Marlen Esparza and Seneisa Estrada plan to settle their grudge with their fists

It’s no secret that Marlen Esparza and Seneisa Estrada genuinely hate each other and have been anxious to meet up in the ring to settle their bad blood. After two years of mutual trash talking in interviews and over social media, they will get their chance.

Incredibly, it has been mentioned as almost an afterthought, that the ladies will also be fighting for the WBA Interim World Flyweight Title, in their ten round bout, to be held at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the Canelo vs Kovalev undercard.

Any other time two boxers are scheduled to fight for a world title, the pre fight talk focuses on what it means to each respective boxer to become a world champion, but this fight is different. Both Esparza and Estrada seem to be primarily focused on putting a humiliating beating on the other. Becoming a world champion in the process is just a bonus.

This high spirited grudge match is also taking place Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which will surely affect both Mexican American boxers, as it is a day when Mexicans and people of Mexican decent, feel that the physical and spiritual world intersect more than on any other day of the year.

Don’t miss this fight, it will be streamed live on the DAZN app, and if the pre fight drama is any indication, it should be a fire fight!

“Yung Holy” begins pro career this weekend (11/2) on the Canelo vs Kovalev undercard

Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield begins his pro career and continues the Holyfield boxing legacy on Saturday, November 2, 2019, on the Canelo vs Kovalev undercard.

The bout is scheduled for four rounds and will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, at The MGM Grand. Holyfield (0 wins 0 loses) as a professional, will make his debut against Nick Winstead (0-1) as a professional, in a bout set to be fought at the junior middleweight (154) weight class.

The Holyfield connection to Houston began in the late 80’s and early 90’s when Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield trained at Kenny Weldon’s gym in Pasadena and the Heights Boxing Gym, while being managed and promoted by Main Events Promotions. Evander trained here for many of his biggest bouts and was said to especially like the intense Houston heat and humidity to train in for conditioning purposes.

The legacy/connection is being continued by Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield, who now lives in Houston and trains at The Fighter Nation Boxing Gym. “Yung Holy” has also made the decision to fight under the Main Events Promotions banner and is ready to keep the Holyfield name in boxing for the next generation.

Noe “Skinny Boy” Lopez

Pro boxing record: 8 wins 2 loses and 1 draw

Lives in: Houston, Texas by way of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico.

Weight class: Junior Welterweight (140)

Height: 5’10”

Coach’s name: Rene Vasquez

Club name: Legions Boxing Gym

How did you get involved in boxing: Boxing was always around the family since I was a kid. For all the big fights the whole family would get together and watch. During the week my Dad would re-watch the fights on a daily basis, lol. I also have a cousin, Miguel Martin Lopez out of Baytown, that fought. Soon enough I jumped in the gym and have been at it since the age of 14.

Amateur record: 10-3….I think. I didn’t have many, I hated the politics of amateur boxing.

What do you love most about boxing: Everything, the training and the discipline, the way it can have you on cloud 9 one day, then humble you the next. It just represents life, a daily fight and struggle to push through and win.

What are your goals in and out of the ring: The goal is to be great in my own way, to be remembered by people for something that they can look up to and say, “Oh look he did it his way through all the obstacles, so why can’t I do it?”

Pre-fight ritual: Just relax before a fight, load up on some chocolate and coffee, hug my kids, say a prayer and go to war.

What is your greatest strength in the ring: I believe my greatest strength is my intelligence, ring IQ. Even though I like to bang it out sometimes, my good, educated jab and ring IQ is what separates me.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and why? Biggest inspiration is my family, from my kids to my aunts and uncles driving across the state to watch my fights. Hearing them all at my fights is the ultimate inspiration to keep pushing.

Did you ever compete in any other sports: Played a little soccer and loved basketball but once I started boxing, that was it.

Career highlights to this point: Just making it this far, wins, loses, and draws are all accomplishments to me. With a limited amateur career and being a full-time worker, as well as parent, to make it this far is success to me.

Five things most people don’t know about you: Not much people don’t know about me, I’m pretty outspoken and a lot of people know me. I’m just a regular, working family man with a great love for boxing.

Blue Collar Boxing Trainer Bobby Benton

Please enjoy this link to a great article/interview written by Kelsey McCarson for The Sweet Science. The article/interview was written in April 2019, before Regis “Rougarou” Prograis won his WBA 140 pound title in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Regis is set to fight IBF champ Joshua Taylor in London on October 26 for the WBA and IBF titles, as well as the Muhammad Ali trophy in The World Series of Boxing final.

In the interview we get to know a little more about Benton and his background in the sport of boxing, told in his own words. Mentored in boxing by his father Bill Benton along with the late Al “Potato Pie” Boulden, he has become one of the most sought after and savvy trainers in town.

Benton is also known as one of boxing’s good guys, who approaches boxing as his job, while respecting the game and all of it’s constituents.

American Hero: Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring

In boxing we often hear sordid stories of unscrupulous characters that operate behind the scenes, and fighters that probably aren’t the best role models, other than their ability to box at the highest levels of the sport/business.

Although the same things happen in other professional sports, boxing seems to get always get the bad reputation of being somewhat of a home for the people you like watching on television but wouldn’t likely invite into your home for dinner.

Every now and then though a person comes along with a story that proves that the sweet science can also save lives and help to mold men and women into persons we can be proud of as well as look up to, in the ring and in life.

I was fortunate enough to meet one of those people recently. His name is Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring and he also happens to be The WBO World Junior Lightweight Champion.

His story is an inspiring one that although has it share of sadness and difficulty, is a story of perseverance and victory on the biggest stages of life, as well as within the day to day struggles that many of us face.

Born and raised in Coram, New York, Herring boxed as a teen but didn’t really see boxing as a way out of the tough circumstances he was in, including seeing some of his childhood friends hanging out on the streets, selling drugs, and even worse in some cases.

Fate had a better plan for Herring though and when a young man that he considered his best friend, Stephen Brown joined the Marines, it would prove to be a move that would also play in important part of the rest of the life of the young boxer. Reason being, was because when Stephen Brown completed his basic training and so forth, and was able to come back home to Coram, New York for the first time, he was able to convince a then seventeen year old Herring, that The United States Marines could be a good place for him as well.

Herring did in fact join the Marines and not long after he did, his best friend Stephen Brown died after a battle with lung cancer. It would be one of the first but not the last bouts of adversity that Herring would battle. A veteran of two deployments in Iraq, he also battled the horror of seeing many men and women who he had worked with, die while serving their country in the war in Iraq. He didn’t realize it at the time but the memories of life lived while at war and of the people he came to know that died there, would come back to haunt him later when he would be forced to battle (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Then in 2009 he faced the worst situation any person could face when he lost his newborn daughter Ariyanah, who was born on May 25, 2009, Memorial Day, to sudden infant death syndrome. This threw him into a tailspin and he stopped training as well as socializing with his friends, and began drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism.

After spending months on a path of self-destruction he felt his daughter’s presence one day and felt she wouldn’t want to see him throw his life away, and he decided that he would turn his life around and fight harder in honor of his daughter.

He became a stronger, more determined person and fighter than before and before long won an Armed Forces Title, then a U.S.A. Boxing National Title, and eventually a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, where he represented our country in the 2012 Olympics. He would lose his first bout in the tournament but as the team captain of the US Boxing Team, displayed true leadership in encouraging and supporting his teammates, rather than sulking or making excuses.

He decided to go from the amateur to the professional ranks in boxing in 2012, and retired from The Marines at that time, in order to focus his full-time attention on his professional boxing career. Herring found mostly success in the professional ranks and was seemingly on his way to a world title shot, when he began feeling the effects of (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, several years ago. This came in direct relation to his two tours of combat duty as a Marine, in his service to our country.

He initially struggled and suffered in his battle with PTSD, beginning to drink again and going through mood swings. He wasn’t successful at first because he felt it was just another battle he had to fight on his own, as he had wired himself to do for many years, and didn’t realize that PTSD was an opponent that he couldn’t beat alone.

His wife Jen was finally able to convince him to seek help in this battle and after taking that first step in admitting that this was a battle he may not be able to win alone, he began speaking to therapists and slowly making improvements.

It hasn’t been an easy battle and it’s an ongoing battle that these few paragraphs can’t begin to be able to sufficiently describe. Fighting is what Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring does best though, and he’s since been able to win more than lose in his daily battles with PTSD.

The greatest testament to Herring’s warrior spirit and refusal to give up, was his winning his first World Championship on May 25th of this year.

This special accomplishment was made extra special because it came on what would have been his daughter Ariyanah’s 10th birthday, as well as Memorial Day. Herring dedicated that win to his daughter’s memory and in an true gesture of graciousness, later returned the WBO belt he had just won to his vanquished opponent Masayuki Ito, in his dressing room.

What makes “Semper Fi” an American hero in this writer’s opinion is not the fact that he is a World Champion, but the fact that he was able to defy all odds and every difficulty he’s experienced in life, and still be able to accomplish such a great feat.

As well as his perspective that as a World Champion and someone who has been blessed with a second chance, it is his duty to give back to others who may be fighting the same battles. He does this by graciously and generously sharing his story and time with others every chance he gets.

He even recently traveled to Houston, Texas on his wedding anniversary, to share his story and spend time with military veterans who are also battling PTSD, at The PTSD Foundation of America/ Camp Hope, letting the unsung heroes there know that they also, are not alone!

You can catch Herring on ESPN Plus on November 9th, when he defends his WBO Junior Lightweight Title against Lamont Roach Jr.