Richard Schaefer brings stacked card to Los Angeles with Olympic standouts

Richard Schaefer brings stacked card to Los Angeles with Olympic standouts


Photo: Willie Romero/Team Balderas

Photo: Willie Romero/Team Balderas

LOS ANGELES - This Sunday afternoon Ringstar Sports, Richard Schaefer, and Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will bring fans a fully loaded fight card from The Novo at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. A card that will showcase four former Olympians who will be making their professional debut, a former female world champion, and some Southern California fan favorites.

Although the 10-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes will be headlined by the “Riverside Rocky” Josesito Lopez (34-7, 19 KO’s) as he takes on Mexico's Saul "Navajo" Corral (22-8, 13 KO's) -- the focus is on the rising stars that are set to make their debut. Stars that include former U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas from Santa Maria, California, Mexican Olympian and bronze medalist Misael Rodriguez, Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado, and Lithuanian Olympic welterweight Eimantas Stanionis, who is trained by Hall-of-Famer Freddie Roach. Also making his professional debut is amateur star Money Powell IV of Fort Mitchell, Alabama.

The 20 year old Balderas is the son of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States in order to provide a better life for the family. Balderas had an impressive amateur career that included a 2014 Youth National Championship, four National PAL championships and an impressive run in the World Series of Boxing. His amateur career culminated in a trip to the 2016 Olympic Games where he represented the U.S. and defeated fighters from Kazakhstan and Japan before a decision loss in the quarter finals. At a recent media workout Balderas detailed his plans for his career.

I’m really looking forward to this fight. I’ve prepared well. I’m taking this as seriously as a championship fight. I definitely want to make Los Angeles my home for as many fights as possible. That’s where everything is happening. I want to make Los Angeles mine. I want to be in exciting fights as a professional. I’m proud of what I did in the amateurs and the Olympics, but I know this is an entirely different game. I’m looking to do even bigger and better things. I want to build a perfect record and build my fan base. I hope to be fighting for a world title in a few years. I know that I have the right team to get me there.
— Karlos Balderas

Another highly touted prospect making his debut, is Misael Rodriguez, who won a bronze medal for Mexico in 2016. Rodriguez, who is managed by Abner Mares and trained by Robert Garcia, wanted to be a boxer and attain a world title since he was a child. 

I knew after the Olympics that it was time to turn pro. Growing up as a Mexican child, all I wanted was to be a world champion. I want to be a fan-favorite for Mexicans. Los Angeles is like a second Mexico. It will feel like Mexico to me. I know that I will have a lot of fans coming from my hometown to support me. I’m excited to work with Richard and put on more great fights.
— Misael Rodriguez
Photo: Willie Romero/Boxing Trend - Supreme Boxing

Photo: Willie Romero/Boxing Trend - Supreme Boxing

In what many believe will be fight of the night, former female WBC Middleweight champion, Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo (6-2, 2 KO’s), will step into the ring against the undefeated Sydney “Ginger the Ninja” LeBlanc (4-0-1) from Gretna, Louisiana. As a special gift to her Southern California fans, Cornejo, who is from Los Angeles by way of Grandview, Washington, will have Chiquis Rivera, who is daughter of the late Mexican superstar and singer Jenni Rivera, walk her into the ring. Cornejo, who is now trained by Joel Diaz and managed by Nancy Rodriguez, looks to come away with a victory and setup a huge year for herself and her team. A year that includes plans to avenge her highly controversial loss to Kali Reis and fight Raquel Miller. If Cornejo has a successful year, a fight with the unified WBC and WBO world middleweight champion, Christina “Lady” Hammer (21-0, 9 KO’s), could very well be in the works for the fall or early 2018. One other fighter that we could possibly see Cornejo matched up against is the two time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. Shields and her team have shown interest in a Cornejo fight, however, the offers they have made to Cornejo have been as low as $3000. When asked about a future fight with Shields, Cornejo responded with a price she feels is respectable for a fight of this magnitude. 

My price to fight Claressa is 1.5 million.
— Maricela Cornejo

Many boxing insiders Frontproof Media has spoken to believe the time has come and a fight between Cornejo and Shields could easily be a Showtime main event and generate that type of purse for both fighters. When asked about her upcoming bout with LeBlanc, Cornejo expressed her desire to keep winning in the ring.

Boxing means a lot to me. I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles. Getting in the ring and getting hit in the face is a lot easier than what I’ve had to go through. I love boxing because it’s all about going for the win, no matter what is thrown in front of you.
— Maricela Cornejo

Another Southern California prospect fighting Sunday is John “Bang Bang” Delperdang (10-2, 9 KO’s) of Ontario, California, as he battles Roberto Marroquin (25-4-1, 18 KO’s) from Dallas, Texas. Delperdang, who last fought in December and lost a unanimous decision to “Hammering” Hank Lundy, looks to get back to winning ways against Marroquin. Delperdang and his team, which includes former heavyweight champion Mike Weaver, manager Bernie Valenzuela, and Cutman Sergio Estrada, knows how important a victory would be for Delperdang’s career to keep rising. Delperdang recently spoke to Frontproof Media and stated he is ready for whatever fight this Sunday will bring. 

I’m a fighter, and fighters fight. I’m well prepared and that’s going to show Sunday. I know that a victory would give me a great opportunity to sign with a major promoter so I’m ready for whatever type of fight Marroquin wants to make it. It can be a strategic boxing match or an all out slug-fest — I’m ready.
— John Delperdang

In the co-main event of the evening, unbeaten lightweight contender Alejandro “El Charro” Luna (21-0, 15 KO's) of Bellflower, California takes on former title challenger and Russian native, Andrey Klimov (19-3, 9 KO's), in a 10-round bout. 

More than anything I think that the fans can expect fireworks. I’m fighting a crafty veteran guy in Klimov who has fought the best. He’s fought guys like Terrence Crawford and Jose Pedraza. Our styles are meant for each other and I think they’re going to clash. The fans are going to be the real winners.
— Alejandro Luna

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports, are priced at $30 general admission, $60 balcony reserved, $100 VIP balcony reserved and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased through AXS.com.  

Fans can live stream the fights on FOX Sports GO, available in English or Spanish through the FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. The fights are available on desktop at FOXSportsGO.com and through the app store, or connected devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku. In addition, all programs are also available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.


Anthony "Stacks" Saldaña is a contributing writer for FrontProofMedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter @StacksRingside 

(Feature photo: Willie Romero/Team Balderas)

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