By Ricardo Ibarra
A pair of undefeated Jr. lightweight prospects will square off in the main event of Brian Halquist Productions’ 115th ‘Battle at the Boat’ this Saturday at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. In an evenly matched fight with important implications for both fighters, Giovanni Cabrera-Mioletti (10-0, 2 KOs) will take on Ray “Lighting Jr.” Lampkin (11-0, 4 KOs) in an intriguing 130 lbs. match-up, headlining what promises to be an eventful six bout card.
The twenty-three-year-old Cabrera-Mioletti, fighting out of Chicago, Illinois, is originally from nearby Seattle and is looking to add his fifth win in Tacoma. In one of his most impressive performances in front of his Pacific Northwest fans, Cabrera-Mioletti defeated the once highly touted local prospect Jeremy McCleary in 2016, scoring a dominant four round decision win, and doing so in only his second pro contest. The slick, quick-fisted boxer opened 2018 claiming his most notable win to date, defeating former USBA lightweight title holder Tyrone Harris by unanimous decision in January. Prior to that, Cabrera-Mioletti had defeated then unbeaten California prospect Roberto Meza by six round unanimous decision last August. He recently signed a promotional contract with Halquist Productions and will be looking to score a signature win over an equally talented foe in his first fight of the deal.
“I know Ray Lampkin is a very good, sneaky southpaw, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Cabrera-Mioletti from his training camp in Chicago. “I’m expecting him to be in shape and I know he has a lot of experience. He’s older, so I expect him to be smart in there and try little tricks. But whatever they may be, we’re ready. We’re ready for anything. I hope that he trained hard, because I sure as hell did. I can’t wait.”
Lampkin, a native of Portland, Oregon, is the son of former lightweight world title contender and NABF champion Ray “Lightning” Lampkin, Jr., who in 1975 challenged Roberto Duran for the world championship, losing in the fourteenth round. The thirty-four-year-old “Lightning Jr,” who was once a highly decorated young amateur, turned pro six years ago, getting a later than expected start in the paid ranks. He’s shown promise in his eleven fights, maintaining an unblemished record and scoring some good victories along the way. In his most notable win, Lampkin claimed a six round decision victory over Washington D.C. prospect Joshua Davis on a nationally televised card this past October. The Davis win was his first fight since February of 2016, though, and his lone outing of 2017. Lampkin hopes a win on Saturday will lead to more opportunities and a more active schedule.
“I’m ready to go to work,” said Lampkin from his camp in Atlanta, Georgia. “Training has been wonderful. I’ve got a lot of good people around me now…I had been in a hard part of my career. I wasn’t getting any fights, bouncing around, but I hooked up with my manager Nelson Lopez and he opened a lot of doors for me. Now I’ve been training in Atlanta, living in the gym, eating and sleeping boxing. I’ve got an ex-NFL player doing my strength and conditioning. I’m working with former world champion Robert Allen and been getting world class sparring…I don’t know anything about Mioletti. I never care about who I’m fighting. At nationals, as an amateur, I never knew who I was going to fight. I never cared who I was going to fight. Whoever it is, you just fight. I got that from my father…I focus on me, that’s it. I just go in and do what I do… I’m ready to fight undefeated fighters for the rest of my career. I’m ready for whatever.”
Cabrera-Mioletti and Lampkin will face off in a scheduled ten round fight promoter Brian Halquist sees as one of the better match-ups to take place in the region in some time.
“This is one of those fights that is just a promoter’s dream,” said Halquist. “These two are serious up and comers in their weight class. They’re both Northwest fighters, too. It’s exciting to have two kids from the region facing off at this point in their careers. They have about the same number of pro fights, neither has lost, and they both have good amateur backgrounds. This is just an incredible main event.”
“Style wise, these guys match up really well,” continued Halquist. “I think you’ll see some really good technical fighting at different points in the fight, because of their amateur careers. They’re both very skilled guys. I think you’re going to see a lot of high-level strategy and eventually they’ll get in there and bang it out. They’re both very serious about their careers…They have a great opportunity in front of them…I’m very excited about this fight. These guys will deliver.”
In addition, Halquist and matchmaker Andy Nance have lined up a five-fight undercard featuring young fighters from around the area. In the semi-main event, former “The Contender” reality series participant Walter “2 Guns” Wright (15-4, 7 KOs) will look for his second win since coming back from a five-year hiatus, taking on Yakima, Washington’s Eduardo Torres (2-1-1, 1 KO) in a six round middleweight fight. Wright, a former amateur stand-out and a five-time Tacoma Golden Gloves champion, was a prominent figure in the second season of the reality series on ESPN. He defeated Andre Eason on the show before losing in the semi-finals to Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage, who would go on to claim the IBF Jr. middleweight championship twice. The Seattle native scored a dominant six round decision win over Rafael Valencia in his first fight back this past January. Torres, meanwhile, has been on a good run since opening his career with a loss to Piotr Apostol in 2016. He’s gone 2-0-1 in his last three fights, including a split decision draw against unbeaten Steven Villalobos last November. He last fought in January, scoring a first round KO over Chris Varner.
In a promising stylistic clash, Yakima’s Isaiah Najera (3-2, 1 KO) will battle Marcos Flores (1-0), of Kent, Washington, in a four round Jr. featherweight fight. Najera, a skilled boxer with good footwork and fast hands, is returning from a two-year break from the sport. In his last fight, he lost in the second round to then undefeated Mexican prospect Ricardo Espino in March of 2016. Flores made his pro debut last October, eking out a majority decision win in a four round slugfest against Sebastian Baltazar.
In other four round bouts, Renton, Washington’s Cris Reyes (1-0) will take on pro debuting Nicholas Credit, of Seattle, in a lightweight match-up; the always exciting Jorge Linares (2-1, 2 KOs), of Seattle, looks to rebound from his lone professional loss, battling Nichoulas Briannes (1-7), of Vancouver, Washington in a 140 lbs. contest; and in a super featherweight fight, Yakima’s Juan Gomez makes his pro debut against Benjamin Amezquita (0-1) of Portland.
The doors to the Emerald Queen Casino’s I-5 showroom will open at 6 p.m. with the first fight set to kick off the action at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event are available at the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information visit www.halquistproductions.com and the Battle at the Boat Facebook page.