Live amateur fights highlight weekend action

Three live amateur fight cards in Reno will bring some of the top amateur boxers in the nation to our area to compete with the host University of Nevada boxing team in the collegiate Western Regional Championships at the Eldorado hotel/casino on Friday and Saturday night.

Also on tap Saturday afternoon at the Boys & Girls Club in Reno is an amateur card hosted by the Reno Jets that will include Carson City Boxing Club fighters.

"I sent in a list of eight of our boxers for the card," CCBC Director Chuck Williams said. "We hope to get five or six on the card. We'd like to see them all fight, but realistically we figure to get five or six of them matched and that would be just fine."

The invitational fight card will have 20 to 23 fights and the action starts at 1 p.m. All proceeds from the non-profit card go to benefit the Reno Jets equipment fund.

CCBC fighters were in action over the weekend at the Stockton invitational fight show and CCBC Head Coach Frank Peralta reports the local fighters did well.

"Both Dwyane Pope and Louis Loe won their fights and Mike Peralta lost his," Frank said. "Pope won a split decision over Jesse Cervantes and Louis Loe scored a second round TKO over Robert Miller. Mike lost a close split decision to Anthony Avila in his fight."

All three are expected to fight Saturday on that Reno card. The next amateur invitational card for our area will be held at the Ormsby House on April 8 and will be hosted by the CCBC with proceeds going to benefit the local club.

- The collegiate boxing card has the semi-finals of the western regionals set for Friday with the finals on Saturday. Both days the action starts at 7 p.m.

"It'll be a busy weekend for us," said Carson City's Norm Budden, the head official for both the collegiate and invitational cards. "I'll be a referee for all three shows. The winners of the western regionals will advance to the Nationals in Colorado Springs April 6-8. We'll have teams from all over coming to Reno this weekend. Some of those teams are U.C. Berkeley, UNLV, Navy and Air Force Academy. It should be a good weekend of fights."

Tickets for all three fight cards will be on sale at the door fight day.

IT WAS BIZARRE - That's the only way to describe the ring entrance of Prince Naseem Hamed for his WBO title defense of his featherweight title against challenger Vuyani Bungu of South Africa on Saturday night in London.

The undefeated Hamed, 33-0 with 29 KOs, came in on a flying carpet with lots of flashing lights and hoopla. But that was only the half of it. Bungu came in the ring with his own personal "medicine man" dressed in what you'd call a medicine man outfit. He danced around the ring putting a spell over it but it didn't help.

Bungu (37-3, 19 KOs) was knocked out by a straight left to the jaw at the 1:38 mark of round four. Hamed had an easy time of it as Bungu came out on shaky legs right from the start and he basically ate a lot of punches until that last one finished him off. Las Vegas referee Joe Cortez worked the fight.

The fight, which came from the Grand Olympia Hall in London, was televised by HBO and "Big" George Foreman was there as the color commentator. I must say, Big George looked good and in shape, just in case he might want to fight again. At ringside were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

And guess who accompanied Hamed into the ring? It was Sean "Puffy" Combs and what his reason for being there or part of the Prince's entourage are unknown. It was certainly quite a show and much better than the actual fight was.

HBO also showed the "Irish" Mickey Ward fight against Liverpool's Shea Neary for the WBU junior welterweight title.

Ward, from Lowell, Mass., was brought over to lose to Neary, the hometown hero and undefeated (22-0, 17 KO's) champion. Ward (34-9 with 25 KO's) was doing just that, getting whipped by Neary but fighting a decent fight. He was behind and headed for a decision loss when suddenly, in round eight, Ward dropped Neary on the seat of his pants with a left hook to the chin. Neary got up wobbly, was chased and floored by Ward again, and that was that. Ward took the title and is the new champion in what must be considered a huge upset. Official time was 2:55 of round eight.

- Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila also fought last week and she beat up on an inept foe, Crystal Arcand, for 70 seconds before they stopped the mismatch in the very first round. Ali is building up her record against nobodies and is now 4-0 as a pro.

Arcand was making her pro debut and couldn't fight a lick! She was knocked out by an Ali right uppercut to the jaw after Arcand was down just 15 seconds into the fight. Arcand did get up from that first knockdown but was quickly put to sleep by Ali, who will continue to fight stiffs until a "big money" fight for her is available, possibly against the daughter of Joe Frazier or George Foreman, both of whom have daughters now also fighting as professionals.

- ESPN2 returns with a live boxing card Friday night starting at 6 p.m. They were off last week due to a basketball game. HBO has a "Boxing After Dark" card on Saturday night that begins at 10 p.m.

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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