Champs at Agoura Hills Grand Opening
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Hundreds of fans came out to the star-studded “Meet & Greet” with Brandon Rios that took place Sunday afternoon at the KO Studio in Agoura Hills, California.
Here’s my SPECIAL REPORT from the bash, which also celebrated the Grand Opening festivities at this SoCal boxing gym.
“Bam Bam” Rios and his team are gearing up for the banger’s upcoming clash against Mike Alvarado. The two heavy hitters will lock horns on October 13 at the Home Depot Center in Carson. This Top Rank card features Rios-Alvarado as the co-main of Nonito Donaire vs. Toshiaki Nishioka and will air on HBO. This will be Brandon’s official move to the 140 ranks in this WBO Latino Championship bout.
With this October collision just a few days away, the former WBA Lightweight Champ wanted to thank all of his fans at this weekend gathering for the community.
Joining the popular Mexican warrior was a pound-for-pound lineup of pugilists including WBO/NABF world titlist Mikey Garcia, 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr., former WBC and IBF Super Bantamweight Champion Israel Vazquez and former WBO and WBC Continental Americas Featherweight Champ Steven Luevano. Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos, Top Rank reporter Crystina Poncher, Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia and a crew from the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard were also there to lend support and meet the fans who came out in droves for their chance to bump fists with their heroes.
This was a real family affair as the champs and fighters all brought family members and their kids with them. The crowd enjoyed a live DJ, prize raffle and refreshments and more at the outdoor celebration for the community. Nancy Rodriguez, from Rios’ PR Team, says this was one of the goals of the function. “Community events like this brings everyone together,” a busy Rodriguez told me as we watched the line of fans continue to pour in. “This is also a chance for new boxing fans to meet the champs and enjoy a fun day at the gym!”
The KO Studio had a huge turnout at their new gym with a line of people snaking around the building. Fans lined up early, eager to score autographs and take a photo with all the fighters in attendance.
“We got here around 3 p.m. and there were a ton of people in line!” U.S. Olympic boxer JoJo Diaz mentioned during a break from signing autographs. “This is a blast meeting everyone and seeing all the families have a great time here.”
It was a lively time as the guests also had the opportunity to get Team Rios and take part in the autograph session, which was was a big hit for all. And while the adults got to mingle with the athletes, the kids got to play in the bounce house set up outside the gym.
Champion Mikey Garcia had his wife and kids there and said he was having a great time getting together with everybody. Boxer Steven Luevano might have won the prize for the largest group of supports as Team Luevano gathered together all sporting their black and red T-shirts. And Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez definitely gets the nod for bringing the youngest fan to the fiesta. Vazquez and wife Laura proudly introduced their two-month old daughter Zoe to everyone. The baby girl joins the couple’s two sons, Israel Jr. and Anthony. And Israel’s compadre Brandon Rios is also a loyal family man with wife Vicky and their team of little “Bam Bam” champs.
In between autographs, the fans quizzed Brandon about his upcoming battle. Rios and his camp say they’re ready for the highly-anticipated clash against Denver star Mike Alvarado; all say it’s gonna be a war.
This “Battle of the Unbeatens” has fans salivating.
Many of the visitors I met at the KO Studio told me they can’t wait for this fight on October 13. Everyone I spoke to think this is one match that could steal the show that night–and may even be a frontrunner for “Fight of the Year” honors.
“Bam Bam” looked lean and ready as he makes his official junior welterweight at the Home Depot Center. And he was all smiles yesterday as he cracked jokes with his fellow fighters, held babies at the request of their excited parents, and signed fight posters for his huge cluster of fans that flocked to Agoura Hills for their own “Bam Bam” moment.
Check out my special snapshots from the day–and be sure to catch the action as Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado collide on October 13!
Photos by Michele Chong
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