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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maquiñana: S.F.’s Mitchell takes silver at U.S. Nationals (w/ VIDEO)

Ryan Maquiñana

In 1904, heavyweight Samuel Berger made history as the first—and last—San Francisco resident to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. 107 years later, an unlikely hero attempts to put himself in a position to replicate the feat.

Relatively unknown LaRon Mitchell of The City (pictured at left) shocked the Colorado Springs crowd last weekend by capturing the super heavyweight silver medal at the USA Boxing National Championships, thereby earning a spot in the 2012 Olympic Trials.

“Beating all three medalists from last year superseded any of my expectations,” admitted an elated Mitchell, now unofficially 12-2 in his fledgling amateur career. “It’s more than I could have ever imagined.”


Monday, June 27, 2011

Sanchez and Avila Have Fists Raised in Fairfield

Photo: Sean McDonough
Ryan Maquiñana

FAIRFIELD, CA – Local favorite Alan Sanchez continued to impress his hometown fans with his third win in as many bouts at the Fairfield Sports Center, stopping Clint Coronel in a thrilling seventh round that left this writer’s shirt splattered in blood.

In the co-feature, Golden Boy signee Manuel “Tino” Avila took a four-round unanimous decision over Salvador Cifuentes. As far as the rest of the undercard, Guy Robb, Mike Ortega, and Jonathan Chicas emerged victorious in front of a boisterous crowd that included MMA star Urijah Faber.

“All the local kids won and Coronel was double-tough for Sanchez tonight,” said Don Chargin, who shared promotional duties with Rafael “Paco” Damian and Jorge Marron. “It was a good, lively crowd and I would like to come back here to this venue in August.”


Friday, June 24, 2011

Dallas Finds Rebirth in Oakland

By Ryan Maquiñana

The upset bug affected Dallas in more ways than one this year.

While the Mavericks recently pulled off the feat against the world’s most hated team, the Miami Heat, in the NBA Finals, Mike Dallas Jr. was conversely snakebitten in Temecula by Josesito Lopez five months ago.

Now the light welterweight prospect looks to rebound at the very same site when he takes on once-beaten Mauricio Herrera at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in the “ESPN2 Friday Night Fights” co-feature.

“I’m very confident that everything I’ve learned will show up against Herrera,” said the 24-year-old Dallas, 17-1-1 (7). “I’ve learned a lot of new stuff up in this camp from my new trainer.”


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Daly City’s Julaton returns to ring Friday (w/ Video!)

Ryan Maquiñana

WBO female super bantamweight champion Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton will travel to Miami to face Angel “Non-Stop” Gladney in a non-title affair on Friday.

The eight-round bout is scheduled for the Dade County Auditorium and will mark a first for the 30-year-old Daly City native in that it will take place at a contracted 128 pounds, six above her usual fighting weight.

“Gladney’s a strong fighter and will be going for the win, so we expect a lot of heat over in Miami,” said Julaton (8-2-1, 1 KO), who threw in a tongue-in-cheek reference to Erik Spoelstra. The Miami Heat head coach has informed his friend he will be attending her fight in support.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

VIDEO: 1-on-1 with Ana Julaton

Ryan Maquiñana

My latest on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: a video interview with Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton of Daly City, who fights this Friday against Angel Gladney in Miami.


Cal Boxing Alums Share Much More Than War Stories at 95th Reunion

Cal Head Coach Jim Riksheim

BERKELEY, CA – The other day, I talked to a guy who once had Big George Foreman down for the count.

Really, I did!

“We fought in the finals of the 1967 Golden Gloves junior division,” recalled the towering Bob Winter ’63, my hand vanishing inside his upon greeting me. “I told my brother that Foreman was going to stick that cornball left jab because he would leave it out there. At the beginning of the fight, he jabbed once, jabbed the second time, and just like I planned, I hit him with a counter straight right hand. It actually lifted him off his feet and put him straight on his back.”

So did Bob pull off the upset?

“He got up and they gave him a split decision,” Winter replied, shaking his head while he grinned. “But he was a tough kid, and I ended up with this story.”

That conversation in the Haas Pavilion Club Room marked the beginning of my day as a guest of the University of California boxing program for their 95th Reunion, and it wouldn’t be the last to raise an eyebrow or two.


Friday, June 17, 2011

San Francisco's Mayfield TKOs Forbes in 10 rounds

Ryan Maquiñana

AUSTIN, TX – In the opening bout of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” San Francisco welterweight Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield took a giant step in his boxing career with a tenth-round stoppage of former world champion Steve “2 Pounds” Forbes.

Behind a heavy overhand right and effective pressure, Mayfield, 146.5, mugged Forbes, 149, throughout the bout and prevented the Las Vegas resident from mounting a consistent offensive attack, as the Fillmore native built a sizable lead heading into the final frame.

After a series of blows to the head and body had Forbes (35-10, 11 KOs) reeling into the ropes for cover, Mayfield (14-0, 9 KOs) unleashed a final salvo that prompted referee Gregorio Alvarez to call a halt to the bout at 1:03.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Maquiñana: Big-time TV fight for S.F.'s Mayfield

At long last, unbeaten welterweight Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield of San Francisco has landed a televised bout when he faces former world champion Steve “2 Pounds” Forbes this Friday.

Billed as the “Friday Night Fights” co-feature to Fernando Guerrero’s NABF light middleweight title fight against Grady Brewer, the heavy-handed Mayfield (13-0-1, 8 KOs) will travel to the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Tex., for his first bout (ESPN2, 6 p.m.) in a little over a year.

“I’ve been staying busy, and now it’s worth the wait,” said the jovial Mayfield of his inactive spell. “I’m excited that the fight’s finally here, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”


Julaton returns to ring June 24; throws out first pitch at Dodger Stadium tomorrow

WBO female super bantamweight champion Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton of Daly City, Calif. (8-2-1, 1 KO), will throw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium tomorrow night ahead of her June 24 non-title bout with Angel Gladney (6-3-1, 5 KOs) of Columbia, S.C. The fight will take place in Miami at a contracted weight of 128 lbs. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for more boxing updates: @rmaq28

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jose Benavidez Jr. Headlines His Homecoming

By Ryan Maquiñana

Year two in the career of 19-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. has been a little different than his first.

This time last year, the prodigious junior welterweight was hailed as the youngest fighter to ever win the National Golden Gloves. His pro career began with a trial by fire when he held his own as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan at Hollywood’s Wild Card Gym. The Phoenix native’s extraordinary offensive arsenal and puzzle of a nearly six-foot frame prompted trainer Freddie Roach to call him “the best prospect in the world.”

After stopping each of his nine opponents in 2010, however, a few things happened in the months to follow. An uncharacteristically lackluster performance against Fernando Rodriguez in January, where Benavidez was taken the distance for the first time, brought on qualms that his development has slowed since Roach and his father, Jose Sr., decided to part ways.

However, “Junior” reestablished himself as a force when under the tutelage of his father, he scored an impressive fifth round TKO of James Hope on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard last month. He looks to do more of the same this Saturday when he headlines his first event against Corey Alarcon, 14-17-1 (4), at the Wild Horse Casino in Chandler, Ariz. The contracted weight is 143-144 pounds.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Maquiñana: Hayward's Coley wins by TKO, advances to nationals

By Ryan Maquiñana

FRESNO, CA — A blistering right uppercut from Aaron “Heavy Metal” Coley stopped Joey Perez of Clovis in the second round and netted the Hayward resident the Central Pacific Regional middleweight title last Saturday at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club.

Coley, who trains at SFC Boxing Gym on 7th St. in San Francisco, now advances to the prestigious USA Boxing National Championships, which take place June 20-25 in Colorado Springs, and serve as the next step toward qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

“It feels good to see my hard work pay off,” said the 20-year-old southpaw, currently ranked the No. 6 amateur middleweight in the nation. “There are so many people out there at the 165-pound weight class at nationals, so I have to take it one fight at a time.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Can Vanes Martirosyan Regain His Form?

By Ryan Maquiñana

2010 was supposed to be the year of “The Nightmare.” With the NABF and NABO light middleweight titles in tow, Vanes Martirosyan took his 26-0 record into Las Vegas against a seemingly faded Kassim Ouma in a showcase bout that would supposedly spring him into the discussion of elite fighters at 154 pounds.

But after a dicey win where he rose off the canvas against the Ugandan, followed by a decisive yet ugly victory over fellow unbeaten prospect Joe Greene five months later, many wondered if the 2004 Olympian from Glendale, Calif., had regressed from Top Rank’s can’t-miss contender to solid but unspectacular prospect.

“I didn’t do good in the Joe Greene fight, to be honest with you,” said Martirosyan, now a spotless 29-0 (18). “I did enough to win but I should’ve won by knockout. He gave me a hell of a fight—same thing with Ouma, who was in great shape—and now I look at fights differently now. You have to have Plan A, B, and C.”

This Saturday, Martirosyan has an opportunity to restate his case and reframe the critics’ perceptions when he faces Saul Roman in a WBC light middleweight semifinal title eliminator on the Sebastian Zbik-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.