New Faces: Ronny Rios
Ronny Rios (right) lands a vicious right cross en route to a four-round unanimous decision victory over Rodrigo Aranda in his Fight Night Club debut last July. Photo by Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
Weight class: featherweight
Height / reach: 5-7¾ / 70 inches
Amateur record: 92-6 (reported)
Turned pro: October 24, 2008
Pro record: 9-0, 4 knockouts
Trainer: Hector Lopez
Manager: Frank Espinoza
Promoter: Golden Boy Promotions
Best night of pro career: Stopped John Wampash, a tough young journeyman who had taken 2008 Olympian Gary Russell Jr. and amateur standout Ricky Lopez the distance, in the sixth round of his first six-round bout last September. Rios, who worked off his jab and sat on his punches, exhibited the poise and style of an experienced pro while outboxing and punishing the game Wampash to the extent that the durable Ecuadorian’s corner threw in the towel.
Worst night of pro career: Struggled to a majority four-round decision over Carlos Luque in his second pro bout in December in 2008. Rios head hunted Luque as he followed his awkward and mobile foe around the ring. Rios’ aggression earned him the deserved decision but had he worked his jab, cut the ring off and attacked the body a little bit he could have stopped Luque or scored a more decisive points victory.
Next fight: Takes on experienced journeyman Andres Ledesma (15-16-1, 10 KOs) in the co-feature to the Abner Mares-headlined Fight Night Club from Club Nokia in Los Angeles, Calif., on Thursday. The six-round bout will be part of the Fox Sports Net broadcast (and the live webcast, beginning at 8 p.m. PT, on RingTV.com). The 30-year-old Miami-based Colombian is 2-11 in his last 13 bouts, but in that span he scored a fifth-round KO of then-prospect Gary Stark Jr. in December of 2008 and was competitive in decision losses to former title challenger Ricardo Castillo, Starks (in their 10-round rematch), and prospect Charles Huerta. Ledesma troubled undefeated (8-0) prospect Archie Ray Marquez in a majority decision loss in his last bout, so he may have enough left to test Rios.
Why he’s a prospect: Rios is a natural fighter. Two years after putting on boxing gloves for the first time he began winning junior amateur national tournaments. Shortly after turning 17, he won the open 119-pound title in the 2007 U.S. Championships, defeating amateur star Roberto Marroquin along the way. Rios defeated Sammy DiPace and Jorge Diaz — both of whom are now undefeated pro prospects — on his way to winning the 2007 national Golden Gloves title. He won a second U.S. Championships title in 2008. As a pro, Rios exhibits an aggressive, crowd-pleasing style that’s tempered with solid technique.
Why he’s a suspect: Rios can be overly aggressive at times. It’s not uncommon for him to forgo his powerful jab and needlessly exchange in close with his opponents. He also occasionally falls into throwing the same punch combination over and over, which can cost him against smart or experienced foes who know how to time their opponents.
Story lines: Abandoned by his father when he was 4 years old, Rios looked to his older brother Salvador Rios Jr. and the brothers of his mother, Delia Quesada, for male guidance. His brother and uncles led him to Hector Lopez’s TKO Boxing Club, shortly after his family moved from Compton, Calif., where Rios was born, to Santa Ana, Calif., in Orange County. Rios found a father figure in Lopez, who immediately recognized his talent but also took an active interest in his school and social lives. Rios turned out to be the hardest working fighter Lopez has ever trained. He began training at age 12, was sparring with pros by age 13, and was winning national amateur tournaments at 14. Rios won two major national tournaments and earned U.S.A. Boxing’s No. 1 rating at 119 pounds before his 18th birthday. He won a bronze medal in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials before graduating from Sattleback High School. Rios signed with experienced L.A.-based manager Frank Espinoza upon turning pro and joined the Golden Boy Promotions stable of fighters after his fifth pro bout. Lopez says Rios, who turned 20 in January, is hungrier than ever and continues to have the strongest work ethic of all his fighters.
Oct. 24 Fermin Perez TKO 1
Dec. 11 Carlos Luque MD 4
Feb. 12 Benito Abraham UD 4
March 26 Frank Gutierrez UD 4
May 21 Alvaro Muro KO 2
July 30 Rodrigo Aranda UD 4
Sept. 24 Manuel Sarabia KO 1
Oct. 10 John Wampash KO 6
Jan. 29 Willshaun Boxely UD 6