INDIO, Calif. - With a perfect 21-0 record, Santa Ana's Ronny Rios is on the fast track to a world featherweight title shot. On Saturday, Sept. 7, he will perform in front of his Southern California faithful at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. in the lead undercard bout before SHOWTIME® takes to the airwaves with a memorable doubleheader featuring two top heavyweight contenders, a Mexican legend, and a rising star looking to make a name for himself.
"I always enjoy fighting at home, especially on a card like this with so many great fighters," said Rios, who will face Mexico City's Jose Angel "Pepe" Beranza in a 10-round featherweight bout. "But every time I'm in there, I'm looking to steal the show and this time will be no different."
The SHOWTIME telecast features a 12-round clash of heavyweight contenders between Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KO's) and Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola (34-3, 30 KO's) for the WBC International Heavyweight Championship and a 10-round featherweight meeting between Mexican superstar Rafael Marquez (41-8, 37 KO's) and California prospect Efrain Esquivias (16-2-1, 9 KO's).
Also joining Rios in undercard action will be former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Rico "Suavecito" Ramos and undefeated Puerto Rican prospect Carlos Velasquez, who will meet in a 10-round featherweight match.
This action-packed night is complemented by the special appearance of Interim WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Lucas "The Machine" Matthysse, who will meet and greet fans. His appearance comes just one week before his championship bout on "THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO" SHOWTIME PPV® undercard against Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
23-year-old Ronny Rios (21-0, 10 KO's) is one of the top prospects to emerge from Southern California in years and with 2013 wins over former world champion Rico Ramos and hard-hitting veteran Leonilo Miranda, he's getting closer to a shot at one of the featherweight champions. Currently ranked in the top ten by the WBC and WBA, a big win on Sept. 7 is just what he needs to propel him even further up the ladder.
A respected spoiler who has ended the unbeaten runs of top prospects Juan Carlos Velasquez and Jesus Rojas over the years, Jose Angel "Pepe" Beranza (36-27-2, 28 KO's) is a veteran's veteran, able to do it all in the ring against all styles. A pro since 1996, the 37-year-old Beranza is sure to have some tricks up his sleeve for the undefeated Rios.
The former WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion, Pico Rivera, California's Rico "Suavecito" Ramos (21-3, 11 KO's) is hoping to get back on track after losing back-to-back decisions to Ronny Rios and Oscar Gonzalez in 2013. That shouldn't be an issue for the talented 26-year-old, whose slick boxing style has drawn raves from throughout the fight world.
"This is a must-win fight for me and I will win it," said Ramos. "Velasquez has a lot of tools, but he's never seen a fighter like me and he hasn't fought the level of competition I have. September 7 is the night I begin the journey to get my title back."
Back on track after more than two years away from the sport, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico's Carlos Velasquez (15-0, 11 KO's) has won two straight since his return in late 2012, decisioning Roberto Bonilla and Giorgi Mtchedlishvili. On September 7, the 29-year-old's next wish is to put another knockout on his record, and he will get that chance against Ramos.
"This is the kind of fight I really get up for and I guarantee the fans will see me at my best," said Velasquez. "Ramos is a former world champion and you have to respect that, but I won't respect him in the ring on September 7. I look forward to making Puerto Rico proud by becoming their next champion."
In other undercard action, junior middleweights Angel Osuna (11-3-1, 7 KO's) of Coachella and Juan Gonzalez (8-0, 4 KO's) of Phoenix collide in an eight round contest, Houston welterweight prospect Justin DeLoach (3-0, 1 KO), Coachella featherweight Ryan Caballero (1-0) and LA featherweight Joet Gonzalez (4-0, 1 KO) return to action in separate four round bouts against opponents to be named and junior lightweights Ricky Lopez (9-2, 4 KO's) of Oxnard and Pablo Batres (3-7-1) of Sonora, Mexico meet in a matchup also scheduled for four rounds.
Mitchell vs. Arreola, a 12-round fight for the WBC Silver Heavyweight Title, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and sponsored by Corona. The doubleheader will take place on Saturday, September 7 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and will be televised live on SHOWTIME immediately following the ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Canelo Episode 3 Premiere which begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. PT and the first fight begins at 4:05 p.m. PT.
Tickets, priced at $105, $75, $55, $45, $35 are available at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Gary Shaw Productions lightweight contender, Rustam "The Mongoose" Nugaev (25-6-1, 15 KOs) has been spectacular since his return to the ring after a two year layoff due to personal issues. In his first fight back Nugaev destroyed undefeated Peruvian star, Jonathan Maicelo (20-1, 12 KOs) by means of an 8th round KO. The fight was nationally shown on ESPN "Friday Night Fights", the first televised fight of Nugaev's career.
"When I fought Maicelo, I wanted to show the world that I'm a fighter who is ready to take the lightweight division by storm," said Nugaev. "I was so excited to showcase my skills to a national audience. I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by. There was nothing Maicelo could have done to defeat me. I was determined to come out victorious and I did so with a powerful knockout."
Gary Shaw was very impressed with Nugaev's victory against Maicelo as he stated, "Rustam Nugaev showed he has the talent to compete against any of the top lightweights in the world. Maicelo is a very good fighter, and for Nuegaev to knock him out the way he did is very impressive. Rustam has a great chin and he's relentless with his pressure style."
After ending Maicelo's unbeaten record, Nugaev followed up with two more knockouts victories against veteran Daniel Attah (28-16-1, 11 KOs) and Texas' Jose Hernandez (14-7-1, 6 KOs). Against Hernandez, Nugaev would once again get an opportunity to fight on a national stage as the fight was televised on ESPN "Friday Night Fights" for the second time in his career. Nugaev dazzled with a 5th round destruction of Hernandez.
"Every time I step in the ring I'm looking to knockout my opponent," Nugaev stated. "I don't want to leave any decisions in the hands of judges. I want to really thank Gary Shaw for giving me the opportunity to fight on national TV and for believing in me. I'm not going to let him down. My goal is to win a world title and give Gary Shaw Productions a new champion."
"Rustam will have every opportunity to become something special in this sport," said Gary Shaw. "He's currently ranked No. 6 by the WBA and a world title shot is looming. Right now I believe he beats all the champions a lightweight."
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Sept. 4, 2013) -- Sometimes the bright lights and anticipation of a sold-out crowd can overwhelm a fighter long before the bell rings.
Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes considers all the pressure an added bonus.
"It makes you want to fight harder," said the female welterweight from Marshfield, Mass., who'll fight for the vacant Women's International Boxing Association (WIBA) world title next Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Twin River Casino. "To give my fans an opportunity to see me win, in this situation, it's a motivator."
Having won her last 10 fights since losing her professional debut more than three years ago, Lopes (10-1, 1 KO) is on the cusp of winning her first world title, but first must get past the dangerous, undefeated Tori Nelson (6-0-3) of Ashburn, Va., a former World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight world champion who is no stranger to fighting under pressure -- or on the road, for that matter. Including fights in her home state and nearby Maryland, Nelson has also fought overseas in Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago, the latter in 2011 when she beat Lorissa Rivas for the WBC title.
"That says a lot about her," Lopes said. "I'm excited about fighting someone like her. I know she's an aggressive fighter. Our styles will match well and make for an exciting fight."
The 10-round Lopes-Nelson showdown will headline Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports' "Champion Breed" card, which begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6. Tickets for "Champion Breed" are $41.00, $76.00, and $126.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location
Originally from Gliwice, Poland, Lopes began to pick up momentum early in 2012 when she won the first of five fights in a 13-month span, beating Ashleigh Curry by unanimous decision at Twin River. Under the tutelage of her head trainer -- and husband -- Wayne Lopes, she cemented her status as a legitimate world-title contender less than a year later with a critical win over hometown favorite Adelita Irizarry at Mohegan Sun. That's when the dream of winning a title began to seem like more and more like a reality
"It had even more to do with what we saw in the gym, too," Lopes said. "You have to put in a lot of time to be successful in this sport, and after a while it all started coming together. Even when we were just training, we saw distinct progress. There are things I can do really well now that I couldn't do two years ago, like something simple like throwing multi-punch combos. I do that really well. A couple of years ago, I couldn't execute them. It's simple stuff - not rocket science.
"When you start seeing that kind of improvement, you want to go back and start seeing what else you can do. Things are instinctual now, whereas I couldn't do it before, or I thought too much while I was in the ring. After a while, it becomes second nature. When you learn how to problem-solve and adjust, it becomes fun. Then once we started fighting regularly, we put the plan in place."
Consider Sept. 13 judgment day for Lopes, a culmination of all the hard work she's put into her career both in and outside of the ring. In addition to her boxing career, Lopes is also a practicing attorney working at a law firm in nearby Brockton, Mass., after passing the bar in November. Her firm handles civil litigation, workman's compensation, wills, estate planning and personal injury cases, among others, leaving Lopes with a full plate on a daily basis.
"Thankfully, I have real excellent time-management skills," Lopes said with a laugh. "I graduated [the New England School of Law] with honors, so even back then I had to box and work part-time, too.
"I'm kind of used to my schedule being overloaded. It actually makes me perform better. With boxing, you need a little more rest with the level of training that comes with these fights. I wish I had a little more time to recover, but I train smarter now. My training is real focused. Thankfully, it all falls into place."
Having the right team in place has been equally important, starting with her husband, Wayne, whose sons Manny Lopes and Artie Lopes also boxed professionally. The two met at Goody Petronelli's legendary gym in Brockton, where former middleweight champion Marvin Hagler got his start. One week from next Friday, they'll be celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.
"We're a great team," Lopes said. "I honestly couldn't see myself doing this with anybody else. Wayne and I mesh well. He knows how to manage my training, my stress level -- everything that comes with fighting. He's very patient. He knows how to get the best out of me. He makes it fun. Sometimes, when you're in-depth in training camp it gets tiresome, but he keeps it fresh."
Lopes was originally scheduled to face veteran Lisa Noel Garland next Friday, but Garland was forced to withdraw due to an injury. The transition to Nelson was seamless; Lopes had already studied up on Nelson long before Garland withdrew from the fight, knowing full well she might have to face her at some point down the line. That opportunity has come a bit sooner than expected, but Lopes is prepared for what she considers a "more legitimate opponent" considering Nelson has fought tougher competition in more adverse conditions, similar to what she might face next Friday.
This will be Nelson's first fight at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds; she spent the first three years of her career hovering between 150 and 160 as a middleweight.
"I'm really excited," Nelson said. "I like to come out fighting the best, and she is highly-ranked. I know this is going to be a great bout. I'm just looking forward to it being safe and being my first welterweight victory."
Neither fighter figures to be bothered by the magnitude of next week's bout. If anything, Lopes will thrive off the added pressure with what she hopes is a boost from her hometown fans.
"When I had less experience, I actually felt more pressure," Lopes said. "In recent years, I've stayed busy and come to realize the tremendous amount of support I have, from people wishing me luck to being there at every fight. It seems like everyone is behind us. There will be people in that crowd next Friday who have followed me since my first amateur fight. It'll be a lot of fun."
The undercard of "Champion Breed" features a six-round cruiserweight showdown between Josh Harris (9-6-1, 7 KOs) of Providence, R.I., and undefeated Beaumont, Tex., veteran Quantis Graves (8-0, 4 KOs), a former amateur standout who was an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the heavyweight division. Known for his tremendous punching power, Harris recently stopped 25-year-old prospect Sevdail Sherifi, who was 9-1-2 at the time, in New York City in April. Cranston, R.I., welterweight Nick DeLomba (1-0) will step up to face Evincii Dixon (2-1, 1 KO) of Lancaster, Pa., in a six-round bout. Dixon trains under the guidance of Terry Nye, who formerly worked with two-time welterweight world champion Kermit Cintron. DeLomba, who began his professional career four months ago with a six-round unanimous-decision win over Jimmy Smith, plans on dedicating his fight to Rhode Island's Gary Balletto, who is recovering from an accident at his home in July. The undercard will also feature a four-round welterweight bout between Cranston's Jon Smith (2-0, 1 KO) and Antonio Chaves Fernandes (3-11-2) of Brockton. Fernandes is coming off a draw against previously-unbeaten welterweight Greg Vendetti and a majority-decision win over Jesus Javier Cintron in August.
As an added bonus, Twin River and CES have teamed up to offer fight fans and VIP customers an exclusive offer with their ticket purchase. Show your ticket stub at the event, join the Twin River Rewards Club and get a free $25 Twin River gift card and two free tickets to a Twin River concert. CES has upped the ante by offering an additional $25 gift certificate to either Meritage or Chardonnay's restaurant in Rhode Island with the purchase of a $126 Jimmy's Club VIP ticket.