The sport famous for comebacks is returning to Reno and ESPN.
A major boxing event will be held for the first time in the renovated Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on Friday, Feb. 16. Headlined by the WBO World Lightweight Championship, the card also includes gold and silver medalists from the 2016 Olympics, a welterweight title fight and the second bout for Reno’s Ricardo Lucio-Galvan.
The Reno card is the first of 18 to be presented this year by ESPN networks in partnership with Top Rank Boxing, the two of which inked a four-year deal in 2017. Feb. 16’s event is promoted by Top Rank and Reno’s Let’s Get It On Boxing.
“They needed a home for this fight and it was really a perfect fit,” said Terry Lane, the co-owner of Let’s Get It On Boxing, which presented two fight cards in 2017 at the Reno Sparks Convention Center.
“You don’t see cards like this too often where you have four or five instantly recognizable names to any boxing fan,” he said. “To put an event on live ESPN prime time is something very, very special.”
Reno’s fights will be presented on the Friday night of the NBA All Star Game Weekend. The boxing will follow the NBA All Star Celebrity game. In December, an ESPN-Top Rank card followed the broadcast of the Heisman Trophy presentation.
The main event is Raymundo Beltran vs. Moses Paulus in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Lightweight Championship. That division’s former champ is Terence Crawford, now the undefeated junior welterweight champion, considered the third best pound-for-pound boxer by ESPN. In November 2014, Crawford won a 12-round decision against Beltran, who has since won four straight fights.
A native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Beltran, 36, is living with his family in Arizona with a non-immigrant visa that is about to expire. He has applied with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services for permanent residency as someone with “extraordinary ability in professional boxing,” according to Beltran’s attorney, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It is Beltran’s likely final shot at a title,” said Reno boxing analyst Simon Ruvalcaba. “He is a fan favorite and highly respected by colleagues.”
Beltran is 34-7-1 with 21 knockout victories.
Beltran’s opponent also is a veteran, Paulus Moses, 39, of Windhoek, Namibia (40-3, 25 KOs). Moses was the WBA lightweight champion in 2009-2010. His last 14 fights have been in Namibia, and he’s lost just one on them.
Like Beltran, the local pugilist on the card also has a serious fight outside of the ring. Ricardo Lucio-Galvan, 20, came to Reno from Mexico City when he was just 7 months old. He attended Reno’s Libby Booth Elementary, Vaughn Middle and Wooster High schools and is now a second-year business administration student at University of Nevada, Reno.
He trains at the Elite Boxing & Fitness Club, which literally is in the
This is another dream come true. I never thought I’d fight in Reno, and now I will again, and it will be on a national stage on the undercard of a world title fight.”
While his status is perilous, the 126-pound featherweight finds solace in his situation because a newspaper gave him a boxing nickname: Ricardo “The Dreamer” Lucio-Galvan. When he won his profession debut in November with a first-round knockout at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, he said it was a dream come true.
After keeping news of his second fight a secret for a short while, Lucio-Galvan was happy this week to tell Tahoe Onstage he would get to box again in his hometown, this time in Reno’s greatest venue.
“This is another dream come true,” The Dreamer said. “I never thought I’d fight in Reno, and now I will again, and it will be on a national stage on the undercard of a world title fight. (The Grand Theatre) kind of reminds me of Madison Square Garden.”
Lets Get It On Boxing presented six boxing cards at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in 2009 and 2010. The Grand Theatre had a $10 million renovation in 2015. The venue is mostly used for music concerts.
A full fight card
Reno also is a special place for United States 2016 Bantamweight Boxing Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson. After winning three amateur national championships, Shakur made the Olympic team at the qualifying bouts in Reno.
Like Lucio-Galvan, Shakur is a 20 year old who is now fighting in the featherweight division. He’s won all four of his pro fights, two by KO. Top Rank is fast-tracking Shakur, scheduling him for his first eight-round bout, against Juan Tapia (8-1, 3 KOs) from Brownsville, Texas.
Super featherweight Robson Conceicao (5-0, 4 KOs) is the first boxer from Brazil to win an Olympic gold medal. The three-time Olympian will face Jayro Duran (11-4, 9 KOs) from San Pedro, Sulia, Honduras.
The 10-round North American Boxing Federation Title Welterweight Championship will feature Russian David Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs) and Lithuanian Egidijus Kavaliauskas (17-0, 14 KOs), who is fighting out of Robert Garcia’s camp in Oxnard, California.
An eight-round heavyweight bout will have Top Rank’s Bryant Jennings (21-2, 12 KOs) of North Philadelphia vs. Ahror Muralimov (114-3, 11 KOs) of Houston.
More bouts could be added, including one with Carson City lightweight Diego Elizondo, who has won his first two pro fights.
“We are pushing for Diego, but Top Rank has a lot of obligations for their fighters as well,” Lane said. “We are really working hard on it.”
– Tim Parsons
Coming next: Reno’s Ricardo “The Dreamer” Lucio-Galvan prepares for second pro fight.