by Ronnie Nathanielsz
IBA super flyweight champion Bruno Escalante has been named Northern California’s “Fighter of the Year” for 2013 after he won the world title in a tough battle with Michael Ruiz Jr last December 7 at Sports House in Redwood C ity.
A report from Mario Serrano of the team of Escalante said “ Everything you look for in a fighter of the year, Bruno Escalante did this year. It was Escalante’s constant work rate fighting five times with two main events spots both starting and ending the year and three co-main event spots sandwiched in between the middle of the year.”
Escalante who was a one time sparring partner of 2012 “Fighter of the Year” Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was originally from Cebu City in the Philippines but moved to Hawaii when he was eight years old.
A backgrounder on the 5’2” Escalante said he dreamed of making a career as a professional basketball player but his height made him change his mind and after noticing the success of many fighters who were his height decided that boxing would give him the fame, fortune and opportunity he was seeking.
Escalante started off with a wild fight against Rigoberto Casillas that he won easily on the scorecard, but traded a bit more than one might have hoped. He then scored two dominant KO wins using one of his patent punches the left straight to the belly or as Escalante sometimes refers to it as “The Mayweather”.
In September, Escalante received his toughest fight since his lone professional loss to Matthew Villanueva on June 23, 2012 when he battled very tough Joseph Rios, who reportedly “bullied him at times and used his physicality to move Escalante around the ring.”
Escalante needed to win the last round to seal the win and he delivered by putting on his best in that f ateful round to score an impressive win.
Mario Serrano reports that next came the IBA title shot when he defeated an opponent in what was supposed to be his toughest test to date in Mike Ruiz Jr..
In a report from ringside on the title fight Robert Hough said Escalante who fights out of San Carlos City beat the American southpaw Ruiz using “precise power and effective energy” in a high-action fight with one judge scoring it an even 95-95 while the two other judges had Escalante a comfortable winner by margins of 98-92 and 97-93.
Ruiz Jr., came forward consistently with free-swinging aggression and Escalante mixed things up in response.
In a post fight interview Escalante said “I wanted to show everything I can do: work off the jab, fight inside and just fight.It was a tough fight and I think it was an exciting one for the crowd; he came to fight, that’s for sure. I had to work hard, but that’s what I need.”
Ruiz had previously split two amateur fights with the 25 year old Escalante who in the past had sparred with 2012 “Fighter of the Year” Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who is a good friend.
The 24 year old Ruiz who is from Fresno, California appeared disappointed after the judges decision was announced. He said “I was attacking him and landing all the time. He got maybe one or two rounds and he caught me with a good shot in the fifth, but I recovered in that round.”
With the win Escalante improved to 11-1-1 with 5 knockouts while Ruiz dropped to 9-4-1 with 3 knockouts.