Two welterweight titles on the line in Saturday’s NABO doubleheader |

Two welterweight titles on the line in Saturday’s NABO doubleheader

by dan thomas

Even though one of the original matchups wasn’t in the cards, two welterweight championship bouts still are on the card for Saturday at Caesars Tahoe.

North American Boxing Organization welterweight champion David Kamau will defend his belt as scheduled against Marco Antonio Lizarraga at 9 p.m. in one of the headline matches in the NABO doubleheader at Caesars. However, the evening’s other headline bout has changed. At 8 p.m., recently crowned NABO junior welterweight champ Cosme “Chino” Rivera will defend his belt against challenger Ricky Quiles. Both fights are scheduled for 12 rounds.

Quiles replaces the card’s original challenger, Bolillo Gonzales, who suffered a hand and shoulder injury while training. Rivera’s new challenger is a southpaw who brings a 28-4-1 record into Caesars. Rivera never has seen Quiles fight but didn’t seem concerned after the fighters worked out at the Ironworks Body and Fitness gym in Reno on Wednesday.

“I’ve prepared really well,” Rivera said, speaking through his translator. “I’m training really hard. I feel really confident.”

Kamau, who boxed in the Olympics for Kenya before moving to Los Angeles, sounded equally confident. Kamau pits his 29-3 record and welterweight belt against Lizarraga, a native of Sonora, Mexico, who is 49-8-1 with 27 knockouts.

“It belongs to me,” Kamau said. “Nobody’s going to take it from me.”

Samuel Lopez, who brings a 1-0 record to Caesars, kicks off the undercard in a four-round bantamweight bout against Alfonso Billy Morales (2-1-1) at 7:15 p.m. Jesse Lee Brinkley (8-1, six knockouts) from nearby Yerington will highlight the undercard against an opponent to be announced, and Jo Wyman (3-0) will take on Lani Salazar (2-1, two KOs) in a four-round junior featherweight women’s bout. Wyman has not lost a round in her three pro fights, while Salazar is coming off a split-decision loss to a world title contender, after beginning her career with two knockouts.

The boxers put in their final workouts and held their press conferences Wednesday at Ironworks. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and the NABO championship doubleheader kicks off at 7:15 at Caesars Tahoe.

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