By Chris Robinson
Earlier today in Las Vegas, Nevada, budding prospect-turned-contenders ‘Lightning’ Lonnie Smith and Sharif ‘The Lion’ Bogere engaged in some fast-paced sparring at The Fight Capital Gym right off of Interstate 15.
Bogere, a native of Uganda now living and training out of Vegas, is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ prized young hopefuls and is eyeing a February 25th return on the undercard of the Marcos Maidana-Devon Alexander HBO showcase in St. Louis, Missouri. The 23-year old lightweight possesses a 21-0 record with 13 knockouts and is trained by the respected Kenny Adams.
Smith too has a fight just weeks away as he is eyeing a March 3rd assignment with Woodland, California's Vicente Escobedo. Fighting at 130 pounds, Smith now holds a 14-2-2 mark with ten knockouts and has reeled off nine wins in a row.
The action was brisk right from the start as Smith began applying his trademark pressure while Bogere boxed and attempted to counter.
Things got a little sloppy and heated on a few occasions as the two fighters wrestled with one another, almost to the point where they had to be separated in the second round.
It was rigorous work for both sides and you could sense the respect coming from each man despite the frantic pace of the rounds.
Trainer and cut man Miguel Diaz was in the building working with heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz and stuck around to watch the action from ringside.
“Two young fighters like Lonnie and Sharif, you can see the difference in the weight, the five pounds difference,” Diaz coined of Bogere, who has fought as high as 139 pounds as a pro. “You can see that when Sharif receives the punches, his body is, how do I put it, real hard. It was good work.”
Last month Diaz had one of his latest pupils, Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy, sparring with Smith in advance of his February 3rd victory over Hylon Williams Jr.
Lonnie went at Barthelemy with reckless abandon during their time in the ring and Diaz would be the last person to underestimate the aggressive Smith, regardless of who he is squaring up with.
“When you work with Lonnie you got to be ready, otherwise he’s all over you,” said Diaz