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News: AIBA in Sudan, Fight Night Promotions, Selina Barrios

The Year of Africa has completed the latest stop on its journey around the great continent, hosting five courses over three weeks with the participation of ten Arabic-speaking countries. More than 150 children from two local schools were also given a comprehensive education around the AIBA world via the new GlovesUp programme, and partner Taishan donated valuable new sports equipment to boxing clubs where it was most needed. 

“Thanks to AIBA’s Year of Africa programme, it is already possible to feel the impact that these courses and events have had on the level of interest in boxing in our country. Just as importantly, a longer-term legacy has also been cemented through the one and two-star coaching courses that will help raise standards of training and technique in our gyms. My thanks to General Secretary Mr Ekrima Haroun, who’s organisation and leadership has made these past three weeks a great success with the help of AIBA Year of Africa team, leaving Sudan’s boxing in a stronger position ready to implement future programmes based on the GlovesUp course, with pilot projects to begin in our sports clubs and schools,” said Ali Abdelati, President of the Sudan Boxing Federation.

The member National Federations with representatives taking part in Sudan were Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Uganda. As such, the Sudan hub has played a pivotal role in the spread of best practice, the sharing of latest techniques and disseminating recent rule changes to the Arab-speaking world. As well as the two certified Coaches courses, a one-star R&J course was held over six days, with the growth in the pool of officials designed to help the participating National Federations become less reliant on foreign R&Js when it comes to hosting competitions.

“It has been extremely informative and exciting to witness AIBA’s new approach to laying down strong foundations for boxing in those countries where resources and practical guidance have been less abundant. By encouraging cooperation between neighbouring National Federations to achieve its targets, it is clear that we will see these countries rising in stature together and collectively having a bigger impact on world boxing,” said Hashim Haroun, President of the Sudan Olympic Committee.

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Tampa, FL: For decades, professional boxing in Florida has traditionally been run by fragmented groups of the sports power brokers. One local promoter however is trying to change that long-standing practice. Ivan Echevarria, owner of Pier 6 Promotions, and longtime site coordinator for All Star Boxing’s Telemundo boxing series has assembled a group of Florida boxing industry veterans for a new venture, Fight Night Promotions.

Included in the company are Echevarria, former co-owner of Starfight Productions Pete Fernandez, Alessi Promotions CEO Phil Alessi Jr., RFC co-founder Jason Freyre, and Biloxi, MS’s Right Hook Promotions director Will Hunter. Each partner brings a broad depth of experience on their own, and Echevarria hopes that putting them all together creates a sum that is much greater than the parts. “Tampa is not that big of a boxing market,” said Echevarria. “It makes a great deal more sense for us all to work together, instead of trying to pull the market in 5 different directions. And the addition of Will Hunter also provides us access to casino locations in Biloxi for events over and above our Tampa shows.”

Promotional differences aside, appropriate venues have always been in short supply in Tampa, and that status certainly has not improved as of late. The Ala Carte Pavilion has been sold and is facing the wrecking ball, the Doubletree Westshore (where One Punch Productions held events for a decade) also has been sold to FDOT, and its future is uncertain. Echevarria has long admired the Ft Homer Hesterly Armory, which is located near one of his other businesses (Ivan’s Auto Detail, at Armenia and Columbus). Echevarria also acted as a consultant to Terry Trekas (owner of One Punch Productions) and Roy Williams (hedge fund manager) years back when they were one of the six original bidders to purchase the Armory site from the National Guard and the City of Tampa. With the Trekas/Williams bid not being selected, and the bid that ultimately was selected not being able to secure financing, the Armory sat vacant and deteriorating for years. Echevarria lamented its demise. “I remember so much about that building. Pete Fernandez fought there way back when, and I even helped coordinate a show he did with Starfight Productions back around 2001. That building can’t just sit there and rot. There is too much Tampa history there for that to happen. Dr. King. Elvis. JFK. Wrestling. Everybody knows the history of that building. Something BIG needed to happen with that site.”

            And something big DID happen. The Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation took over the site, performed an extensive renovation, and on December 8, 2016, the Bryan Glazer Family JCC was unveiled. And instantly, Echevarria knew he had to host an event there. “For 15, maybe 20 years I have looked at that building and knew what I wanted to do,” said Echevarria. And now we have assembled a team that can get it done, and thankfully the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Foundation had the vision, the drive, the expertise, and the funding to save this important historic site. The Bryan Glazer Family JCC is the perfect place to bring high quality professional boxing to the people of Tampa.”

Fight Night Promotions inaugural boxing event is set for Friday, November 10, at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, located at 522 N. Howard Ave, Tampa. Bout lineup and ticket information is available at www.fightnightboxingpromotions.com or call Ivan Echevarria at 813-309-9991.

Two days after Halloween, unbeaten female sensation, lightweight Selina "Aztec Queen" Barrios (2-0, 1 KO), has spooked her opponent, Zarina Tsoloyeva (Pro Debut) from Zhaksy, Kazakhstan, as she backed out of their scheduled 4-round bout, set to take place today at The Rayne Civic Center in Louisiana.  Tsoloyeva refused to step on the scale at yesterdays weigh-in.
 
Selina Barrios is one of the most avoided female fighters in the United States and now Kazakhstan.  Ebony Jones from Alabama, Alpha Patricia Lopez from Mexico, and now Zarina Tsoloyeva from Kazakhstan, all signed to fight Selina but backed out to fight her at the last minute.  Jones and Lopez were no shows, while Tsoloyeva who is from the distant land of Kazakhstan, showed up to the weigh-in, but declined to step on the scale.
 
"I was willing to fight Zarina Tsoloyeva, the decorated amateur from Kazakhstan, but she pulled out at the last minute, like my last two opponents." said Selina Barrios from San Antonio. "It's been very difficult getting opponents to fight me.  I've always said, I don't care who they put in front of me, I'll fight anyone.  I have that much confidence in my skills.  I have no choice but to move on, but I'm respectfully sending a message to everyone in the lightweight and super-lightweight divisions, I'm not going anywhere, eventually you will all have to fight me."
 
Nothing will derail Selina as she stays positive and continues to work hard, looking for that opportunity to challenge the best the lightweight and super-lightweight divisions has to offer. Selina's handlers must now move her to six and eight round bouts right away, to chip away and get to a championship fight as she gains more ring experience as a professional.
 
"Looking at all the top lightweights and super-lightweights, I predict Selina will fight for a world championship before her tenth fight," said advisor Kerry Daigle. "Possibly by fight number seven or eight.  We're going to move her into six and eight rounders moving forward.  I'm already in talks with the sanctioning bodies to get her ranked."
 
"If no one wants to fight me, then I'm calling out all the name fighters in the division," Selina Barrios continued. "Amanda Serrano, Mikaela Mayer, Jessica McCaskill and of course, Katie Taylor, I'm willing to fight you guys anytime, anywhere.  Like I said, at some point, you will all have to fight me."

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