Arrellano On The Mend, Returns Later in 2017

Arrellano On The Mend, Returns Later in 2017

Words by Raymundo Dioses

 

Super featherweight contender Johnathan Arrellano recently had his left knee surgically repaired, his first surgery since entering the fight game in 2009 and a surgery he says he’s needed for the past few years.

“I’m a few months away from returning back to the ring,” said Arrellano, who is spending some time recuperating at the Crossroads Boxing Gym in Ontario, California, keeping in shape for an expected return in 2017. “Lil’ Thund’r” has won two of his last three bouts via KO.

Arrellano, (17-7-2, 5KO) last fought and won via knockout in July 2016 on a Big Bern Promotions fight card in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

While recovering from surgery, is helping in an advisory role at the CRB gym with lightweight contender John Delperdang, who is preparing for an April 2017 bout in Las Vegas.

The determined young fighter is eager to get back to putting in the work that comes along with being a professional boxer.  “I’m ready to put in that work, all the time and effort, for a fight that might last 30 minutes, or 15 minutes.  I’ve lived my whole life like that, willing to put in the hard work.”

Inaugural Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame 2017 Set for Memorial Weekend

 

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Words by Raymundo Dioses

The front of the historic Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, set alongside the beautiful backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean at Brighton Park, will be the setting for the inaugural Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame event on Memorial Day weekend in May 2017.

Inductees include Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, the late Arturo Gatti and other former greats in what has been an operation years in the making that is finally unfolding later this year.  Non-participant entrants include promoter Don King and referee Steve Smoger.

The ACBHOF is the brainchild of President Ray McCline, who is ambitious in his endeavor to host not just your average black tie, eat-while-champions-speak event, but an entertaining, interactive weekend of festivities to set apart Atlantic City from other Hall of Fame dinners and hopefully restore the state of A.C. boxing back to its glory years.

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ACBHOF President & Founder Ray McCline

McCline, a longtime co-trainer of five-time former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Virgil Hill, was with his fighter when Hill was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010.  McCline later attended another banquet style boxing event, the All-Star Boxing Gala; from there, a plan was conceived.

“I looked around and told myself, why isn’t this happening in Atlantic City?  Some of the greatest fights in boxing history took place in A.C.”

McCline decided to launch the ACBHOF in 2011, acquired a few business partners and in June 2014 officially registered the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.  Confident that he could make his business model work, McCline took his time creating an infrastructure consisting of associates who have good business instincts, including Vice President Strategist and Business Development Rodrick Green, and senior VP Roy Foreman, brother of former heavyweight champion George Foreman

In advisory roles, famed music producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins (Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey), and Greg Posella, who himself heads HARD Beverages, a lifestyle beverage company, will be working with McCline in coordinating the weekends many events.  Angela Crockett of Angela Crockett Enterprises is working as the Director of Communications for the event.

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McCline with Don King

‘DOUBLE JAB’ PODCAST TO FEATURE ACBHOF INDUCTEES

Also promoting this years’ ACBHOF is the podcast ‘Double Jab’, an online boxing talk vehicle hosted by Rich Quinones (ESPN affiliate) and Rob Scott (IBF official, A.C. Weekly contributor) that will be interviewing the inductees as well as talking shop on boxing’s weekly boxing news and exclusive Tri-State area fight scene happenings.

The first podcast featured inductees Michael Spinks and referee Steve Smoger. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP_HJmaQSP8&feature=youtu.be)

The show is streamed live every Wednesday from 7:00-8:00 PM, with the latest episodes available for viewing posted on Triax5.com.

The latest episode featured former light heavyweight/cruiserweight champion and Atlantic City resident, Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

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MEET AND GREET, FAN INTERACTIVE EVENTS, JACK JOHNSON PORTRAYAL

The opening day of the first ACBHOF event will be showcase an intimate VIP meet and greet rooftop cocktail reception featuring the weekend’s inductees and affiliated sponsors.  There are other aspects of this night in the works for this event.

Saturday will see the ‘Ultimate Fight Fan Experience’, an exciting interactive event where those in attendance as well as the general public have the opportunity to commentate legendary fights in front of a green screen.

Vendors will have merchandise available for purchase and autograph sessions will be held.

On hand will be an artist creating an art piece directly onto a heavy-bag and a special ‘Jack Johnson Exhibit’ will see a live portrayal by the actor who will play the former heavyweight champion in an upcoming biopic.

That evening there is a planned red carpet event party in what McCline hopes will buck the traditional banquet style event into more of a fun, party/celebration atmosphere type of experience and layout.

Induction day will see the fighters receive their various awards that will include varsity-style inscribed jackets, plaques and possibly ACBHOF engraved rings.

Also commending the fighters will be A.C. mayor Don Guardian, who will present each inductee with a Key to the City.

Ray McCline with George Foreman

McCline with George Foreman

MC CLINE’S VISION

The famous Atlantic City boardwalk has hosted fights since the sports inception over one hundred years ago, with known mobsters like Al Capone and Frank White frequenting the area to watch a night of fisticuffs in the early 1900’s.

The Monopoly named streets like Park Place (where the Claridge, now owned by TMJ Properties, is located) and Boardwalk are rich with boxing history, reaching an apex in the 1980’s that has yet to be replicated since.

McCline is hoping to bring the ACBHOF to the East Coast shores every Memorial Day weekend in what he hopes to become a resurgence of boxing in A.C. and in the Tri-State area.

“Atlantic City is going through a change and is re-calibrating itself.  The goal is to tell the history of Atlantic City’s history through the lens of boxing, and we want to be a part of Atlantic City’s new history.”

The Inaugural Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Ceremonies kick off Memorial Day Weekend in May 2017.

Thanks from Ray McCline go out to New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame President Henry Hascup, New Jersey Boxing Commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr., Joe Pasquale, Steve Smoger, Melvina Lathan, Aaron Snowell, Greg Posella and Rodney Jerkins for the assistance throughout the process of creating the ACBHOF. 

For more info: Twitter.com/ACBHOF; Facebook.com/ACBHOF

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame to Induct Michael Spinks

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Words by Raymundo Dioses

 

When Michael Spinks got notice that he was going to be inducted into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame, the former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world was stunned and in disbelief.

Spinks, highly regarded as perhaps the best light heavyweight ever, was genuinely honored and taken aback that he was even chosen to be elected in the inaugural class of 2017.

“It’s kind of unbelievable.  I feel good about it.  I love Atlantic City,” said Spinks, who fought a total of 13 professional bouts in the city by the sea.  Spinks recalled his early trips to Atlantic City before a host of casinos began to take form in the 1970’s.  Spinks would walk up and down the boardwalk eating sandwiches.  “I liked the rides.  I really enjoyed myself in A.C.”

The St. Louis, Missouri native fought in the heyday of Atlantic City boxing, as the city was booming with boxing business in the 1980’s.  Spinks first fight in the city took place at the Resorts International, one of the first casinos to establish itself in the city.

Spinks took on opponent Ramon Ranquello on February 24, 1980 with only a four day notice from manager Butch Lewis and still registered a TKO win in his first A.C. fight.  Even more remarkable than the four day notice and subsequent TKO victory was the fact that Spinks himself had just fought earlier that month, on February 1, 1980, scoring a unanimous decision win over Johnny Wilbum at the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ranquello had knocked out Mike Rossman in September 1979 and Rossman pulled out of the scheduled rematch during fight week. “Rossman didn’t want anymore (of Ranquello).”

Spinks did, and with the win over Ranquello, the ‘Jinx’, who was 10-0 at that point in his career, would go on to fight the majority of his career bouts in A.C.  Spinks fought twice more in 1980 before returning to Atlantic City on October 18, 1980, scoring a knockout over Yaqui Lopez at the Convention Center in A.C.

Spinks fought again at the Resorts International, knocking out Marvin Johnson on March 28, 1981 before becoming the WBA light heavyweight champion with a unanimous decision win over Eddie Mustafa Muhammad on July 18, 1981 in Las Vegas.

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The Playboy Hotel & Casino would host Spinks first title defense on November 7, 1981, in which Vonzell Johnson was stopped at 1:13 of the seventh round.  Spinks would fight his next three bouts and successfully defend his light heavyweight title at the Playboy Hotel & Casino, all three via knockout in 1982.  Spinks noted that he “loved the hotel jackets and t-shirts” for his fights that were provided by the Playboy Hotel & Casino.  The casino was renamed the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in 1984 and eventually closed in 1999 under the name of the Trump World’s Fair, which was the original name of the casino.

Spinks fought at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City on September 18, 1982, notching a TKO over Johnny Davis, and returned to the Convention Center for his first fight in 1983, a unanimous decision win over Dwight Muhammad Qawi in which Spinks became the unified champion by picking up the WBC light heavyweight title.

After a defense of both titles in Canada over Oscar Rivadeneyra on November 25, 1983, Spinks again returned to Atlantic City, this time to the Resorts International where a unanimous decision win over Eddie David that earned Spinks the recognition of undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world (WBC, WBA, IBF).  Spinks also became the International Boxing Federations inaugural champion with the win.

On February 23, 1985, Spinks again fought at the Sands Casino Hotel against David Sears, stopping Sears at 1:02 of round three.  The Sands Casino closed its doors in Atlantic City in November 2006.

By this time, Spinks would regularly walk Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk on fight week and would even run daily on the beach in preparation for his bouts.  “We had a routine.  We would run on the beach every morning.  Some of my people would run ahead of me, and sometimes I would be able to pass them!” said Spinks, who also recalled training to the tunes of Midnight Star.

Spinks defended his undisputed status in Las Vegas on June 6, 1985 in knocking out Jim MacDonald before audaciously stepping up to the heavyweight class and taking the IBF heavyweight title from Larry Holmes on September 21, 1985 via unanimous decision.  The loss was Holmes first as a professional, and in a rematch on April 19, 1986, also in Las Vegas, Spinks gave Holmes his second career loss via split decision.  Spinks, who also became the sports first light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight title, had a non-title bout win over Steffen Tangstad on September 6, 1986 to end out the year.

‘Jinx’ would fight the final two fights of his career in Atlantic City, starting with Gerry Cooney in a non-title bout on June 15, 1987.  For the Cooney bout, Spinks recalled training at the Trump’s Castle, then owned by President-Elect Donald Trump.  “I met him a few times, but never had a sit down,” recalled Spinks of his interactions with Trump.  Spinks came in an 8-5 underdog yet knocked down Cooney twice in the fifth round and scored a stoppage in the same round at 2:51.

In the final fight of Spinks legendary career, Spinks valiantly took on a prime Mike Tyson in what would turn about to be a passing of the torch to a young lion who had by then gained possession of all three major titles was about to take over the sport.

In the lead up to the fight Spinks, “Played it cool.  I stayed in my hotel room, took walks on the Boardwalk.  I knew I had my hands full with Tyson.”

The bout took place on June 27, 1988 and was titled “Once and For All”.  The end result was a knockout loss in round one to Tyson.  It was the first time Spinks had even been knocked down in his stellar career.

The fight, in which de facto promoter Trump paid an $11 million site fee to host the fight at the Trump Plaza, did garner Spinks his highest career payday with a whopping $13.5 million purse.  Tyson was given a $22 million purse in what was the record given to a fighter at that time.  A sold out crowd of 21,785 attended the fight and 600,000 fans purchased the pay per view.

Prior to “Once and For All”, a typical Atlantic City weekend would produce $215 million in gambling revenues.  On fight weekend for Spinks vs. Tyson, the city garnered $344 million.

Spinks has not been back to Atlantic City in several years, yet fondly recalled the infamous city in which he helped popularize.  In the following years, great fights took place in Atlantic City that included fighters Arturo Gatti, Bernard Hopkins, and heavyweight bouts featuring Evander Holyfield and George Foreman.

To some, despite only being one round long, the Spinks/Tyson bout is the best Atlantic City fight ever.

In terms of an event and revenue, it sure was.

Spinks is hopeful that the city can restore itself to being a boxing powerhouse one day.  “I would hope that Atlantic City would get back to being a boxing city.”  Spinks noted he would attend boxing functions whenever they occurred in the future.

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is the next great boxing event, planned for May 2017, and Spinks is more than happy to attend.

“I can’t wait to get back there and walk around.  Maybe I will throw a Frisbee!”

 

 

John Delperdang Training With Robert Alcazar For Lundy Fight

All Photos by Raymundo Dioses

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Photo Gallery: July 2016- John Delperdang Wins by TKO!!!

All ringside photos by Raymundo Dioses

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Big Bern Promotions!!!

Click on link to see what BBP is all about!

Big Bern Promotions

John ‘Bang Bang’ Delperdang Pre-Fight 7-29-16

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Francisco ‘El Bandido’ Vargas Visits Crossroads Boxing Gym!!!

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Interview and Photos by Raymundo Dioses

On June 9, 2016, just five days after his thrilling WBC lightweight title defense against Orlando Salido, Mexico City, Mexico’s Francisco Vargas visited the Crossroads Boxing Gym in Ontario, California to sign autographs and take pictures with future contenders and champions.

Coming off his second consecutive Fight of the Year, Vargas, (23-0-2, 17KO) looked healthy and trim, a stark contrast to how both Vargas and his opponent, Orlando Salido looked following their war last Saturday that saw the proud Mexican fighters throw more than 2,000 punches combined over 12 exciting rounds.

Vargas, who retained his title with a majority draw against Salido, fielded questions from this writer as young fighters asked for boxing gloves to be signed and to take pictures with him and his green WBC title.

Hola Bandido, how are you feeling physically after such a grueling fight?

“I feel good, very good.  I feel back to normal.  My eyes are a little swollen, but that’s okay.  They are better, and I am better.  Time heals all wounds.”

Have you had the chance to watch the fight?

(With a huge smile) “Oh yes, it was a great fight.  There were a lot of exchanges.  It was an emotional fight.”

What was your favorite moment of the fight?

“Well every round was good.  The sixth or seventh round was the best, when I was able to wobble Salido and send him to the ropes.”

What are your thoughts on media/fans calling the match 2016’s Fight of The Year?

“It feels great.  It motivates me to work even harder.”

How does it feel being in back-to-back Fights of The Year?

“It feels really good.  It shows that my hard work is being realized.”

Do you have a message to your fans?

“To my fans, thank you for your support!”

 

Crossroads Boxing Gym grateful for Vargas visit

Gym owner Bernie Valenzuela was ecstatic to be able to present Vargas to his fighters and sees the fist-thrower as a good example of where they can be if they work hard at the sweet science.

“Allowing the youth to see a champion, and to gaze at the green belt, I believe it strikes a light, a beam of hope!  The thought that it can be done, an idea that it can also be them one day!  It gives the youth a dream and a goal to fight for.”

Crossroads Boxing Gym is located at 1335 E 4th St, Ontario, CA 91764.

A member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, Vargas visited the Crossroads Boxing Gym the same day Mexico beat Jamaica in the Copa America 2-0.

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Vargas with 6-1 lightweight contender John Delperdang 

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Vargas with former Heavyweight champion Mike Weaver and Bernie Valenzuela

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Ringside With Raymundo: Spirit of Ali Hover’s over 2016’s Fight of the Year

 

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Ringside With Raymundo: Spirit of Muhammad Ali Hovers over Fight of the Year for 2016

 

Boxing fans received the tragic yet inevitable news that we all knew would crush our boxing hearts on June 3, 2016 that boxing icon Muhammad Ali had passed at the age of 74.

While in no ways whatsoever can anything make up for losing the face of our sport, the much beloved Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, on June 4, 2016 two fighters sought to pay tribute with their fists, (and one walking in with an Ali shirt) which they did in Fight of The Year caliber fashion on a breezy Southern California night under the stars.

Michael Buffer took to the mic for the HBO main event as he famously does prior to some of the biggest bouts in boxing history and alongside Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya, relayed Ali accomplishments to the crowd and then led the solemn ten-count every fallen fighter receives.  (Perhaps even a 15 count would have honored the late Ali even more so than the regulatory 10 as the Louisville Lip fought in what most consider the ‘golden age’ of boxing where 15 rounds were the norm).

Buffer went on to announce the challenger, 20 year fight veteran Orlando Salido, and the WBC featherweight champion, Mexico City’s Francisco Vargas, and what enfolded just one day after the worst boxing news ever received was 12 exhilarating rounds is what most are already calling 2016’s FOTY.

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The 7,378 fans in attendance who proudly turned on their cellphone lights in unison during the fallen fighters 10 count and chanted separate versions of “Ali!”, and “Ali, bumaye!”, with grieving hearts watched and cheered as the two combatants in the ring rarely took any steps backwards from round one onward; instead fighting toe to toe for a majority of the fight that both served as a title match and Ali tribute.

Just like Ali had in some of his highest profile fights against the likes of Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, Salido walked into the ring as the decided underdog at a near 4-1 rate yet proved in dramatic fashion that a warriors heart can never be counted out as the Sonora, Mexico native applied a deadly combination of toughness, skill and veteran guile topped off with a red Ali shirt he donned during his walk-in to the ring inside the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.

At one point, a writer seated nearby even likened Salido’s work while fighting off the ropes as Salido’s version of Ali’s rope-a-dope technique when he was rocked in the fifth round by a Vargas right hand and was forced to fall back onto the ropes nearby.

Salido valiantly fought back in the round and proceeded to war with Vargas as the pair traded momentum swings in the furious fistic type of action that is now beginning to be regularly seen at the SHC since its inception as the venue (formerly known as the Home Depot Center) has hosted many previous Fights of the Year from Israel Vasquez/Rafael Marquez III (March 2008), Brandon Rios/Michael Alvarado (October 2012), Ruslan Provodnikov/Timothy Bradley (March 2013) and most recently John Molina/Lucas Matthysse (April 2014), all of which this writer is humbled to able to say were covered in person.

The end result was deemed majority draw (114-114 twice and 115-113 Vargas) yet on this night, on the weekend we bid farewell to ‘The Greatest’ in the greatest way possible, there were no losers as alongside Vargas and Salido inside the Stub Hub Center ring was the incomparable spirit of our beloved Muhammad Ali.

R.I.P. MUHAMMAD ALI 1942-2016

Unfazed By First Loss, John Delperdang Looks Forward

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By Raymundo Dioses

This past Memorial Day weekend lightweight prospect John Delperdang packed his bags and traveled to the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas to fight on the undercard of the Premier Boxing Champions fight-card which was broadcast live by Fox Sports.

Delperdang was pitting his undefeated record up against Ricky Edwards, a PBC affiliate who was also undefeated heading into the bout.  It was a drag out affair that saw plenty of holding and clinching by Edwards, (who was docked in rounds two and four for his efforts) Delperdang controlling the tempo and looking to trade, and ultimately a majority decision in Edwards favor with two judges scoring it Edwards way despite multiple deductions in the six round fight and one judge seeing it a draw.

“I noticed he clinched, even from the first round.  It went like that the whole time.   It wasn’t a good fight.  It wasn’t a bad fight.  It was a clinch fight,” said Delperdang, who was nonetheless excited to make his Premier Boxing Champions debut and hopped on the opportunity even while serving as sparring partner for John Molina in advance of Molina’s bout against Ruslan Provodnikov next weekend.

Delperdang fought through clinches and even suffered a cut above his right eye midway through the bout as a result of repeated head clashes with the clinching Edwards (11-0).

The Eastvale, California resident consistently charged towards his opponent and was willing to exchange, but did not find a willing dance partner.  “Not too many fighters want a war nowadays.   I wanted to have my PBC debut to be with a banger.  Unfortunately I didn’t get that.”

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The lightweight prospect fell to 6-1 yet was grateful to be showcased on a PBC card.  Delperdang soaked it all in, even grabbing some primetime television time by walking in and hanging around Erik Bone, who fought in the night’s main event against Miguel Vasquez.

Delperdang also enjoyed watching fellow professional Brandon Figueroa (brother of Omar Figueroa) as well as taking in the night’s main event while awaiting his own bout. Delperdang was also professionally photographed by the PBC staff for the event.

“The whole experience was cool.  To be in a different state, and on Memorial Day… some people’s jobs are to protect our country, and some have died doing that.  It’s an honor and I privilege that I have the opportunity to fight for a living, and that’s because of them.”

“I need another chance for a PBC fight… I got into boxing to fight.  I’m not worried about a win or a loss, I want to be in good fights.”

IMG_1674Delperdang with John Molina

Delperdang’s manager Bernie Valenzuela gave his opinions on the fight, making note of the judges scorecards even after two points were deducted, gave thanks to Premier Boxing Champions and is now looking to move forward with his fighter.

“Even before the fight, we knew he (Edwards) was weak and had no punching power,”  said Valenzuela, a Southern California based manager/gym owner who helped prepare the game-plan with Team Delperdang and studied Edwards’ previous bout against Azriel Paez in which Edwards ended up with a split decision win. “Our plan was to go inside.”

“The first round, it could have gone either way.  The second round, I knew we had that won after the first point deduction (for excessive holding).  The third round, we won it, and the fourth round, another point was taken.  After the second point deduction, I thought we had the fight won.  I thought the only way they could screw us was with a draw.”

Edwards received two point deductions for excessive holding during the six round bout, and the Paterson, New Jersey native seemed to be withdrawn and not seeking to execute a strategy to victory other than landing one shot and grasping hold of his opponent. The fifth and sixth frames ended in the same fashion of the rest of the bout, with Edwards holding even until the last 30 clicks of the final round.

Following the decision announcement with judge Ursolo Perez having it 57-55 Edwards, judge Reynaldo Campos scoring the fight a 56-56 draw and a deplorable scorecard of 58-54 from judge Anthony Townsend, (which would indicate Edwards won all rounds even with spending large amounts of time holding and clinching) Edwards trainer, the much respected Ronnie Shields, walked over and offered his opinion on the fight to Valenzuela.

“He (Shields) told me we didn’t win anything.  Your kid clearly won, your fighter (Delperdang) won.  I’m embarrassed, and I have no clue what the judges were looking at,” stated Valenzuela, who was disappointed in the decision of the bout, but nonetheless showered praise on Shields and the PBC for giving his fighter a shot and hopes that once again he will receive a call and another opportunity for his fighter.

“I’m glad that there are still world class trainers who honor their sport like Shields and I respect his thoughts on the decision.  I know Premier Boxing Champions is a stand up company, I know the sport is in good hands with the PBC, and I hope they give us another opportunity soon.”

Valenzuela and Team Delperdang are taking the loss in stride and still have high hopes for Delperdang, a strong and compact lightweight who began his career in July 2015 and turned 24 years of age the day following the bout.

“We aren’t crying.  We’re from the streets.  It was unjust for my young fighter to get a decision loss like that, but it does not derail our game plan.  We will move forward… The loss may even give us more of an opportunity if future opponents see the one loss on our record.  Don’t underestimate John ‘Bang Bang’ Delperdang.  We’ll be back.”