By Jason KUROSU
aturday night featured a premium boxing event in Glendale, only the fifth since 2010, to a packed house at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. The Civic bore witness to a full card of bouts billed as “Glendale Fight Night.” The Glendale City Council lifted a 62-year ban on the sport, which was initially pushed by church and PTA groups in the 1940s that saw the sport as unwholesome.
But boxing’s presence has seen a resurgence in the Jewel City, most recently with a 10-fight event Saturday night. Glendale Fight Night featured fighters from around the globe, including numerous Southern California natives, with world championship and Olympic experience among them.
The main event pitted Super Featherweights Jose Felix Jr. vs Alejandro Rodriguez, two accomplished young fighters with 47 combined wins between them, including 33 by knockout. Despite Felix Jr. drawing blood from Rodriguez in the third round, the bout remained close and competitive throughout, looking quite capable of going the full eight rounds. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, he suffered a right hand injury in the seventh, and the fight was called, securing a technical knockout victory for Felix Jr.
The co-main event was a lightweight bout between Ivan “Bam Bam” Najera and Stan “The Man” Martyniouk, a fight between the 21-year-old up-and-coming Najera and the 29-year-old Martyniouk, the former No. 1 ranked National Amateur. Both men boasted impressive records (13-0 and 13-1 respectively) and the fight was a close clashing of conflicting styles – Najera lithe and quick, while Martyniouk’s quickness was more with his punches than his maneuvering around the ring. The two fighters had to be separated several times as Martyniouk in particular was prone to holding his opponent. At the conclusion of eight hard-fought rounds, Najera won by split decision.
Photos by Dan HOLM
Brazilian Olympian Esquiva Falcao fought Memphis native Malcolm Terry in a bout of knockout artists. As advertised, Falcao brought Terry down by knockout in only the second round.
Numerous other fights featured Southern California natives who had plenty of support from friends and family in the audience. Duarte’s Luis “Smokey and the Bandit” Sedano battled Luis Diaz from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for four rounds, eventually winning a close bout as his admirers chanted “Smokey.” La Puente native Jose Zepeda fought and knocked out Adrian Garza of Mexico City, while fans cheered him on in green Zepeda T-shirts. Oxnard’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas and San Antonio’s Benjamin Whitaker battled for five rounds before Kavaliauskas, the two-time Lithuanian Olympian, knocked Whitaker out.
After decades of uncertainty that extended to the modern day, resulting in Glendale’s first two boxing events occurring on a trial basis, the sport is truly back.
Boxing will return to the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Aug. 24.