Saturday at the Davis Conference Center, Ogden cruiserweight Val Tinajero headlines a CCC promotions boxing card that also features Ogden heavyweight Billy Zumbrun as well as the pro debut of amateur star Jesse West.
Tinajero, 8-3, meets California's Geovanni Sarran in the main event. Zumbrun is scheduled to fight veteran Marcus Rhode, who has 84 pro fights. Davis County welterweight Eddie Cordova will meet Luis Hernandez. Another bout on the card features top super-welterweight prospect Sukhrab Shidaev -- handled by super-trainer Freddie Roach -- who meets Robert Hill.
The most intriguing bout may be the pro debut of West, who won the Utah and Rocky Mountain Golden Gloves titles and lasted until the quarterfinals of this year's nationals. In his pro debut, West meets Junaid Farooki. Although he competed as a heavyweight in the amateurs, West plans to fight at the 190-pound cruiserweight limit as a professional. In other bouts, welterweight Said Ouali fights Bryan Abraham and heavyweights Kevin Howard and Scott Alexander meet.
For Tinajero, the Serrano bout is the end of a long layoff. The Ogden fighter lost high-profile bouts to Gary Gomez, in December 2010, and to Brazilian Julio Cesar dos Santos in January 2011. Tinajero, who has been in the gym often during his inactivity, is eager to resume his career, with a goal to move into the 168-pound super-middleweight division.
"I'm doing cardio in the morning trying to shed the pounds running at Weber State and also (at) Waterfall canyon," said Tinajero. Most of his serious gym training is at Dos Gallos gym in Ogden, with Danny Ochoa handling training duties.
Tinajero is sparring with Ogden MMA professional Pat Reeves. "He (Reeves) has proved he can hang with me and he has me working hard throwing a lot of punches," said Tinajero, adding that his hand speed has improved.
For Ogden's Zumbrun, 25-13-1, who has fought the best heavyweights in the world over a long career, the fight with Rhode is one that he hopes will lead to a another opportunity against a contender. In his last fight, Zumbrun was stopped by top contender Ruslan Chagaev, a former heavyweight champion. Prior to that fight Zumbrun stopped heavyweight Cliff Couser in Ogden.
For Top of Utahn Cordova, his bout with Hernandez is a return to Utah after fighting a string of super-welterweight bouts with Golden Boy Promotions against top, undefeated competition. "Training is going great. Dropping this much weight is tough but doable; I will make it," said Cordova, who adds that he hopes his example as a fighter will have a positive aspect on kids in the community. "I want them (kids) to know that as long as you try and do not quit, you will always end up winning. That's in any aspect of our lives," he said. The veteran has had some tough fights of late. Cordova's last three opponents have a combined record of 28-0.
For Tinajero, this second phase of his career is one he hopes will lead to frequent fights. The former amateur star has been plagued with long layoffs. He hopes that he can fight every six weeks. That may be possible. CCC Promotions head Tracy Spinks wants to have boxing cards every several weeks in the Top of Utah. In fact, a card is planned for August.
"My dream is a title shot. ... And live my dream one step at a time," said Tinajero.
Gates open at the Davis Conference Center, 1651 N. 700 West, in Layton, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Tickets are available at SmithTix. For information, call (801) 920-2340.
(Editor's note: This story was edited on July 4 to reflect changes on the card.)