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BOXING / MIKE HISERMAN

Title Bouts Score Big for Valley

February 18, 1996|Mike Hiserman

The Olympic, maybe. The Forum, perhaps.

But at a Woodland Hills hotel?

At least two respected boxing experts can't explain how or why the card set for the Warner Center Marriott on Wednesday is stacked with such high-quality fighters.

In what is believed to be a first, the San Fernando Valley will be the stage for two 12-round championship bouts on the same show.

Headlining the card is a clash between Justin Fortune of Australia and Mexican champion Salvador Maciel for the World Boxing Board heavyweight title.

At the other end of the weight scale--but pound for pound perhaps an even better fight--is the match between Jose Luis Noyola and Armando Meza for the North American Boxing Organization featherweight crown.

The main events, plus an impressive undercard, left one state boxing official flabbergasted.

"That's really unbelievable quality, certainly the most ambitious program ever put on in the Valley," said Dean Lohius, a supervising official with the State Athletic Commission. "I just don't understand it."

Added Don Chargin, a longtime promoter who resides in Bell Canyon: "This is a show that would usually be found at a much larger venue. Gerrie has put together a heckuva show for this thing."

"Gerrie" is Gerrie Coetzee, the former world heavyweight champion whose promotional company, Top Ring USA, took over operations for the Marriott shows last summer.

"This thing" is in reference to Wednesday's Marriott card being nationally televised for the first time.

Earlier this year, Coetzee signed a broadcasting agreement with cable television giant American Independent Network. The fights Wednesday will be carried by AIN affiliates, including Channel 38 in Lancaster-Palmdale, on March 9.

The broadcasting deal calls for Top Ring to eventually provide AIN with weekly boxing shows.

Only one show a month will be from the Marriott, but the additional exposure Coetzee can now offer fighters should allow him to give his local cards a big boost.

Wednesday's card is a prime example. The WBB ranks both Fortune and Maciel among the top 20 heavyweights in the world.

In his last fight, Fortune stopped George O'Mara to improve to 12-3-1 with eight knockouts. Maciel is 21-6 with 16 KOs.

Noyola, from Guadalajara, Mexico, won the NABO title last September in Tijuana. Ranked fourth by the World Boxing Organization, he has a record of 15-0-1 with eight KOs.

Meza, a talented 18-year-old, is 18-4 with 16 KOs.

*

The eight-round lead to the undercard features heavyweight Jimmy Joseph, a boxer worthy of top billing on many club shows.

Joseph is 13-2-1 with 12 KOs. His opponent, Jason Waller, is 21-6.

One of the show's most intriguing matchups might be a six-round middleweight bout between stylish southpaw Rodney Jones and haymaker-throwing veteran Floyd Weaver.

Jones, who has won two recent fights at the Marriott, is 10-2 with five KOs. Weaver, whose older brother Mike was world heavyweight champion, is 13-4-2 with nine KOs.

Rounding out Wednesday's card is a six-round junior welterweight bout between Carlos Guzman and Danny Lujan, a four-round junior welterweight bout between Danny Perez and Reed O'Neil, and a four-round cruiserweight match between Rasso Riobusinovit and Fernando Diaz.

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