By Ryan Maquiñana
In an eight-round main event, junior bantamweight Bruno “Aloha Kid” Escalante (6-1-1, 3 KOs) will face Rigoberto Casillas (8-9-1, 6 KOs) on March 8 at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, Calif., which is a 30-minute drive south of San Francisco.
Escalante, originally from Cebu, Philippines, but now living in nearby San Carlos, Calif., would like to open 2013 with an impressive victory. A protégé of Nonito Donaire, the former U.S. Olympic alternate has bounced around the lower weight classes in search of fights, but feels that 115 pounds is his true home.
“I’m really excited to be back in the ring, and it’s a great opportunity to fight so close to home, especially in the main event,” said Escalante, a slick southpaw with a destructive left hand. “I’m going to do my best and hopefully give the fans a knockout if it’s there.”
Escalante currently trains under the team of Brian Schwartz and Mike Bazzel, who have been begun to amass a burgeoning stable in recent months. In addition to assisting Robert Garcia with Donaire, Schwartz and Bazzel are the chief cornermen for Escalante and 2012 OIympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza.
In the six-round co-main, San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (8-1, 4 KOs) attempts to bounce back from his first pro loss against Phoenix’s Arturo Brambila (9-17-1, 4 KOs).
Two more San Francisco fighters will see action in four-rounders. Junior welterweight Jhonnathan Zamudio (1-1-1) will encounter Sacramento’s Juan Martinez (0-2), while middleweight Ricardo Pinell (1-0-1, 1 KO) will clash with an opponent to be determined.
The last three bouts are all four-rounders as well and involve nothing but Northern California pugilists. San Bruno cruiserweight Joe Gumina (4-1, 2 KOs) fights Stockton’s Albert Avina (0-1), while Salinas welterweight Preston Freeman (3-0, 1 KO) will meet Sacramento’s Will Walters (0-3).
Rounding out the card is Redwood City featherweight Jesus Partida (2-1-1), who will defend his home turf against Sacramento’s Alberto Torres (2-0) in a possible fight of the night candidate. Partida has served as one of Donaire’s chief sparring partners in recent camps.
Tickets, on sale at the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos and online at foxrwc.com, range from $45-$60. The $35 section has already sold out. Don Chargin and Paco Presents will promote the card in association with Jorge Marron.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.