Story and Photos by Herman Delgado
In a span of less than two months, El Paso was treated to back to back Premier Boxing Champions events at the Don Haskins Center. World class boxers back in El Paso to showcase their talent and give El Pasoans a chance to see what others around the country and world see when it comes to big time boxing. The attendance wasn’t as great as the previous show this past February, but it was still as energized and vocal as the last crowd who witnessed Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz fight to a controversial draw. Many fighters from around the world, and El Paso had one of their own on the card, and it happened to be a fighter from the same family…The Han’s. Jennifer Han defended her title on the February 17th show, and now it was Brother Abraham’s turn to follow up with a performance of his own, by taking on former WBC super-middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell. Not an easy task, but in the sport of boxing that’s what separates the champions from fighters…taking that risk and giving it your all.
There were three main fights on the card, and former interim WBA & IBO featherweight champion of the world, Claudio Marrero started off the night and needed only 33 seconds of the first round to dispose of his opponent, Jorge Lara. Marrero was too smooth and too ring savvy to get caught up in a brawl. “This was a message to the whole division. I’m a championship-caliber fighter and I showed it again tonight,” Marrero said.
The fight most El Pasoans were waiting to see was Anthony Dirrell taking on Abraham Han. It was the classic Villain versus Good Guy, and the crowd was very vocal in their support of Han and their dislike of Dirrell. The crowd had no effect on Dirrell as he went out there and won every round on two of the judges’ cards, and scoring a 10-round unanimous decision. “I thought I did well tonight boxing him for 10 rounds,” Dirrell said. “I didn’t think I lost a round. Two of the judges thought so but I can’t do anything about that. I did what I was supposed to do.” Han stood in there like the warrior that he is and fought with the heart of a champion. “I wasn’t happy with my performance. I couldn’t get my jab going at all. If I had been more effective with that I think I would have been able to win more rounds,” Han said. “It was wonderful to have the support of my hometown crowd here. I just wish that I had done better.”
The main event of the evening matched up Josesito Lopez against Miguel Cruz, and it turned out to be a good fight with Lopez winning a 10-round unanimous decision. Lopez added veteran trainer, Robert Garcia to his camp and he seemed to think that move made the difference. “I think the biggest difference has been Robert Garcia. He has me living a healthier lifestyle and that played a big part in my victory,” Lopez said. “I have an elite trainer who is training me like an elite fighter. I was one step behind in the past, but now I think I’ve made up that distance and then some.” Lopez conditioning and aggressiveness seemed to play a key role in his victory and Cruz acknowledged it as well. “Josesito was stronger than I thought,” Cruz said. “I took a little too long to get off and get going.”
The final bell rang at the Don Haskins Center, and El Paso fight fans were treated to another successful night of boxing brought to you by Premier Boxing Champions.