Simon Ruvalcaba prepares for April 18 title bout |

Simon Ruvalcaba prepares for April 18 title bout

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

South Shore boxer Simon Ruvalcaba has started preparations for an April 18 title bout in Lewiston, Idaho.

Ruvalcaba (4-10-2) will fight Dumont “Dewey” Welliver (18-18-2) for the Northwest Boxing Association middleweight title.

“The Northwest Boxing Association is definitely a minor league belt in the pro ranks, but it’s been around a while, and winning it will be special since my boxing mentor, Ted Walker, founded (it) in 1952,” Ruvalcaba said.

The 30-year-old Ruvalcaba has split his past two matches, winning a split decision against Joe Calabria on March 7, 2008 and losing to Rodrigo Aguiar by unanimous decision on Aug. 15, 2008.

Welliver, 26, made a spectacular start to his pro career, compiling a 12-0-1 record. But since then, he’s endured six- and five-match losing streaks. Welliver, however, has rebounded to win two of his past three bouts, including a third-round knockout of Miguel Angel Ruiz.

In two of his more notable bouts, Welliver won an unanimous decision over former World Boxing Association lightweight champion Livingstone Bramble in 2003, and he lost by technical knockout to Carlos Bojorquez in 2004. Bojorquez is best known for administering a defeat to Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker in his final bout in 2001 at Caesars Tahoe.

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“Dewey’s story is similar to mine,” Ruvalcaba said. “He was an outstanding amateur who decided to turn pro in 1999 instead of trying for the 2000 Olympics. The one difference is that he did have quite a start to his career. He started off his pro career winning 12 of his first 13 bouts, whereas I have yet to go on the tear that some in boxing thought I would enjoy.”

Ruvalcaba said that Welliver has served as a sparring partner for Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.

The championship bout will mark the first time in his eight-year pro career that Ruvalcaba will be scheduled to fight eight rounds. To help his conditioning and stamina, Ruvalcaba plans to train locally for the fight.

“I am on pace to be peaking for April 18. Starting March 16 through the first week of April, my conditioning will include running eight miles a day,” Ruvalcaba said.

Ruvalcaba had considered taking a fight Friday night in Las Vegas.

“Ideally, I would’ve liked to have some sort of tune-up, but I didn’t want any added distractions,” he said. “I just wasn’t going to be on weight and didn’t want to rush my conditioning.”

Notes: Former South Lake Tahoe pro and amateur boxer Arnulfo Bravo has continued to build his stable of fighters. Bravo’s management team recently signed U.S. Olympic junior welterweight Javier Molina. He joins Shawn Estrada, who signed after the 2008 Olympics. Estrada is scheduled for his third pro bout March 27 in Los Angeles.