SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 12, 2019 – Champions, contenders and prospects all hope their hard work will pay off Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Fans can watch their attempts on the DAZN live stream starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. If this isn’t sounding familiar, it’s the renamed facility most SoCal fans still refer to as “StubHub Center.”
READ MORE: Young guns blazing in busy boxing weekend
Appearing the main event is a man who might be the most under the radar champion on the WBC roster. WBC junior super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas of Mexico (33-0, 22 KOs) defends his title against interim titleholder and former champion Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda of Japan (36-2, 20 KOs).
Vargas might be the most under the radar champion on the WBC roster despite 33 victories and not a single loss. The tall, stringy Vargas may look awkward in the ring at time, but he always finds a way to win. He hasn’t had a stoppage win since 2016. Vargas injured his knuckle after a May 2018 barnburner against the always tough Azat Hovhannisyan. After a tune-up bout that gave him a knockdown scare against Franklin Manzanilla in February, Vargas is now facing among his toughest ever challengers.
Kameda has faded excellent opposition in his career. His two losses both came in decisions to Jamie McDonnell of Yorkshire in 2015. McDonnell suffered a first round wipeout to Kameda’s countryman Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series. If you’re wondering about his nickname, Kameda left Japan in 2007 at age 15 to train full-time in Mexico. The 28-year-old speaks excellent Spanish, and is married to a Mexican woman. He made all his remarks including some utterly Mexican flavored trash talk at the fight news conference earlier in the week.
Kameda says he enjoys fighting in Los Angeles where there are many Mexican and Japanese fans. “I promise to give a good show because I prepared really well. I respect all opponents, Vargas too.
“The only thing I want to tell Vargas is – “ as Kameda turned to face the champion – “Champ, are you a campeon, are you Mexican? Then this fight, fight like a Mexican. Let’s give a good fight. This Saturday, my story will begin.”
The good-natured Vargas smiled and responded to Kameda. “I’ve always categorized myself as someone who’s not a talker – I show it in the ring. We’re ready for war. We know the Japanese people are always willing to die in the line of fire, but Mexicans, we’re warrior too. And if you want, we can start the fight right here so bring the scale and let’s get the party started.”
Prediction for Vargas vs Kameda
It’s in Vargas’ best interests to his height and long arms to stay on the outside of Kameda. But fighting at the famous Carson open-air venue in front of die-hard Southern California boxing fans tends to spur the athletes to engage, and Kameda will want to engage and turn the fight into a war. If he can, he’s got the chance to beat Vargas. Vargas has to stay smart and try to impose his game plan on Kameda.
The undercard is loaded with Los Angeles area boxers from contenders to prospects. It’s a smart lineup giving family, friends, and local fans the chance to see their favorites and cheer them on.
De La Hoya and Rios prepared to do battle
NABF Super Bantamweight belt holder Diego De La Hoya of Mexicali (21-0, 10 KOs) lines up against Santa Ana based Ronny Rios (30-3, 14 KOs). The fight positions the winner for a title shot, perhaps against the winner in the main event.
“This fight is very important,” said De La Hoya. “It’s one more step towards a world title. And this Saturday, Ronny Rios and I are going to steal the show. It’s going to be a great fight, it’s going to be a big war.”
Rios lost a tough decision to Vargas at the same venue in 2017, and suffered his first knockout loss to Hovhannisyan in 2018, giving him the chance to fight Vargas a few months later. Rios thanked his promoter and team for sticking by him. “It’s been a tough, challenging year but we’re back to where we want to, and we’re here to make the best of it. I just want to let everybody know that I don’t see myself as a stepping stone. I’m here to give it my best shot and Diego and I are going to give the fight fans a great fight on Saturday.”
Flsahy KO artist Rocky Hernandez returns to California
Exciting super featherweight contender Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez (28-0, 25 KOs) impressed in his first U.S. fight in March at Fantasy Springs. He’s back for more against Roger Guitierrez of Venezuela (21-3, 18 KOs). The 21-year-old Hernandez is the kind of fighter Southern California fans love, and why not? He’s a flashy young KO artist.
“I’m very happy to be here. It’s going to be a very good card and I believe I’ll be walking away with my hands raised because I trained very hard,” aid Hernandez.
The 24-year-old Guitierrez has faced plenty of Golden Boy fighters in California and doesn’t intend to make it easy. “It’s a pleasure being here on such an important card. I’m grateful to Golden Boy for all the support and the fact that they believe in me and that they’ve given me another opportunity,” said Guitierrez. This could be the fight of the night.
Gonzalez vs Avila fight for regional title
Featherweight prospects Joet Gonzalez of Glendora (22-0, 13 KOs) and Manuel Avila of Fairfield, California in the Bay Area (23-1-1, 8 KOs) tangle in a ten round fight for a vacant WBA Continental Americas title. Gonzalez has looked strong in his recent bouts and will get a good test against Avila. “I had a good camp. I’m ready for Saturday night, and I just can’t wait,” said Gonzalez.
“I trained hard for this fight. I tell people it’s just another fight. I’m ready for the fight to be here. I’m just excited to be here,” said Avila.
Undercard fighters hope to make a big impression, thrill their fans
Welterweight Alexis Rocha of Santa Ana (13-0, 8 KOs) vs. Berlin Abreu of Puerto Rico Republic (14-2, 11 KOs)
Super lightweight Ruslan Madiev of Kazakhstan (12-1, 5 KOs) vs. Ricky Sismundo of the Philippines (35-13-3, 17 KOs). It is Madiev’s first fight under the Golden Boy banner. He trains with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, California.
Super middleweight Jonathan Esquivel of Anaheim (10-0, 9 KOs) fights a scheduled six rounds or less (probably much less) against Gregory Clark (4-3-1, 1 KO) of Washington DC.
Super featherweight Jousce Gonzalez of Glendora (8-0, 8 KOs), younger brother of Joet Gonzalez, fights Jorge Hugo Padron of Mexico (3-3, 3 KOs).
Fans in the seats under the sun and stars at Dignity Health Sports Park AKA StubHub (we never forget) and those watching worldwide on DAZN are sure to enjoy an evening of Mexican style action, whether born to it or not.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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