By David Finger
Boxing fans in Southeast New Mexico were undoubtedly disappointed to hear that popular 21-year old middleweight prospect Isidro Castillo Jr. (6-0, 3 KOs) was forced to pull out of his upcoming fight against Ambrocio Bautista due to an injury, but if there is one thing that promoter Isidro Castillo and his School of Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions knows it’s this: the show must go on.
The original October 21st card was moved to November 4th, and the main event now features undefeated Texan Joey Alday Jr. (5-0, 5 KOs) as he takes on fellow prospect Chris Leyva (1-0-1, 0 KOs) of Albuquerque in a six round middleweight fight.
Although Leyva’s career has been plagued by inactivity (he has not fought since 2013 and had only one other fight before that, in 2011) he nonetheless is seen as a very dangerous underdog. In fact, in his last fight he nearly derailed another undefeated prospect from Hobbs, holding then undefeated Gerardo Quintana to draw over five rounds. But despite his draw with Quintana, he will have his work cut out for him against the hard punching Odessa native. In his fight fights Alday has scored two second round KOs and two first round KOs, including a first round destruction of undefeated Osias Vasquez back in April.
The co-main event features an intriguing regional matchup in the heavyweight division as debuting Ruben Sanchez of Hobbs squares off against fellow rookie Gabriel Vejar of Lovington in a scheduled four rounder. Sanchez is a 36-year old rookie who at first glance may not look like a fighter worth keeping an eye out for in the future due to his age. But he is a seasoned amateur who boxed in the Air Force and has around 20 years of experience as an amateur.
Debuting Eduardo Silva of Belen, New Mexico will square off against Odessa’s David Lopez, who will also be making his professional debut. The Lopez-Silva fight with be in the cruiserweight division and it is scheduled for four rounds.
Undefeated Abel Navarrete (2-0, 0 KOs) of Amarillo, Texas will square off against hard-luck Ernesto Hernandez (1-7, 1 KO) of El Paso in a four round lightweight fight. Hernandez is coming into the fight on the heels of a seven fight losing streak and he has been stopped in the opening round in all seven of his losses. He comes into the fight with Navarrete in desperate need of a win if he is to continue fighting as a professional.
Rounding off the card is another Belen native, Gene Perez (2-9-1, 0 KOs) as he squares off against undefeated El Paso native Gabriel Rodriguez (2-0, 0 KOs) in a four round junior lightweight fight. Although Perez has a less than stellar record, he is widely seen as one of the cagiest fighters in New Mexico, having defeated fellow journeyman John Herrera in Herrera’s hometown of Roswell back in July. Of his nine losses, almost all of them have come against the better prospects in the state such as Patrick Holmes, Alex Holguin, and Brandon Holmes (whom he fought twice). Perez has only been stopped three times in his career (with two of those stoppages coming at the hands of the hard punching undefeated prospect Jason Sanchez) and most insiders feel that Rodriguez, although the favorite to win, is still going to have to bring his A-game to Hobbs against the durable veteran.
There is a tentative fight featuring debuting Rafael Gonzalez, although contracts have yet to be signed for that fight.
The fight card is slated to take place at Club La Sierra on November 4th, with doors opening at 6PM and the show kicking off at 7PM. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $60 for ringside and can be obtained by calling promoter Isidro Castillo at 1-575-263-4942.