Reno boxing title fight undercard loaded with top prospects

Jason Sanchez, right, returns Oct. 26 to Reno, where he suffered his only loss to Oscar Valdez in June.

Hungry for boxing? Fight fans will be served a smorgasbord of bouts on Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

The undercard to the Shakur Stevenson-Joet Gonzalez 12-round WBO featherweight title fight has 10 fights: Five 10-rounders, an eight-rounder and four four-rounders. That totals 86 rounds, but there will certainly be some early stoppages by knockout.

Mikaela Mayer

Two highly touted Top Rank Boxing prospects are on the card in co-featured bouts: Chicago bantamweight Joshua Greer and Los Angeles super featherweight Mikaela Mayer, who was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team.

Greer (21-1-1, 12 KOs) is eyeing a world 2020 title shot. One of his nicknames is “Night Night” because he brings a pillow to the ring for his opponent he plans to put to sleep. The bantamweight (118 pounds) will face Cleveland, Ohio’s Antonio Nieves (19-2-2, 11 KOs), a 32-year-old former NABO champion.

Mayer (11-0, 4 KOs) also is on the verge of a world title fight. She’s already a NABF title holder, and will  seek her third title defense in her Reno bout with Argentina’s Alejandra Zamora (7-3, 1 KO), who will box for the first time in the United States.

Two prospects go for cash, not gold

Making their professional debuts will be heavyweight Jared “Big Baby” Anderson, who decided to turn pro rather than compete for a 2020 Olympic medal, and Puerto Rico welterweight Xander Zayas, who turned pro because he is too young to compete for the 2020 Olympics. Zayas started fighting at the age of 6, building a 118-14 amateur record. At the age of 16, he became the youngest to sign with Top Rank. He celebrated his 17th birthday on Sept. 5.

Diego and father Jose Elizondo of Carson City are ready to celebrate again.

Elizondo, Mariano’s foes named

JJ Mariano

Reno’s J.J. Mariano.

Opponents have been announced for a couple of local boxers who had already been named to the card. Both are orthodox (right-handed) boxers.

Carson City lightweight Diego Elizondo (2-0-2) will fight a four-rounder with Mike Danny Sanchez (5-0, 2 KOs). Sanchez is a 5-foot-7, 22 year old from Colton, California.

J.J. Mariano (1-0, 1 KO) of Reno will face Trinity Lopez (1-0) in a four-round super lightweight bout. A resident of Great Falls, Montana, Lopez is 5-foot-8 and 24 years old. He won his debut Aug. 24 with a unanimous decision over Antonio Tessitore in his hometown.

Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

Referee Jay Nady watches Shakur Stevenson jab Juan Tapia in February 2018.
Tahoe Onstage photo by Michael Smyth

Rare air for featherweights

In the main event, Stevenson, the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, gets a world title shot in just his 13th pro fight. The WBO featherweight crown became vacant after undefeated champion Oscar Valdez made his sixth title defense, a bloody yet decisive decision over Jason Sanchez on June 8 in the Reno Sparks Convention Center.

“If I fight another featherweight, I might not be 100 percent,” the exhausted champion told the ring announcer after his win. Stevenson, 22, has a record of 12-0 with 7 KOs. He will face Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs) of Glendora, California. Stevenson reportedly is dating Gonzalez’s sister, adding intrigue to the title fight.

Meanwhile, Sanchez (14-1, 7 KOs) looks to get back in the win column when he goes against Adeilson Dos Santos (19-6, 15 KOs). The fight is scheduled for 10 rounds, however, some of the card’s 10-round bouts could be changed to eight-rounders, depending on the time. The Greer-Nieves co-feature will start at 7 p.m.

And there’s three more

Toledo, Ohio’s Albert Bell (15-0, 5 KOs), coming off a career-best victory June 15 over then-unbeaten Andy Vences, will return against Frank De Alba (23-4-2, 9 KOs) in a lightweight bout.

Vences (22-1-1, 12 KOs) will face Mark Bernaldez (19-2, 13 KOs) in a 10 round junior lightweight match.

In a battle of unbeaten super featherweights, Tyler McCreary (16-0-1, 7 KOs) faces Pittsburgh’s Matt Conway (17-0, 7 KOs).

Bob Arum talks up co-features

The Reno promoter is Let’s Get It On Boxing, headed by Terry and Tommy Lane, sons of legendary referee Mills Lane. Formed in 1973, Top Rank is run by by Bob Arum, who has promoted fights such as Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier, Marvin Hagler vs. both Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman’s fights with Michael Moorer and Evander Holyfield.

The 87-year-old Arum continues to attend Top Rank’s events. In a press statement, he addressed Top Rank’s up-and-coming boxers on the co-features.

“Joshua and Mikaela are two of the most charismatic young fighters in boxing,” Arum. said “Having them on the card in tough fights, along with a great championship bout in Stevenson-Gonzalez, is a bonus for Reno fight fans and everyone watching on ESPN+.”

Greer has won four time since signing with Top Rank in September 2018. He is 10-0 with eight knockouts since debuting the “Night Night.” He is ranked No. 2 by the IBF.

Greer’s opponent, Nieves, is a loan officer by day and a longtime contender who won the NABO bantamweight title in June 2016. He lost the belt via split decision to Nikolai Potapov the following year, then dropped down to super flyweight for a world title opportunity against pound-for-pound great Naoya Inoue. Nieves was stopped in six rounds by Inoue, and he has won two in a row by stoppage since returning as a bantamweight.

“I am coming to Reno to beat (Greer), take over his spot in the rankings and win a world championship in 2020,” Nieves said.

Undefeated Mikaela Mayer was on the 2016 U.S. Olympic boxing team.

In a little more than two years as a pro, Mayer, the 2016 Olympian, has established herself as one of female boxing’s most popular attractions. She fought in Reno as an amateur and hopes a win over Zamora will lead to a world title shot in early 2020. Mayer last fought June 15 on the Tyson Fury-Tom Schwarz card in Las Vegas, where her decision win over Lizbeth Crespo drew more than 800,000 viewers on ESPN2.

“It’s been a great eight-week camp for this fight, and everything is coming together,” Mayer said. “There’s been talk about my fighting style, and a lot of people have been impressed with how I’ve been working the body. Others want to see me box more on the outside. Nobody’s wrong, but this is just the process of becoming a well-rounded pro.

“I’m ready to put it all together, get this win Oct. 26 and then get my title shot. It’s very cool to be the co-feature on the card of my Olympic teammate, Shakur Stevenson.”

Related article: Stevenson vs. Gonzalez is a “West Side Story” inside the ropes.

  • Boxing
    Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center
    Tickets: $110, $70 and $40 available at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop or online:
    Online stream: ESPN+ starts at 3:30 p.m., Greer-Nieves is at 7 p.m., followed by Stevenson-Gonzalez
    Main event: Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez, 12 rounds, for vacant WBO featherweight title
    Co-feature: Josh Greer vs. Antonio Nieves, 10 rounds, bantamweights
    Co-feature: Mikaela Mayer vs. Alejandra Soledad Zamora, 10 rounds, female junior lightweights
    Albert Bell vs. Frank De Alba, 10 rounds, junior lightweights
    Jason Sanchez vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, 10 rounds, featherweights
    Andy Vences vs. Mark Bernaldez, 10 rounds, junior lightweights
    Tyler McCreary vs. Matt Conway, 8 rounds, junior lightweights
    Xander Zayas vs. TBA, 4 rounds, welterweights
    Diego Elizondo* vs. Mike Danny Sanchez, 4 rounds, lightweights
    J.J. Mariano* vs. Trinity Lopez, 4 rounds, junior welterweights
    Jared Anderson vs. Daniel Infante, 4 rounds, heavyweights
    * indicates local boxers

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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