Boxing in the San Fernando Valley is about to be rekindled at the legendary Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, Calif. The inaugural world-class event will be held on Saturday evening, June 23, when former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Rico Ramos laces up the gloves against the undefeated 2008 Colombian Olympian Jhonatan Romero.
Boxing fans in attendance will also see the return of lightweight stud John Molina Jr., and a battle between two undefeated young super flyweight stars in Matthew Villanueva of Burbank, Calif. against Austreberto Juarez of Ventura, Calif. The event will be broadcast on TeleFutura’s hit series “Solo Boxeo Tecate.”
“We are so excited to have world class boxing back here at The Sportsmen’s Lodge,” exclaimed Michelle Bucks, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Sportsmens Lodge. “Goossen Tutor Promotions was a major part of the Events Center throughout the 70’s, 80’s, & 90’s, and we are looking forward to the next 30 Years Together!”
The Lodge hosted its first boxing event in 1970. The last events held there in the 90’s were promoted by Dan Goossen. Now, 14 years since the Sportsmen’s Lodge last hosted boxing, the San Fernando valley’s Goossen Tutor Promotions will again look to create a series of boxing events held every two months throughout the year.
Also happy about the events to come is the Sportsmen’s Lodge General Manager, Laurence Whiting, stating “We at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center are thrilled to resume a long-standing tradition of high quality boxing in partnership with Goossen Tutor Promotions. It’s a world-class event, perfectly positioned at our historic venue. We look forward to great success, and marvelous entertainment for our guests, both for this inaugural show, and hopefully for years to come.”
Having recently completed a 10-month renovation of its Events Center, which now boasts room for 1,000 boxing fans, Goossen is looking to reestablish home-grown World Champions fighting locally within a celebrity setting with the first event featuring a main and semi-main bout with a combined record of the fighters of 57 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw, with 32 knockouts.
Rico Ramos (20-1, 11 KOs) reached his dream of becoming a World Champion when he stopped defending World Champion Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10 KOs) in Atlantic City on July 9, 2011 and televised on HBO.
In his first defense of the title, Ramos was dealt no easy task as he faced two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist in Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs) on January 20, 2012. The fight, held at the Pearl inside Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and televised on SHOWTIME, ended when Rigondeaux stopped Ramos in the seventh round.
“I need to redeem myself for the poor showing I had against Rigondeaux, and the only way to do that is fight,” said Ramos. “I’m facing another undefeated Olympian with a strong amateur background in a fight that can get me back into the world championship picture with an impressive victory.”
Making his first steps on the road to recovering his championship, Ramos will need to beat the tough 25-year-old Romero (20-0, 12 KOs). The undefeated Colombian improved his record to 20 wins this past December by scoring a unanimous decision over the very respected Chris Avalos (19-2, 15 KOs).
Romero can’t wait for the chance of getting the former world champion in the ring. “Beat the champ and suddenly the boxing world knows who you are,” stated Romero, “and I intend to beat Ramos.”
In the co-main event, Burbank’s Matthew Villanueva (7-0-1, 7 KOs) will look to remain unbeaten against Austreberto Juarez (10-1, 2 KOs), who is eager to prove that the single blemish on his record was a fluke.
Villanueva last appeared on SHOWTIME the same night Ramos took on Rigondeaux. He unleashed a relentless assault against Michael Ruiz Jr. (8-2-1, 3 KOs) in that bout, forcing referee Russell Mora to stop the bout in the seventh round.
Upon hearing the news of his fight at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Villanueva was ecstatic, “I can’t wait to be fighting literally blocks away from my home in front of family, friends and what is sure to be a sell-out crowd. I want to build a local following and intend doing that with knockout action.”
In Juarez’s last bout he sustained the only loss of his career in a decision to Miguel Diaz (8-0, 3 KOs) in an eight-round fight on March 10, 2012.
“Despite a tough decision in my last outing, I know that I am capable of fighting at an elite level, and I am eager to show the world that I am a strong and exciting competitor in this division.”
Widely considered one of the hottest young lightweight prospects in boxing, John Molina Jr., who is a native of Covina, California, has posted 19 vicious knockouts among his first 23 wins, while only sustaining one loss in his career entering the ring that night with the flu.
Molina’s most recent ring appearance came in June of last year, when he took on Robert Frankel (28-11-1, 5 KOs) at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Cabazon, Calif. Molina was too quick and powerful for the tested veteran fighter, and Raul Caiz Jr. would stop the bout at the conclusion of round 5.
Having had his eye on lightweight kingpin Brandon Rios, as well as the divisions title holders for some time now, Molina looks to establish himself as a contender for top dog in the division by securing a win at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in dominant fashion.
“I’ve been in the gym this whole time and I’m looking forward to showcasing my ability and showing the world that I am ready to take on and beat the upper echelon of fighters at 135.”
As for the Sportsmen’s Lodge, you can imagine they’ve had their share of some names from the past that have fought there, including Peter McNeely, who after beating Larry Menefee at the Lodge in a bout Goossen promoted, would go on to break Pay-Per-View records in his next immediate fight against Mike Tyson at the MGM in Las Vegas. From the other side of the pond, one of England’s current top trainers, Robert McCracken, defended his undefeated record through 30 fights at the Sportsmen’s Lodge on February 27, 1998.
Tickets priced at $103.50 VIP, $52.50 Ringside & $32.50 will go on sale this Wednesday, May 16 at www.GoossenTutor.com/schedule or by calling the Goossen Tutor office at (818) 817-8001. Tickets will also be available the day of the event at the Lodge.
Not since the days of the Reseda Country Club in the early 80’s through the mid-90’s has a reoccurring boxing show called the San Fernando Valley its home. Dan Goossen promoted hundreds of shows during that period where top of the line celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, James Caan, Cheech Marin, Tony Danza, Michael Landon, Billy Dee Williams, Michael J. Fox,Heather Locklear, Howie Long and Mr. T among many others could be seen sitting ringside for the fight action, which featured many of the initial bouts of World Champions and Valley residents Michael Nunn and the Ruelas Brothers, Gabriel and Rafael. Others, including Tex Cobb, and world champions Terry Norris, Wayne McCullough had the fans wanting more. Now Goossen is going “Back to the Future” with another hot San Fernando Valley location in the Lodge.
The Sportsmen’s Lodge first opened its doors in the 1880’s and is a Southern California landmark that was once a popular gathering spot for the who’s who of old Hollywood including Clark Gable, Bette Davis, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Operating under various names in the first half of the 20th Century, the lodge was known for its trout-fishing lake where families came to catch and eat their own dinners, cooked courtesy of the lodge’s restaurant.
McCracken, who was once promoted by Goossen, also holds the distinction of being the trainer of Carl Froch, who this past December was thoroughly dominated by Andre Ward on his way to winning the SHOWTIME Super Six World Boxing Classic Tournament.