SCL8 ‘CONFLICT’ Draws A Huge Crowd

DENVER (February 26, 2017) Last night Jeff Cisneros (Sparta Combat League Boxing) pulled off another gem at the Crowne Plaza DIA Hotel and Convention Center, 15500 E 40th Ave. in Denver where his SCL8 ‘CONFLICT’ card featured Colorado’s up and coming amateur and professional boxing stars headlined by Misael Lopez vs Ricky Rodriguez for the SCL 130 lbs. title in the main event.

The house was packed and the amateur action immediately went into ‘beast mode’, that energy felt throughout the entire evening of the 10 bouts scheduled. The crowd was in full effect, supporting their favorite and beyond with great fight action.

Colorado Boxing Commission members on hand: Chief Inspector Rob Mullings, Ringside Physician Dr. Alex Constantinedes, Referees Stephen Blea, Tim Mills and Curtis Thrasher, Judges Jeanne, McEvoy and Tyrone Short, Inspectors Brian Campbell and Kevin McBride and Timekeeper Dennis Romero.

The amateur’s competing in SCL have begun garnering a huge following that will lead into them moving to the professional ranks of SCL Boxing and each fight last night was competitive and entertaining. With a solid ring put together by Steve Mestas (Airtight Boxing) to deal with one heavyweight bout and one Super heavyweight bout, there would be no interruptions.

Heavyweight Mylo Jamar

Beginning with bout #1 the tone was set for the evening by the amateurs as Eduardo Ruiz got the UD win over a game Kaden Phoades in a 154 lbs bout, all 3 judges seeing it 30-26. Bout #2 featured Mylo Jamar destroying Hector Lumba in a heavyweight bout by way of first round TKO. Jamar is 6 feet 5 inches tall, has good hand speed and footwork with a mean streak that makes him a force to be reckoned with. SCL needs to sign him as soon as he’s ready to make his move into the professional ranks. Bout #3 had 147 pounders Alexis Saenz and Sergio Lujan get after it in a very entertaining matchup, judges seeing Saenz the winner by UD with scores of 30-27, and 29-28 twice. Lujan continues to be unable to get a break when it comes to judging, hopefully that changes. Bout #4 was for the SCL amateur 168 lbs. title with Alejandro Ibarra taking on ‘PJ’ Pledge Walker. It took Ibarra 3 rounds to finally stop the game Walker but Ibarra is a definite ‘One-To-Watch’ as he continues making a name for himself. He can box and has excellent tools that make him special. Bout #5 was for the SCL 140 lbs. belt, Milton Roque and Donovan Alirez battling in an exciting bout that had scorecards split. Judge McEvoy saw Alirez the winner 29-28, Judge Short had Roque the winner by 29-28 and Judge Thrasher saw Roque the winner 29-28, Roque getting the split decision win. Bout #6 saw 165 pounders Cruz Valenzuela and Chris Arguello get after it with Valenzuela getting the UD win with scores identical on all 3 scorecards, 40-36.

The professionals then took center stage with recent SCL signee Jose Arellano making his pro debut at 140 lbs. taking on Isaac Johnson in a 140 lbs. scrap. There was bad blood between the two as (allegedly) Johnson referred to Arellano as the ‘SCL Golden Boy’. Johnson paid the price losing a one-sided decision. All 3 judges saw it the same, 40-36 in favor of Arellano. Next up was Mario Sierra taking on Marco Alcaraz at 122 lbs. Early in round one Sierra dropped Alcaraz with a beautiful left hook and later finished him off with a perfectly thrown right hand for the round 1 KO. Sierra handled his business but the now 42 years-old Alcaraz has seen better days.

TEAM LOPEZ (L-R) Aurelio Martinez, Misael Lopez, Evenezer Lopez Photo: Amanda Armstrong/Trihex Photography

The fight everyone came to see, Misael Lopez vs Ricky Rodriguez, was everything it was thought to be. Lopez continues to shine with a solid win over a solid opponent. For those who questioned the heart or ability of Ricky Rodriguez all you had to do was be there and see that once he gets back to business and is more active, good things will come. It was his first loss as a pro and there wont be many more. Misael Lopez is without a doubt Colorado’s best prospect to come along in quite some time and as he further develops, his star power will increase not only here but on the national level. The kid is special and having followed him since his early amateur days I can say this with zero reservation. Get on that bandwagon now because it’s filling up. ‘IT’S MISA TIME’.

The final bout of the evening had the two Super heavyweight amateurs, Edgar Saucedo and Jaoquin Gonzales, tangle in what had the crowd on their feet as these two giants went at it hard. In what is my estimation of over 700 pounds of battling men, Gonzales stopped Saucedo on his feet as referee Tim Mills correctly stepped in calling a halt to the bout late in round one. Of note is Saucedo is just 18 years-old, this his first bout after training for maybe 5 months with Vern Earwood of Child’s Play MMA. That’s taking nothing away from the huge Gonzales who handled his business.

SCL Boxing seems to have their fingers on the pulse of what fight fans want to see, last night another great example of what’s to come in the coming weeks.

DENVER (February 22, 2017) This Saturday night, February 25, 2017, SCL (Sparta Combat League) 8, ‘CONFLICT’ (Jeff Cisneros), takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, 15500 E 40th Ave. in Denver, where amateur and professional boxing combatants will provide an excellent evening featuring popular and talented local fighters, a packed house in attendance supporting their favorite.

The professional portion of the fight card includes Colorado Super featherweights Misael Lopez (3-0, 1KO) vs Ricky Rodriguez (4-0) in the main event, battling for the SCL 130 lbs. title. These two youngsters epitomize the young talent we have here in Colorado and these two will provide fireworks from the beginning. Lopez is trained by Aurelio Martinez (Denver) while Rodriguez is trained by his dad, Jeff Rodriguez (Greeley), both highly respected trainers in the Colorado boxing community. ‘Someone’s 0 must go’ and this fight is one you can’t afford to miss. The co-main event features Super lightweight Jose Arellano making his professional boxing debut against the hard-nosed Isaac Johnson (2-6) in a scheduled for 4 rounds bout. Johnson will provide a stern test for Arellano who has been pegged as one of the State’s ‘up and comers’. Arellano is a recent signee of SCL Boxing. Super bantamweight Mario Sierra (1-0-1, 1KO) looks to get back in the win column after his last outing saw him come away with a controversial draw in a tough fight against another Colorado rising star, Adan Gonzales. Look for Sierra to quickly dispatch of Marco Alcaraz (1-10-1, 1KO) who hails from Greenville, Texas, as he wow’s the crowd with his offensive arsenal. Super star in the making Super bantamweight Andrew Strode (1-0) takes on Isaac Badger (0-8) of Lockwood, Missouri, in what will be quick work for Strode in a scheduled for 4 rounds contest. Strode is a definite ‘One-To-Watch’ as his superior hand-speed and overall talent becomes more obvious to fight fans nationwide. Super middleweight Cruz Valenzuela makes his pro boxing debut against Chris Arguello (1-2-1, 1KO) in what will be a spirited 4 rounds bout that could easily produce big time fireworks.

One other focus of Saturday night’s event is this SCL8, ‘CONFLICT’, being dedicated to the memory of one Kelly Acosta, a good friend of my good friend and a well-known figure in the Combat Sports community, Vern Earwood (Childs Play MMA). By now most are familiar with Acosta being murdered while attempting to intervene as a female was being beaten by a male in the parking lot of Acosta‘s apartment complex early this past Sunday morning, February 19. The 29 years-old Acosta, a popular figure and bartender at the Emerald Isle watering hole (Parker & Quincy), was shot and killed by a yet to be located assailant. Jeff and Becca Cisneros (SCL) have always offered support for any worthy cause, this now a fundraising event that all are encouraged to help fund Memorial Services for Kelly Acosta. #FIGHTINGFORACAUSE

Doors open at 6PM, first bell at 7PM with very few general admission tickets remaining by contacting or your favorite fighter on this card.

The Denver Athletic Club (DAC), 1325 Glenarm Place, in downtown Denver, has their largest annual fundraising event, BOXING NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA, Friday, March 10, 2017, benefitting their charity of choice, IMPACT360. A delicious dinner, sports memorabilia LIVE AUCTION and 5-6 professional boxing matches sponsored by Poor Boys Boxing (Jim Smith), provide the entertainment for the evening.

This annual DAC event showcases Denver’s most highly recognized businessmen and businesswomen supporting their charitable cause, IMPACT360. The IMPACT360 organization helps inner city youth from 6th grade through high school gain valuable knowledge by assisting each with homework and one-on-one tutoring. High intensity academic enrichment and person development that create pathways to college for underserved students attending Denver Public Schools is the dedicated mission of IMPACT360. For more information contact Eric Eiteljorg, 720-323-3608 or

This years’ mouthwatering dinner features a Romaine & Mixed Field Greens Salad, cornmeal Crusted Flatiron with Cocoa Bordelaise, Lobster Tail Vera Cruz, Brussel Sprouts & Potatoes au Gratin, topped off with a Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte for dessert.

The entertainment provided by Poor Boys Boxing (Jim Smith) features 5 quality, professional boxing bouts beginning with Alma Garcia (New Mexico) vs Brittany Cruz (Colorado) bantamweights, Martin Quezada (Colorado) vs Antonio Flores (Colorado) lightweights, Sevelle Hasan vs Henry Ryan Silva (Utah) super welterweights, Hugo Arceo (Colorado) vs Rudy Zapata (Colorado) heavyweights and Daniel Calzada (Colorado) vs Steve Victor (New Mexico).

Contact Katie Walters, 720-931-6785 or for Corporate Tables (Bronze $1600, Silver $2,000 and Gold $2,500), VIP Individual Ringside Dinner Table Seating ($175), VIP Upper Deck Seating (no dinner, $75) or Floor Seating (no dinner, $55 & $60).

DENVER (January 26, 2017) Highly decorated and controversial Irish amateur Michael Conlan makes his professional debut in the super bantamweight division come March 17, 2017, on one of the biggest stages in America, Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, New York, taking on Colorado super bantamweight Tim Ibarra (4-4, 1KO) in a scheduled for 6 rounds bout.

The 25 years-old Belfast, Northern Ireland, residing Conlan enjoyed a stellar amateur career highlighted by his 2012 Olympic bronze medal (London, England) and in 2015 the AIBA World Championships gold medal (Doha, Qatar). That gold medal the first for a male boxer from Ireland. Conlan was voted the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year for his amateur boxing achievements.

Considered a huge favorite in the 2016 Olympics (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Mike Conlan correctly predicted his demise and suggested ‘the powers that be’ governing amateur boxing (AIBA) were corrupt and his destiny predetermined. Conlan would indeed lose his 2016 Olympics quarter-finals bout in what can only be described as horrific scoring. What would later become a disastrous 2016 Olympic boxing competition rife with allegations of corruptness and scandal, Conlan would exit amateur boxing as one of Ireland’s most successful amateur boxers ever. Top Rank (Bob Arum) announced their signing of Conlan back in September of 2016, his pro debut scheduled for Madison Square Garden in early 2017.

Tim Ibarra photo: Amanda Armstrong

Colorado native Tim Ibarra is coming off a controversial unanimous decision loss to Jose ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez (6-0-1, 2KO’s) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, conducted this past December 12, 2016. That Ibarra performance obviously caught the eye of Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman and with Denver matchmaker Steve Mestas not letting that loss in Philly rest, Ibarra has another opportunity to showcase his skills. Ibarra is a hard-nosed kid who has never shied away from stiff competition.

Tim Ibarra is convinced Conlan now being trained by Manny Robles, Sr. had a lot to do with him being selected to tangle with Conlan in March. He pulls no punches in describing his intentions come March 17. “I’m sure Manny Robles, Sr. feels I’m the same guy who lost to his son, Manny Robles, Jr, back in 2012 but that Tim Ibarra is not this Tim Ibarra. I’m far more determined and focused than then and for this fight I’ve made, and am making, every sacrifice you can imagine to make sure everyone remembers the name Tim Ibarra. You wanna know what irks me most? It’s everyone asking ‘Who is Tim Ibarra’? Well, on March 17th they’ll find out and they’ll be asking ‘Just who was that Mike Conlan?”.

(L) Head Coach Fidel Martinez and Tim Ibarra at AFA headquarters

Now 26 years-old with wife Gina and daughters Mercedes and Ezrealla to provide for, Tim Ibarra is putting all his eggs in this basket and with less than one month to go, feels his team is primed and ready to make the most of this opportunity. ‘TEAM IBARRA’ consists of Head Coach Fidel Martinez, Sr. along with coaches Manuel Perez, Steve Mestas and Rudy Martinez, all making the trip to New York. Ibarra trains at AFA (A Family Affair) Gym in Denver with Vern Earwood’s CHILDS PLAY MMA sharing the facility, bringing an added dimension to Ibarra’s training. A rigorous training schedule that includes early Sunday morning Colorado mountain runs along with some serious sparring against the likes of Manuel Perez, Fidel Martinez, Jr, Jose Arellano, Milton Roque, Stevie Marquez and others will help showcase the new, refocused Tim Ibarra.

Unlike that last trip to Philly where it was just Tim Ibarra and Fidel Martinez Sr, this time Ibarra will have a large contingent of friends and family making up his entourage with at least two dozen reservations already confirmed for the trip to New York. The difference will be noticeable both inside and outside the ring and Mike Conlan just might have to postpone that planned St. Patrick’s Day party here in these United States until he returns to Belfast, where the celebration may be just a tad bit more to his liking.

DENVER (January 12, 2017) – With female boxing/boxers on the rise, this Saturday, January 14, AIRTIGHT BOXING (Steve Mestas) features Patricia (Paty) Juarez vs Amorena Baca and Bailey Johansen vs Darcie Vigil on the undercard of ‘FIRE POWER, Bombs Away’, held at Glitter Dome, 3600 Wynkoop St. in Denver.

Denver fight fans will get their money’s worth with Patricia ‘Paty’ Juarez (1-0) taking on Amorena Baca making her long awaited pro-debut in a scheduled 4 rounds bout at 135 lbs. The ever popular Baca enjoyed a stellar Colorado amateur career and has taken her time waiting for the right opportunity to present itself before venturing into the professional ranks.

Amorena Baca

Baca trainer/manager is former WBC Youth World super lightweight champion Donald ‘2Quick2Slick’ Camarena, who is candid as usual saying, “I don’t really care about what they do, I care about what we do and perfect our game plan. I take no part in studying other fighters, I focus completely on what we have to do in order to win. Those who know us, already know what they’re going to see. Amorena is ready and prepared to win this fight”. Camarena is a coach at TLC Boxing in Denver, where Baca trains. 

The Colorado residing Paty Juarez is looking to make her name as recognizable as that of her sister, 5-times WBC World Champion Mariana ‘Barbie’ Juarez (44-9-4, 17KO’s). Revered as Mexico’s female boxing hero, Mariana and sister Lourdes ‘Lu Lu’ Juarez (18-2, 3KO’s) have established their names in female Mexican boxing, Paty hoping to blaze her own trail here in the U.S.

(L) Chris Green and Paty Juarez

Juarez manager/trainer is former Denver heavyweight Chris ‘Da Future’ Green, his own career a guideline for how he handles boxers in his stable that includes female super featherweight Kirstie ‘Kris Kros’ Simmons (8-2, 2KO’s) and light heavyweight ‘Dynamite’ Donald Cobb, Jr. (8-0, 6KO’s).

Paty Juarez had previously signed a promotional contract where that promoter proved unable to deliver on promises made. That’s in the past, Green and Juarez looking ahead not behind. “There are no hard feelings, we agreed to part ways amicably and move on”, says Green. “My focus is on keeping her (Juarez) busy. This is just the second pro fight for Paty and while we will turn down nothing within reason, we are smart. After she gets her fourth fight at 4 rounds, we’re looking to move to 6 then 8 rounders. Conditioning wise, she’s ready for 6-8 rounds but experience wise, she’s not yet there. If an opportunity I like presents itself at 6 rounds, we’ll take it but in the meantime, I’m just looking to keep her busy. I constantly tell our guys we won’t be so anxious to take fights that we lose focus of the journey. It’s a process that if done correctly, leads to bigger things”.

Reflecting on his own career, Green remembers all too well how initially turning down last minute fights led to the frustration of inactivity that would later have him take those last minute fight offers in the other guys backyard when not prepared, something that won’t happen with this group. “I didn’t advance as far as I felt I could have after finding it hard to find fights. I tell our guys that we stay in the gym, within striking distance, ready for that call coming at any time with the right opportunity”, says Green. “Those are the fights we want and look forward too. I don’t turn down anything but the collar on my shirt but I have to be smart with Paty. She’s a fighter, she wants to fight but we have to be smart. We’re ready to ride that wave of the Juarez sisters in Mexico. Both ‘Barbie’ and ‘Lu Lu’ will be here for Paty’s fight on Saturday night showing their support. We’ll ride that wave and keep Paty moving in the right direction”.

Patricia ‘Paty’ Juarez

It’s quickly apparent Green is 100% correct in his assessment of Juarez who seems totally comfortable with the atmosphere at the gym she calls home, A1 Boxing in Aurora. She easily maneuvers her way throughout the gym with the confidence of a longtime member.  “I’m prepared for this fight and looking forward to fighting at 135 pounds”, begins Paty. “The weight is very comfortable for me. I have much respect for Amorena Baca, she’s a great challenge. My mother Patricia along with my many friends here at A1 Boxing have been very supportive. I’m looking forward to getting this win and then moving up to 6 round fights”.

Saturday morning, January 14, 2017, there will be a ‘Meet and Greet’ with Paty Juarez and sister Mariana ‘Barbie’ Juarez at A1Boxing, 700 S. Buckley Road in Aurora, from 10AM until noon. Autographs, and photo opportunities will be available for all in attendance. Information: 303-696-2694.  

Saturday night, January 14, 2017, 3600 Wynkoop St. in Denver, ‘FIRE POWER, Bombs Away’ has an entertaining fight card scheduled, doors open at 6:30PM, first bell at 7:30PM. Few tickets remain available but try calling 720-298-1954 or contacting your favorite boxer. Don’t miss this one.


DENVER (January 5, 2017) – January 14, 2016, AIRTIGHT BOXING (Steve Mestas) presents ‘Firepower, Bombs Away’ at the Glitter Dome, 3600 Wynkoop St., in Denver’s first boxing card of 2017. The main event pits Daniel Calzada (13-16-3, 2KO’s) vs Stevie Marquez (14-17-2, 9KO’s) in a 6 rounds light middleweight contest that will be very ‘interesting’.

Don’t be fooled by the records of Calzada or Marquez, both have taken on tough competition during their boxing careers, Mestas doing a great job in making this fight happen. Anything else surrounding this bout is meaningless, these two men primed and ready for action.

Daniel Calzada has inexplicably dealt with 3 draws, all coming in Colorado. That understandably has left a bad taste in his mouth. “All I’ve ever asked for is a fair shake”, begins Calzada. “Fighting in Colorado is no longer fun for me. For some reason, I can’t get a break here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in Colorado I need a KO to get the draw”. Calzada has a legitimate beef, 3 draws in your own backyard does seem a bit strange. One draw came versus Guy Smith from Nebraska and left many shaking their heads in disbelief. To make matters worse, Calzada would later be declared ‘Fighter of the Night’ by the Fight Night sponsors, adding more fuel to the Calzada claims.

Decisions like this had forced Calzada coming to grips with the decision to either fight at home for pocket change or go on the road where, if he were to lose, at least it would be for good money. Calzada is more than serious when biting his lip saying, “I decided if I’m going to take a loss, it wouldn’t be in Denver for chump change”.

Daniel Calzada has been in with well-known names such as Ashley Theophane, Manuel Perez, Brian Mendoza, Prichard Colon, Jose Carlos Ramirez and Francisco Vargas just to mention a few. He’s unafraid to take his show on the road and at this point, he relishes the challenge.

TEAM CALZADA consists of Daniel, his dad Rick Calzada and longtime Colorado promoter/trainer Jim ‘Smitty’ Smith along with the Calzada family. Rick Calzada is more than Daniel’s father. He’s trainer, best friend and confidant of his son. “We work together at the same yard for Sturgeon Electric”, says Daniel. “Since 2009-2010, my dad and ‘Smitty’ have given me direction in the fight game. From day one, ‘Smitty’ took care of arranging fights. It didn’t take long for me and my dad to trust him 100% after dealing with a few shady characters early in my career. What began as strictly business has progressed into a long lasting friendship, ‘Smitty’ now considered a member of our family. I’m fortunate to have my dad and Jim Smith as father figures in my life”.

Preparing and completing homework assignments are tough for Calzada to sandwich in between work, training and time with his family. Calzada’s day begins around 4:30AM with a short run, a brief workout and making it to work by 6:30AM. He exits work at 5PM, heads straight to the gym for his boxing workout (he studies every available moment in between) and then rushes home to spend time with girlfriend Claudia, daughters’ Evelynne (5) and Emily (2), that completing his day.

“Right now I’m juggling boxing and school”, begins Calzada. “I started school in October 2016, taking classes to become a Power Electric Lineman. I’ve been at Sturgeon Electric Company for almost 4 years, my goal of being accepted into the Apprenticeship Program now a reality. If this is my last fight, I’m going out with a bang. The new job will require lots of travel requiring my complete focus. Wherever they send me, I’ve got to go. Boxing will temporarily be on hold”.

Daniel Calzada

Daniel then gets specific in what fans can expect come January 14, “There is no way this fight goes the distance. The judges won’t have the chance to decide this outcome. Either I knock Marquez the fuck out or I get knocked the fuck out. There’ll be no other outcome. This is Colorado, my home, but I fight here only for my mom (Debbie Calzada) having the chance to see me fight. She doesn’t travel so it’s the only opportunity for her to see me fight”.

Calzada again expresses his feelings of what it means to fight in Colorado when saying, “I just don’t know what Colorado has against me. If I could, I’d probably fight on the road every time. The majority of losses here at home, I can honestly say were not losses. I’m no sore loser, I can take a loss and have been beaten up before but never have I had my ass kicked here in Colorado. The score cards are read and if it’s against me, I show the other guy respect. It’s been a bitter pill to swallow but there’s not much else I can do”.

Saturday night, January 14 at the Glitter Dome, 3600 Wynkoop St. in Denver, doors open at 6:30PM, first bell at 7:30PM. This fight is one you can’t afford to miss as Daniel Calzada just may be fighting for the very last time here in Colorado. Let’s hope he gets a fair shake, he asks for and deserves that much.

The undercard lineup will back up the ‘Bombs Away’ forecast as Arturo Melo vs Adan Gonzales, Paty Juarez vs Amorena Baca, Adam Sanchez vs Tyler Kelko, Brandon Buchanon vs LT Nelson, Savalle Hasan vs William Thalley and Darcie Vigil vs Bailey Johansen, all look to excite the crowd.

Sponsorships and Tickets: 720-298-1954. TicketsWest, King Soopers or your favorite boxer have tickets available for purchase


Steve Mestas, Manuel Perez and Fidel Martinez Photo: TRIHEX PHOTOGRAPHY/Amanda Armstrong

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: Manuel Perez. Perez (27-12-1, 7KO’s) continues his pursuit of that elusive World lightweight title with 3 fights in 2016, only losing to former Olympian and undefeated super lightweight Jose Carlos Ramirez (16-0, 12KO’s). RUNNER UP: Kenny Lemos. Lemos was active and at 39 years of age, surviving an unheard of ‘ring collapse’ in a local smoker was ‘special’.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR: Manuel D. Lopez vs Johnny Rodriguez. The Budweiser Events Center was the venue for the Colorado best fight of 2016 as ‘Manny Lo’ Lopez (11-2-1, 6KO’s) and Johnny ‘The Punisher’ Rodriguez (8-1-15KO’s) entertained the SCL (Sparta Combat League) pro boxing crowd in an 8 rounds bout leaving neither man happy, the decision a draw.

DEBUTER OF THE YEAR: Andrew Strode. Strode (1-0) took on a game Arturo Melo (2-1) at the Grizzly Rose in another SCL pro boxing card. Melo and Strode had met as amateurs with Strode now going 2-for-2 in their matchups. Strode was the betting underdog but pulled off the upset.

Jeremy Ramos

ROBBERY OF THE YEAR: Jeremy Ramos. Ramos (9-5, 4KO’s) hit the road taking on Steven Martinez in the 8 rounds co-main event at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ramos easily won 5 of the 8 rounds but the judges awarded Martinez the unanimous decision win, scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 76-74 shameful and a disgrace.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Misael Lopez. Lopez (3-0, 1KO) made the big splash with impressive performances with 3 outings in 2016. The 20 years-old super featherweight became a new father in 2016 and is a definite ‘One To Watch’.

FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: Kirstie Simmons. Simmons (8-2, 2KO’s) traveled to the Barclay Center in New York taking on undefeated Heather Hardy (18-0, 4KO’s) by way of 8 rounds unanimous decision in that featherweight contest. This was the only Simmons fight in 2016. None in Colorado can offer a legitimate challenge to the now 33 years-old Simmons.

PROMOTER OF THE YEAR: Jeff Cisneros. Cisneros and his Sparta Combat League have taken the Colorado boxing scene by storm, giving Colorado boxers the opportunity to shine in a first-class environment. Cisneros teaming up with Steve Mestas (AIRTIGHT BOXING) produced the best (local talent) boxing shows of 2016.

14947938_1812517912293819_773353804137773687_nBOXING CLUB OF THE YEAR: AFA (A Family Affair). Adrian Perlman, Fidel Martinez and Ernie Martinez have put together a fantastic gym where you can ‘get your sweat on’ and schedule some awesome ‘ink work’ in the same building. 4800 N. Washington St., 720-254-0605.

ROAD WARRIOR OF THE YEAR: Jeremy Ramos. Ramos (9-5, 4KO’s) fought 3 times in 2016 traveling to California, New York and Pennsylvania going 0-3. Ramos is considered a more than worthy opponent, his adversaries a combined 49-7-2 with 24KO’s.

AMATEUR OF THE YEAR: Shon Mondragon. The 19 years-old Mondragon was recently selected to represent the USA in International competition as part of the USA Men’s Elite Team.

2016 was a good year for Colorado Boxing and 2017 should produce a new batch of talented combatants. As our USA amateurs look toward Olympic Gold in 2020, AIBA continues attempts to smooth out their issues. We can only keep our fingers crossed… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DENVER (December 11, 2016) SCL7 ‘Mile High Maulers’ (Jeff Cisneros) was a huge success at the Grizzly Rose Event Center, I-25 & 58th Ave in Denver yesterday afternoon, as a packed house enjoying 6 amateur and 3 professional bouts that were expected to be, and were, entertaining from start to finish. The SCLCB (Sparta Combat League Championship Boxing) events have become popular very quickly with Denver boxing fans as Jeff Cisneros (SCLCB CEO) and Steve Mestas (Air Tight Boxing Promotions) work together and are determined to help promote Colorado boxers and Colorado boxing.

Colorado Boxing Commission staff present yesterday: (Ringside Physician) Dr. Alex Constantnides, (Chief Inspector) Eric Heinz, (Referees) Tim Mills, Rob Mullings and Curtis Thrasher, (Judges) Jeanne McEvoy, Tyrone Short and Mills, Mullings and Thrasher, (Inspectors) Brian Campbell and Hale Hilsbeck and (Timekeeper) Ben Ramirez.

Alejandro Ibarra, SCL 152 lbs. Champion. Photo: Trihex Photography/Amanda Armstrong

Bouts #1-#6, (amateurs) were each scheduled for 3 rounds. Bout #1: Donald Pierce stopped Nate Roberts via round 3 TKO. Bout #2: Eduardo Ruiz over Matt Watts by unanimous decision with all 3 judges scores 30-27. Bout #3: Mylo Jamar stopped Dave Ross in round 2 for the TKO win. No winner more excited than the 6’5″ Jamar who’s screams of joy actually silenced the crowd. Bout #4: Donovan Alirez took home the split decision win over Sergio Lujan with judges McEvoy (29-28) and Short (30-27) in favor of Alirez and 29-28 (Mills) for Lujan. Bout #5 featured 2 Fort Collins women where Staci Vega got the split decision win over Meghan Renton with Thrasher (29-28) and McEvoy (29-28) giving the nod to Vega and Short (29-28) seeing Renton the winner. Vega was emotional afterwards in dedicating this fight to a 13 years-old cousin who had recently committed suicide. Bout #6 featured the highly anticipated bout for the SCL 152 lbs. Championship where Alejandro Ibarra and Fidel Martinez, Jr. put on a display rivaling any professional bout, Ibarra earning the hard fought split decision. McEvoy (30-27) and Mills (29-28) saw Ibarra the winner with Short (29-28) Martinez Jr. the victor. This fight was tough to judge and definitely my choice as the amateur ‘Fight Of The Night’. Fans were more than appreciative of the effort and the fight a great lead in to the pro portion of the fight card.

(R) Andrew Strode, photo Trihex Photography/Amanda Armstrong
(R) Andrew Strode, Arturo Melo. Photo: Trihex Photography/Amanda Armstrong

The first of 3 pro fights was a highly anticipated match between two former Colorado amateur standouts in what was billed as ‘REVENGE’, with Denver’s Andrew Strode making his professional debut against Colorado Springs’ Arturo Melo in a 4 rounds bantamweight bout. The two had met as amateurs, Strode getting that win. Andrew Strode put on a beautiful boxing performance yesterday, dropping Melo in round 2 with a beautiful over hand right. Strode was sharp and extremely quick in his pro debut. “I was able to keep the fight at my pace”, began Strode. “The right hand was the difference. I was able to keep him off balance with good movement and sharp punching. I am happy to get the win. Arturo Melo is definitely a tough fighter. I can now focus on getting on more fight cards and hopefully signed by a major promoter in the very near future. I’m looking forward to what happens next”. The understandably disappointed Arturo Melo: “The knockdown was more of a flash knockdown, I got right back up. The awkward style of Strode did cause me problems but my punches just didn’t land as they usually do. I’ll get back in the gym, correct those issues and get ready for whatever comes next”. Judges Mills and Short scored the fight 40-35 with McEvoy scoring the fight 39-36, all in favor of Andrew Strode. Arturo Melo suffers his first loss, him now at 2-1 while Andrew Strode sits at 1-0. These two just might see each other again in a few years, their names at the top of young ‘Colorado prospects’. Both these young men are a credit to Colorado boxing and are ‘Ones To Watch’. This was my pro ‘Fight Of The Night’, Melo the betting favorite but Strode the upset winner deserving the award.

The co-main event featured Greeley’s Mario Sierra and Denver’s Adan Gonzales in a featherweight fight that went back and forth, making it a tough call for the judges. It seemed Gonzales had the upper hand, delivering punches from all angles and good footwork, with Sierra in hot pursuit. The 3 judges saw the fight completely different with McEvoy 40-36 (Sierra), Short 40-36 (Gonzales) and Mills 38-38, the fight declared a draw. This was the only fight of the afternoon that had the crowd booing their disapproval. The rematch should happen soon to settle the issue. Sierra is now 1-0-1, 1KO while Gonzales sits at 2-1-1, 2KO’s.

The main event of the afternoon featured the reigning SCL lightweight Champion from Denver, Manuel ‘Manos’ Perez, taking on Francisco Lopez of West Jordan, Utah, in a scheduled 8 rounds contest for Perez’ SCL lightweight belt. For the casual fan this fight may have seemed mundane but for the purist, this fight had it all. Neither Manny Perez nor Francisco Lopez could be considered a KO artist, their forte being to physically wear down their opponent. Manny Perez is a master at delivering solid body work and Lopez focuses on the same, making this fight your proverbial ‘chess match’.

The fight was a real pleasure to watch as two seasoned pros went about their calculated business. Credit to Steve Mestas for making this fight happen as ‘Manos’ has publicly stated he has no intentions of taking any ‘easy fights’, this one versus Lopez another validating that claim. Now with just 12 pro fights under his belt, Francisco Lopez has seen nothing but top competition where he has more than held his own. For those suggesting this fight was ‘carefully selected’ and ‘made to order’ for Perez, was/is simply nonsense. Manny Perez now has 40 professional fights on his resume and used every bit of that experience in attempting to control the game Lopez. Solid downstairs/upstairs work by Perez was the difference as he perfectly executed the strategy chosen by his coach, Fidel Martinez, Sr. The solid ‘thuds’ delivered to the body by both Perez and Lopez brought numerous, loud ‘OOHS and AHHS’ from the sold out crowd on hand. This was a very good, technically sound fight that Denver fight fans should consider it a privilege to have witnessed. Both men did a fantastic job in putting on sterling performances in what was definitely worthy of ‘main event’ status. Judges McEvoy and Short saw the fight 80-72 while judge Mullings saw it 78-74, all in favor of the winner by unanimous decision, Manuel ‘Manos’ Perez. Manuel Perez improves to 27-12-1, 7KO’s while Francisco Lopez drops to 7-3-2, 2KO’s.

Steve Mestas, Manuel ‘Manos’ Perez and Fidel Martinez, Sr. Photo: Trihex Photography/Amanda Armstrong

As usual, the work ethic of Manuel Perez continues, him full of praise for his opponent in post-fight comments is his style, where yesterday he ended with, “I’ll take a couple weeks off to enjoy this win with my family and then get back in the gym”. No way does Manny Perez ‘take a couple weeks off’ from the gym. The lifestyle is part of who he is and what he does, but it does sound nice.

DENVER (December 5, 2016) SCL 7 ‘Mile High Maulers’ Sparta Combat League Championship Boxing Event (Jeff Cisneros) will be held at the Grizzly Rose Event Center, 5450 N. Valley Highway (I-25 & 58th Ave.), this Saturday, December 10, doors opening at noon with first bout at 1PM. This card kicks off with Sparta Combat League amateur action followed by an exciting professional card featuring in the main event, SCL (Sparta Combat League) lightweight champion Manuel ‘Manos’ Perez (26-12-1, 7KO’s) taking on Francisco Jaile Lopez (7-2-2, 2KO’s) in a scheduled 8 rounds bout. The under card is stacked with quality and competitive bouts that no one in their right mind would attempt to predict their outcome.

Manuel ‘Manos’ Perez

The now 24 years-old Francisco Lopez resides in West Jordan, Utah, with 9 of his professional bouts conducted in his home state. Lopez is no stranger to Colorado fighters having lost by unanimous decision to Armando Rodriguez here in Denver back on May 30, 2014. On November 21, 2015, Lopez got the split decision win in Utah over Marcos Herrera, both fights held at 137 lbs. Lopez has been in with notables Kenneth ‘Boss Man’ Sims, Jr. (now 10-0, 3KO’s campaigning at welterweight) losing a 6 rounds unanimous decision (Lopez’ last loss) back on November 13, 2014, in New York and lightweight Donte Strayhorn (10-3, 3KO’s) on August 27, 2016, Lopez getting the 6 rounds split decision in Utah. Francisco Lopez is a remarkable 4-1 at 135 lbs. with 3 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws coming in fights contracted at over 135 lbs. That undisputed fact makes him a formidable opponent by any standard and with Lopez riding high on a 2 fight win streak this fight is of major interest.

Manny Perez has never lost a fight at 135 lbs. and wants this fight bad. His 2-a-day workout regimen starts 2 hours before work at 5AM. After work Perez is at it again for another 2 hours in the gym working with coach Fidel Martinez and TEAM PEREZ. Every day since camp began this has been the daily routine of Manny Perez. He is primed and ready for action this Saturday night. Francisco Lopez riding a 2 fight win streak and unafraid of coming to Denver in hopes of pulling off the upset reminds Perez of himself in many ways. Fluctuating between lightweight and welterweight has Lopez seeing some of the same opportunities Perez had come his way. Taking fights against larger opponents had become a sometimes necessity for TEAM PEREZ as they looked to stay busy, not many anxious to call out his name in the lightweight division. As opportunities presented themselves, they took them on with no regrets. Manny Perez has vowed to campaign at 135 lbs. until he gets that well-deserved shot at a major World lightweight title.

Those who have come to know Manny ‘Manos’ Perez appreciate his humble yet confident demeanor and attitude. He’s your ‘No Brag, Just Fact’ kind of guy that respects the game and himself too much to belittle either. Francisco Lopez was more than willing to take this fight and his plan is to upset ‘Manos’ Perez on Saturday night. This main event is one you cannot afford to miss.

15232212_10209848907512175_3708644479400517817_nWith the first bout starting at 1PM this Saturday afternoon, there will be a huge crowd on hand so get there early. Fidel Martinez, Jr. and Alejandro Ibarra Huizar doing battle for the SCL Amateur 152 lbs. belt, Champion vs Champion, highlights’ amateur action. This one will be a real barn-burner. General admission tickets remain available by calling 720-933-6147 or try any boxer on the card that may have a few left.

Official weigh-ins will be held this Friday, December 9, at the Last Call Tavern, 7052 N. Pecos St., in Denver beginning at 6:30PM. Following the fights on Saturday afternoon, TEAM PEREZ would like everyone to join them for drinks and a bite to eat at Colorado Plus Brew Pub, 6995 W. 38th Ave. in Wheatridge, where the food, beer and beef are all Colorado grown. Since day one, whether at home or on the road, Colorado Plus Brew Pub has sponsored TEAM PEREZ. Their continued support is much appreciated. Good food, 50 different types of beer, after some great fights… I’ll see you all there!

DENVER (December 4, 2016) Next Saturday night, December 10, televised LIVE at 7PM MST on HBO at the Century Link Center, Omaha, Nebraska, Top Rank (Bob Arum) presents Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (29-0, 20KO’s) defending his WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine unified World super lightweight titles against John Molina, Jr. (29-6, 23KO’s) in a scheduled for 12 rounds main event. Molina is currently ranked #1 by the WBA and #8 by both the WBC and WBO in the super lightweight division.

Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford and John Molina, Jr.

Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is considered by many the heir apparent to the Top Rank (Bob Arum) throne once Manny Pacquiao decides to call it quits. The charisma, personality and boxing style possessed by Crawford make those assertions more than a probability. Although Molina has 3 inches height and 1 inch reach advantages, Crawford will eventually take charge, showcase his boxing skills and successfully defend his titles.

The under card features standout welterweight Mike ‘YesIndeed’ Reed (20-0, 17KO’s) from Waldorf, Maryland, and knockout light heavyweight knockout artist Steven Nelson (4-0, 4KO’s) from Omaha, in bouts they should and will win, both keeping their undefeated records intact. Denver light welterweight Gregorio ‘El BEBE’ Perez (4-1-1, 1KO) taking on Kevin Ventura (3-0, 2KO’s) in a scheduled 6 rounds welterweight bout has caused more than a slight buzz in the Nebraska boxing community. Gregorio Perez returns to Nebraska with a definite chip on his shoulder after leaving Omaha on December 12, 2015, following a fight against Treven ‘Top-Flight’ Coleman (making his pro debut) Perez losing a shall we say, ‘controversial middle decision’. Scores from all 3 Nebraska judges were a more than generous 38-38, 40-36 and 39-37. ‘Returning to the Scene of the Crime’ is no big deal to Perez and could turn out to be just  what the doctor ordered. He relishes the opportunity to showcase his boxing skills against another Crawford protégé, Kevin Ventura, on a national stage.

Gregorio Perez and some of his family

B&B Boxing Promotions’ Bill Green is excited about the match up but preferred there be more of a buildup to this highly anticipated bout that both Top Rank and B&B had hoped be scheduled sometime in Spring of 2017. When Rene Marquez suffered an injury and was forced to pull out against Ventura on December 10, Perez was contacted and wasted no time in accepting the replacement offer with what may seem too short of notice for some but Gregorio Perez is ready to fight at any time, any place. This fight scheduled for 6 rounds will be the first for Ventura, his first 3 bouts each 4 rounds with Perez having gone 6 rounds and 5 rounds in his last two outings. “I hear he’s (Ventura) talking about knocking me out”, begins Perez, “That’s funny. My last fight against Emilio Hernandez was done with the intent of getting at Donovan Estrella here in Denver but he refuses to fight me. He says I need more fights but I’m sure as my fight count rises there’ll be more excuses from him. I was dealing with a bad back at the time of the Hernandez fight, that all cleared up. This opportunity against Kevin Ventura, at this time, just might be that ‘blessing in disguise’ every boxer hopes for. I’ve seen Ventura fight once and he is aggressive but that won’t pose any real problems for me. He’s shorter than me but that’s not unusual. Finding anyone my height at this weight is uncommon. I’ll use that aggression against him. I’ve been to Omaha before and that crowd won’t be a factor at all. I’m going there with the intention of winning every round”.

The quiet and reserved Gregorio Perez is presently at ease both inside and outside the ring. His parents want his dream of becoming a World Champion to become a reality and asked him to move back into the Perez family home where he can concentrate solely on honing his craft. Perez is a doting father of one year-old daughter ????? who shares his affection with fiancé, Keyanna Varner. Perez and Varner plan to one day move into their own home and raise his daughter, that coming in the near future. Gregorio trains at Strictly Boxing (Rick Lopez, Sr.) in Denver. Traveling to Omaha and working the Perez corner are Thomas Chmielewski and Coach Jon Jon Vigil.

Gregorio Perez, daughter Iridian Madelynn Rosa Perez and fiance Keyanna Varner.
Gregorio Perez, daughter Iridian Madelynn Rosa Perez and fiance Keyanna Varner.

The calm and relaxed Perez is more at ease than ever before. How that plays out in the ring has yet to be determined but if that calm transfers into his ring performance, come Saturday night this fight could be a real barn-burner. “After the fight with Ruben Jacoby, where I had to fight hard to come back and get the draw, my dad and mom felt the strain of me working and paying bills just didn’t allow me to focus on boxing” says Perez. “My car had been broken into among other things and mentally it was tough. They made the offer for me to move back in, I accepted and it’s already producing dividends. My mom has always been a huge help raising my daughter along with my brother Jose Andrade who takes care of the family, me in particular. He makes sure I have everything I need whether it be money or just sit down and talk. I know he’s there for me. My four younger brothers and my dad push me to be the best I can be. Keyanna is the love of my life and our plans for a long life together are beginning to fall into place. I’m training full-time now and the Gregorio Perez the Omaha fans saw last year is long gone”.

Gregorio ‘EL BEBE’ Perez vs Kevin Ventura, next Saturday night at the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska, where Perez will be ‘Returning To The Scene Of The Crime’. Kevin Ventura has allegedly begged Bo (Mcintyre, Terence Crawford Head Coach) and the team for ‘bigger, more meaningful fights’. Wanting and getting Gregorio Perez may have Kevin Ventura and Team Crawford remembering that old cliché, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’.

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