Posted by Don Smith on Sep 26, 2013
Ten Count Salute and Santiago Victory Highlight Iron Boy 9

Ten Count Salute and Santiago Victory Highlight Iron Boy 9

Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith

Boxing Fans,

A near capacity crowd gathered at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix,Arizona on Saturday, September 21 to watch championship boxing and bid a poignant and emotional goodbye to fallen boxing hero and community friend, Alexis Urbina. At least three Arizona fighters acknowledged the tragedy with individual symbolic gesture in the ring. The 17 year old National Boxing Champion was beaten to death, September 3 at his home in Phoenix. Organizers of the Iron Boy IX show introduced a loving and respectful Urbina tribute during intermission and the special feature included boxing’s traditional “Ten Bell Final Count” salute , statements from Urbina’s family and Richard Soto, USA Boxing Arizona Official. It was a very powerful tribute and Iron Boy Promotions deserves high marks for handling a very delicate and sensitive situation. Three weeks after the aspiring 2016 Olympian’s murder, motive and suspects remain a mystery according to police spokesperson Trent Crump, lead investigator in the ongoing case.

Edgar Brito and Alan Garcia opened the boxing action with a spirited 4 round bantamweight bout resulting in a decision that pleased neither fighter, A split decision Draw. My score card showed Brito the winner because he threw harder punches while Garcia landed a few more leather connects than his bigger counterpart. A rematch would settle the question once and for all. Settling for a split decision draw is like kissing a sister. The decision left both fighters at 0-0-1 after their professional debut.

SMS protege Luis Olivares ran his record to 5-0 with a first round (2:35) TKO victory over former MMA fighter Alex Gutierrez (0-1). In such a brief encounter, it’s hard to evaluate Olivares, but what I saw was impressive: poise, confidence, quick strike capacity and focus. The young light welterweight fights next weekend in Tampa Florida. A former Arizona Golden Gloves Champion ,Luis resides in Glendale, Arizona and trains at the renowned Busted Knuckle Gym in North Phoenix. Luis turns 21 in October. Happy birthday! Michigan Boxing columnist called and asked me about my evaluation of Oliveras. When I first saw Luis two years ago, I had reservations because I saw him as a counter puncher with limited power.

Since that time, he has lost 20 pounds and changed his game. If he keeps his shoes pointed in the right direction, he could become a contender. Time will tell. Ask me again in a year to 18 months.

Super Middleweight Joey Ruelas (Phoenix) (6-0-1) continued his successful ring comeback with a strong performance against sneaky Sijuola Ade Shabazz (2-1) of Las Cruces New Mexico. Ruelas took a few pelts to his right eye before he was able to figure out the taller Shabazz who used his longer reach and effective jab early in the contest to keep Ruelas at bay . As the bout progressed, the Phoenician was able to neutralize the jab with some righteous body work that wore down the 28 year old Shabazz. All three scorecards favored Ruelas: 39-37. A slimmed down Ruelas expects to be on the Iron Boy X Show (11/16) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. His management team hopes to find him an out of town fight in the near future. Good performance from a boxer who has turned his life around after working his way through some personal challenges. In the near future, he hopes to fight at 154.

Main Event: 10 Rounds-Alexis Santiago (Phoenix, Arizona) vs. Alex Rangel (Sonora, Mexico)

Before the title bout commenced, I overheard someone wonder aloud which Alexis “Beaver” Santiago would show up. The answer is very simple, the one his fans expected to win a championship. Alexis won the vacant WBC US NBC bantamweight title with a ninth round knockout over the relentless Rangel after veteran Referee Wes Melton wisely stopped the contest in the ninth round after Rangel began catching a lot of Santiago’s right hand combinations that he had little if any defense for.

Coming into the fight, Rangel possessed a higher knockout ratio,but fights aren’t fought on paper and the ultimate power punches of the night belonged to Mister Santiago who rallied to earn the hard fought victory and title belt. In winning, he kept a promise made at last week’s press conference. Phoenix now has a boxing title belt to talk about.

I had the Champ trailing after 7 rounds as did most of my fellow scribes. At that point, Rangel was the more aggressive of the two young fighters. I was very impressed with both fighters, especially Santiago who showed extraordinary poise and discipline; two traits not widely accredited to him before his 9/21 rendezvous with destiny. He was humble in victory which is always refreshing, but not mandatory.

He knew the night belonged to the memory of Alexis Urbina and he was willing to share the memorable occasion with his late friend as witnessed by the inscription on his boxing trunks: Alexis Urbina…Rest in Peace! “Beaver” fans were rabid throughout the title match. Santiago is expected to appear on the Iron Boy X card, but nothing is set in concrete. Outstanding performance! The win ups Santiago’s record to 15-3-1 while Rangel left town with a record of 15-2-2. Might be a rematch down the road?

Francisco C. de Vaca vs. Manuel Galaviz (featherweights): In less time than it takes some people to tie a shoe, it was over. Referee Wes Melton stopped the bout at twenty five seconds into Round 1 after Francisco C. de Vaca tagged Galaviz with a liver shot that sent the Mexican fighter home with possible broken ribs. The quick knockout victory upped Vaca’s record to 3-0-3 knockouts while Galaviz’s record drops to 7-12. Expect the victor to perform on the Iron Boy X Card.The “Panchito” juggernaut continues. Highly decorated Trainer Roberto Roberto Alcazar was all smiles after the fight. The liver shot was something the duo worked on in camp and the reward was huge.

Carlos Castro vs. Miguelito Marti (super bantamweight): Castro won this short lived contest that resulted in a 1st round (1:50) TKO victory over Marti whose record now stands at 0-2. Castro appears to be a different fighter under the guidance of new trainer Roberto Alcazar. His posture is much improved and by extending his arms, the confident Castro has increased his power. Marti looked hopeless against the more aggressive and talented Castro (5-0). “The Chosen One “,as he is known, is expected to appear on the November 16 Iron Boy X Card. Marti was red flagged and suspended for 180 days for what is listed as “minimum” skills. Hope the young man makes the right career decision. Marti hails from Riverside California.

Abel Ramos (7-0) vs. Carlos Villa (4-0): A very active 4 round welterweight bout between two good prospects. Ramos,Casa Grande, Arizona, met his Texas foe at center ring at opening bell and they stayed there most of the time with Ramos throwing the harder and more frequent punches. The judges preferred Ramos: 40-35(2) and 39-36. The loss cost Villa(4-1) an outside show of a spot on the October 12 Bradley/Marquez Card. Ramos (8-0) hopes t be on the 11/16 Iron Boy X show and his supporters are still wondering why and how the young pugilist was overlooked by Golden Boy & Top Rank. It may be time for a second look!

In other action: 18 year old Phoenix Lightweight Julio Sarinana (United Central Gym) overcame open bell jitters in his debut 4 round bout with fellow rookie profession Ryan Picou to score a unanimous decision over the 27 year old from Las Vegas Nevada. Judges scored the bout 39-37 on all scorecards in favor of Julio Siarinana. Both fighters would like to record their first time in the trash can. There were more than a few stumbling moments for both earnest warriors.. Young Julio does have some talent….Heavyweight Chad Davis got back in the win column (6-11) with a third round knockout over professional bad boy Johnny Jackson who suffered what appeared to be a broken nose. Jackson is now 0-2 and suspended for sixty days as a precautionary health measure …..bittersweet victory for fan fave Jose Marrufo who won a majority decision over Cameron Krael in a six round counter punching donnybrook. Jose won, but a badly cut eye will keep him out of action for 45 days. Marrufo has a very loud fan base. I know, I sat next to six of them. It took two days to recover my hearing loss. Oh well, there is no crying in boxing.

Boxing Noise: The 3rd Annual Damon-Bahe Boxing Memorial takes place in Chinle, Arizona at the local high school on October 12, first bout at 3 p.m. Adults pay $8.00 while fans 6-14 slide in for $6.00. Kids under 6 years of age are free. For more information contact: [email protected] or PH. 928-349-0871 The event honors te memory of Calene Bahe and Russell Means. I met Russell several years ago at the premiere screening of Black Cloud….Annual Copper Gloves Tournament at the Arizona State Fair on Wednesday October 16 and Thursday October 17. Wednesday admission is free until 6 p.m. if fair goers bring and donate 3 cans of non perishable food items. At the end of the day, the food is taken to St. Mary’s Food Bank for the nourishment of lower income residents. Check the fair website for other special fair deals. Tell your family and friends. Boxing entrance is 17th Avenue & McDowell Road, enjoy!… Arizona Boxing Star Jose Benavidez Jr. returns to ring action on November 16 in Laughlin, Nevada. Younger but bigger brother David fights in December; somewhere in Mexico….Trevor McCumby (12-0-10 knockouts) fights Eric Watkins for the second time on the Bradley/Marquez Vegas Card on October 12. Watkins went the distance in their prior bout and lived to brag about it. McCumby promises to hammer Watkins in Vegas. A critic of McCumby says the Illinois born is easy to hit because he stands right in front of his opponents and doesn’t move. A defender, privy to the conversation, laughed and predicted a minor title for the 21 year old Glendale resident by the end of next year. Remember, opinion is subjective….The Live Iron Boy 9 $4.99 per household Stream did well according to Iron Boy associates. A few viewers were miffed at the lack of quality,but one technician told me older and slower computers normally experience what is termed as freeze frame stop and start difficulties. Iron Boy deserves credit for introducing the use of live stream to reach boxing fans world wide.

Final Thought: As I was leaving the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday night, I noticed Sulem Urbina Soto (sister of Alexis Urbina) and Andrew Soto (brother in law) standing near an exit shaking hands and thanking everyone,who walked by, for their help during the family’s time of grieving for Alexis. The image stayed with me for two days and has prompted me ask anyone and everyone to send positive vibrations to each and every suffering family member. Peace and Until Next Time!

About Don Smith

Don Smith has written 79 post in this blog.

Don Smith became interest in boxing from age 8 when his Dad gave him a pair of gloves, he eventually wore them out. During his Don Smith served in the US Army as a Military Police Desk SGT. The skills he learned while writing reports laid the foundation for him becoming a journalist. According to Don “I didn’t really flip the switch to journalism until I was detained in Belfast Ireland for taking pictures during my vacation in Ireland. I made the questionable mistake of trying to albii my way out of the situation by claiming to be a journalist, wrong move. No diplomatic immunity, ha ha. II returned to college in Texas, wrote for my college paper as a paid staffer”. He grew up during the Friday Night Era, and In his role as a sports writer, he has rubbed elbos with Leonard, Norton, Ali, Mancini, Cokes, Paez and other champion boxers. His his works have been high lighted and published by Community Newspapers in Texas, Sports Stringer, Dallas Morning News, WRR Radio Critic Dallas Texas, KCHU Radio Talk Show Host Dallas, Texas, Talk Shoow host, Plano Texas, Interviewer for OPUS & STARSHINE Networks, Interviewed more than 1,000 celebrities including 7 US Presidents, Athletes, Movie Stars, etc.

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