Congrats to Escobar Training Grounds fighter Cameron Church on capping off a stellar amateur combat fighting career last Saturday at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Lake Tahoe.
Church defeated Arizona’s JJ Nelson by first-round stoppage to improve his combined fighting career (MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing) to 15-0. After the fight, Church announced that he will be collecting paychecks for his performances in the future.
It was a short, yet exciting, action fight as Church overcame a strong start from Nelson — as well as a gash over his eye — to stop Nelson with a barrage along the ropes. It was thought that Church needed stitches, but the Tracy, California, native, now residing in South Lake Tahoe, elected not to take the trip to the hospital.
“(I) didn’t get the stitches. … The plan is to go straight into camp for the next one, shooting for a (pro) debut end of December or early January. … We have been talking to King of the Cage and FFC (Final Fight Championships) as far as lining up the debut, but don’t have an exact date or promotion locked in yet,” Church said on social media.
Church now carries the torch for the local fight community. While there have been professional boxers and kickboxers from South Lake Tahoe, Church will be the first pro MMA fighter, as it is known today. Six-time world champion and IKF Hall of Fame kickboxer Juan “The Ghost Warrior” Torres did participate in a type of competition that allowed take downs, but he is not on record to have ever competed in a caged MMA event.
Fox makes boxing and MMA moves
It is a great but changing time for boxing and MMA television coverage. With HBO departing this year, the ESPN+ app will add UFC coverage starting in January. They already have a long-term deal with Top Rank to stream boxing coverage. The DAZN app is expanding coverage of boxing with Matchroom Boxing events promoted by Eddie Hearn and also Bellator MMA.
The latest to get involved in boxing coverage will be Fox, which signed Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and has some exciting bouts to look forward to, headlined by the March 16 clash between Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia.
On Nov. 24 at the Forum in Inglewood, California, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will stage its first MMA event with the third chapter of Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz. It is the reality of any new MMA promoter that you will not sign the top talent and be relegated to former stars and/or fighters released by the bigger promotions, but there is a place for the older talent and the show should be a success.
On Dec. 1, a nice card is shaping up for Showtime PPV at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, headlined by the heavyweight championship bout between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. The undercard will feature some comeback former champions and contenders, with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola on the card.
— Simon Ruvalcaba