Local Boxing & MMA updates on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is that one day a year when you focus big time on letting that special person or persons know how you feel about them. The one day you don’t have to feel socially awkward about telling someone how fun and caring they are. How beautiful they are, even though you’ve told them a 1,000 times.

Now just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean we have to spend the day stuffing our pie holes with candy and shirking our normal duties. Today, like most days, the major players were right there in the gyms working hard. So, without wasting any more of your time here is a quick rundown of the news from the past few weeks straight from someone who was there in our local gyms.


On April 29, 2017, the 46-year-old Jolene Blackshear, a Marine Biologist by trade, will be heading north to West Hills, Calif. to be inducted into the National Boxing Hall of Fame. Blackshear’s exploits: she won two World Titles, the IFBA Light Flyweight Title in 1997 and the IFBA Flyweight Title in 1998 and added the Women’s IBA World Light Flyweight Interim title after defeating the extremely tough Sindy Amador. As a title contender, she fought some of the very best. In 2009, Blackshear lost to the Korean World champion, Dan Bi Kim in South Korea and then also lost to the reigning flyweight champion Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora Silva in 2015. Just last year, she fought Anabel Ortiz, the WBA World Female minimumweight champion. 

On January 20, 2017, 29-year-old Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson (22-20-3, 7 KOs) traveled from Escondido, Calif. to Tacoma, Washington to earn himself another TKO victory. This one was over Ricardo Pinell. What’s so amazing is the fact that Johnson, fighting on the road against very tough opponents, has been able to win seven of his last nine bouts to go over .500.  

On February 4, 2017, the 36-year-old Jackie “La Princesa Azteca” Nava (33-4-3) was back in the ring to face Ana Maria Lozano (13-5-1) for the vacant WBC International Female super bantamweight title. It had been 24 days shy of two years since Nava had last fought but it didn’t seem to matter as her mind and body did not let her down.

On January 15, 2017, the 26-year-old super bantamweight Danny “the Baby Faced Assassin” Roman from Garden Grove, Calif. (22-2-1, 8 KOs) traveled back east to Atlantic City, New Jersey to successfully defeat Adam Lopez (16-1-1) to win the WBA Super Bantamweight Title Eliminator. (photo left) After stopping Adam Lopez in the ninth round of their scheduled 12 rounder, Danny Roman was then hoisted high up in the air by his oh-so-proud coach Eddie Gonzalez. The highly touted Lopez was not only two inches taller, he had a definite reach advantage, which Roman negated by getting under and inside that longer reach.

Once again, 13-year-old Julius Ballo from the Bomber’s Squad Academy in El Cajon, Calif. proved he is the real deal by defeating all comers first in the local district tournament, then, on to the regional tournament and finally against the very best in the National Silver Gloves competition. Along the way, Julius fought several future champions – Samuel Contreras, Emiliano Vargas and Daniel Cortez. You could say, it was just another step along the way for this youngster who appears destined to become a member of the Elite boxers who are asked to join the USA National Boxing Team which ends up traveling around the world. 

Julius Ballo (r) has his arm raised in victory after defeating victim #1.

Step two in his quest for the Championship belt was then defeated.

After the final opponent was beaten, Julius Ballo had himself yet another  Championship belt, another National title.

Julius Ballo (front row, second from the right) has his photo taken along with the other National Champions. Eric Puente from Oceanside, Calif. (not shown) was the other National Champion from our local district LBC-44.

Julius Ballo poses for one last photo before heading back to San Diego.

This passed Saturday, jr. welterweight southpaw, 31-year-old Antonio DeMarco (32-6-1, 23 KOs) from Tijuana returned to the win column with a resounding victory over 24-year-old Luis Solis from Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico at the Gimnasio Municipal Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Tecate, B. C., Mexico.

In our travels on Tuesday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, we met some very interesting individuals – especially at our local UFC gyms in Point Loma and Mission Valley. At the Point Loma location, this mountain of a man, Derrick Hotchkiss dyed his hair red for Valentine’s Day and then added these black hearts. All this to impress MMA fighter/UFC Instructor Christina Marks (7-8, 3 KOs) who will be fighting at the Orange County Fairgrounds & Events Center, Costa Mesa, Calif. on Thursday evening, February 16th against Paola Ramirez (1-1, 1 KO) from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico who fights for Progressive Martial Arts. Hotchkiss’ strategy had merit. In just a short time he had Marks smiling from ear to ear.

Under the heading, “What some guys won’t do to impress a lady.”

(top photo) Christina Marks is joined by fellow instructors Oscar Gallegos (l) and Jhanex Alviz (r). (bottom photo) At the UFC Gym in Mission Valley, the lovely Rebecca Galindo was having one big headache. What to do with all the roses she was getting. All day long, delivery people and suitors were dropping by to give her another gift, usually a bouquet of red roses. By the end of the day, she had accumulated a dozen of these bouquets and each had a dozen red roses inside. On hand to poke fun at Rebecca is Joe “the Iran Assassin” Gogo who often pokes fun at how popular she has become.

On Thursday evening February 16th, in an eight rounder at the Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif., it will be 29-year-old 6-foot light heavyweight Mike Lee (18-0, 10 KOs) from Chicago, Illinois taking on 33-year-old Justin Thomas (18-1, 7 KOs) from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and another local favorite 30-year-old light flyweight Cesar Sustaita (3-3, 3 KOs) from Ciudad Juarez taking on 21-year-old Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona from Westminster, Calif. (8-0, 2 KOs) in a six-round flyweight contest.

On Friday evening, February 17, 21-year-old super featherweight Genaro Gamez from San Diego (3-0, 3 KOs) will be facing 28-year-old super featherweight Alejandro Ochoa (7-12-2) from Bell Gardens, Calif. in a six-round lightweight match.

As they say, time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday when this dreamer, Manolo “Hurricane” Hernandez, was battling it out on the mats and in the cage.

Holding down the fort at the San Diego Combat Academy aka 10th Planet Jui Jitsu on Valentine’s Day was (l to r) Keren Montano, Manolo Hernandez and Gabe Tuttle. Montano made certain everyone had some of her chocolate.

On February 24th, the boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Jr., will be in town at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. along with several of his boxers to host a boxing show to air on Showtime Boxing. February 24th is Floyd Mayweather’s 40th birthday. Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (20-0-1, 15 KOs) from Riverside, Calif. will be putting his undefeated record on the line against Oscar Bravo (22-6, 10 KOs) from Santiago de Chile, Chile. Also, in the co-feature, they have Andrew “Beast” Tabiti (13-0, 11 KOs) facing Quantis Graves (11-0-2) and Christopher Pearson (14-1, 10 KOs) facing Justin “The Chosen One” Deloach (16-1, 8 KOs). Then, perhaps the most interesting, most anticipated match of the night will be the one featuring 21-year-old featherweight Prince “Tiger” Smalls (11-0-1, 4 KOs) from San Diego who will be taking on 19-year-old lightweight Xavier Martinez (7-0, 4 KOs) from Sacramento. Even though both are excellent boxers, this will be their first true test to see if they can take their careers to the next level.

On that same night, the next installment of the Borizteca Boxing Promotions shows will take place at the Salon Mezzanine in Tijuana. They’ll have LA TV’s Fighter of the Year Armando Tovar (5-1, 4 KOs), 20-year-old featherweight Roberto “Ram” Meza from Temecula, who went 5-0 in 2016, Edgar Valadez (3-0, 3 KOs) and Ricardo Valdovinos (3-0, 2 KOs) from Spring Valley plus Mario “Guero” Ramirez from Camulu, B. C., Mexico.On March 2, Shinsuke Yamanaka of Tokyo, Japan (26-0-2, 18 KOs), 11-0 in title fights, 6-0 versus former World Title holders, will be defending his title against local favorite 26-year-old Carlos “Memin” Carlson (photos, top) from Tijuana (22-1, 13 KOs). It’s been a very long time since any local San Diego/Tijuana boxer has had an opportunity to fight for a world title. All our best to Carlos Carlson.

Recently, Carlos Carlson (r) and his two friends have been spending a lot of time running up the hills in Tecate, B. C., Mexico


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