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Elizondo scratched from card

BY MIKE HOUSER

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO ” Carson City junior middleweight Jose “Chuy” Elizondo was dealt a devastating blow Wednesday when the Nevada State Athletic Commission informed him that he would not be able to fight on Friday’s eight-bout “International Affair” at Reno Ballroom.

The 19-year-old Elizondo, who went 84-6 as an amateur, was to make his professional debut in a four-round bout against Joel Gonzalez, of Las Vegas, but failed to pass a pre-fight eye exam, said Let’s Get It On Promotions chief executive officer Terry Lane.

“I feel awful for Chuy,” Lane said. “It’s through no fault of his own. It’s amazing that he passed (eye examinations) in other states (as an amateur).”

According to a form on the commission’s Web site, a fighter seeking to be licensed professionally in the state of the Nevada must see an ophthalmologist; have uncorrected visual acuity of no less than 20/200 in either eye or 20/60 with both eyes; or (surgically) corrected visual acuity of no less than 20/60 in either eye.

Elizondo wears corrective lenses. It is not known what his visual acuity is and he did not immediately return a phone call on this matter on Wednesday.

Dr. Margaret Goodman, former chief ringside physician and medical advisory board chairman for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said there are different criteria at the amateur and professional levels ” namely that a professional boxer cannot be examined by only an optometrist but must pass a more stringent test done by an M.D., the results of which must then be approved by the commission.

“There needs to be a single standard,” said Goodman, a boxing safety advocate who writes a monthly column for The Ring magazine and ESPN.com. She also cited a study that concluded up to 85 percent of boxers suffer eye injuries during their career, some of which can lead to blindness. “Some commissions don’t require ophthalmologic tests.”

Goodman said she conducted pre-fight physicals for amateur boxers for 12 years.

“In the amateurs, an exam was one-and-a-half minutes long,” said Goodman, who also added that many parents are under the misconception that headgear prevents head injuries in the amateurs. “You don’t want to stop these programs ” they’re wonderful. But to ignore the fact that amateur boxing is as dangerous as the pros is foolhardy.”

Then there is the matter of boxers like Elizondo, who spend years of their lives boxing in hopes of turning pro before finding out they won’t be medically approved to do so.

Lane said the issue is a symptom of a larger problem.

“It’s another example of the sport needing a national commission,” Lane said. “It must also oversee (United States Amateur) boxing. You don’t know if there’s hundreds, or perhaps thousands of boxers who could be affected by this.”

Fortunately for Lane, this issue won’t affect the rest of the boxers on Friday’s card.

In the 12-round main event, Yerington’s Jesse Brinkley, 30-5 with 21 knockouts, will defend his WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship (USNBC) super middleweight title against Jason “Notorious” Naugler, 18-7-1 (11), of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The 31-year-old Brinkley is ranked No. 14 by the IBF and has knocked out the last four fighters he’s faced, but against the 30-year-old Naugler, he’ll be facing a fighter that has never been stopped or knocked down in his 120-bout amateur or 26-fight professional career.

Naugler, who like Brinkley will weigh 168 pounds for this bout, is the reigning Canadian light heavyweight champion.

Let’s Get It On has a one-year promotional contract with Brinkley and has its two other fighters on the card in McDermitt’s Derek and Tyler Hinkey.

The 27-year-old Derek, 4-1 (4), will meet Gabriel Gil, 3-0 (1), of Madera, Calif., in the co-main event (a six-round super middleweight bout) and the 25-year-old Tyler will face Mike Finney, 1-0, of San Jacinto, Calif., in a four-round heavyweight tilt.

Other local boxers on the card include Carson City middleweight Flavio Cardoza, Sparks heavyweight Chad Forrester, and Lovelock heavyweight Alfred “Little Bum” Happy.

Cardoza, 1-2, will meet Mark “The Italian Bazooka” DeLuca, 5-0 (3), of Whitman, Mass.; Forrester will make his pro debut against Michael Goins, 0-1, of Las Vegas; and the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Happy will take on Alvaro Morales, 2-1-4, of Las Vegas. Morales held Tyler Hinkey to a four-round draw in October.

All three bouts are scheduled for four rounds, as is the match between former Mongolian amateur star Batkhuu Otgonchuluun and Omar Valencia, 0-1, of Las Vegas. Otgonchuluun, a former Asian Games champion, will be making his pro debut against Valencia in a featherweight contest.

‘INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR’

WHAT: Eight-bout boxing card headlined by Jesse Brinkley, 30-5 with 21 knockouts, of Yerington, and Jason Naugler, 18-7-1 (11), of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 12-round bout is for Brinkley’s WBC-affiliated USNBC super middleweight title.

WHEN: Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m. First bout at 7.

WHERE: Reno Ballroom.

TICKETS: $25, $50, $100 (ringside) and $150 (front-row ringside). Call (800) 687-8733 or visit the Silver Legacy box office or http://www.ticketmaster.com.