San Mateo County boxing fans who are used to seeing world class talent make its way through Undisputed Boxing in San Carlos will get another chance this Saturday.
2012 London Olympic bronze medalist and six-time United States champion Marlen Esparza will spar six rounds against five-time world champion and current WBA flyweight world champion Carina Moreno.
This open sparring session will pit one of the very top U.S. Olympic female boxers against a true legend in the history of female professional boxing. These two women are both at the top of their game as each prepares for upcoming competitions.
Esparza is gunning for her seventh U.S. championship starting March 30, while Moreno currently prepares to defend her WBA flyweight world championship belt in Germany sometime in April.
“I think it’s important because the men get so much credit and so much attention for all the things they’re doing and honestly, the women, they’re so many great parts to women’s boxing,” said Undisputed owner Brian Schwartz of the event. “These girls are tough and they’re skilled and they’re just as exciting as the men are. So, it’s really important to keep that going and giving it the attention that it deserves.”
Both fighters will be available for a question-and-answer session after the sparring.
“First and foremost, we love boxing, so want boxing going as long as we can,” Schwartz said. “And to be able to have a gym and teach the sport that we love, it’s just a great thing.”
Esparza trains with Schwartz plus strength-and-conditioning coach Mike Bazzel — both also work with ESPN 2012 Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire and are coming off an eight-round unanimous decision win with Bruno Escalante last week in Redwood City.
“It’s awesome,” Schwartz said. “Between Marlen, Nonito (Donaire) and some of the other top fighters that have kind of been rolling through, it’s a great thing. I think some guys would feel lucky if one of these fighters walked in and we get to be around them every day, it’s truly a blessing. And it’s a realy great experience to be a part of.”
The event will take place at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Redwood Heat goes undefeated
It’s been about 15 years, but local girls’ youth basketball coach Donn North and his Redwood Heat have tossed up another goose egg in the loss column.
North’s Heat, comprised of mostly seventh graders, won the Silicon Valley Championship by going a perfect 15-0.
“It was basically having a 10-man rotation where everyone was contributing,” North said when asked what the key was to the undefeated run. “So, it wasn’t like you had the top five out there all the time. It was, any given day, there were different players 10, 15 points or grabbing 10, 15 rebounds or playing defense on the other team’s best player.”
The Heat and its core group of players have played together for about three years and have also placed second at tournaments like the Junior Olympics and a first-place showing at the Reno Tournament last year.
North said that because of the way the Silicon Valley championships lined up, going 15-0 was probably more impressive than any of their tournament runs — even more so than his 1997 teams.
“I think they do feel comfortable with one another where they know each other’s style,” North said of his team’s chemistry. “And I give them the freedom, too. We don’t always have to run the play, we kind of adapt to the situation. So, they have freedom and feel comfortable shooting the ball.”
North also credit the addition of two tall post players to the team’s success.
“They can dominate the boards,” North said. “You’re not always going to shoot a high percentage, but if you can get more shots than the other team, you should come out on top.”