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Frankie Gomez vs. Manuel Leyva on Saturday; WBC News

LOS ANGELES, October 29 – The wait is over. Following nearly a year away from the ring, unbeaten junior welterweight rising star Frankie Gomez will make his long-awaited return to active duty when he faces Mexican veteran Manuel Leyva in the eight round main event of TeleFutura’s “Solo Boxeo Tecate” from The Phoenix Club in Anaheim, Calif. this Saturday night.

Joining Gomez-Leyva on the card will be lightweight up-and-comer Jamie Kavanagh, who risks his own unbeaten slate in a lightweight eight round contest against one of his toughest tests yet in fellow prospect Ramon Valadez.

Gomez vs. Leyva, an eight round welterweight bout, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. PT on fight night and the first bell rings at 7:00 p.m. PT. The TeleFutura broadcast begins at11:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $30 and $50 are on sale now and available for purchase online at

A 2009 United States amateur champion and 2009 Silver medalist at the world championships, East Los Angeles’ Frankie Gomez (12-0, 9 KO’s) is seen as one of the top talents to enter the professional game in years. Just 20 years old, he can do it all in the ring, and he’s proved it thus far by winning all 12 of his professional fights. Gomez will now be fighting under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach as he returns to the ring for the first time since December of 2011 when he scored a third round knockout over James Hope.

30-year-old southpaw Manuel Leyva (21-8, 12 KO’s) is a former WBC Fedecaribe lightweight and WBA Fedebol super featherweight champion who has faced off with the likes of Sharif Bogere, Carlos Molina and Joel Casamayor during his 11-year professional career. Leyva is looking forward to the challenge of going toe-to-toe with Gomez on November 3, knowing that when it comes to experience, he has a big advantage.

Dublin-born Jamie Kavanagh (11-0-1, 5 KO’s) has become a big hit in his adopted home of Los Angeles where he trains with Freddie Roach and he is likely to have a huge group of supporters on hand as he looks for his 12th professional win. Already 3-0 with two knockouts in 2012, the 22-year-old known as “The Nuisance” expects to close out the year in style when he takes on Valadez.

Like Frankie Gomez, 22-year-old Ramon Valadez (11-2, 6 KO’s) hails from East Los Angeles and also has a world of potential as a professional prospect. A pro since 2010 who has won 10 of his last 11 fights, Valadez’ most recent win was a third round knockout over then 6-0 Kevin Hoskins, showing that he knows a little something about taking a hot prospect’s “0.” He’ll look to duplicate that feat on November 3 in Anaheim against the undefeated Kavanagh.

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October 29, 2012 – Mexico City.

From the office of WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán:

Published in The Bangkok Post – October 28, 2012

‘Little Mike Tyson’ edges toward ultimate glory

By Patrick Cusick

It says a lot about the evolution of professional boxing in China that a pint-sized strawweight fighter Xiong Zhao Zhong has emerged as the country’s new sporting hero.

Xiao is attracting almost as much attention in China as Yao Ming did when he became an NBA superstar 10 years ago playing for the Houston Rockets.

Xiao, who is 1.5m tall [note: 4’11”], is barely half the size of the 2.2m Yao but millions of boxing fans in China are betting that he can punch harder than Yao can slam dunk.

Six years ago, Xiao travelled from his village in Wenshen in southern China to Kunming – the gateway city into southern China.

By chance, he walked into a gym where he met Liu Gang, a former boxer who made the Chinese Olympic team and then turned professional as an expat in Melbourne, Australia.

Xiao and Liu hit it off from the first meeting and after taking the Asian Boxing Council championship in 2008, the partnership set their sights on winning China’s first professional boxing world title.

That moment of glory will come into focus when Xiao fights Mexican Javier Martinez for the WBC world straweight title at the Kunming Stadium on Nov 24.

“It’s been a long, hard journey for Zhong,” Liu said.

“He cracked a bone in his hand winning the silver belt against another tough Mexican a few months ago to get his shot at the world title. The hand has healed and he’s now getting back into peak condition.

“The whole of China is watching and they believe that he can win. There’s a lot of pressure on Zhong but I am confident he will win.”

When Xiao first stepped into the Kunming gym and put on the boxing gloves for the first time, he was 23 years old and looking for a job.

Since then his work has been a boxer and, due to his success in the ring, he’s been able to give some of his purse earnings to his family.

Win or lose, Xiao knows that his life will change forever when he becomes the first China boxer to fight for a world title in his homeland.

“We are trying to keep things as normal as possible. But his phone is running hot with people wishing him well,” Liu said. “For a Chinese boxer fighting his way up from the bottom to being a contender for a world title in his home country, that’s a very big deal. It’s grand and fortuitous.”

Xiao’s official record reads 17 wins, three losses and one draw. Nine of the wins were by knockouts and that’s why he’s known throughout China as ‘The Little Mike Tyson’.

Winning the world title will make tiny Zhao Zhong as big a legend as Yao Ming.

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