COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – The 2013 Independence Cup opened competition on Monday and two U.S. boxers kicked off the tournament with first round victories in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Bantamweight Gary Salazar (Fresno, Calif.), lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.), and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) each took the ring in Monday’s preliminary round competition with Sims and Ellis both claiming wins.
Salazar opened the night for the U.S. team in a bout with Puerto Rico’s Hector Marrero Leon in bantamweight action. Marrero Leon pulled out a 17-15 decision over Salazar in the second bout of the tournament, eliminating him from the Independence Cup.
Sims and Ellis enjoyed better outcomes in their tournament openers on Monday night. Sims faced off with home nation boxer Luis Salazar of the Dominican Republic in the lone lightweight bout of the night. Despite a raucous crowd cheering on his opponent, Sims won a tiebreaker victory over Salazar taking the 13-13 bout on his 41-38 total punch count edge and will return to the ring for second round action on Tuesday.
Ellis claimed a wider victory in his welterweight contest with Guatemala’s Carlos Daniel Tobar Romero in the final U.S. bout of opening night. Ellis earned a 19-9 victory over Romero to move on to Wednesday’s semifinals.
Team USA had an eventful day with the general weigh-in, event draw and three U.S. bouts on Monday. The official event draw determined the brackets for all the weight classes, including the eight U.S. athletes competing in the international event.
Three U.S. boxers will join Sims in in tomorrow’s action with light welterweight Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.) boxing in elite international competition for the first time on Tuesday, facing Brazil’s Jhonatan Sodares. The two female team members will take the ring in Tuesday’s preliminary round action as well. Lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will face Guatemala’s Karen Ismenia Perez Revoloria in her first round bout while middleweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) will take on home nation Gisela Perez of the Dominican Republic.
Light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) and flyweight Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) will box on Wednesday after receiving byes into their quarterfinal round. Davila is awaiting an opponent based on tomorrow’s action while Simpson will face Guatemala’s Eddie Valenzuela Barrilla in quarterfinal round competition.
Coaches Ed Rivas (San Antonio, Texas) and Jason Galarza (Orlando, Fla.) are leading the U.S. squad in to action while Dr. Robin Goodfellow (Albion, Mich.) is serving as the squad’s Team Manager and Physician. The U.S. squad is competing in the first multi-nation tournament of 2013 in the Dominican Republic following a preparatory training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
123 lbs: Hector Marrero Leon, PUR, dec. Gary Salazar, Fresno, Calif./USA, 17-15
132 lbs: Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill./USA dec. Luis Salazar, DOM, 13-13 (41-38)
152 lbs: Rashidi Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA dec. Carlos Daniel Tobar Romero, GUA, 19-9
With less than one week remaining before the undefeated heavyweight showdown between Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov, 14-0, 10 KOs, and Malik Scott, 35-0, 12 KOs, legendary trainer Don Turner weighed in with his opinion on Glazkov, the hard-hitting Ukraine boxer he has been working with to prepare for this fight. Turner, who's worked with top-flight fighters like Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, and numerous other world champions, serves as a "training supervisor" for Glazkov.
"Czar has a great work ethic," Turner said. "He's very manageable, and unlike most of the fighters out there today, he doesn't think he knows everything. He's willing to work at his craft, unlike most heavyweights these days."
Glazkov impressed in his last outing by stopping well-respected Tor Hamer after four rounds on December 22nd. The big victory was broadcast on national television, and served well as a coming out party for Czar. The fight with Scott, a 10-round main event on the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series on February 23rd, figures to give the 28 year old boxer another big stage to display his skills. The Fight Night telecast will begin at 10:30PM ET.
"He's been in the gym since he was 10 years old," Turner said. "He's confident of what he can do, and his trainer, Eduardo Menshekov, is probably one of the best conditioners out there. So we know he's always in shape. But the best thing about Glazkov is that he's not afraid. He's not going to run when he gets hit. He's going to fight. This is where the great ones shine. They don't back down when they get hit, and Czar has that quality. I think he can bring the whole package to the table."
The fight with Scott is expected to be "Boxer vs. Puncher", with Scott bringing the movement and Glazkov providing the power. With both fighters defending their undefeated records, the fight could turn into a bitter battle between the two. The old saying, "Somebody's "O" has got to go", definitely applies to this fight, but Don Turner is certain he knows which "O" will remain intact.
"The first time Scott gets hit, he's going to need a track coach," Turner said. "Czar will knock him silly. If Czar is the fighter I think he is, he'll go hard and win this fight."
And after that?
"I wouldn't be averse to putting him in with any of these guys out there," Turner said. "Czar wants to fight and he wants to be a champion."
Palm Bay, FL: The popular series of “Boxeo TELEMUNDO Ford” will make its 2013 debut at Florida’s Space Coast with an exciting show, this Friday, February 22nd at the Palm Bay Community Center in Palm Bay, FL. This years the series format will consist of 3 seasons of 4 consecutives shows.
In the main event, WBO Intercontinental bantamweight champion and #5 contender Jose “Miau” Nieves (21-2-3-10 KO’s) of Carolina, Puerto Rico, will put his ranking and title on the line against former WBC Mundo Hispano Champion Danny “El Venado” Flores (14-2-8 KO’s) of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico in a bout schedule for 12 rounds in another classic battle of Puerto Rico Vs. Mexico.
In the co-feature hard punching undefeated cruiserweight prospect Yunier Dorticos (13-0-13 KO's) of Havana, Cuba will face Roman Kracik (34-10-1-19) of Czech Republic in a bout schedule for 10 rounds. Dorticos is managed by compatriot major league pitcher Livan Hernandez.
First bell at 8:30 PM, 6 mores fights round up the card. Telemundo Network available in HD will televise the main event at 11:35 PM in the US. Tickets are already on sale at The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce in Palm Bay, FL or by calling 321-951-9998. Tuto Zabala, Jr. and All Star Boxing, Inc are presenting the event. The Palm Bay Community Center is located at 1502 Port Malabar NE in Palm Bay.
The series continues March 1st from Foro Polanco in Mexico City, March 8 Plaza Condesa Mexico City and March 15 from the Kissimmee Civic Center. The second season will be in the summer and the third in the fall.