HOT Prospects To Watch!
Photo By: Newhouse Promotions
Introducing Renan Ruiz- “Is it time to fear the Reaper”?
By: Daxx Kahn - July 2, 2013
If you have been around the sport of boxing long enough nothing can peak your interest like a newcomer to the professional circuit. Every fighter is a story waiting to unfold and no stories are more exciting than ones that take place in boxing. No matter where a fighter comes from, what level of amateur experience they possess, previous success or failures in life they have dealt with once a decision is made to lace the gloves on full time a whole new world is entered. We have seen highly touted Olympic medal winners flop under pressure, ex-convicts with virtually no experience become legends, once homeless youth make millions and rich men end up broke on skid row. Boxing is a never ending tale that holds no certain outcome and there is no place to start following a story than from the beginning.
Each time I meet a newcomer to the sport my curiosity peaks instantly, you can never tell what fortitude they possess by watching them train and almost all promise to be “The next Superstar”. None can ever truly prepare themselves for what road lies ahead but my hopes for today’s upstarts are that they will follow the paths of champions like Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley, Sergio Martinez or Klitschko brother. Fighters who concentrate on accolades inside the ring while conducting themselves respectfully outside of it. On the other side I also hope they bring the excitement of an Arturo Gatti, Ike Ibeabuchi or Mike Tyson in terms of excitement while between the ropes.
Last May I caught up with Bryant Pappas during intermission of a “Dee Lee Promotions” event I was covering in White Plains and was introduced to a newcomer named Renan Ruiz whom he had recently started managing. While Pappas and I spoke about the evening’s upcoming main event between Ronica Jeffery and Olivia Gerula if Ruiz said 10 words it was a lot. Once intermission ended I told them to keep me updated on Renan’s next bout then headed back ringside. While driving home later I thought about my write up and where the newly crowned IWBF Super Featherweight champion Ronica Jeffery fits in among the top active females.
After being caught in traffic because of horrendous thunderstorms Renan’s name popped into my head and what he might be bringing to the boxing circle. It’s rare these days to meet a fighter that does not give you what Billy C calls the “Imma Gonna Do This and Imma Gonna Do That” line making his arrival all the more interesting. A week or so ago after receiving word Ruiz is scheduled to fight July 20th at the outdoor Miage, in Greensboro, North Carolina on a card hosted by “Ring of Dreams” promotions, I spoke with Renan and learned some of his background.
The 21yr old Brooklyn native grew up in Dorado, Puerto Rico and started learning to box at about 7yrs old when he would tag along with his father an amateur boxer to Gleason’s Gym during workouts. While he himself has limited amateur experience Ruiz won 41 of his 44 bouts, though it may not sound like much winning 41 fights at 152lbs while standing 5’6 ½” is no easy task for anyone not even accomplished professionals!
Since his pro debut a decision loss to Charlie Natal in May of 2012 Renan has made some adjustments, he now puts his work in at the “Ardon Sweet Science Gym” on 31st and 4th avenue in Brooklyn NY and is trained by gym owner Greg Ardon. Along with new manager Bryant Pappas he feels the team is just what he needs to get his career going in a positive direction.
When I asked Renan about his pro debut he was in no way discouraged on the fact it was a loss instead uses it as positive motivation. “I came in as an opponent, after the decision I was satisfied not that I lost but that I learned from the experience. I fought in his home state of Ohio and he had a reputation of being a knockout puncher in the amateurs. I knew going in that I might need a knockout to win, he did not hit hard as they made out. I pressed him hard in the last 2 rounds. He was the better fighter that night on the scorecards but I did well. Going into another fighter’s hometown and losing a decision in a swing bout made me realize this is something I wanted to continue. If I keep working hard learn from mistakes I will continue getting better and succeed”.
Renan made it clear he wants to learn all there is to know about boxing including the business side. “Boxing is a business and sport. Learning every aspect can only benefit me and my future, I want to not only be the best I can inside the ring but know how things work outside ”.
Despite entering his second professional bout coming off a loss knowing in his heart this is what he wants to do, fully aware there is always room for improvement win or lose and determined he learns every aspect of the game will only improve his chances at success. Will he become a future Timothy Bradley or Arturo Gatti who knows? As I have said about 1000 different fighters and 10,000 different situations in boxing over the years “Only time will tell”. What I have learned about his character in the short while since meeting him I won’t count him out because his debut was a loss. Didn’t Bernard Hopkins and Juan Manuel Marquez lose their professional debuts? Nothing is guaranteed success or failure, now it’s on Renan whether or not the time has come time to “Fear the Reaper”.
For me it’s time to watch how his story unfolds in front of us like I stated earlier if you’re going to follow a story the best place to start is at the beginning.
Jorge Diaz- An upcoming Featherweight on the rise!
By: Daxx Kahn - June 13, 2013
Up-coming featherweight Jorge Diaz is a 25yr old boxer out of New Brunswick, New Jersey with big dreams and even bigger heart. Currently sporting a professional resume of 17-1 (10) Diaz seems to be a young fighter that knows you need to be confident in your abilities but also where to draw the line between “Confidence and Arrogance” because arrogance will get you nowhere fast. In fact if you visit Diaz’s website there is a section where he describes himself and in that section he states “I am an individual who has a healthy respect for myself, I understand where that line lies between confidence and arrogance.” Those words make me believe Diaz is a fighter who knows he needs believe in himself to accomplish his goals without falling into the mindset things will just fall into his lap. What’s more in my opinion the fact he respects himself means he knows how to respect others and in boxing when you have no respect for those around you failure to succeed is almost guaranteed, Diaz outlook gives him a higher chance at achieving his desired goals be it in boxing or elsewhere.
Diaz promises big things to come in his future as a fighter, those big things he states will be accomplished through will to win. “I might not be the most talented fight but I am the one who wants to win the most” he includes in the self-written mini bio, when I compare his amateur resume to that of other fighters with similar credentials I have spoken to over the years Diaz words has me thinking he maybe one of the most grounded prospects in terms of what his future holds I have spoken with in years.
Highlights for Diaz amateur career include a silver medal at the 2004 US National Junior Olympics in the 114lbs weight class. A bronze medal at the 2005 National Golden Gloves, silver medal at the 2005 US under 19 championships, a bronze medal at the 2006 NGG, Quarter finalist at the 2006 US Amateur championships, Won a gold medal at the 2006 Under 19 championships and a bronze medal in the 2006 National Police Athletic League championships at 54 kg losing to Gary Russell Jr. Outside being part of an Olympic team Diaz amateur career was stellar.
Since turning professional Diaz has gained solid wins over former world title challengers Alejandro Lopez and Emmanuel Lucero. His only loss to date came by UD against tough Philadelphia fighter Teon Kennedy who oddly enough has a loss on his record at the hands of a fighter Diaz defeated Alejandro Lopez.
This weekend Jorge will be fighting on the undercard of ESPN’s Friday Night Fight’s his opponent will be the ever tough Yenifel Vicente whose only loss to date has come against Chris Avalos, winner of their showdown will claim the vacant WBC FECARBOX featherweight title and take a step into mainstream exposure.
With a positive attitude and seemingly grounded approach I will be pulling for Diaz to win this one. Even if he loses though Jorge knows boxing is about more than just stepping inside the ring and throwing punches so he can’t be counted out. This is a prospect to keep an eye on for certain. GH3 and Brian Cohen promotions were looking out for the fans when they signed this fight without question. I’m looking forward to it.
Abner Cotto- Hot Prospect from a fighting family!
By: Daxx Kahn - July 18, 2012
It is never easy living up to expectations set before you because your last name is attached with success. In boxing, those expectations can be merciless! Should your Father, Brother, Uncle, Grandfather or any other relation have reached the pinnacle in boxing, you are automatically assumed to exceed their past feats. Having “Cotto” as your surname allows you little room for error and should you falter in your quest toward greatness, it BETTER BE GO BIG OR DON’T COME AT ALL!
24 year old Abner Cotto is the second cousin of former Puerto Rican amateur great and world title challenger Jose Miguel Cotto, it also means he is the second cousin of Jose’s brother 3 division world champion Miguel Cotto who might be this era’s most beloved warrior from Puerto Rico.
Abner himself has a strong amateur background and was a finalist in the World amateur championship’s as a Featherweight in 2007.
Since turning professional in 2009 Abner thus far is unblemished, sporting a current resume of 14-0 (6). His most notable fight to date took place July 14th on the undercard of Amir Khan versus Danny Garcia. While Khan and Garcia were preparing in their dressing rooms for their 140 pound world title unification main event match-up, Abner was in the ring doing what seems to come natural in the Cotto family “FIGHT”. Abner won his bout via 8th round TKO over Juan Montiel.
Abner, who is slightly smaller than his cousins, has started his career in the lightweight division. In that division he has already won several minor title belts. On October 28th 2011 in Guayama, Puerto Rico Abner won the vacant Puerto Rican lightweight title via a unanimous ten-round decision over the more experienced Fernando Torres. Four months later on February 18th 2012, Cotto won the vacant WBC FECARBOX lightweight title in Caguas, Puerto Rico by a unanimous decision when he swept almost every round on the judge’s scorecards.
Boxing is always looking for another merging superstar. If your last name is Cotto and you hail from the island of Puerto Rico, you already have a jump over most in terms of where you rank in popularity. Abner demonstrates the skillset of his relations and if his heart matches those as well how can he go wrong? Like everything else in this sport we need to see what happens in time, this HOT PROSPECT OF THE MONTH IS CERTAINLY ONE WORTH WATCHING!!
Chris Algieri- The Kid From Huntington NY that’s bringing fans to their feet!
By: Daxx Kahn - June 18, 2012
28 year old Chris Algieri stepped into his first pro boxing bout at a fairly late age in terms of “Fighters” years. On April 4th 2008 Chris made his debut against Ken Dunham winning a third round TKO victory at Brooklyn New York’s Aviator Sports Complex. Here we are 13 bouts and 4 years later waiting to see what comes next for this unbeaten prospect.
Looking at Chris should you see him online at the grocery store one would never guess this young man is a fighter, he has that everyday kid next door look, good manners, he is well spoken and has a smooth face that would give inclination of a business man rather brawling one. Though if the latter is your guess based on appearance alone it is not too far off, Algieri does possess a Bachelors degree of Science in Health Care and plans on one day attending medical school according to those who know him best. One day Chris states he will be attempting to treat athlete’s without surgeries, the use of pharmaceuticals and make at so they are able to get back to their craft if injured sooner than later while returning 100% healthy! If only we should see such a medical advancement our sport would flourish as top level fighters perform at their best always and naturally!
Despite the late arrival to boxing full contact sports are nothing new for Algieri, he has participated in Varsity Wrestling, Martial arts and has won a world titles in professional Kickboxing. One of his world Kickboxing title’s came via KO 8 over Brad Fowler, that victory put the WKA welterweight crown on his waist. In October 2007 he won the ISKA world welterweight championship by UD after tasting canvas in his battle against Scott Mukaddam, proving he has heart to go along with ability.
I have been ringside for 3 of Algieri’s bouts over the last 2 years, each time he has entered the fans have gone nuts during his ring walk, such ovations give inclination that star power exist should he improve his current 14-0 resume with the “0” intact down the line. Only time will give us the answers on that or to what level his boxing career will be successful on. Meanwhile boxing has a good guy that we need more of leaving it all in the ring for those willing to pay the price of admission. That’s why he is our Hot Prospect of the Month!
Photo By: Daxx Khan/BillyCBoxing.com,
Welterweight - Luis “Orlandito” Del Valle
By: Daxx Kahn - April 5, 2012
25 year old Luis “Orlando” Del Valle might not be a name many of you are familiar with though I suspect that will all change by 2014 if he continues to perform inside boxing rings like he has recently. It was before turning professional Luis grabbed attentions of those around American boxing circuit’s by being one of the most dominate amateurs never to be part of an Olympic team. During 2004 Del Valle won Silver at 125lbs when competing in the PAL Nationals and was also the National Golden Gloves Featherweight Champion. In 2005 Luis was the under 19 National amateur champion in his perspective weight class, won another Silver Medal at the PAL Nationals not to mention his Bronze medal win at Finland’s “Tammer Tournament”. 2006 Del Valle claimed Gold at the “Six nations Cup” held in Italy when representing the United Sates, third at the National PAL championships and Gold in the Jose Che Aponte tournament. 2007 success carried on when he once again was a top 3 finisher in the PAL nationals and semi-finalist at the Pan-Am Olympic qualifiers. Those 4 whirlwind years helped Luis gain valuable experience on a top level that has thus far benefitted his professional career.
A few years ago when I had first met Del Valle he had been preparing to have his ninth bout in Poughkeepsie NY, one he claimed victory via first round KO, that victory was followed by another KO stoppage where Del Valle picked up New York States Welterweight belt. Three bouts later Del Valle would be on Showtime’s “Boxing After Dark” series claiming his biggest professional win to date facing then highly touted prospect and more experienced Dat Nguyen, his victory on that evening helped him fill the vacant NABA Featherweight Championship. April 27th Del Valle will once again step in with a more experienced opponent when he battles Christopher Martin in hopes of furthering an already impressive 15-0 (11) resume and near closer to his dream of becoming a world champion.
Luis when speaking with him displays all the confidence a young fighter should minus arrogance something that will make him popular among fans later in his career. Coming from Bayamon Puerto Rico Del Valle naturally aspires to one day be considered among the Islands top fighters of all time and have his name mentioned alongside ones such as Felix Trinidad or Miguel Cotto, two warriors he looks up towards. That is a high standard of goals to set for one’s self but Luis knows he has to work hard and does not mind doing so if such an accomplishment is to be met.
His style is that of a Boxer-Puncher yet his KO% would suggest power is a primary weapon for him but if you should watch his bouts Del Valle goes from Boxer-Puncher to pure boxer without faltering based upon what best suits to beat his opponent at that moment. Keep your eye out for Luis “Orlandito” Del Valle and his upcoming bouts because his name will be one heard often down the road and that is why he is this month’s “Hot Prospect”.
Photo By: Snowcreations Photography
WELTERWEIGHT SAMUEL VARGAS
By: Daxx Khan - February 22, 2012 - BillyCBoxing.com
If you are searching for a potential future superstar to keep an eye on current Canadian welterweight champion Samuel Vargas is one to follow. A native of Columbia who now resides in Canada, Vargas is developing quite an impressive following throughout the country. In his 10 pro bouts thus far all have taken place there and his last two have created some big noise not only in Canada but throughout boxing circles internationally. October 22nd 2011 Vargas faced Ahmad Cheikho in a bout so action packed that it was voted the “Canadian fight of the year” despite ending in just 5 rounds after Ahmad retired on his stool due to accumulated punishment. February 11th 2012 Samuel met a more experienced Manolis Plaitis to decide on who would wear the vacant Canadian Welterweight championship. That affair ended in round one after Vargas hit Plaitis with a shot so devastating it’s already being considered as a knockout of the year candidate.
Since he only had 12 amateur fights before turning professional Samuel knows the importance of hard work and dedication when in the gym. He credits trainer Billy Martin for teaching him proper stances also how to throw a punch that will leave an impact on his foe. The manner in which Vargas dispatched his last several opponent’s backs up any doubts if there were some by chance on exactly how hard he works at perfecting his craft.
I spoke with Samuel recently after viewing video of his 1st round stoppage win over Plaitis, the fight certainly gave me reason to believe this 22 year old is someone to keep my eye on as a possible future star. That is why he is the focus of this editions feature prospect to follow.
BillyCBoxing- Sam how do you do, I have been hearing your name quite a bit lately. It started in October 23rd of 2011 after your war against Ahmad Cheikho, a fight you were victorious in when Cheikho quit on his stool. The affair lasted only 5 rounds but was named Canada’s 2011 Fight of the year. Then on February 11th 2012 when you defeated a much more experienced Manolis Plaitis for the vacant Canadian Welterweight title by 1st round stoppage everyone who seen the bout was buzzing your name for a week. You must be pleased with how much progress and attention you’re drawing after only 10 pro bouts.
Samuel Vargas- It is a great feeling knowing people are supportive of me.
BCB- You were born in Columbia am I correct? How did Canada become your home base?
SV- I was born in Columbia, my family came here 7 years ago we were looking to make a better life for us because financially in Columbia it was very hard. We liked it very much, Canada is a good country. I live here with my Mother, Step Father and little sister.
BCB- How are the Canadian fans treating you? Over the years they have been very kind to fighters from other nations they adopted as their own. A perfect example currently would be IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute who was born in Romania.
SV- They treat me well, the people in this country are all very nice. Canadian sports fans love boxing, you do not have to be Canadian born for them to appreciate you, fans want to see great fights if you can give them those fights they will appreciate your efforts.
BCB- What sort of amateur background do you have and were your amateur fights in Canada or Columbia?
SV- I did not have a long amateur career only about 12 fights, they took place here in Canada. So for me every professional fight is a new experience.
BCB- You recently won the vacant Canadian welterweight championship after stopping a more experienced Manolis Plaitis in under a round. Manolis had 18 bouts on his resume opposed to your 9, were you surprised that affair ended so quickly?
SV- I was confident going into the bout because I worked very hard training and it helped me inside the ring. I was a little surprised but when he hit me and could not get me out once I touched him I knew I had him.
BCB- Now that you have won your first title belt, I can only imagine the confidence level that has boosted. How does it feel to be in possession of a championship belt?
SV- It feels good knowing that what I work so hard at is paying off, I am building more confidence with every bout and I am improving each time out.
BCB- You won your first bout by TKO and then did not have a stoppage win until October of last year, then another one to follow up with it. Where has this sudden power come from?
SV- My trainer Billy Martin has focused on my technique and how to throw shots with power behind them; he developed drills for me in the gym that have paid off. I am glad to be working with him.
BCB- At what age did you first become interested enough in boxing that you envisioned it as a career for you?
SV- I was about 16 years old when boxing became something I knew I wanted to do as a professional.
BCB- Any fighter in particular that inspired you be it past or present?
SV- Julio Cesar Chavez Senior is one fighter I looked up to. Steve Molitor also is a fighter I looked up to, I learned a lot from watching his fights.
BCB- Do you know when your next bout is to take place and if so will that be held in Canada?
SV- Right now it looks like my next fight will be in March or May and it will take place in Canada.
BCB- Any chance you will be visiting the United States and give American fans a live glimpse at what has Canadian fans so excited?
SV- For sure, right now I am waiting for my people to finalize my next fight then we will go from there but I would like to fight in the US.
BCB- It has been nice speaking with you, from the way things are progressing thus far I have a feeling your name will be one mentioned more often among boxing fans not only in Canada but around the globe, especially if you continue ending fights in the same fashion as your recent two.
SV- Thank You
22 years old, unbeaten in his professional campaign, a Canadian Welterweight Champion that has already won the country’s fight of the year honors sounds like a prospect we will be hearing from throughout boxing’s upcoming future. Everything about Samuel Vargas so far has “Hot Prospect” written all over it, all we need do now is sit back while his story inside the ring unfolds.