Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Ituarte-Zarate elevated to main event after Santillan drops out

Fighters Network

The cancellation of their main event is not going to stop Thompson Boxing Promotions from celebrating 17 years in the fight game.

The promotional company is well-known among boxing circles as not only putting forth some of the best club shows in Southern California, but for developing the careers of talented fighters, including Tim Bradley, Mauricio Herrera and Josesito Lopez, to name a few.

Tonight is no exception, as a few fighters hope to take a significant step forward toward contender status.

After the main event featuring unbeaten Giovani Santillan fell through, Erick Ituarte and Isaac Zarate will square off in an eight-round featherweight bout at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.

Santillan was scheduled to face Juan Garcia Mendez in a 140-pound bout, but the eight-round fight was scrapped when Santillan was having difficulty making the contracted weight.

“It’s unfortunate that Giovani could not cut the required weight in time,” said Alex Camponovo, who is the general manager and matchmaker at Thompson Boxing. “I hope he gets well soon. We’ll see what happens with his career in the next few weeks.

“I feel bad for Juan Garcia Mendez, who trained hard for the fight. We have elevated the bout between Southern California rivals Erick Ituarte and Isaac Zarate (from San Pedro) as our main event. It’s a terrific fight between two hard-nosed competitors.”

Garcia Mendez (19-2-1, 12 knockouts) is still fighting on the card. He faces Cesar Villarraga (9-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round bout.

Ituarte (16-1-1, 2 KOs), who hails from nearby Santa Ana, is coming off an eight round unanimous decision over Naciff Castillo on Feb. 10. He has won his last nine bouts.

Zarate (12-2-2, 2 KOs) lost by split decision to Saul Hernandez in his last bout on Sept. 23 in Tijuana, Mexico. He is winless in his last two bouts.

In the co-feature, Ricardo Espinoza (10-1, 8 KOs) faces Christian Ayala (9-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round junior bantamweight bout.

Unbeaten Ruben Villa (5-0, 3 KOs) squares off against Anthony De Jesus Ruiz (2-2, 2 KOs) in a six-round junior lightweight bout.

Two more fights will round out the card.

The entire card will be streamed live on the Thompson Boxing Facebook page or at Beto Duran will call the action, with boxing scribe Steve Kim providing color commentary.

The stream is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. PT.

Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.