Golden Boy cards

Golden Boy Clamping Down Southern California

By David A. Avila

Golden Boy Promotions continues to strengthen its Southern California power base with two fight cards this week: one in downtown Los Angeles and two days later another in Indio.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the boxing company headed by Oscar De La Hoya has re-structured with an emphasis on talent from the West Coast, Mexico and Europe. 

Local prospect Roy Tapia headlines the fight card at Belasco Theater on Thursday Aug. 6. Two days later Manuel Avila meets Cuba’s Yoandris Salinas in a super bantamweight clash at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. 

At Belasco Theater undefeated Tapia (10-0-2, 5 Kos) of East L.A. faces Mexico’s Jose Luis Hernandez (18-5-1) a veteran of 24 pro bouts who fought recently at the same venue in a losing cause to Jojo Diaz. But that was Diaz a former US Olympian.

Tapia, 23, last performed at the Belasco Theater in March and fought to a draw against Ali Gonzalez. It was an underwhelming performance after defeating former world title challenger Luis Maldonado in four rounds last November. The kid from East L.A. needs a strong performance against a solid opponent like Hernandez on Thursday.

The main event features undefeated Abraham Lopez (18-0-1) against Jorge Diaz (18-3-1) of New Jersey in a featherweight clash set for 10 rounds. La Puente’s Lopez has been an enigma of sorts the past few years. Though undefeated he’s been up and down the spectrum. But after a three year sabbatical Lopez has returned with a draw and then an impressive and unique knockout of Alfred Tetteh with a blow right under the armpit. I’ve never seen that happen in 22 years on the beat. Lopez is 27 and has to prove his worth now.   

Saturday at Fantasy Springs Casino, the undefeated Avila (17-0, 7 Kos) who hails from Fairfield, Calif. a suburb northeast of San Francisco, faces Salinas (21-1-2) a former world title challenger who at 30, has a big edge in experience. But the much younger Avila seems unimpressed.

“I don’t watch any tape on my opponents,” said Avila a tall 122-pound super bantamweight. “I can kind of adjust to any type of style. Just figure a guy out and take over from there.”

Avila represents the more concentrated emphasis on California talent Golden Boy Promotions has steered toward recently. It’s not a secret that California and Texas are rich with boxing talent. And fans in the Southwest U.S. region are the most rabid followers of the sport. The company aims to please those fans by featuring their homegrown product.

The co-main event at Fantasy Springs will be Russia’s undefeated welterweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko (19-0, 8 Kos) meeting Venezuela’s Johan Perez (20-2-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout. This is Mikhaylenko’s fourth fight outside of Russia and first on the West Coast.       

Perez’s only losses were to Riverside’s Mauricio Herrera and Mexico’s Pablo Cano by decision. He’s strong and fast but usually not busy enough. It should be an interesting matchup. 

For Fantasy Springs ticket information call (800) 827-2946.

For Belasco Theater tickets call (213) 746-1606.