With summer like weather arriving late this season to the Reno, Nevada area after an extended chain of winter weather patterns, boxing action was hot at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center Saturday night. Game efforts of the underdogs where unable to cool off the momentum of the defending champion and unbeaten prospect in the night’s respective main attractions. The event, presented by Top Rank and ESPN/ESPN Plus in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions stormed into the venue with a rich boxing history.
In the ESPN televised Main-Event, Mexico’s Oscar Valdez defended his W.B.O. Featherweight title with a unanimous twelve round decision victory over Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Jason Sanchez. Valdez was in control of the action from the beginning and dropped Sanchez with a perfectly timed left hook in round 5. Valdez hurt Sanchez again in round twelve but the game Sanchez, who gets married next week, survived the round to earn the consolation of going the distance with Valdez. Punchline scored the contest 118-109 for Valdez. Official scores where 118-109 (twice) and 117-110 for the champ Valdez who is now 26-0 (20). Sanchez returns to his New Mexico boxing lab with the first blemish on his record having fallen to 14-1 (7). Valdez hopes to be able to stay at the 126 pound division in an attempt to unify, but his dehydration for this bout is giving his camp thoughts of likely going up to Super Featherweight sooner then the plan was?
The ESPN televised action kicked off with Stockton, California superstar Gabriel Flores Jr. dominating the first 7 rounds against Mexico’s Salvador Briceno but in true fashion started the final stanza wanting to close the show. Briceno weathered the storm and hung on to go the distance with Flores. After 8 dominant rounds for Flores, in the ring for the second time in five weeks, Punchline scored the bout a shutout 80-72. Official scores where 79-73 and 78-74 (twice) all for the Top Rank gem who is now 14-0 (6), while the game Briceno falls to 15-4 (9). Flores should now be on a much deserved R & R before returning to the ring later this summer?
In the headlining bout of the ESPN Plus portion of the fight card, Brazil’s Robson Conceicao improved to 13-0 (6) with a unanimous 8 round decision over Mexico’s Carlos Ruiz who falls to 16-7-2 (6). Conceicao was looking for the home run with every shot while Ruiz was patiently waiting for an opportunistic time to attack that never exposed itself. After 8 rounds of Robson landing the heavier blows, Punchline scored 79-73 for the Brazilian Olympian. Official scores read 80-72 (twice) and 79-73 for Robson.
Local area lightweight Diego Elizondo of nearby Carson City, Nevada showed his speed while Sacramento, California’s Sergio Vega showed more pop in his shots. After 4 entertaining rounds it came down to what you liked best? The first 2 rounds, Elizondo seemed to control with the speed but towards the end of rounds 3 and 4, Vega found his range and landed several solid shots. In the end all three judges agreed with Punchline’s scorecard for a unanimous (38-38) Draw. Both fighters remain undefeated, For Elizondo, after a year lay-off he takes part in his second draw in a row and is now 2-0-2, Vega goes the distance for the first time and is now 2-0-1 (2).
In a scheduled 10 round Light Heavyweight contest Atlanta, GA’s Michael ‘Cannon Hands’ Seals scored a dramatic knockout at 2:00 of the second round when he landed a right to the top of the head that flattened Philadelphia, PA’s Christopher Brooker. Seals improves to 23-2 (17), Brooker falls to 14-7 (5).
In the opening bout of the night Reno’s own J.J. Mariano made a successful pro debut scoring a TKO at :45 of the 4th and final round versus fellow debuter William Flenoy of Fresno, California. Mariano floored Flenoy in the 3rd round and an apperant shoulder injury suffered by Flenoy in round four, forced referee Jay Nady to waive the action. Mariano, a local favorite from his University of Nevada Boxing Team days now is officially majoring in a professional boxing career.
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and was UFC star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Son Gabriel! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!