Memorable night for local fighters, trainer
While the principal fighters gave fans little return on their ticket purchases, there was plenty of payback on the local front Friday at Caesars Tahoe.
Carson City’s Miguel Angel Ruiz (see related story) won a unanimous six-round decision, Roseville’s Eric “The Hit Man” Regan pounded out a four-round unanimous decision and Sacramento’s Michael Simms scored a technical knockout.
In addition, the Duva Boxing show on ESPN2 saw ex-fighter Juan Torres of South Lake Tahoe return to the ring and local lightweight Simon Ruvalcaba near a deal with the Duvas and make plans to launch his pro career next month in Scranton, Pa.
Torres nearly died last summer when he pulled out of a fight at the Peppermill in Reno as the first of two strokes abbreviated his pro boxing career.
A part-time trainer before the strokes, Torres has resumed training fighters after nine months of rehabilitation. The strokes restricted some movement on his body’s left side and partially closed his left eye.
But Torres is nearly his old self again, and flashed his charming smile and unleashed his sarcastic wit after working the corner for Juan Carlos Barreto and Oscar Delgado.
“Ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably have another stroke. If you see I’m a little crazy, that’s just the way I am,” he joked. “So far so good. It felt good. I didn’t know if I wanted to be back or just completely retire from the sport, but it’s just a taste of it.”
Torres rushed from the showroom to the hospital, but family and friends could take heart that the medical visit didn’t concern him. Barreto needed several stitches to close a small cut given to him by the “Hit Man.”
Regan raised his unbeaten middleweight record to 12-0 by trying a more conservative game plan against Barreto of Lakeside, Calif.
Last time I fought him at Arco I tried to knock him out,” said Regan, who has now beaten Barreto three times. “We went toe to toe for four rounds and pretty much traded shots. He ate a tremendous amount of punches and I ended up hurting my hand, so this time I wanted to go out and just be smart and clean.”
Regan also was a week removed from defending his kickboxing championship. He stopped No. 2 contender Stephen Derklyko of Russia in the third round in Sacramento to improve to 32-0.
Consequently, Regan used his superior reach to hammer out a 40-36 edge on two judges’ scorecards and a 39-37 advantage on a third card for the unanimous decision.
“I knew this guy was tough as nails, and I knew I wasn’t going to knock him out, so I wanted to box him clean and pitch a shutout,” Regan said.
However, Regan believes once his management team gives him more rounds, his opponents won’t go the distance.
“I was fighting more of a six- or eight-round fight. This is my 12th boxing match, so I think I’m past four-rounders now,” Regan said. “I’m waiting for them to bump me up to eight or even 10 rounds because that’s what kind of fighter I am. Out there if I can keep tattooing them for eight or 10 rounds, they won’t be able to hang.”
Kelvin Davis, a 1996 Sparks High grad, was originally on the card, but his scheduled opponent – Willie Chapman – moved up to fight in the semimain event earlier in the day. Chapman fought unbeaten heavyweight Eric Kirkland in Adolpho Washington’s place after the Nevada Athletic Commission discovered that Washington had fought a recent eight-rounder. The commission requires fighters to wait at least 14 days before their next fight when one of their bouts goes at least eight rounds.
Davis (14-0, 10 KOs) was given the option first of filling in for Washington, but had trained for a six-round bout. The Kirkland bout was scheduled for 10 rounds.
The 22-year-old Davis, who trains in Las Vegas, was upset that ESPN2 boxing commentators questioned his courage.
“I believe it was the right choice for me,” said Davis, who has been working on some new strategy under trainer Tommy Brooks. “You have a game plan for every fight. I’m kind of disappointed right now because I was watching TV and they said I had no courage to get in there. I have a lot of courage, and I’m not scared of nobody. Him and me will meet.”
Davis said a fight has been arranged with Kirkland for June 26.
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