Archive for hawaii

Boxing alive and well in Kalihi

Posted in Amateur Boxing Info, Pro Boxing Info with tags , , , , on July 24, 2009 by admin

By: Billy Hull

Remember the notion that the rise of mixed martial arts would kill the sport of boxing?

One glance into the Kalakaua Boxing Gym on most weekday evenings shows nothing could be further from the truth.

With life-size images of boxing greats George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler as a backdrop, men and women of all ages can be seen doing any number of activities.

Inside one of the two rings in the gym, professional boxer Michael Balasi goes through an up-tempo sparring session in preparation for a possible fight at the Blaisdell Arena.

In the other ring, amateur Koichi Tanji shadowboxes by himself, enjoying a sport that he was told he couldn’t compete in 10 years earlier.

The one thing that doesn’t change is the repeated thuds of glove on bag as amateurs and professionals alike beat on one of the many punching bags that line the far wall of the gym.

Boxing is alive and well on this day.

“MIXED MARTIAL ARTS has actually kind of helped boxing,” says Bruce Kawano, the regional coordinator for USA Boxing in Hawaii. “Boxing used to be huge here in the early 80’s and then it went on a little hiatus.

“But it’s starting to come back.”

Proof of that was at the amateur state championships this year when 54 fights were held in two days at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel ballroom.

Tomorrow’s amateur show at the Palolo District Park Gym is filled with many new faces.

But the single biggest event to revitalize the sport could come next month as Waipahu native Brian Viloria may get his wish to defend his newly-won IBF light flyweight title at home at the Blaisdell Arena.

Balasi, who’s 7-1 with 5 KO’s as a professional, received a phone call this week asking if he’d be available to fight on the undercard of a Viloria fight next month. Viloria’s manager, Gary Gittelsohn, confirmed in an e-mail Wednesday that they are in the process of finding a venue and “Brian has long expressed interest in making a world title defense in Hawaii and I would like to find a way to make it happen.”

“Everybody wants to be on that card,” Balasi said. “It would be a big thing for boxing if that happens.”

WHILE BALASI ponders a future on the big stage, the 23-year-old Tanji is just happy being in a ring. Born in Japan with a deformed right hand, Tanji ignored others’ advice and took up boxing as a teen. Originally cleared to fight as an amateur, he won two consecutive fights and needed one more win to make nationals when Japanese doctors suddenly wouldn’t allow him to fight.

“It was tough to take,” Tanji said as he wrapped his hand — missing multiple fingers — in boxing tape. “I didn’t want to quit. I first go Thailand but didn’t know anyone so I came here.”

With no knowledge of the English language, he found a place to box, and began learning the language through the sport he loved.

“I know what they were talking about even though I don’t know the word then,” he said. “That’s how I learn.”

Five years later, his English is easy to understand and he’s a student at Kapiolani Community College. He leaves next week for the 2009 Ringside World Championships in Kansas City, Mo., where he hopes to win his weight class a year after taking silver.

TWO-TIME Ringside world champion Alyssa-Lende Kane is preparing to go for three in a row, but something even bigger awaits next month. A vote will be held in August to determine whether women’s boxing will be a sport at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

By then, Kane, a silver medalist at the U.S. Junior Olympics in June, will be 18, old enough to compete.

“I hope they allow it, because that’s my ultimate goal,” she said. “I run two miles every morning, six days a week and I lift light weights every day. I want this to be a full-time thing.”

Kawano, who oversees her training every week, thinks it’s a real possibility.

“She’s ranked No. 2 at 132 pounds right now,” he said. “She has the skills.”

While Balasi, Kane and Tanji prepare for upcoming bouts, some of Hawaii’s brightest amateurs will be on display tomorrow night in a 17-bout card at Palolo District Park Gym at 6 p.m.


Noons victorius in H-Town

Posted in Pro Boxing Results with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2009 by admin

KJ Noons

He won a unanimous decision over Enrique Gallegos (6-4)

judge: Gary Simons 60-53 | Kelly Yoh 60-53 | Barry Yeats 58-55
Gallegos down in 1st rd.

KJ Noons Wants To Make a Statement in Boxing

Posted in Pro Boxing Info with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by admin

By Michael Campbell

As the multi-disciplined sport of Mixed Martial Arts continues its meteoric rise in popularity, its combatants can’t help being drawn back to their original disciplines. For former MMA lightweight champion of EliteXC Karl “KJ” Noons, that calling is the sweet science of boxing.

“People ask me how can I do both, but I’ve always done both. I love both sports,” explained Noons. “I started in boxing as a kid at 8 years old, and I never stopped boxing. I’ve just gotten more recognition doing MMA.”

A 2001 graduate of Clements High School, Noons now lives and trains in San Diego. He returns to his Houston tonight to face off in the boxing ring versus Enrique Gallegos of Medford, Oregon.

“It feels good, staying back at my mom and dad’s house, getting to see all my friends from back in high school,” KJ said.

“King Karl” Noons is fighting on TKO promotions inaugural event in the Bayou City. With their home office located in Houston, TKO’s CEO Chet Koerner is trumpeting regional boxing cards called “HOMETOWN HEROES TO WORLD CHAMPIONS.”

“Our series is truly on display with this card as the Houston boxing fans will be able to see numerous local fighters such as KJ who we feel have the ability to become future world champions,” said Koerner.

Also to be featured are TKO prospects Dat Nguyen who originally hails from Bien Hoa, Vietnam, and Phoenix’s Rafael Valenzuela. Local standouts, Gerardo “Tin Tin” Ibarra, the 2005 National Junior Olympic champion, and Texas state Golden Gloves champion Omar Henry will be seeing action in the ring.

Viloria wins IBF Title

Posted in Pro Boxing Results with tags , , , , , on April 20, 2009 by admin

Brian Viloria

By Manuel Perez: I’m frankly speechless after former WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria (25-2, 15 KOs) pulled off a huge upset by stopping International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight champion Ulises Soils (28-2-2, 20 KOs) in the 11th round tonight at the Araneta Coliseum, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Viloria, 28, with the huge Filipino audience giving him a lot of encouragement, knocked Solis down with a huge right hand to the head in the 11th.

The bout was then stopped by referee Bruce McTavish at 2:56 of the round. Both fighter traded big shots from the beginning, but Viloria was able to land the harder shots and ended up quickly cutting Solis up over both eyes.

The win was a huge upset, as Viloria, ranked only at number #9 in the IBF, hadn’t fought any top fighters in two years since losing to Edgar Sosa in April 2007. During the last two years, Viloria looked slow and lethargic in the ring, hardly the type of fighter that could pull off an upset like this.


2009 Hawaii State Championships

Posted in Amateur Boxing Info with tags , , , , , , , on April 20, 2009 by admin

The 2009 Hawaii State/Regional Boxing Championships will be held on April 24th (7 p.m.) and 25th (6 p.m.) at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel Ballroom. It will be the 1st time the Adults (senior, open) and Junior Olympic Tournament will be combined. Winners advance to the USA Combined National Championships on June 6th to 14th in Denver, Colorado. Boxers from Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, and Maui are expected to compete.

Current Nationally Ranked Boxers and Defending Hawaii Champions entering the tournament are:
Chazzette Sau #1,
Bruno Escalante #2,
Joshua McShane #5,
Emmit Bolibol #5,
Keanu Sabado #5,
with Gino Ramos #3 in the Under-19 division.

Defending Champions competing are:
Colleen Loo,
Isaiah Manalo,
Earl Fitts,
Kainoa Oca-Kauhane.

Escalante competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Around 25 bouts are scheduled for each night. Tickets are limited ! and will be $20 for each night, and $5 for 10 and under.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at, or Blane Yoshida at
Thank You For Your Support!!
Bruce Kawano
2009 USA-Boxing Hawaii Team Manager/Regional Coordinator.

Viloria fights for the IBF Title (108lbs)

Posted in Pro Boxing Info with tags , , , , on April 14, 2009 by admin

Brian Viloria

Ex Hawaii Resident Brian Viloria 24-2 with 14 KOs, who now resides in California, a 2000 Olympian will box Ulises Solis 28-1-2 with 20 KOs of Mexico for the IBF Junior Flyweight (108Lbs) Championship on Sat. April 18 at Araneta Coliseum, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Bout is scheduled for 12 rounds for Solis IBF Title. The main event will be ex California resident Nonito Donaire 20-1 with 13 KOs now living in the Philippines against Raul Martinez 24-0 with 14 KOs from Texas for Donaires IBF Flyweight (112) Championship.

X1: Temple of Boom 5 Results

Posted in Amateur Boxing Results with tags , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2009 by admin

April 11, 2009
Palolo Hongwanji

Pro Boxing
140 – Nui Wheeler (Maili Soljahs) def Keith Kelly (Montana) tko rd 3
145 – Richard Barnard (Waianae BC) def Dimitris Labatos (Florida) dec
126 – Thaddine Johnson (NY) def Tracey Stevens (Canada) tko rd 1
140 – Van Oscar Penovaroff (HI) def Mike Maley (Indiana) tko rd 1
135 – Isaac Arasato (Palolo BC) def Ricky Thompson (Florida) dec

Palolo Valley shook with action from another exciting X-1 Event. X-1 did a great job bringing in professional boxers from all over the country and even Canada to take on some of Hawaii’s premier boxing talent. Temple of boom 5 gave us another edition of pro boxing that featured undefeated Palolo Boxing product Isaac Arasato as he took on Florida Boxer, Ricky Thompson.

Arasato used a barrage of body shots and non-stop pressure to overwhelm Thompson and earn a four round decision. Van Oscar Penovaroff improved to 4-0 as he KO’d Mike Maley out of Indiana with a vicious body shot. Waianae Boxing Club’s Richard Barnard survived a first round haymaker from Dimitris Labatos(Florida) to earn a decision victory after picking apart his opponent the remainder of the bout.

Nui Wheeler showed great accuracy is his punches as he tagged Keith Kelly(Montana) for the first three rounds earning him the TKO victory after Kelly did not answer the bell for the fourth round. In a 126 women’s boxing match New Yorker Thaddine Johnson hit Canadian Tracey Stevens hard and often earning her the TKO victory.

Isaac Arasato
Van Oscar Penovaroff
Richard Barnard