New Promotion Making a Splash
Promising to bring boxing back to its fans, there’s a brand new promotion staking claim in Los Angeles. Billed as “League of Champions,” this special competition showcases a crop of talented up-and-comers all hungry to make their mark center ring.
I attended the premiere of this fight night which took place last Thursday at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in the heart of downtown L.A. Also in attendance at this “League of Champions” (LOC) debut were prizefighters Steve Forbes, Paulie Malignaggi, Zac Wohlman and Tyrell Hendrix, who all have fights of their own coming up. LOC team members Peter Haro and Ray Rivera were also catching the action ringside. Both young men told me they hoped to fight in the next LOC installment, possibly in April.
This debut evening opened up in a dramatic fashion with promoter George Karambelas and LOC Commissioner Simon Herrera being escorted through the theater-in-the-round by two ring card girls dressed in long velvet gowns. The crowd was then treated to film clips showcasing the LOC team of fighters who you will see on their upcoming cards.
Although there were only three bouts taking place this time, the fans got their fill of non-stop, heart-pounding action.
Each battle was a war between the combatants and as they say, always leave the crowd wanting more.
This trio of fights certainly gave us a taste of what’s to come. Robert Guzman and Victor Altamirano opened the night in their pro debuts. Guzman is a Marine trained by noted boxing coach Clemente Medina (Abner Mares, Alfredo Angulo, etc.). An aggressive Guzman scored a shutout over the game Altamirano with judges scoring it 40-36 all for Guzman.
The second clash was four rounds between Oscar Diaz versus Angel Torres. Oxnard’s Diaz got a KO over his fellow southpaw as referee Daniel Sandoval stopped the contest at 1:39 in the third stanza.
With the audience revved up for more, the main attraction began. This one was an all-out brawl between local boxer Kevin Hoskins and Arizona’s Juan Suazo. The Mohawked Suazo had no quit in him and plenty of heart as he bounced back from two knockdowns to battle back against his foe. Hoskins used his speed and big right hands to ward off his gritty challenger. At the final bell, both warriors showed respect to each other after their blood-and-guts performances. Official scorecards read 38-36, 40-34, 40-34 in favor of the still unbeaten Kevin Hoskins.
Hoskins, a former amateur standout, is trained by TruBoxing’s Jerry “Whiteboy” Rosenberg. The camp had a huge following at the LOC inaugural fight promotion. Team Hoskins were all outfitted in T-shirts touting Kevin’s mug and celebrated their slugger after the victory. And in a show of great sportsmanship, Team Suazo received respect from the victors as well.
After the brutal war, I caught up with Juan Suazo’s trainer, Coach Ray Mitchell and his two sons who had cornered that night. While their courageous fighter didn’t get the win this time, the guys said they were proud of his effort, which also had the fans all cheering loudly. “Juan always gives it all he has,” Coach Ray told me. “The crowd sees that and is appreciative of that too!” Suazo and Mitchell now head back to Arizona where they train with the Tucson Wolfpack Boxing Team.
All in all, this new foray for “League of Champions” looked to be a smashing success for the fans in attendance.
“We want to mix the past with the future,” a tuxedo-clad Herrera announced from the ring. “We’re doing it for the sport. Boxing is NOT dead; we want to rebuild it for the fans!”
Spotlighting new faces in the ring and hoping to build a new fan base, look for future “League of Champions” events to come; there’s talk of the next competition taking place on April 12.
This classy theatre setting is really a throwback to a “Golden Era” of boxing in the City of Angels, so be sure to catch the action next time!
Photos by Michele Chong