A pair of Bay Area boxers will return to the ring on Feb. 22 when Glenn Donaire and Ana Julaton are tentatively scheduled to fight separate opponents in Kissimmee, Fla., on a card that will air on Telemundo, a part of NBC Universal.
Donaire (19-5-1, 10 KOs) will take on Mexican Julian Rivera (13-7, 2 KOs) in a flyweight bout, while Julaton, the former junior featherweight champion, has yet to finalize a foe. Regional titles will be on the line for both clashes, which will take place at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to fight Rivera,” Donaire said. “He a slick fighter, and he goes in-and-out. In his last fight, he fought for the world title, so he won’t be an easy opponent.”
While they won’t exactly be taking their talents to South Beach (the arena is a three-hour drive north of Miami), both local pugilists enter 2013 at crucial points in their respective careers.
Currently 33, Donaire has returned from a three-year hiatus to post back-to-back wins before falling to Omar Soto by decision last September. As the window for one last title shot narrows, the San Leandro resident is aware of where he stands.
“I was fighting with an injured knee and shoulder, but I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted the fight real bad,” Donaire added. “I know that wasn’t the best me out there against Soto, and I’m confident I can come back and fight for a title again. But I know I have to win here.”
Julaton (NorCal No. 9; 12-3-1, 2 KOs), from Daly City, has also traveled the comeback trail since relinquishing her WBO title belt in Argentina to Yesica Marcos last year.
“It feels good to be back in the ring,” Julaton said. “I’ve been training in Las Vegas, and this is a great chance to show people I’m back and that I’m ready to regain a world title at 122 pounds.”
Riding a two-bout winning streak, Julaton’s promoter Allan Tremblay is pushing for an autumn title encounter with Mexican star Jackie Nava.
• Sacramento super middleweight Brandon “Flawless” Gonzales (NorCal No. 6; 17-0, 10 KOs), featured on CSNBayArea.com Friday, took a workmanlike eight-round unanimous decision over veteran brawler Don Mouton (12-5-1, 10 KOs) at the Indian School in Santa Fe, N.M. Scores were 78-75 and 77-75 twice on a bout on that aired on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Gonzales seemed to be a little rusty after seven months of inactivity, but the 2011 NorCal Prospect of the Year did more than enough to keep his unblemished ledger intact.
• Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero (NorCal No. 3; 31-1-1, 18 KOs) is tantalizingly close to finalizing a May 4 pay-per-view fight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Sources have informed CSNBayArea.com that Mayweather will annouce the identity of his opponent later this month. Right now his options appear to be either Guerrero or WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs).
The broadcast rights for any future Mayweather bout will likely turn into a bidding war between HBO and Showtime. With the latter network’s parent company CBS recently re-entering pro boxing after 15 years away from the sport, it would make sense to jump-start their brand by securing the first mega-fight of 2013.
• 2012 NorCal Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter has a busy January on his hands. After his successful trip to New Mexico with Brandon Gonzales, he will now focus his attention on the other fighters in his growing stable. On Jan. 25, former amateur world champion and junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade (18-0, 13 KOs) will appear on Showtime to fight Freddy Hernandez (30-3, 20 KOs) in Huntington, N.Y.
One day later, smooth Bakersfield boxer Mike Dallas Jr. (19-2-1, 8 KOs) is on the same network against terminator Lucas Matthysse (32-2, 30 KOs) for the WBC interim junior welterweight title, but that bout will take place at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel. If Dallas can pull off the upset and dethrone the Argentine, he would become Hunter’s second world titlist. Hunter’s first, Oakland’s Andre Ward, is the reigning unified super middleweight champion.
• Chico’s Ava Knight (NorCal No. 5; 10-1-3, 5 KOs) will defend her IBF flyweight world title against an unnamed opponent in Mexico on Jan. 26. Knight, who was recently crowned 2012 NorCal Female Pro Fighter of the Year, hopes to secure a rematch with Mexican icon Ana Maria Torres (28-3-3, 16 KOs) by the end of 2013.
• Milpitas Boxing and Fitness (1535 Landess Ave., Ste. 104 and 106) celebrated its one-year anniversary last Sunday, and the house was packed with both fans and several familiar faces. Glenn Donaire (19-5-1, 10 KOs), father and trainer Nonito Donaire Sr., retired former world champion Luisito Espinosa, prospect Jundy Maraon (15-0-1, 12 KOs), and recent lightweight title challenger Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14 KOs) took pictures and signed autographs.
“There was a great turnout,” gym owner Tony Gabucan said. “My brothers and I just opened this gym last January, and now we have everyone from the neighborhood in here training. Now the plan for year two is to produce a champion.”
• A trio of Region 11 boxers will represent Team USA in Kiev, Ukraine, this August at the 2013 AIBA Junior Men’s World Championships by virtue of winning the Junior World Team Open, which occurred this past week at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. Here are your local champions:
110 lbs. final: Evan Sanchez (Parlier B.C.) def. Joseph Cuellar (Tulare A.C.), 29-19
138 lbs. final: Brandon Trejo (Napa SAL) def. Hunter-Gabriel Manaba (Hawaii), 14-11
176 lbs. final: Suray Mahmutovic (415 B.C., San Francisco) def. Matthew Hernandez (Texas), 23-8
Mahmutovic, a freshman at Westmoor High in Daly City, was also named Most Outstanding Boxer of the tournament.
• The Sacramento Dogg Pound Boxing Club will hold a fundraiser Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Several local gyms will participate in sparring sessions, and Mouthpiece Guy Jeff will be on hand to provide a 10 percent discount on all custom mouthpieces. Dr. Cesar Banda will also be examining boxers for 2013 physicals ($15 per person). The Dogg Pound B.C. is located at 6500 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95822. Call Marty Chima at (916) 595-9000 for more information.
• The first local amateur show of the year will occur at Champ Nation in West Oakland on 2635 Magnolia Street. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for youth. The action will start at noon. Call Ben Bautista for more information at (510) 444-8269.
NORCAL BOXER OF THE WEEK: VOTE NOW!
From this point forward, CSNBayArea.com will award a Boxer of the Week. The boxer with the most online votes will be recognized in next week’s Boxing Notes column. To submit your choice, simply type it in the comments section below. Here are this week’s candidates:
• Brandon Gonzales, Sacramento (pro): Defeated Don Mouton by unanimous decision to stay unbeaten
• Suray Mahmutovic, Daly City (amateur): Named Most Outstanding Boxer at the Junior World Team Open after winning 176-pound division; made U.S. National Team
• Evan Sanchez, Parlier (amateur): Won 110-pound division at Junior World Team Open; made U.S. National Team
• Brandon Trejo, Napa (amateur): Won 138-pound division at Junior World Team Open; made U.S. National Team
CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board. E-mail him at email@example.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.