"Night of Champions" with Thompson Boxing!
Private Show Wows the Crowd
Story & Photos by Michele Chong
March 11 proved to be a "knockout" night for the invited guests at Thompson Boxing Promotions' "Night of Champions" gala held at the Doubletree Hotel in the City of Orange. Founder/President Ken Thompson and General Manager/Matchmaker Alex Camponovo put on a thrilling evening of action at this annual gala attended by past and present champs, prizefighters and luminaries in the sport.
Greeting the crowd at this private show were Josesito Lopez ("Riverside Rocky"), Danny Roman, Petr Petrov, Taras Shelestyuk, Jose "Gato" Roman, Jessie Roman, Sindy Amador, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and more. This Southern California bash is always a highly-anticipated affair and Saturday night showcased plenty of excitement.
A Social Hour preceded the dinner for the ticket holders. During the delicious meal, a mini concert was performed by Roderick Chambers right in the boxing ring. The talented singer and musician was a bit hit with the audience as he deftly performed quality covers of songs by Michael Jackson, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Bob Marley, etc. It was a classy live performance. The crowd grooved to the tunes and enjoyed the live music.
A prize raffle was also announced by the event's emcee Sonny Franco. The ring announcer introduced Thompson and Camponovo and then pulled out the winning tickets. Prizes included Massage Envy gift certificates, ringside seats to Thompson Boxing's future show and a grand prize–a Fire Magic BBQ Grill (worth $3,000)! Boxing commentator Carlos Avilas (who has worked on Thompson shows since 2001) was the lucky winner of the shiny new grill. The veteran commentator was happy to win this grand prize courtesy of Thompson Boxing.
A special ceremony also took place as well-known trainer Joel Diaz was brought into the ring. Thompson Boxing donated a check to help out the Boys and Girls Boxing Club in Mecca, a worthwhile cause that helps keep kids and teens off the streets and out of trouble. Coachella Valley's Diaz accepted his award and then returned to the dressing room as two of his fighters laced up that night.
Then it was time for live boxing! The fiesta featured four bouts of action. There was the main event of Manuel Mendez vs. Bergman Aguilar, a co-main war between Juan Reyes and Miguel Angel Mendoza, a heavyweight scrap of Jonathan Rice vs. Mario Herdia and the opening bout featuring the pro debut of Indio's Jose Salinas taking on Johnny Black. It was a KO night with Mendez, Rice and Salinas all winning by knockout. The co-main fight between Riverside's Juan "Pochito" Reyes and Aguascalientes' Miguel Mendoza was a nonstop collision with the two warriors engaging in battle for eight rounds. After thrilling the audience with their barrage of punches, ring announcer Sonny Franco read the official scores of 78-74, 78-74 and 79-73 all for Juan Reyes.
Ken Thompson thanked all the sponsors, businesses (with Thompson Boxing Promotions and Thompson Building Materials), champs and special guests for joining this yearly gathering. The VIPs were honored with Thompson Boxing gleaming gold medallions and all the attendees also received beautiful limited-edition keychains with the company's logo. There were also giveaways of the cool centerpieces with live plans and Everlast boxing gloves.
All of the fighters I spoke to said they always enjoy this unique dinner and boxing show. Several of the boxers took time from their training camps because they were really looking forward to donning their suits and being part of the 2017 "Night of Champions." Prizefighters that have matches in the near futures include Petr Petrov (fighting April 9), Josesito Lopez (fighting in April 9), and Jessie Roman (fighting April 14). Roman is slated to fight on the next Thompson show at the Ontario Doubletree Hotel on April 14. Team Roman said they're ready and can't wait to fight.
After the final bell, I ran into two of the night's victors. Heavyweight Johnny Rice and trainer Juan Castaneda were satisfied with Rice's third-round KO over Mario Heredia (who they had fought last year). Team Rice said they enjoy being on the Thompson cards and hope to stay busy this year. I also chatted with Juan "Pochito" Reyes after his win over Miguel Mendoza. Juan says his opponent was tough but as the rounds continued, Reyes was able to adjust his game plan, staying focused, strong and showcasing his skills to claim a unanimous decision over Mendoza. And on Monday, Juan was back in the gym already working hard with his trainer/father Ramon Reyes. "Pochito" is proud to be fighting in the Thompson stable and says he's willing to fight anyone in the future.
Thompson Boxing's "Night of Champions" wowed the crowd once again and the Southland promotional company is on schedule to have another busy year. Thompson Boxing has boxing shows scheduled each and every month through the end of November. Their "Path to Glory," "New Blood" and "Locked N' Loaded" shows are always lively events with the crowd getting a lot of quality action for their money.
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