LA Fight Club showcases boxing stars of the future

Call it Golden Boy Boxing's farm team. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya gives his young prospects the chance to fight in front of an enthusiastic local audience.

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Diego De La Hoya delivers a left hook to the body of Arturo Badillo for a fourth round knockout Friday. Photo: Courtesy Tiffany Lam, Montero on Boxing
Diego De La Hoya delivers a left hook to the body of Arturo Badillo for a fourth round knockout Friday. Photo: Courtesy Tiffany Lam, Montero on Boxing

SAN DIEGO, February 19, 2016 – Baseball has its minor leagues. The National Football League and National Basketball Association have the NCAA system.

In boxing, the equivalent of the minor leagues are local events featuring regional prospects. This is where boxing fans can see the potential stars of tomorrow, frequently in small venues where they can get up close to the action with reasonable ticket prices. In some cases, they also get to meet and greet more established stars who show up to support their young stable mates.

Golden Boy Boxing Chairman and CEO Oscar de la Hoya offers the opportunity to the young prospects in his organization to appear in front of the fans with his “L-A Fight Club” series, held at the 1,200 seat Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The events can also be seen on Estrella TV nationally and live online via RingTV.com

L-A Fight Club celebrates its first year anniversary on March 4. “L-A Fight Club has been a hit since it debuted one year ago, bringing boxing back to downtown Los Angeles and showcasing a new generation of talent to fans across the L-A region,” said De La Hoya. “We’ve been dedicated to showcasing up-and-coming talent in boxing at L-A Fight Club and the fans have responded positively to this, with many of our monthly shows selling out.”

Oscar De La Hoya (left) with his star prospect and cousin Diego De La Hoya after his fourth round knockout victory. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions
Oscar De La Hoya (left) with his star prospect and cousin Diego De La Hoya after his fourth round knockout victory. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions

Friday night’s event was the third straight sellout. The main event featured Oscar’s 22-year-old cousin Diego De La Hoya (13-0-0, 7 KOs) from Mexicali, Baja California versus Mexican veteran Arturo Badillo (21-19-0, 19 KOs) of Tijuana, a contest in the featherweight division.

De La Hoya showed good hand speed and smart aggression, eager to put on a show for the great crowd. But Badillo is not a pushover, and De La Hoya said after the fight he realized he needed to be a little more patient.

Diego De La Hoya (right) delivers a punch to Arturo Badilla in Los Angeles Friday. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions
Diego De La Hoya (right) delivers a punch to Arturo Badilla in Los Angeles Friday. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions

“At first, the excitement got the best of me and I was trying to look for a knockout but in the second round I realized I was going to play in to his game,” said De La Hoya. “I decided to change the pace and take my time and just play it safe.”

De La Hoya said he realized Badillo was getting tired by the third round, “and that’s when I decided to take advantage and dedicate the 3rd round to knocking him out.” De La Hoya worked with a variety of punches in the third round, and in the fourth round made Badillo pay the price with a left hook to the body, putting Badillo on his knees as referee Jerry Cantu counted him out at 1:11 of the fourth round.

Badillo said he came prepared for a tough fight. “I felt comfortable in the ring in the first couple of rounds. I don’t feel hurt, but that shot in the liver really harmed me. Unfortunately, those things happen all I can do is go back to the gym and train for my next fight.”

Nick Arce (right) and Luis Ruis Lizaraga (left) trade blows in their barnburner six round bout. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions
Nick Arce (right) and Luis Ruis Lizaraga (left) trade blows in their barnburner six round bout. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions

Super featherweights Nick Arce (7-0, 6 KOs) and Luis Ruiz Lizaraga Jr. (5-8-1) didn’t waste any time going toe to toe and swinging for the fences in their six round super featherweight bout. Arce went the distance for the first time in his professional career against the tough Lizaraga, winning a unanimous decision. Arce has developed a significant fan following in Los Angeles and they made themselves heard from the ring walk to the conclusion.

There was a lot of action for them to cheer. Arce relied on a lead left hook for much of the fight. He was more effective in the final rounds when he started working to the body. When he can start a fight in this manner, he’ll be able to stop the improved level of competitors he will face in the future.

“My opponent was well trained and came out to fight with his high endurance. I came for the KO but I’ll settle for the unanimous decision,” said Arce. “This is motivation to keep on training to win those big victories. My fans love coming to see me fight because they can tell in my style that I love life and think it is too beautiful and too short to waste,” said Arce. This young prospect still has a lot to learn, but there’s a lot to like. You can’t help but enjoy his enthusiasm.

Carlos Morales (right) won a decision over Omar Tienda Friday in Los Angeles. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions
Carlos Morales (right) won a decision over Omar Tienda Friday in Los Angeles. Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions

In the co-main event, super featherweight Carlos “The Solution” Morales (13-1-3, 6 KOs) and Omar “Heroe” Tienda (14-3, 8 KOs) didn’t create the same fireworks as their fellow super featherweights, working with purpose and determination enroute to a unanimous 10-round decision for Morales.

Tienda was never out of it, and manage to open a cut over Morales’s right eye in the fifth round, but was cut himself over the bridge of the nose. It was a high punch count fight of the type that puts solid experience in the bank and provides a good test of stamina.

“I was hoping to knock him out in the 5th round but he proved to be a tough fighter and I had to outbox him,” said Morales. “Even though he cut me up, I knew I was being effective with my punches and was breaking him down slowly.”

The Golden Boy stable of boxers attend LA Fight Club Friday, including Gabriel Rosado (far left). Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions
The Golden Boy stable of boxers attend LA Fight Club Friday, including Gabriel Rosado (far left). Photo: Tristan Bellisimo/Golden Boy Promotions

Along with Oscar De La Hoya at the Belasco, Golden Boy fighters Gabriel Rosado, former world champion Randy Caballero, Jesus Soto Korass, Abraham Lopez, Oscar Negrete, Christian Gonzalez, Pablo Rubio, Joet Gonzalez, Edgar Valerio, Jonathan Navarro, Ivan Delgado, Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez were on hand ringside. Also on hand was WBC middleweight women’s champion Maricela Conejo, who has a title fight scheduled in April in New Zealand.

LA Fight Club will celebrate its first anniversary with an event on Friday, March 4, featuring several Golden Boy Boxing favorites with Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez in the main event. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, put your boxing backside in a seat at the Belasco Theater. For fight fans across the U.S. find your equivalent local night of boxing and show up to support the young talent and the sport. You’ll get to see the heart of the Sweet Science at its best.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story. 

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