New Faces: Jaime Arboleda
Hometown: Curundu, Panama
Weight class: Junior lightweight
Height: 5-feet-9 inches (176 cm)
Amateur Record: 117-13
Turned pro: 2014
Pro record: 8-0 (6 knockouts)
Trainers: Rigoberto Garibaldi
Manager: Ernesto Marcel Jr.
Promoters: Promociones Y Eventos Del Istmo
Best night of pro career: Arboleda considered his latest outing but his penultimate performance to be his best.
“I knocked out Sandro Hernandez, a Venezuelan prospect,” Arboleda told RingTV.com through renowned Panamanian sports journalist Hector Villarreal. “He caught me with a very good punch that put me in a bad position. When I was in that position, I knocked him out spectacularly.”
Worst night of pro career: He is least pleased with his fourth pro outing in April of 2015.
“I think journeyman Julio Camano,” he explained. “I didn’t do good because it is complicated to fight that guy.”
Next fight: The recently-turned 22-year-old will return from a six-month hiatus – due to a knee problem – when he faces Eder Espitia on Thursday at the Hotel El Panama in Panama City.
The 32-year-old Colombian, enters the ring with a record of 10-1-4 (8 KOs). The southpaw has fought all but one of his fights in his homeland. On that occasion, he dropped an eight-round unanimous decision to Carlos Zambrano in September of 2013, in Peru.
Why he’s a prospect: Arboleda was a good amateur. He fought 130 bouts and won the national title at 123 pounds in 2012. The following year, he lost to Olympian Juan Huertas in the finals. “Jaimito” (“Little James”) was a member of the Panamanian national team and fought internationally in several countries including Cuba and Chile.
He’s gained valuable experience sparring with the gifted trio of Nicholas Walters, Ricardo Cordoba and Anselmo Moreno.
Arboleda is a gym rat and enjoys spending countless hours there, whiling the day away.
“I really enjoy what I do,” he said. “I don’t see this like a job. I am one of the first fighters to arrive every morning. I spend many hours at the gym, even if I’m not training because I feel you can learn something new.”
When asked his biggest strength, he says without pause, “The left hook.”
Villarreal sees bags of potential in the youngster, offering high praise in comparing Arboleda to a Panamanian great of yesteryear.
“His two older brothers didn’t become world champions because of situations outside boxing,” said Villarreal. “This guy is very talented and I compare him to Ismael Laguna. I think this guy is going to become the new Ismael Laguna of this era because of his skills. He has everything to become a champion and he is demonstrating it little by little.
“Right now, he is considered one of the best prospects in Panama but his career isn’t so advanced as the other kids around. I consider him to be the best prospect.”
Arboleda’s promoter Rogelio Espino – who has worked with 11 world champions since entering the sport in 2000 – is also keen to praise his young fighter.
“He is a very skilful boxer,” explained the promoter. “He is a great exponent of what we call, ‘Panamanian school’ of boxing, ‘Pai Pai no estoy’ (“Hit, hit and I’m gone”).”
Why he’s a suspect: Arboleda ticks many boxes: He entered the pros with a strong amateur pedigree; he has good size for 130 pounds and he has an impressive skillset.
However, he needs to be careful of the pitfalls of the streets that prevented his older brothers from making their marks on the sport.
When asked what he needs to improve Arboleda says, “Foot work, legs and movement. Professor Garibaldi tells me I need to move my legs more than I am doing now.”
Story lines: Arboleda was born and grew up in the notorious Curundu neighbourhood. Up until five years ago, it wasn’t safe to walk the streets there. He now lives the other side of town but still returns to train there and visit family on a regular basis.
Arboleda comes from a boxing family. His father and uncle boxed. His two older brothers were well-regarded; however, one passed away after being involved in a car accident while the other is in prison.
He first stepped inside a ring when he was just six-years-old.
“Because the other brothers were special, the boxing community here has helped him a lot,” Villarreal said. “Everyone supports him.”
Unsurprisingly, his hero is Panamanian deity Roberto Duran. He also admires Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Arboleda lives with his girlfriend and their young daughter. He enjoys spending time with them as well as his family. He relaxes by playing Nintendo and also goes cycling with his manager Ernesto Marcel Jr., the son and namesake of the former WBA featherweight beltholder.
June 4 – Camilo Georget – TKO 1
Aug. 23 – Jose Bernal – TKO 1
Oct. 25 – Cristian Castillo – KO 2
April 23 – Julio Camano – UD 6
July 23 – Augusto Pinilla – KO 2
Sept. 29 – Tony Gomez – UD 9
Dec. 17 – Sandro Hernandez – KO 3
April 15 – Jose Forero – KO 3
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.
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