Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith
Boxing Fans, Urbina Murder Update: Phoenix Police arrested two men in connection with the brutal murder of 17 year old aspiring 2016 Olympic boxing hopeful Alexis Urbina on Friday November 8. Formal charges against the two suspects were filed on Wednesday, 11/13. Urbina was found unconscious on the kitchen floor in his South Phoenix home on September 3 and transported to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix where he passed two days later as a result of severe trauma to his head which caused his brain to swell three times its’ normal size. The charges against the pair of suspects at this time read: 1st degree murder, trafficking stolen property and second degree burglary.
23 year old Joseph Jessie Corrales was the first suspect arrested and he told Channel 3 television reporter Karen Brown,at the Maricopa County Jail facility in Phoenix, that he had nothing to do with the murder, but he did concede that he drove 22 year old Robert Randy Chavez to the Urbina where he allegedly waited outside and heard what sounded like fighting inside the home. Corrales’ information led police to the felony arrest of Chavez and both men were booked Friday evening and formally charged on Wednesday, 11/13. The law requires charges be filed within 48 hours after the arrest excluding holidays and weekends.
Phoenix Police SGT Trent Crump (Media Relations Official) told me he believes the motive for the crime was robbery. He used the street slang term “Hit A Lick” in theorizing why the two suspects allegedly entered the house, stole a television set, cell phone, play station and other personal items including boxing memorabilia . They (suspects) needed fast, easy money, so why not cruise the neighborhood and find a house where nobody was home and grab a few items that could be turned into quick cash.
Unfortunately, “Hit A Lick” scheme came upon an obstacle; Alexis Urbina was home and they allegedly killed the innocent victim during the commission of the crime.
This premise may lay the foundation for the Maricopa County Attorney Office’s case against Chavez and Corrales. The prosecution phase is expected to begin in a few days and the state could seek the death penalty depending on mitigating circumstances and the temperament of the court and jury. Bail has been set at $1,000.000.00 and both suspects will remain at the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix until the prosecution phase is completed. I forwarded a request to interview the incarcerated subjects, but that request was denied by the defense team. I wasn’t surprised.
The criminal investigation is still ongoing, but at this time there isn’t reason or evidence to conclude that others participated in the crime. However, Andrew Soto (Alexis Urbina’s Trainer and brother in law), in remarks made to Phoenix television reporter William Pitts (NBC affiliate-channel 12) on Saturday 11/9; the distraught boxing mentor expressed doubt that the two men charged with the crime acted alone. Soto suggested that someone else wrote the script and deployed Chavez and Corrales to carry out the act. He wasn’t able to support his theory with evidence, but he looked and sounded convinced that others are also responsible for the crime. Alexis’s mother is on record stating “God may forgive the two suspects, but I can’t.” Closure for the Urbina family will take time.
What is known about Chavez and Corrales is attributed to online mug shot info, brief police profiles and published tidbits . Chavez is 23 and Corrales is 22. Both men are Hispanic males. Corrales stands at 5′ 11″ and weighs 198 lbs. Chavez is 5′ 9″ tall and weighs 155 lbs. Corrales pleaded guilty to burglary in 2009. Chavez was arrested in Phoenix, 10-19-2013 for failure to take care of outstanding warrants, he was released on his own recognizance. His arrest on 11/8 marks the fourth time this year he has been booked by police authorities. Twice in Nevada and 2 times in Phoenix. Corrales attended high school in Phoenix and both men were living in the South Phoenix area at the time, the crime was committed.
A very special thank you to the individuals who called the Phoenix Police after both suspects tried to sell the victim’s property (IPhone, Boxing Memorabilia, Play Station, etc) to random Phoenix residents. The big break came when witnesses recognized pictures of Alexis on the victim’s IPhone and immediately did the right thing by calling authorities after the thieves left. Their capture was a team effort. At least 400 flyers were placed in the hands of volunteers with instructions to post them around Phoenix on windows of consenting area businesses including boxing gyms. USA Boxing Arizona Chief of Officials (Richard Soto) publicized the search at local boxing tournaments and allowed flyers to passed out during the events. The boxing community was fabulous in the pursuit of Justice for Alexis. And last, but not least, Kevin McCabe, NBC Sports Radio AM 1060-Phoenix and socially conscious parent. It was Kevin who persuaded CBS Outdoors to donate billboard space near the scene of the crime. Kevin and other journalists deserve a standing O for representing the “Fourth Estate” proudly.
Edwards Return: New Arizona resident Derek “The Black Lion” Edwards (26-2-1) returns to the ring on December 7 in Atlantic City versus undefeated Matt Korobov (21-0 with 12 knockouts) in a scheduled for 8 rounds bout held at the Board Walk Hall. Derek hails from North Carolina, but pulled up stakes and moved to the Cactus state after splitting with his previous management He now trains at Hard Knocks Gym in Phoenix under the guidance of Clement Vierra, head trainer and gym owner. There is some talk, Edwards (26-2) may get sparring help from former IBF/NABF Super Middleweight Champion Jesus “El Martillo” Gonzales, nothing official. Gonzales is a southpaw and so is Korobov. Edwards turns 34 on December 5.
Korobov, is a Top Rank fighter from Russia who represented his native country in the 2008 Olympics. His impressive resume includes winning multiple gold medals in several world competitions and the 30 year old won more than 200 amateur bouts before turning professional in 2008. Boxing scribes marvel at his work ethic and some ring observers think a victory over Edwards will give Korobov an opportunity to fight for a minor title in 2014. Mr. Edwards may have something to say about that.
USA Boxing AZ Results:Fuentes Gym, in Phoenix, won the team Trophy at the recently concluded 38th Annual Gene Lewis two day Tournament.Fuentes sent 10 fighters to the tourney and 6 walked out of the ring with 1st place trophies. Congrats to team winners Isaac Wences, Francisco Santana, Kevin Carbajal, Anthony Garcia and Robert Meriwether. Anthony Mendez (Strong Enough Boxing Club) & Eban Vargas (Gene Lewis Boxing) also won. Mendez is trained by his brother, Andrew Mendez Jr. The Gene Lewis Outstanding Boxer Trophy went to 17 year old Scrap Yard Gym standout Javier Quijada for the second time in his stellar amateur career. The 123 lb boxer bears watching in the future and trainer Jesse Haro deserves a high five for his work with his young fighters Jesse is top notch…Arizona State USA Boxing Championships 11/23/13 at Grace Sparks Recreation Center in Prescott, Arizona has been cancelled.. Please go online to USA Boxing Arizona for further details on future events. Female boxing show at the Stone Hard Gym on Saturday 11/16 from 1-5 p.m. Women’s boxing is starting to receive the attention and respect it deserves. Hard to believe this event was scheduled on the same day as the Iron Boy 10 show at the Celebrity Theatre. No wonder some USA Boxing volunteers are starting to look a bit tired. They are definitely overworked. Please go to the website and find out how to volunteer. To paraphrase the Uncle Sam Slogan: USA Boxing Arizona needs you and right now.
Hoye Returns: Finally Rico Hoye (24-3 w/16 knockouts) got his wish and returned to boxing with a 1st round TKO victory over Brandon Winner (3-9) in a scheduled for 6 round contest held at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin On November 2, 7 days before celebrating his 39th Birthday. The four years away from the sport has rejuvenated him; according to one of his advisers.
Hoye stepped away from boxing in 2009, feed up and tired of broken promises from less than honorable power brokers in boxing. He now lives in Phoenix, Arizona where he works as a personal trainer. He thinks politics cost him a shot at a world title. Rico was a cruiser weight back in the day, but now he weighs a solid 215 and he carries it well. Hoye hopes to fight in Detroit on December 20 and he would like to fight Antonio Tarver in the near future if the soon to be 45 year old Tarver gets past Mike Shepard on November 26 in Florida. Tarver is still a name and draw despite an obvious erosion of his skills. A victory over Tarver would most likely give his comeback attempt a little ink and a bigger fight paycheck. The victory over Brandon Winner is a first step.
Boxing Noise: Heavyweight Danny Batchelder will fight in Louisiana on December 6 and the veteran battler may be on the verge of signing with a notable promoter if he chalks up two more wins. Batchelder (28-9-1) sparred with football player turned boxer Shane Olivea last week and Olivea did dwell for a novice. Olivea may bypass amateurs and announce his entry into the pros, early next year. The 31 year old Olivea, 6′ 4″-300 lbs is very athletic and a quick learner according to sources monitoring his progress. His professional football career (Chargers-Giants) ended with a back injury in 2008. Batchelder and Olivea train at Busted Knuckle Gym in North Phoenix….Phoenix boxer Joey Ruelas is a hot ticket after scoring a unanimous decision over tough Sijuola Ade Shabazz on the Iron Boy 9 Card. According to gossip, Bruce Trampler (Top Rank) was heard and seen whispering nice things into Joey’s ear. Ruelas fought Shabazz as a light heavyweight, but he will fight at 154 on the Iron Boy 11 card, February 22 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Joey has been through hell and back before resuming his boxing career in 2012. He seems to have it together. The love of a good woman doesn’t hurt.
Good luck….Super Middleweight Hector Camacho Jr. (57-6-1) returns to Arizona to fight journeyman Sammy Ventura (28-23) at the Casino Del Sol Casino in Tucson, Arizona on December 6.
The 35 year old Hector turned in a sad performance in Parker, Arizona earlier this year.Another stinker could spell the end of his long and successful career. According to rumors, Jesus “El Martillo” Gonzales may fight on the card. He has been out of action since his knockout loss to Adonis Stevenson in Canada…..Arizona boxer Joe Martell brought his Mom and Dad to the Iron Boy 10 weigh-in, nice touch…..Jose Benavidez Jr. & his younger brother David could fight on the same card in February 2014 if the rumors are correct. There are whispers the brothers might fight at the Veterans Coliseum (Phoenix) on 2/7 or 2/8. It would be great news because the sport of boxing and the Coliseum hierarchy have been at odds since the late Steve Eisner (promoter)
ruffled a few feathers with management more than a decade ago. The venue is ideal for boxing and the Central Phoenix location is perfect. If the feud is over, I would like to propose a show during the Arizona State Fair held annually in October. Boxing needs to be more aggressive in selling its’ product. Jose fought on the 11/16 Laughlin card and David fights in Mexacali, Mexico , December 14…132 lb. Luis Olivares set for the Big Apple on December 20 while his friend and Busted Knuckle stablemate Trevor McCumby continues his march to title contention with a fight in Oklahoma on December 7.. boxing fan Amanda Cruz wants to know my prediction on the 11/23 match up between “Manny Pacquiao & Brandon Rios. I am rooting for Manny because a Pacman victory would be a shot in the arm for the morale of the Philippine Nation. Our prayers are with the Filipino people as they struggle to overcome the devastating efforts of Typhoon Haiyan; at least six provinces in the Philippines were affected…….lightweight Raymundo Beltran was thinking about taking another fight before his promised return match with Ricky Burns next year, but Team Beltran has apparently nixed the idea. I am hearing March in Scotland for the rematch. Beltran’s peeps are asking for different referee & judges. What a shock! There was some chatter about Burns skipping Ray and taking on Crawford instead, but the rumor turned out to be just a rumor, thank goodness.
Iron Boy 10 Update: Just hours before this column was packed and sent around the globe, Iron Boy Promotions sent me an updated version of their 11/16 boxing show (Iron Boy 10) at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. On paper, the card looked very solid. Tickets range from $25, $35. to $45.00 for ringside seating. Here is the latest lineup posted at fight time: Results will be posted in next column.
Juanito Garcia (18-3) vs. Rashad Ganway (14-3) 10 rounds, WBC USNBC Junior Welterweight Title-Francisco C De Vaca vs. Juan Carlos Benavidez-Alexis Zazueta vs.Rafael Riviera-Mario Esparza vs. Jair Quintero-Wilbert Lopez vs. Joe Martell was scratched hours before the fight after some irregularities in the contract were noticed-Beto Carbajal vs. Daniel Garcia Julio Saranana vs. Bradley Tosie-plus three amateur fights sanctioned by USA Boxing Arizona led by Richard Soto, chief of Officials. The list of amateurs include hot prospect Luis Espinoza, Emmanuel Nieves and Alfredo Escarga. Nieves is a 19 year old (132 lbs) with a lot of upside. He was planning to stay amateur until after the 2016 Olympic trials, but Top Rank and another boxing entity is very impressed with the young Arizona fighter. Expect an announcement within the next month or two…Edgar Brito and Carlos (The Chosen One” are off the Iron Boy 10 card due to lack of opponents….Joey Ruelas has served his 45 day injury suspension and should be on the 2/22/13 Iron Boy 11 card at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. As previously mentioned, Iron Boy is working on producing a show in El Paso , Texas; however, details are still in the works. Until Next Time!
Two Arrested in Connection with Alexis Urbina Murder
by Don Smith/Arizona Boxing News & Notes Columnist — Dateline Phoenix …Phoenix Police arrested two men in connection with the brutal murder of 17 year old aspiring 2016 Olympic boxing hopeful Alexis Urbina on Friday November 8. Urbina was found unconscious on a floor in his South Phoenix home on September 3 and transported to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix where he passed two days later as a result of severe trauma to his head which caused his brain to swell three times its’ normal size.
23 year old Joseph Corrales was the first suspect arrested and he told Channel 3 television reporter Karen Brown,at the Maricopa County Jail facility, that he had nothing to do with the murder, but he did concede that he drove another man named Robert (no last name given) to Urbina’s house and heard what sounded like fighting inside the home. Joseph’s information led police to the arrest of Robert X and both men were booked and will be arraigned on Saturday 11/9 at which time they will be asked to submit a plea. Corrales pleaded guilty to burglary charges in 2009 and it is known whether or not he knew the victim.
When contacted, the Urbina family expressed relief that the arrests were made. It is not known what led to the apprehension and arrest of the two suspects, but the Arizona boxing community was very active and vocal in pursuit of the killer(s). A billboard was put up and hundreds of flyers were handed out and posted on windows throughout the city of Phoenix. And the Phoenix media deserve a high five for the attention they gave the story. The full identity of the second suspect should be released within the next 24 hours. A special thank you to the Phoenix Police Department.