Avila Perspective, Chap. 278: Clashes of Spring in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and LA


By David A. Avila

PHOENIX-It happens every Spring.

Promoters worldwide gather their forces and produce their best fight cards from Europe to the Americas and in Asia.

Beginning Friday, it starts with Top Rank staging a heavy-duty fight card featuring Arizona’s Oscar Valdez and Australia’s Liam Wilson along with a female battle for the undisputed minimumweight championship. ESPN+ will stream the card.

Valdez (31-2, 23 KOs) meets Wilson (13-2, 7 KOs) at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Friday, March 29. Both have a common foe and lost to champion Emanuel Navarrete. Both want a rematch or world title fight.

“I know Liam Wilson. He’s a tough fighter,” said Valdez. I was there when he fought Emanuel Navarrete and he sent him to the canvas.”

Wilson almost defeated the champion and now must face two-division world titlist Valdez in his Arizona backyard.

“The whole world saw what happened. I should have already become world champion,” said Wilson of his fight with Navarrete. “I won the belt that night.”

It’s not to be missed.

In the co-main WBA and WBC titlist Seniesa Estrada (25-0, 9 KOs) and WBO and IBF titlist Yokasta Valle (30-2, 9 KOs) battle for the undisputed minimumweight world championship.


Costa Rica’s Valle has super speed and the ability to change tactics if things don’t go her way as she showed against Argentina’s Evelin Bermudez. She is also one of the most athletically gifted fighters in female boxing with incredible stamina.

“This isn’t personal. I respect her as the champion that she is,” Valle said. “And in the ring, we will see who is the real champion.”

East L.A’s Estrada is perhaps one of the most skilled fighters in the world. She also packs power in her small frame. So far, no one has been able to figure out her fighting style or overcome her quickness. The left hook is her best weapon but she has floored opponents with her right cross as well.

“The talk is over. Its time for us to get in there,” said Estrada. “It’s about showing the world that women’s boxing is here, it’s on the rise, and we are great.”

Las Vegas

Aussie slugger Tim Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) can add the WBC to his WBO super welterweight title but must pass through giant Sebastian Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs) to accomplish unification. Tszyu was supposed to fight Keith Thurman but injury forced him out of Saturday’s TGB Promotions fight card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last-minute replacements can be a problem.

Fundora is already a problem with his six-inch height advantage. Plus, he’s a southpaw with pop. It’s like pouring sugar into a gas tank for Tszyu.

But he’s a very confident fellow.

“He’s got height but we all bleed the same blood,” Tszyu said at the press conference.

Another world title fight pits WBA super lightweight titlist Rolly Romero (15-1) versus Isaac Cruz (25-2-1) in the semi-main event.

A third world title matches WBA middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara (29-3-3) against Michael Zerafa (31-4).

A fourth world title fight consists of WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (20-3) fighting Angelino Cordova (18-0-1).

In an eliminator for the WBC super welterweight belt, Serhii Bohachuk (23-1) is now matched against Brian Mendoza (22-3) who replaces Fundora.

It’s a solid fight card that will be shown on PPV.COM with Jim Lampley broadcasting and assisted by Lance Pugmire. They will also be texting the results and interacting with fans. It’s their third boxing show.


Former super middleweight world titlist Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (45-1) is moving up two weight divisions to challenge WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (27-0, 19 Kos) on Saturday March 30, at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, Calif. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card.

Goulamirian will be making the fifth defense of his title and recently added famed trainer Abel Sanchez to his corner. The former trainer of Gennady Golovkin and Serhii Bohachuk had retired for a few years but returned for the champ.

It’s an interesting match.

Even more interesting was the announcement that Hollywood Park and Golden Boy Promotions signed an agreement beginning this Saturday to work together in bringing boxing events.

“We were the first to host an inaugural combat sports event at YouTube Theater in January 2023, and we couldn’t be more pleased to make history again by being the first to solidify a partnership deal of this magnitude with Hollywood Park,” said Oscar De La Hoya the CEO for Golden Boy Promotions.

It’s an interesting partnership.

One thing the promotion company needs is to add more female fighters to their company to break up the monotony of slow fight cards. It makes sense to add women to the boxing cards. They fight harder and I’ve never seen women fights fail to excite the crowd, whereas I’ve seen plenty of boring men fights on many a promotion.

Bring in female fighters.

When Zurdo fought at the Banc of California two years he brought very few fans compared to the two female fights that same night. The women draw a different crowd and surprise most fans with their energy.

Fights to Watch (all times Pacific Time)

Fri. ESPN+ 3:10 p.m. Oscar Valdez (31-2) vs Liam Wilson (13-2); Seniesa Estrada (25-0) vs Yokasta Valle (30-2).

Sat. DAZN 5 p.m. Gilberto Ramirez (45-1) vs Arsen Goulamirian (27-0).

Sat. PPV.COM 5 p.m. Tim Tszyu (24-0) vs Sebastian Fundora (20-1-1); Rolly Romero (15-1) vs Isaac Cruz (25-2-1); Erislandy Lara (29-3-3) vs Michael Zerafa (31-4); Serhii Bohachuk (23-1) vs Brian Mendoza (22-3).

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images