RESEDA — Family ties have accounted for only so much in the boxing career of Joel Luna Zarate. Professional ties, the Mexican junior bantamweight champion concluded, were far more important.
Zarate, 30-2 with 23 knockouts, will fight Martin Solorio in a 10-round bantamweight main event tonight at the Reseda Country Club. The fight is Zarate's second under the tutelage of Ignacio Beristain, among the world's most respected trainers, since the pair united last year.
Zarate, 29, ranked No. 1 by the World Boxing Council in the super flyweight division, previously was trained by Jorge Zarate, his uncle and brother of former WBC bantamweight champion Carlos Zarate.
Carlos Zarate's 18-year career included memorable bouts with Lupe Pintor and Alfonso Zamora during the 1970s before his retirement at age 37 in 1988.
Joel Luna Zarate's record has been less glorious. He lost a 12-round bout to Julio Borboa for the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title in 1993 but has spent much of his career in search of formidable opponents.
After making little progress in the Don King organization for more than two years, Zarate turned to Beristain, whose fighters include WBC super bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza and WBC strawweight champion Ricardo Lopez. Zarate said it was strictly a professional decision.
"I always felt comfortable with my uncles," Zarate said. "I'm very comfortable with Ignacio Beristain. The problem is, in my uncle's gym, I could never get enough work in. In [Beristain's] gym, there are enough fighters to spar with and work with."
Beristain, a trainer for 40 years, kept a watchful eye on Zarate in the amateur ranks.
"He felt kind of obligated, going to his uncle," Beristain said. "But I knew in the long run that he was going to end up with me. The guys who had him before had him lifting weights, which is the worst thing a fighter can do."
Zarate is widely considered a good boxer with marginal defensive skills. He has a reputation of looking for one punch rather than working combinations.
His new trainer, Zarate said, is working to correct those shortcomings. In his last fight in December, Zarate recorded a six-round victory over Juan Soto in Indio.
"He's changing stuff that I kind of have forgotten to do," Zarate said. "I was getting kind of lazy, but he's brought stuff out of me. He's polished me up."
Solorio (13-7, seven knockouts), a native of Mexico, knocked out John Vasquez last May at the Irvine Marriott.
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Tonight's boxing card at Reseda Country Club. First bell at 7:30.
* Joel Luna Zarate (30-2, 23 knockouts) vs. Martin Solorio (13-7, 7 KOs), 10 rounds, bantamweight
* Asluddin Umarov (17-3, 17 KOs) vs. Paul Jones (3-5, 2 KOs), eight rounds, light heavyweight
* Effi Schneider (7-1-1, 1 KO) vs. Chocolate Hernandez (11-15, 6 KOs), six rounds, junior welterweight
* Oscar Zamora (2-4-3) vs. Joel Cisneros (2-2-1), four rounds, super bantamweight
* Octavio Suarez Jr. (2-1-1) vs. Fidel Quezada (0-1), four rounds, lightweight
* Arthur Berloshyan (0-0) vs. Danny Jevic (0-0), four rounds, super middleweight
* Luis Perz (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Alejandro Jimenez (0-0), four rounds, junior welterweight
Ticket prices: $25 to $75. Information: (818) 881-2568 or (818) 881-2988