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Bruno Escalante preps for Super Fly 3 fight, September 8th

When I first started to cover boxing whenever that was at the start of this decade, Bruno Escalante was the biggest local star in Northern California, my region I covered. Many who read this might giggle or think that is small potatoes, but in the world of boxing is thankless and to be on top of a region, means the world to those involved. Escalante along with peers from the gym he trained at the time in San Carlos, Ca, helped sell-out the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, Ca multiple times as Escalante’s manager, Herb Stone, and promoters Don Chargin and Paco Damian kept him active.

Escalante seemed like the next Filipino fighter to get a crack at the big time despite a smaller stature of being in the super-flyweight division, Escalante looked poised to have the “it factor” fighters seemingly so rarely have as people clambered to see him fight. For example, when he headlined the Fox for the first time against Rigoberto Casillas, Escalante picked up his eight-round decision only to have to do a curtain call to see thirty or forty people who wanted to say hello to him after the fight. For those who watch boxing mainly on television, that isn’t all that common.

This was 2012 and the fighter, who had moved from Hawai’i to the United States bounced around looking for a place to train and even picked up a loss to one of the best fighters most never saw Matthew Villanueva as well as had a draw in his pro debut against Takashi Okada, Okada would beat McWilliams Arroyo in his following fight.

Escalante move to the Bay Area began training with Mike Bazzel and working with Victor Conte through Conte’s supplement company SNAC System, an elite sports nutrition company with a focus on training for boxers at the top sport. With seemingly one of the best teams behind him from training, management and nutrition, Escalante looked to be getting a shot at the big time at some moment in the future.

Escalante would secure the IBA super flyweight title in 2013 at the Sports House in Redwood City, Ca defeating Mike Ruiz Jr., a Fresno, Ca that will forever be linked to Escalante. T

Escalante fought two more times in 2014, only to have his outlook dramatically change. Escalante’s manager, Herb Stone, and Escalante’s local promoter, Paco Damian had a falling out and the result saw Escalante unable to fight locally often as well as Escalante’s career was collateral damage.

The following part of Escalante’s career saw himself and trainer Mike Bazzel working hard staying in the gym focusing on training, but often without a fight date, meaning he was training just to train in hopes something would happen. Escalante got to fight on ALA Promotions event at the StubHub Center in Carson, Ca, before losing a very controversial decision in Texas to Oscar Cantu for the NABF super flyweight title.

Six months later, Escalante found himself fighting in a bizarre West Oakland outdoor arena at the old train station that used connect the neighboring cities to Oakland. Once again, Escalante fought Mike Ruiz Jr. and this time things didn’t go his way for one reason or another. For Escalante, a one-time shoe-in to be a notable Bay Area fighter things seemed to be spiraling out of control quickly as he was riding his first two-fight losing streak for the first time in his professional career.

For most of us and maybe even Escalante, it seemed like Escalante’s career was over as he didn’t seem to have the same hope anymore about the boxing business after the rough go of things. A bad decision in Texas and a headbutt dramatically changing his ability to fight in consecutive fights. 

In 2017, Escalante lost his late and beloved manager Herb Stone to cancer, an awful disease and after much time away from the sport, Escalante decided to make a comeback on Let’s Get It On! Promotions in Reno, Nevada against Alex Rangel. The bout was only a six-rounder, but it seemed to also be one where Escalante was making sure he could still do the same things he used to be able to such as his timing, ability to go rounds, would his feet get blisters and hurt for days, etc. Escalante shook the rust off adding Miguel Rios into his team and picked up a victory.

Escalante was also able to get on his old promoter’s card once again as Stone and Damian talked before Stone’s passing and Escalante was able to shine on a local card getting a brutal knockout. Escalante took full advantage of that as he knocked out Javier Gallo, a tough fighter who loves to exchange in the pocket. 

Escalante’s biggest test of his career was his last fight against Diuhl Olguin in Salinas, CA on a Thompson Boxing card. In which Olguin, a very big fighter with power and despite long arms, wants to fight in close forcing Escalante to have to jump in and out to avoid the big power shots. Some might laugh at Olguin’s record, but his skills are a problem for fighters who are not at the elite plateau and is a test for anyone who believes the desire to be a televised fighter.

The result was a win, but one that saw Olguin able to have moments and fans of pure aggression even favoring Olguin despite the accuracy and thinking from Escalante. 

That being said on September 8th, Escalante’s career is essentially on the line as he faces Alexanderu Marin with a form of the IBF flyweight title on the line. Escalante, who drove to the second Super Fly card earlier this year to support all of the flyweights on the card now sees himself fighting on the streaming portion of the card right before the HBO telecast.

Marin, on the other hand, is a young hungry fighter, who stopped Mike Ruiz Jr. quickly when he fought him in his last bout. Marin is a pressure fighter who has good power in his best instances and follow opponents around the ring in his worst moments. Essentially, Marin is not trying to give Escalante a happy ending to his up-and-down career as he is looking to move up the ranks in the super flyweight division and propel himself into a title shot.

Escalante, also just opened a gym “Aloha Time Boxing” in San Mateo, Ca along with his longtime trainer Mike Bazzel, so now is at the time in his career where he can try to have a run in boxing as a win would put him in line for the IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas who is also Filipino, but a loss might be hard to recover from at this point as the gym might become more of his focus if he were to lose.

So for Bruno Escalante, a fighter that has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in professional boxing, fighting on a card that will be in a major stadium as well as the lead-in for HBO, is nothing short of the amazing for him when looking at where he was a year and a half ago.

Now it just comes down to what he can make of it.

Escalante fights September 8th at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on the Super Fly 3 undercard, promoted by 360 Promotions. For ticket information, please see https://www.ticketmaster.com/SUPERFLY-3-Estrada-v-Orucuta-tickets/artist/2532078

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle