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WBA Ranks Edwards #4, FBP News, GG News

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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith


Boxing Fans,

  • The World Boxing Association has duly noted Middleweight Derek “The Black Lion”

Edward’s 1st regarded Badou Jack on 2/28 (Verona New York) by ranking him as the 

world’s 4th best super middleweight. The 34 year old Edwards has recently

talked about scaling down and performing in the 160 lb. weight class, but

his huge victory versus Jack and jettisoned ranking to # 4 in the world may

make him rethink his strategy and stay the course as a super middleweight.

My personal advice, as if anyone has asked for it, would be for him to fight

as a middleweight. His counterparts in the super middleweight division

appear bigger and there is always the huge presence of Adonis Stevenson

who has moved up to light heavyweight. If he stays there; I might hedge my

bet…on second thought, scale down and fight at 160. Don’t you like it when

a boxing writer waffles a bit?

I talked to Edward’s boxing advisor Clement Vierra (Hard Knocks Gym in

Phoenix, Arizona) and he is leaning towards advising the Black Lion to stay

in the Super Middleweight Division. Vierra recalls a lighter Edwards (160

lbs.) losing to undefeated Matt Korobov (22-0) prior to the Jack triumph

and he attributes the 9th round TKO loss to less power and fatigue. Another

factor to consider in the Korobov encounter is Derek’s last minute decision

to agree to fight 10 rounds and not eight as previously agreed upon. If the

former North Carolina resident had a do over on the decision, he might

reverse the call.

  • Derek was a Q & A guest in our last Arizona Boxing News & Notes column

and his answers were honest and spot on. Unfortunately, Arizona Online

News . Com twerked their presentation of the column and the result

prompted irate complaints from Mrs. Derek Edwards (Kenyetta) and other

readers who were directed to another site. I took a look at the online printed

debacle and found the AZ. Online News version impossible to read. There

wasn’t one sentence that was coherent which probably made my critics and

competitors very happy. Humor is a good antidote.

round ShowTime televised TKO victory over highly

Kenyetta Edwards called to tell me about the WBA announcement. We had

previously discussed a second round of Q & A with Derek and that second

installment will be available in next week’s ABNN column. I felt in light of the

online foul up, although it was only one site, Derek deserved more column

space, so tell your friends.


  • Boxing News: It’s official, Lightweights Wilberth Lopez (2-2-1) and

Leon Spinks 111 (6-0) will mix it up on the April 4 at Sam’s Town Hotel

& Gambling Hall (off Boulder HWY) in Las Vegas Nevada. The 26 year

old Spinks is a grandson of former World Heavyweight Champion Leon

Spinks who upset Muhammad Ali in 1978 to earn the title. He lost to Ali in

a rematch. Lopez is familiar to Arizona fight fans; he lost to Mario Esparza

at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, 2013. Spinks 111 turned professional at

age 24 and opinions about his boxing skill set vary from he is very good to

“he is using the family name to make a dollar or two before he is exposed as

a wannabe”. Boxing fans will decide on April 4.


  • Main Event Bout, 10 rounds for the vacated WBC USNBC Lightweight

Championship features Phoenix, Arizona favorite Victor Castro (11-0)

vs. Rashad Ganaway (14-4-1) from Arkansas. This bout will go a long

ways in defining Castro, who has been trashed for not fighting tougher

foes. Ganaway will go for an upset, but Castro should prevail. As for who

should take the knock for setting up Castro with “softies”, talk to his crack

management team. Call Sam’s at for tickets.


  • Phoenix Native Rollin Williams (23-16-2) is itching to get back in the

ring at age 48 if the Arizona Boxing commission gives the green light. Now

training at 168, the ageless boxing mentor could be added to the Iron Boy

X11 card versus 28 year old super middleweight Sijuola Ade Shabazz (3-1)

on April 26 at the Celebrity Theater. According to BoxRec, Williams hasn’t

fought since the year of 1993 when Shabazz was 8 years old. For what

it’s worth, I have mixed sentiments about scheduling the match. Cross

your fingers and hope Rollin is a young 48; Shabazz will bring his best and

that isn’t too shabby. Shabazz trains at Pro Edge Boxing Gym in Phoenix.

Williams trains at his own gym, Top Level Boxing in Phoenix.


  • Arizona State Golden Glove Finals concluded on March 9 at the Arizona

Event Center in Mesa. Golden Gloves President Kelly Fenn was ecstatic over

the turnout which was termed wall to wall. Three cheers!

Rodriguez Gym (Phoenix) won Open Team and overall Team trophies

and produced the following Champions: Francisco Chavez- 114 lb. Open

Champion, William Northern 111-178 lb. Open Champion, Emilio Ruelas-

165 lb. Novice Champion, Daniel Ruelas-132 lb. JO Champion, George

Chadwick 111- 152 lb. Novice Winner, Luis Holguin-152 lb. Novice Winner

and Luis Ramirez-152 lb. Open(Non-Citizen) Winner. Rodriguez Boxing

Club teammates Luis Holguin & George Chadwick 111 shared the 152 lb.

Novice Title because of the 11th commandment in boxing: Thou shall not

fight another teammate. Very sportsmanlike conduct exhibited by their

coach (Seferino Rodriguez) and his two humble champions. Two Rodriguez

165 protégés (Rueben Navarette & Nick Rodriguez lost in the Semi-final and

Final, respectively.


  • More Golden Glove News & Results: At the end of the tournament the

following champion boxers (18 years +) advanced to the AZ Golden Gloves

Regional’s held March 15-17 in Las Vegas Nevada at Barry’s Boxing Club.

Call 702-368-2629 for more information and reservations.

Here is complete list of Team Arizona Boxers representing Arizona and

trained by Head Coach Seferino Rodriguez/ Rodriguez Boxing in Phoenix,

Arizona. Sorry we weren’t forwarded the names of his capable assistants.

108 lb. Adrian Servin-Knockout Gym, 114 lb. Francisco Chavez-Rodriguez

Gym, 178 lb. William Northern 111-Rodriguez Gym, 152 lb. Jesse Acosta-
Boxing INC. Eastside, 165 lb. Manny Guajardo-Boxing INC., 132 lb. Raul

Anaya-Broadway Boxing, 141 lb. Alfonso Olvera-Neutral Corner Gym, 152 lb.

Carlos Cordova-AZ Boxing & Fitness in Tucson, Heavyweight Albert Alvarez-
Red Nation Warriors Boxing Club & Super Heavyweight Dante Stone-
Stonehard Gym. Winners proceed to the Open Golden Glove Nationals, May

12-17 in Las Vegas.


  • Below The Belt: 108 lb. 16 year old boxer Ariel Lopez wasn’t able to fulfill

his boxing dream at the recent Golden Gloves Tournament (in Mesa Arizona)

due to an error committed by USA Boxing Arizona officials. Here is the rest

of the story.

Ariel received the benefit of a walkover in the first round of competition.

Thanks to the walkover, Ariel advanced to the finals against 18 year old

Daniel Salazar. Before the bout began, it was discovered that Ariel was 16

and Daniel was 18 and the pairing of a 16 year old and 18 year old is a

“oh no” in the USA BOXING rule book, so the bout was ruled a no contest;

therefore denying Ariel a chance to advance to the Golden Glove Regionals.

Why wasn’t the questionable infraction noticed before competition began.

Ariel and his family dug deep to make the trip and for their effort they had

nothing to show. John Colmenero (Red Nation Warriors Coach has filed a

protest and asked for compensation to help the family deter their expense.

A week before the event, Ariel, friends and family members rolled up their

sleeves and watched cars to pay for the trip and due to a technicality; Team

Lopez was delivered a low blow and will have to wait until next year. The

decision doesn’t sound right to this arm chair referee.


  • FBP News: Fan Base Promotions has closed shop in Arizona until further notice.

Henri Westcott, FBP Marketing Director, told me his company will concentrate

on Canadian and European shows for now, but the newly appointed Director of

Marketing doesn’t rule out a possible return to the Grand Canyon State at a later


Mr. Westcott went on to state, unequivocally, that anyone pretending to represent

Fan Base Promotions in the state of Arizona without his written and notarized

permission would be prosecuted to the full letter of the law.

The handwriting was on the wall. Months ago, Fan Base released all their Arizona

based fighters with the exception of Arizona prospect Mario Esparza and FBP

Volunteer Ralph Velez issued a statement on 3/14 announcing that he would

no longer donate his time to promote Fan Base interests and he will refrain

from referring to himself as a Fan Base employer or member of the Fan Base

Organization. His disclosure was made through social media sources.

Fan Base is expected to notify Esparza trainer Tom Garcia that the young fighter

will be released from his contract within the next few days. Given the fact that Fan

Base has shut down its’ Arizona operation, releasing Mario would be the prudent

thing to do.

A little background information; Mr. Velez was hired as a ring event announcer

for Fan Base 3-4 years ago and later would perform similar duties with two other

boxing promotional concerns, Iron Boy and Face 2 Face Events. In addition

to being an announcer in the ring, Ralph expanded his communicative skills to

include appearing on a local boxing show heard over the internet.

As for his future, it is believed that he will continue acting in short films and

producing Documentary films. No word on his latest acting assignment or film

producing project. I am sure the boxing community wishes him and his family the


FBP’s gradual cessation from the Arizona boxing market gives Iron Boy

Promotions a legitimate claim as the Promotional King of Boxing in Arizona.

The Phoenix based promotional company has presented 11 shows and # 12 is

scheduled for the Celebrity Theatre on April 26 in Phoenix. Most of the shows

attracted near capacity crowds while Iron Boy X1 turned boxing fans away.

As for the departure of Fan Base, I think I speak for the majority of boxing fans

who believe competition is good and in that spirit, I sincerely hope that all of

the reputable boxing vendors consider Arizona as a viable venue. It would be

nice to see Arizona compete with Las Vegas for some of the big PPV fights.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the venues or number of quality local fighters to light

up a marquee and fill a stadium. However, Arizona boxing is starting to move in

the right direction. Let us hope the trend continues.


  • Good Cause: Every 4th to help. 

Red Nation Warriors Boxing Club in Tucson needs donations and you 

can’t find a more deserving cause to help. The community based 501 c-3 Non-
Profit organization sweats bullets to provide their kids with equipment and travel

money, but unfortunately the dollar never stretches far enough. I would hope that

the millions(?) of readers dedicated to this column would pick up their phone and

call John Colmenero at 520-889-7529 and make a pledge. If we don’t pitch in,

good kids may be shut out from a facility that has been so beneficial to the boxing

community near Tucson, Arizona. Thank you for your support.

Final Thoughts: I wish I had a nickel for every amateur fighter who said he/she

was going to turn pro and didn’t. By my calculation, I would have enough coin to

buy a truckload of Nehi Soda and Banana flavored Moon Crème pies.

Light middleweight Joseph Bonas (1-0) has been added to Iron Boy X12 Card at

the Celebrity Theatre (Phoenix) on 4/26. Bonas hails from Detroit and is managed

by Cameron Dunkin.


  • The buzz at Central United Boxing Gym in Phoenix is over the workouts of

Franshon McGee, a novice heavyweight with basketball and football experience.

At 6’5” 260 he has the size, but does McGee have the heart and focus to stay with

the sport. Central Gym manager Tom Garcia is very impressed with the former

Cleveland State basketball player and Arena Football standout who had a tryout

with the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. Tom thinks McGee learns

quickly and moves real well. Time will tell!


  • Arizona Light welterweight Luis Olivares ended his bout with Jeffery Ramos after

three rounds in Kissimmee Florida. The win ups the Arizona fighter’s record to

7-0 and he will go after #8 in Mexico on 4/4. The kid is on a fast track with SMS

Promotions. Until Next Time