It would appear that Golden Boy has done a good thing in revamping and bringing back LA Fight Club. Not only serving as an exciting preview of the next generation of boxing’s brightest stars it also serves as a pretty good lab for up and comers to work on their skills both mental and physical under the type of pressure that if it doesn’t break the mold can produce some real diamonds out of the rough business that is the lifesblood of this sport.
In the second edition of LA Fight Club at The Belasco Theatre on April 2, 2015, the legitimacy factor was high with MMA Star Ronda Rousey on hand not only as a spectator but also in the corner for the opening untelevised fight. Melsik Baghdasaryan (1-0, 1KO), versed in MMA as a stable mate of Rousey’s from The Glendale Fight Club, opened LA Fight Night with coach Edmond Tarverdyan in his corner as head trainer. The showing was all fast and furious for Baghdasaryan as he easily won his pro boxing debut against Mexico City’s Mario Angeles (1-7-2) by TKO.
The undisputed TKO star of the televised portion of the night was former two time Brazilian Olympian Everton Lopes (2-0), who dealt a decisive first round KO to his opponent, Robert Seyam (2-3, 2KOs). It was a blistering punch to the solar plexus that Seyam definitely didn’t see but more than felt as he was unable to make the count to continue the round. This gifted “core assassination” showed that Lopes, a highly regarded prospect due to his picture perfect amateur pedigree is no joke on the professional scene. With this win it would appear that Lopes has not only real power but the know how needed to translate it into deadly economy – an essential tool for any amateur looking to become a highly decorated professional.
An interesting fight for all the wrong reasons was the co event between former Brazilian Olympian Yamaguchi Falcao (5-0, 2KOs) versus relatively unknown Arkansas fighter Deartie Tucker (2-1, 2KOs) – with Tucker as yet another participant on the card who came first to fighting from the world of MMA. Interestingly enough, it was Tucker, even though he didn’t win his bout against the more lauded Yamaguchi, who showed more grit and fan promise if not pedigree than Falcao. If anything, the night should have been all Falcao. Their father, an MMA fighter who still now fights competitively in Brazil, trained Falcao early on along with his brother. Not only did Yamaguchi medal in the London Olympics but also his brother medaling there also. Nevertheless, in getting his win he was out hustled by a more than game Tucker who showed a chin of granite despite going up two weight classes on short notice to take the fight. “One day’s notice. I went up two weight classes to beat this guy,” revealed Tucker who was still taking in the experience of fighting on his biggest platform yet post fight. “We went all the rounds, so I think I did good,” said Tucker after losing the fight on the cards. “I lost but I’m feeling good,” concluded Tucker in an honest assessment of a hard battle where he exhibited precisely the type of will it takes to win fans.
On the flipside, despite his victory Yamaguchi will need to answer for himself and those on his team exactly what went wrong with regards to his inability to look outstanding or even substantially dominant against someone who was unquestionably the naturally smaller, less prepared less experienced opponent. Indeed, if Falcao’s LA Fight Club is in any way truly indicative of who he is in the ring, there will be serious problems as he continues to make his way up the pro ladder as a Super Middleweight. As such, wisely Falcao was quick to spin the exercise as atypical. “I couldn’t find my rhythm,” stated Falcao. “I need to go back to the gym and train harder so the fans can see the real Yamaguchi.” For his sake hopefully this proves true. As for Tucker, it would be nice to see him fight again as a part of LA Fight Club at a lower more reasonable weight with a little more than a days notice to see if in fact he is made of something more enduring than heart endowed with a granite chin.
Finally, the most skilled and polished bout of the night was Julian Ramirez (14-0, 8KOs) versus Raul Hidalgo (23-13, 17KOs) with both opponents having the most evenly matched and equally exciting abilities going into the night as it’s headliner. Julian Ramirez has been a standout prospect with the seemingly effortless knockouts, relaxed ring attitude and fervent local fans to prove it. Hidalgo, while not undefeated like Ramirez has regularly fought the type of high level competition that Ramirez has yet to face but seeks in the likes of Jessie Magdaleno (20-0, 15KOs) and fellow Inaugural LA Fight Club headliner, and former Olympian Joseph Jo Jo Diaz (15-0, 10KOs). Ramirez earned and received the decisive win on the scorecards over Hidalgo, by wearing down and frustrating him with a dedicated and relentlessly specific fight plan targeting both body and the head. In the uber perfectionist manner that is typical Ramirez, he was not happy that he didn’t win by TKO against a smart and skilled Hidalgo. “I just didn’t have the chance to finish him,” lamented Ramirez. “I was closing the chances by smothering him…. I gave him the chance to clinch with me but if I wouldn’t have smothered myself he wouldn’t have had a way to clinch me. He would have opened up and I could have hit him… so that’s my fault …just something that I can’t do in the next fight, “ continued Ramirez. “I have to work a little bit, throw a little bit more punches, work inside not just try to land hard punches, ” Ramirez concluded on the subject of his win.
Nevertheless, it would seem that in more than just this subtle dissatisfaction, Ramirez could simply be channeling the necessary obsessive behaviors that define future champions of serious stature. Fellow fight night attendee Ronda Rousey is known for her compulsive nature when it comes to perfecting her craft in the Octagon, and look where that continues to take her. Indeed, it was happy news to Ramirez that he like Rousey has a post fight ritual that involves of all things, going out to eat chicken wings and alternately bask in and take apart every aspect of the recent win. Inability to accept anything less than perfection in all of her performances much like Ramirez and apparently Ramirez unwittingly in his post fight ritual also shares Rousey’s proclivity for post fight chicken wings. “ With my first two fights.. we went to Wingstop and we saw the fight there so right now we’re going to Wingstop or maybe Tommy’s cause it’s closer, “ ruminated Ramirez. Upon learning that Rousey loves chicken wings, the response was immediate: “ She always gets chicken wings? I love chicken wings,” revealed Ramirez with a huge grin.
And so, to the victor go the spoils… and these days it would seem to be chicken wings with a dash of barbecue.
LA Fight Club
A Feather in Oscar De La Hoyas Cap
Written by Kylie Krabbe
Photo by Kylie Krabbe
April 11th 2015
Julian Ramirez after his win.