Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Deaf female fighter added to RIOT boxing card 10/26
Imagin what it's like to hear nothing, yet get instructions from your coach and trainer while in the ring. How does she hear the bell ending each round? What is it like to compete in a silent setting? Boxing fans will see first hand the remarkable story of Leonie Hall of San Diego as she battles Cynthia Talmadge of San Francisco at THE RIOT in downtown Monterey. On Friday, October 26th, the two talented women, who both were highly ranked amateurs, seek their first win as a pro. 3 years ago, wearing headgear Hall won a close decision over Talmadge. The professional world gives Talmadge the advantage it would seem, but Leonie has been counted out her entire life and is determined to prove the skeptics wrong. This intriguing matchup promises to be 4 rounds of non-stop action. Hall at 5'1" will be the aggressor as the shorter fighter will muscle her way inside and try to mall Talmadge. Cynthia will rely on her reach and boxing skills to jab and counter her way to victory. This bout was not originally scheduled for Monterey. In fact, it wasn't even on the radar until Talmadge's original opponent Katarina de la Cruz got suspended for taking a fight when her signed contract stated "no fights in interim". Her bad decision came back to bite her, as she was knocked out in that ill advised bout. Opponent #2 for Cynthia was Michelle Gutierrez. The Las Vegas fighter trained by Jesse Ried was fired up and ready to go until sustaining an injury in sparring. Michelle tried to fight through the numbness, but finally went to the doctor 5 days after sustaining what she thought was a pinched nerve in her neck. Two doctors who examined her, have put Gutierrez on the shelf for the rest of the year with nerve damage. I found out about the injury just a few days ago, and was fortunate to connect with Leonie's trainer Bernardo Navarez. The coach could not simply pick up the phone an call Leonie after he agreed to the fight, so the next day he got Hall's approval face to face. Credit Talmadge for understanding the trial and tribulations involved in making a match for her despite a limited pool of talent at her weight class. The bout will be contested for 4 rounds at 120 pounds. While this fight is compelling, every other fight on THE RIOT boxing card has a side story or two. Jesus Vega returns to the ring after 4 years, having beaten testicular cancer, 20 year old Eloy Perez battles to stay undefeated (9-0-2) against Ron Boyd of Washington DC who is trained by former World Champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, Former #1 welterweight contender Jose Celaya returns to Monterey for the first time since 2001 trying to restart his career at 30-3, two fighters who have each been knocked out in all their fights get a chance for a win against eachother, while a former Salinas field worker, Constancio Alvarado continues his unbeaten pro career. THE RIOT has a reputation for intriguing bouts in our 15 year history, but never have so many diverse and interesting characters been assembled on one show which includes four fighters from Salinas in separate bouts.