He thrilled millions of boxing fans with an aggressive style that earned him a spot on the 1996 US Olympic team and two world junior middleweight championships. And on Saturday, June 19th, boxing superstar Fernando Vargas will begin his quest to bring the next generation of stars to fight fans, as he joins with long time fight promoter Roy Englebrecht and presents his first event as a promoter – “Melee at McDermont” – at the state of the art McDermont Field House in Lindsay, California.
At a Friday, May 7th Noon Press Conference at McDermont Field House, Vargas announced the main event for this historic card, which is the first ever professional boxing event in Lindsay (population 15,000), and will feature former world champion Martin “El Gallo” Castillo looking to extend his two fight winning streak when he battles former IBA world titlist Vernie Torres in a super bantamweight main event.
Also in action will be two of Lindsay’s own, as lightweight Rigo Espinoza and welterweight Stephen Rubalcava make their professional debuts in four round action.
“I’m very excited and look forward to bringing a class act and a Hollywood type show to Lindsay,” said Vargas. “After attending Fight Promoter University last November I knew that I wanted my new company, Vargas Entertainment Promotions, to get into the fight promotions business. Now being able to partner with such a respected promoter as Roy Englebrecht, I am confident that fight fans will witness an event that will be the talk of Lindsay and Tulare County for years!”
“Melee at McDermont”, a hard-hitting night of professional boxing, will be co-promoted by Vargas Entertainment Promotions and Roy Englebrecht Promotions. Tickets, priced at $75, $40 and $25, can be purchased online at www.meleeatmcdermont.com and at the McDermont Field House office Monday thru Friday. Special VIP Melee Suites that are all inclusive are also being offered for this show at $600 per suite, and include 10 tickets and unlimited food and drink.
McDermont Field House is a year old, 15 million dollar recreation facility that includes state of the art soccer fields, basketball court, a wave pool, video arcade, dance studio, boxing gym, café, and is considered the most cutting edge recreational venue of it type in California.
“As mayor of the City of Lindsay I am extremely excited about bringing professional boxing to Lindsay,” said Ed Murray. “I know it will be a fantastic evening for local fight fans to see great fights on June 19th, and I also look forward to witnessing this evening first hand, right in our hometown.”
One of the most exciting fighters in the game today, Mexico City native Martin Castillo (35-3, 18 KOs) is a former 1996 Mexican Olympian who repeated his amateur success in the pros when he won the WBA super flyweight title in 2004. Castillo defended his crown four times before an upset loss in 2006, and he has since won five of his last six bouts, including two in a row following his return from a year-long layoff.
A native of Davao City in the Philippines, southpaw Vernie Torres (27-12, 15 KOs) has been battling it out with the best for nearly 14 years. Torres has faced the likes of Mike Oliver, Gary Stark Jr., and Jose Navarro, but his crowning glory came in January of 2003, when he stopped Julio Coronel in ten rounds to win the IBA bantamweight title. Now looking to recapture that championship form, Torres is expecting a big night on June 19th.
In the “Melee at McDermont” co-main event, it will be a six round Bay Area brawl when Oakland’s Tony Hirsch (11-3-1, 5 KOs) takes on Fresno’s Loren Myers (7-7-1, 2 KOs) in a middleweight match. Hirsch, a former Oakland Raiders cornerback has won two in a row, including a decision victory over veteran contender Jose Celaya last November, but he will be tested by the always tough Myers, who has been in with top prospects Dion Savage and Matt Korobov in the last year.
Hometown heroes Rigo Espinoza and Stephen Rubalcava will take their leap into the punch for pay ranks on June 19th when they square off against Cesar Flores (0-1) and Maurice Slade (0-2-1), respectively.
“I found out what the city of Lindsay was doing with their awesome venture the McDermont Field House about a year ago, and just knew it would work for boxing,” said co promoter Roy Englebrecht. “Add to the mix the name of Fernando Vargas and I know the Melee at McDermont will become the premier fight series in the Central Valley, both for boxing and for mixed martial arts shows we will also be promoting”
Opening the event will be bantamweight four rounder pitting Fresno’s Mike Ruiz (1-0) against Cudahay’s Luis Lucas (0-1).
Doors open on Saturday, June 19th at 6:30pm, with the first bell at 7:30pm.