking out Diego Chaves. James now is in action against decorated amateur and dangerous opponent, Abel Ramos, who has dropped his past two opponents Emmanuel Robles as well as Ivan Baranchyk. Ramos though did not beat Baranchyk, which is important to note, but still has shown power in his last few fights.
James has one loss on his career Yordenis Ugas and a fight against Abel Ramos, a tricky southpaw, would be a good win to show the improvements he has made in his career.
Chris Colbert vs. Austin Dulay
Chris Colbert, affectionately known as “Lil B-Hop” to some, will face another undefeated fighter in Nashville, Tennessee’s Austin Dulay. This fight is largely going under the radar, in my opinion since a lot of boxing beat writers don’t cover Premier Boxing Champions, as well as boxing writers, also tend not to cover fighters who are not in the big fights.
Colbert is a very interesting fighter, who has at 7-0 the already fought two undefeated fighters so far in his career in Titus Williams and Antonio Dubose. Colbert is a multi-faceted fighter who is good from the outside, but able to fight in close quarters. Colbert is also a fighter’s fighter, meaning he wants to fight and that means a lot.
Austin Dulay originally from Nashville, Tennessee, now trains at the PLEX gym with Ronnie Shields. Dulay is a fighter who at his best comes forward with pressure while targeting the body early and often with an ability to box as well, but is not the heaviest of handed fighter.
I truly don’t know who the favorite is in this bout, but believe it is a truly compelling bout and respect, Colbert for constantly taking hard fights so early in his career.
Ender Cherry vs. Dennis Galarza
The aging veteran who is one of the best to never fully get recognized, Edner Cherry will face a former prospect in Dennis Galarza in a lightweight bout. I see this bout as more so about where Cherry is at this point in his career more so then what Galarza brings to the table as Cherry is one of the toughest outs in the sport, most don’t know about.
That being said Galarza could spring the upset if Cherry is not the Cherry of old.
Galarza is solid, but has defensive flaws that make fighting technical fighters and/or power punchers hard. Cherry can essentially be listed as both.
The likable Michigan native who moved to Hayward, CA to train with Virgil Hunter will fight for the second time in his pro career on the PBC undercard, off-television.
Francisco Vargas vs. Rod Salka
Former super featherweight WBC world champion Francisco Vargas is in a crossroads bout on Thursday night at Fantasy Springs in Indio, CA, as he faces former world title challenger Rod Salka on ESPN2 on a card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions with televised coverage starting at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST.
Vargas, who has been in multiple fight of the year bouts including his super featherweight WBC title win against Takashi Miura and his title loss to Miguel Berchelt last year that left Vargas with an eye injury that has kept him out of action until late last year.
Vargas returned in his last bout with Joel Diaz, the famed Indio, CA trainer most known for training Timothy Bradley Jr. and Diego De La Hoya.
Rod Salka is best known as a punchline to boxing fans when he moved up two weight classes to fight super lightweight Danny Garcia. What many don’t know is since that fight Salka is on a five-fight winning streak and fighting now at a more natural weight for him at super featherweight. Salka also has a win over a very tough and dangerous Monty Meza Clay as well as has dedicated a large portion of his social media to the food he is making.
This bout in my eyes is a very competitive bout with a slight edge to Vargas, who should have the advantages from his power to his promoter, but Salka has the ability to outbox Vargas.
Hard-punching Aidar Sharibayev will face Andrew Cancio in the co-main event. Sharibayev is a Kazakhstan fighter with only seven fights with six of those bouts seeing Sharibayev winning by KO.
Cancio is a 24 fight veteran with wins over Rocky Juarez, Jerry Belmontes and Rene Alvarado as well as recent losses to Joseph Diaz Jr and Ronny Rios. Cancio isn’t a bad fight, but he isn’t elite either.
Gamez, Navarro on the undercard
Genaro Gamez, a decorated amateur who had a tough fight in February will return on the undercard of Golden Boy Promotions card. Gamez is a decorated amateur who has a high knockout ratio and a fan friendly style.
Jonathan Navarro will return three weeks after his last fight, which was a second-round KO win. Navarro is a decorated amateur from a decorated Los Angeles boxing family.
Frank De Alba vs. O’Shaquie Foster
Lightweight Frank De Alba is the quintessential east coast hard-nosed fighter, the southpaw lost his professional debut, but has gone the rest of his career without a loss with the exception being a close majority decision loss to Omar Douglas. De Alba seems a tad bit small for the weight class at about 5’6” and doesn’t pack a ton of power with only 9 KOs in 26 fights, but De Alba is very active and willing to trade as he is a formidable foe.
O’Shaquie Foster is a fighter with nearly half the fights of De Alba and has had a confusing career so far after beating a few undefeated fighters he lost to Samuel Teah, Foster than rebounded by upsetting Lavisas Williams on ShoBox which restarted his career. Foster than saw a split decision loss to Rolando Chinea leave him in a sort of career limbo with two losses early in his career.
Both of these fighters occupy odd spaces in boxing and this fight holds a lot of merit for the trajectory of their careers as one fighter will essentially become an opponent whereas the other will get a shot at further glory.
This is a fight I am very interested in and I expect a lot since both fighters have a track record of putting together tremendous performances.
Murata defends the middleweight title in Japan
WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata will make his first defense of belt in Arena, Yokohama on Sunday, April 15th, against Emanuele Blandamura. If Murata were to win a fight between himself and Esquiva Falcao might occur in the near future.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum will be present for this bout and ESPN will air the bout at 8 AM EST / 5 AM PST.
WBO flyweight champion Daigo Higo will look to defend his belt on the aforementioned card headlined by Murata as he faces Cristofer Rosales. Higo has fought fifteen times and one each bout by knockout. Higo is the type of talent that could be a star and would be interesting in the mix for the Super Fly series.
Silvia Torres put her title on the line
The interim WBA Female Light Flyweight Title will be on the line between Silvia Torres and Jessica Plata in Mexico City.