ROSEVILLE, CA – Longtime Sacramento area promoter Nasser Niavaroni’s Uppercut Promotions will open its 2014 on February 15th with a jam-packed card at a venue to be announced in nearby Vacaville. Making his long-awaited return to the ring in the main event will be Vacaville’s own rising junior welterweight prospect Maximilliano Becerra in a six-round bout.
Becerra (6-0-2, 3 KOs) has battled back from the injuries that prevented him from competing in 2013 and is back at work training in Indio, California with the well-respected Diaz Brothers camp, led by Antonio and Joel Diaz, former world title challengers.
“My layoff has been the result of so many different things,” explains Becerra. “I injured my hand and have been having hand problems. I let it rest and came back, actually had a fight scheduled at the Thunder Valley Casino when Nasser put on that show there, but I ended up re-injuring my hand then. I went to a hand specialist and have been taking care of it better and it is feeling really strong.”
Still immensely popular in Vacaville, Becerra moved down to Indio to better his career by working with the Diaz family. “Bobby Lee, the father of top ranked amateur Brandon Lee, moved down here and met the Diaz Brothers and talked to them for me. At the time, I was in Vacaville and I was not getting good sparring and my coaching was not the best it could be, so I felt I needed to make a change. So Bobby brought me down here and hooked me up with the Diaz Brothers, so I have been with them ever since.”
There may be no better camp for a junior welterweight to be a part of right now than the Diaz camp in Southern California. “I get to work with Timothy Bradley and Omar Figueroa,” says Becerra excitedly. “Right now I am working with Jose Roman and a lot of the top guys that come out here. So right now I am getting really good training and the best sparring and I feel like a more complete fighter right now.”
Promoter Nasser Niavaroni plans to match Becerra with Luis Alberto Cervantes, the opponent he had in mind for the Vacaville fighter on October 12th. The fight fell apart after Cervantes’ medicals were not completed in time. Becerra’s team has already studied Cervantes (7-6-3, 2 KOs) of Palm Springs, California by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
“My trainers know him pretty well,” explains Becerra. “He trains with Steve Quinonez and his father in Palm Springs, but I personally don’t know much else about him. I have seen him fight once, but that is all.”
There is one thing Becerra knows for sure: Vacaville will come out in force for his hometown debut on February 15th. “I think it will be huge. With the event in Vacaville, my people are going to come out and I know I can sell it out.”
Quickly becoming a Sacramento area favorite, heavyweight Rodney Hernandez (5-1, 1 KO) of Modesto, California will see action in a six-round bout. Hernandez impressively decisioned Henry Ramirez protégé Kevin Howard in a four-rounder on the last Uppercut Promotions card this past October 12th in Sacramento. Hernandez looks to take another step forward in the wide open heavyweight division in February.
Light heavyweight Ryan Bourland (1-0, 1 KO) of Vacaville will make his hometown debut in a four-round bout on February 15th. Bourland put away a much larger Albert Avina inside of two rounds in his pro debut at the October 12th event. Nicknamed “Rhino,” Bourland is expected to have a large supportive crowd cheering him on to win number two in February.
Former amateur heavyweight sensation LaRon Mitchell (3-0, 3 KOs) of San Francisco, California will aim to continue his career-long knockout streak on February 15th in a four-round bout. Mitchell had a busy October, scoring first-round knockouts two weeks and roughly 1,500 miles apart. On October 12th, Mitchell quickly dispatched Blue DeLong in Roseville, California. Then on October 26th, the Andy Nance-managed Mitchell put away Jesse Busk in just about the same amount of time in New Town, North Dakota.
Rounding out the pro card will be debuting welterweight Otis Seymore of San Francisco in a four-rounder. Seymore’s highly anticipated debut was put off for over a year while the popular Bay Area fighter overcame minor injuries. Now back healthy and training alongside Bay Area notables Aaron Coley, Miguel Lopez and Troy King, the 2009 U.S. National Championships bronze medalist is ready to wreck havoc on the 147-pound weight class. Seymore has signed with upstart managerial firm Ortega Boxing, led by Mario Ortega Jr.
A slate of USA Boxing-sanctioned amateur bouts will open the great night of action.
“This has traditionally been a great boxing area,” says promoter Nasser Niavaroni. “With Tony Lopez and even before him, Bobby Chacon, Pete Ranzany, Loreto Garza and Richard Duran, the great Richard Duran that passed away. I am just trying to keep boxing going, that’s all I am doing. At the same time, we are looking for up-and-coming stars that we can move forward and potentially get them into a championship situation.”
All Bouts Subject to Change
Tickets for the event, promoted by Uppercut Promotions, will go on sale at a later date to be announced.