By David A. Avila
Similar to a high powered manufacturer the Inland area continues to pump out elite prizefighters with star potential and talent. Welterweight sensation Artemio Reyes Jr. leads the charge on Friday.
Thompson Boxing Promotions has been mining various local areas in search of pro boxers from Coachella to Pomona and has found more than a few nuggets. They’ve only missed signing one but you can’t find them all.
San Bernardino’s Reyes (14-1, 11 KOs) fights Mexico City’s Victor Correa (14-4, 9 KOs) on the main event on Friday Feb. 24, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. It’s a very impressive boxing card that fans will appreciate.
It’s been a steady and slow process for the wiry Reyes who’s shown adeptness at immobilizing the opposition with constant pressure and a paralyzing body shot.
“He’s a hard working kid with a great story,” said Alex Camponovo who administrates the Thompson boxing cards. “He believes in what we’re doing.”
Reyes has belted out almost every opponent he’s faced and with every fight he continues to show great improvement in all aspects of boxing. He trains at Riverside’s Capital Punishment gym.
Almost every match on the boxing card features a prizefighter from the Inland area except for a junior featherweight prospect from Carson undefeated Efrain Esquivias. Other fights have Riverside’s Richard Contreras, Coachella’s Gloria Salas, Riverside’s Sindy Amador, San Bernardino’s Joshua Conley and a few other fighters.
Thompson Boxing has been successful in rooting out the talent since it first began staging fight cards at the Ontario Doubletree a decade ago.
“I wish I had a particular formula but there is talent out there that is willing to work with us,” says Camponovo. “I’d rather give a kid that’s willing to fight seven fights a year instead of the kid that has over 100 amateur fights and national titles but wants only one fight a year.”
Some of the previous gems discovered and signed by Thompson Boxing include current junior welterweight world champion Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley. The Palm Springs boxer is considered one of the top fighters pound for pound and is scheduled to face the great Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Another was former bantamweight world champion Yohnny Perez.
“We took Bradley and Yonnhy Perez to a world title. That’s talent that nobody would have been able to see,” Camponovo said.
And who was the one that got away?
“I think the one is Chris Arreola. We probably would have been able to develop his career. We had him for over six fights but we were just beginning and not ready for him,” says Camponovo. “Timing in life is everything.”
The Thompson Boxing fight card begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information call (714) 935-0900.
Speaking of Arreola the Riverside heavyweight had two battles last Saturday. The first was a knockout win over Eric Molina of Texas in one round. The other was a verbal assault aimed toward promoter Don King that was partially aired on Showtime but cut off immediately.
Arreola told television reporter that he took umbrage at King’s alleged comments of “wetback this and wet back that. This wetback put his wetback to sleep,” Arreola said to Goossen-Tutor Promotions that was aired on Youtube.com. During a post fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray the Riverside boxer made derisive comments aimed toward King. He was quickly shut off by Gray.
Next for Arreola looks to be a match against WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko probably in the early summer. Arreola fought the older Vitali Klitschko who holds the WBC title in 2009. Coincidentally that Klitschko fought last Saturday too. He beat United Kingdom’s Dereck Chisora by unanimous decision after 12 rugged rounds in Bayern, Germany.
A match for another world title is Arreola’s primary goal.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Juan Carlos Burgos (28-1) vs. Cristobal Cruz (39-12-3).
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Jessie Vargas (17-0) vs. Lanardo Tyner (25-6-2).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Frankie Edgar (14-1-1) vs. Ben Henderson (15-2); Rampage Jackson (32-9) vs. Ryan Bader (14-2); Mark Hunt (7-7) vs. Cheick Kongo (27-6-2).
Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Adrian Broner (22-0) vs. Eloy Perez (23-0-2); Marcos Maidana (31-2) vs. Devon Alexander (22-1).