And now, on with today's "show." We start with an interview with Ogden MMA pro Steven Siler, who has a World Series of Fighting 35 bout scheduled for March 18 in Verona, N.Y. Siler (seen below) will meet undefeated Hakeem Dawodo in a featherweight preliminary bout. The card will be televised, with Siler's bout either online or on the main TV card.
I chatted with Siler earlier this week:
WHY WAS THERE A LATE OPPONENT SWITCH? (SILER WAS ORIGINALLY TAPPED TO MEET ALEXANDRE ALMEIDA).
SILER: I couldn't tell you why I had an opponent switch, I was driving home from practice and looked in my email and saw I had a new bout agreement. I figured Alexandre got hurt but then a few days later saw he was fighting someone else. No one told me anything I just signed the new one.
ON HIS OPPONENT: Hakeem is much different than what I was training for but also I think (he) works better for my style so I'll just go in do what I do and get the win.
ON TRAINING: I've had an awesome camp with Court McGee and Josh Burkman who is fighting this weekend. I've also been working up with the Ultimate Combat Training Center fight team to help me prepare. ... (Sparring) depends on how far into the camp I'm in, usually 5x5 rounds but I also went a few weeks with no sparring and just kept it to drilling.
LONG-TERM: Original goal when I was fighting Alexandre was a number 1 contender fight so I'm hoping it's the same with Hakeem. But either way I'm gonna take as many fights as I need to get that belt.
Thanks Steve, and good luck on March 18. As Siler mentioned, Salt Lake City MMA pro Josh Burkman is fight this Saturday on a UFC card in Fortaleza, Brazil. He meets Michel Prazeres in a featured preliminary bout that will be on Fox Sports.
ON TO BOXING: The big local news is that two fighters, Jose Haro and Larry Gomez, are slated to fight April 1 in Salt Lake City. Opponents are still unnamed so keep your fingers crossed that the fights occur. I chatted with Gomez and Ignacio Chairez, both undefeated Utah pros who are tabbed as good prospects. (Gomez seen below after scoring a recent win).
GOMEZ: I had fights coming up but these guys passed me up so now I'm trying to get an opponent to come here on April 1. (Gomez is referring to a Chicago boxing card that he hoped he would be included in.)
THE SLC CARD: "... We're having a hard time getting someone here ... so I'm waiting on a word."
Ignacio Chairez, undefeated lightweight, is also struggling to find fights locally.
CHAIREZ: I'm not satisfied with how my career has unfolded because of how inactive it's been. Hopefully this year that all changes and I can get busy and get in the top 10-15 in my weigh class.
FUTURE: I got a few fights in the works here for the next upcoming month or so. I'm just waiting on confirmation and seeing how I heal.
TRAINING: I'm in training right now. I'm always in the gym working out. It's where I feel at peace. My brother, Gabriel, is my main training partner. We've trained each other since we've been in boxing and we're each other's main sparring partners when we are getting ready for fights. (Chairez also thanks his teammates Luis and Uriel for their help).
MORE "... When we have a fight scheduled and confirmed Matt Pena takes control of camp and starts to go over the game plan. He's coached me my last three fights.
We wish the best of luck to Haro, Chairez and Gomez. They are among Utah's best pugilists and we'd love to see all, and others, in the boxing ring often.
ABO TO COME TO UTAH
I chatted with Juan Curiel of the American Boxing Organization, and he says that the ABO will take it efforts to boost boxing in cities to the Salt Lake area in May. He says Haro, who is an ABO regional title holder, will be there lending support.
Curiel said that they hope to have human services professionals and government authorities at the events, which will include a boxing card, amateur or pro, with ceremonies during intermissions and an after party as well. The ABO recently had a fundraising event in Illinois.
As Curiel notes, the events are designed to raise money for local gyms to keep them financially healthy ad making sure that young boxers have locations to learn the sport and be mentored.
We'll have more on the SLC event as it draws nearer. The ABO, by the way, has regional title belt fights scheduled in Texas and North Dakota the next few weeks.
ONE MORE THING:
I mentioned that we've had several interviews that will soon be published on the blog and others I'm preparing for. Fighters we plan to publish chats with include Jon Neal and Skyler Frazier, Daniel Stratton and James Russell Francis, Kerry Lattimer and Jordan Chandler, John Valentine, and Rowdy Akers and AJ Garcia. This weekend will provide an update on how Josh Burkman's UFC bout went.