Arizona Boxing News & Notes

Santiago Wins Title, Boxing Noise & More

Boxing Fans,

A sellout crowd (2,650) packed the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night, 2/22, to watch hometown favorite Alexis “The Beaver” Santiago successfully defend his WBC (USA) USNBC Bantamweight crown against highly regarded Hanzel “Rudy Boy” Martinez (Mexico) who left the ring with a 20-2 record while the win improved Santiago’s record to 16-3-1. It was easily the best of the televised fights (live stream) and both fighters received a standing ovation after the final bell and deservedly so.

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However, the lopsided scores of 98-91, 98-91, and 96-93 from the ringside judges in favor of Santiago cast some doubt over the fairness and accuracy of the scoring. I scored the 10 round contests a draw while four of my astute boxing friends were split with their allegiance. Two thought Santiago deserved the nod (SD) while two scored Martinez the winner via split decision. And none of us were drinking anything stronger than a Root Beer.

In my humble opinion, either warrior could have been declared the winner and I truly hope Iron Boy Promotions (promoter) will try to arrange a rematch. I’m sure fans will give that suggestion a loud amen.

The questionable scores could have been determined from a “controversial” called 1st round knockdown by referee Wes Melton and a contrast of boxing styles. I thought the so called knockdown was more of a slip from a pull down by Santiago. Melton is a reputable referee and one possible mistake doesn’t warrant his career a pink slip. It was a rough night for the phoenix resident who has refereed numerous championship fights. He was heckled unmercifully by boxing fans throughout the night and how he weathered it is a testament to his strength of character.

As for fighting styles, Martinez emptied the majority of his arsenal of punches to the body while Santiago peppered Martinez with stinging blows to the head and face of the 22 year old fighter leaving his (Martinez) face deserving of a free Cover Girl makeover. In contrast, the face of Santiago absorbed little visible damage, but his movement was slowed by a barrage of body punches from his younger opponent.

After the fight, I asked about a report that Santiago suffered broken ribs and the answer was no, but the right hand of Santiago was very sore from hitting Martinez often and hard. He should be healthy for his next bout. As for Martinez, the young man suffered a possible orbital fracture and will be required to refrain from ring activity for at least 45 days.

As for his future, Santiago told me, at the Iron Boy press conference, he hopes to fight for a world title after 2 or 3 more fights. Ambition is good!

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According to informed sources, hundreds of disappointed fight fans were turned away at the Celebrity Box Office for a lack of available tickets. Some thwarted fans found solace by striking a deal ($75.00 for $25.00 tickets) with free-lance vendors aka Scalpers while the most prudent and fiscally responsible fan headed home to watch the event on their personal computer. Iron Boy Promotions was gracious enough to provide a free live stream which showed 5 of the 10 featured fights.

I was one of thousands of viewers who took advantage of the live stream feed and I give the Iron Boy presentation a thumbs up performance grade. I would suggest a bit more work on the graphics and it would be nice to see replays, if possible. There are limitations to live streams, but it is a nice option to have. My computer doesn’t have a sound device, so I can’t critique that aspect of the program. Trust me, mute is not good!

More Iron Boy X1: The co-main featured heavyweights Sergei “The White Wolf” Liakhovich vs. Chad Davis. It was a slow paced fight and fans booed throughout. Liakhovich, former WBO Champion, landed more punches, but both fighters were lethargic. Both corners should have been disappointed in their fighters’ performance. It went the scheduled 8 rounds with “The White Wolf” scoring a win by unanimous decision.

Stylish former WBA lightweight champion Joachim Alcine toyed with young Jovan Ramirez until the veteran tagged the kid with a vicious liver shot that ended the bout in the third round. It was Alcine’s 26th knockout to go with his 35 wins and 7 losses. Ramirez record is now 3-1. The Arizona State MMA & Boxing Commission approved the fight; makes one wonder! Alcine is managed by Andrew Zak, Journeyman Promotions.

Panchito Time: Seconds into their bout, Francisco C De Vaca aka “Panchito” and Luis Armendaniz bumped heads and I think that accidental meeting set a cautious tone for the fight. Vaca, a protégé of renowned trainer Roberto Alcazar, continues to show why he is a highly regarded prospect; however the head butt made the bout more of a chess match. The UD Victory raises Vaca’s record to 5-0; Armendaniz is now 2-2.

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Fan Favorite: I’ve watched Joey “The Boxer” Ruelas fight 3-4 times and each time he gets off to a slow start as if he left something on the stove and had to go home to turn it off. On Saturday night he again appeared nervous in the first and from the second on he picked up the pace, showed better footwork and more confidence in his super welterweight battle with newcomer Azmat Umarzade. Ruelas kept his opponent off balance and landed enough punches to score a unanimous decision to up his record to 7-0-1. Umarzade (0-1) loses his debut bout. Ruelas has lost more than since his vow tget down to 154,incredible. Next bout, 4/26 at Celebrity Theater.

Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez made short work of Jovan “Joe” Clark in a bout that ended with Clark being carried out on a stretcher after a long respite on the canvas. Hernandez put the Las Vegas resident asleep at 1:56 of the first round. When Clark woke up, he was informed by a US Marshal that he was under arrest. Specific charges are unknown at this time. Clark was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

In remaining bouts, promising Alexis Zazuetta ended his night’s work with a third round knockout over outmatched Jesus Sandoval who is still looking for his first win. Zazuetta is 2-0. Super Bantamweight Edgar “Gallo” Brito, still smarting over his debut draw, wasted no time in knocking out Christian “Kamikaze” out in the first frame after putting his foe down three times. Brito is now 1-0-1 and will fight on the Iron Boy X11 card at the Celebrity Theatre. Keenan Carbajal, trained by Danny Carbajal, scored a unanimous decision over David Yanez of Las Vegas Nevada. Also, Misael Chacon won his debut as he handed Brandon “Pretty Boy” Riddell (1-1) his first loss with scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Chacon is making a transition from MMA fighting. In summation, some fights were a reach, but the Iron Boy X1 menu had enough boxing protein for fans to enjoy.

Boxing Noise: Undefeated lightweight Phoenix boxer Victor Castro (11-0) hopes to pick up his twelfth win at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall on April 4 when he takes on Rasha Ganaway who lost his last fight to WBC USA USNBC lightweight Champion Juan Garcia, also from Phoenix. Contract signing just a formality. Castro has had easy sailing through his first 11 fights, but Ganaway (14-4-1) could be a real test for the 21 year old Castro. Ganaway hails from Little Rock Arkansas and should be a slight underdog……Boxing Coach Damien Stone has been told by USA Boxing Arizona that he will have to disclose the result of his pending 1 count of prostitution charge before he is allowed to continue his membership in the organization and if he is found guilty, his membership will be revoked. Sad times for his family. Rumors suggest a plea agreement has been reached. D day is March 17 according to court spokesperson.
Iron Boy X11 is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 at the Celebrity. Iron Boy has dropped plans for their March 15 boxing show at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa. Boxers penciled in for Celebrity show include Phoenix favorites:

Joey “The Boxer” Ruelas, Francisco C De Vaca aka “Panchito”, Edgar ”Gallo” Brito, Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro, Paul “Ziggy” Romero, Alexis Zazuetta, Joey Marrufo, Keenan Carbajal, Julio Sarinanna and possibly Sijuola Shabazz. Match Maker Mike Sanchez hopes to present 10 fights on the card. Go to for more details.
No Curtain Call: Flamboyant “short film” actor Ralph Velez surprised a few with his impromptu and bodacious performance at the Iron Boy X1 show on 2/22 in Phoenix at the Celebrity Theater. It was Ralph, not Iron Boy Announcer Sonny Franco who announced Alexis “The Beaver” Santiago’s ring entrance and his “takeover” of the mike infuriated some members of the Iron Boy team. Mr. Velez and Iron Boy have been at odds since Ralph was replaced by Franco and Ralph’s performance on Saturday didn’t help ease the strained relationship between the two parties. Don’t expect an encore performance! Personally, I thought the episode was hilarious even though I didn’t hear the “rap style” intro because my PC isn’t equipped with sound. Christmas came early!

Quick Jabs: Phoenix boxer Jorge Marquez celebrated his 28th Birthday on 2/28. Jorge is on indefinite suspension from the Maryland Athletic State Commission after suffering an ear injury in a 5th round TKO loss. Jorge is a good fighter that needs to be more active….Glendale fighter Luis Olivares is on tap to fight 4 rounds in Kissimmee Florida on March 14 and Mexico City, 4/4 for six rounds…..Jorge Galindo (0-2) is working out at Pro Edge Gym in Phoenix. His two losses came at the hands of Javier Loya who has decided to return to boxing when conditioning permits…..former boxing champ James Toney was on hand at the Iron Boy X1 card. Phoenix heavyweight Rico Hoye wants to tangle with Toney in what could be billed as a “battle of the oldies but goodies”….Trainer Danny Riddell Sr. is working with a heavyweight and he wants to keep his name secret until the kid is ready…..Castle Sports Club, North 19th Avenue in Peoria, Arizona is closed pending sale. The complex used to house Madison Boxing which has picked up a new location….On March 29th, the White Mountain Boxing Club, with help from Ricky Rodriguez, will host their first boxing tournament. Event starts at 2p.m. in St. John Arizona; call 928-551-2654 for more details….Fight News.Com was highly critical of Wes Melton’s referee work at the recent Iron Boy Show and I think the digs were too personal and off target. I don’t always agree with Melton’s calls, but I will never question his integrity or knowledge of the sport. With that said, Fight News has every right to take issue with calls, just weigh it before slinging it.

Scrap Yard Boxing: Tucson boxing coach Jesse presents “It’s A Scrap” on Saturday, March 1 at the 6th Street Gym on Main Street in Tucson Arizona. Call 520-631-6900 for more details. Adult admission = $10.00. 1st scuffle starts at 2 p.m. support amateur boxing….Top Rank and Journeyman Promotions plan to attend the Arizona Golden Gloves Tournament at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa, March 7, 8,9. Go to Arizona Golden Gloves website for more details. 5 times World Champion Michael Carbajal usually show up for “Gloves” event….Until Next Time!