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Muay Thai promotion plans to return to Albuquerque

Albuquerque’s Whitney Tobin celebrates after winning the North American super bantamweight title last weekend at Route 66 Casino.

Lion Fight remains bullish on the Albuquerque combat-sports market.

Scott Kent, the Muay Thai promotional company’s president and CEO, said plans to return later this year are in the mix.

Attendance last Saturday for Lion Fight 54 at Route 66 Casino Hotel, Lion Fight’s first venture in the Southwest, could have been better. Route 66’s Legends Theater, which seats some 2,800, was less than half full.

In comments sent to the Journal via email, Kent wrote that attendance was about 1,200. Efforts by the Journal to get a precise ticket count from the New Mexico Athletic Commission were unsuccessful.

Kent noted that there was no papering the house — no mass distribution of free tickets to make attendance look better than it really was.

Elsewhere, Kent said, everything went well.

“We definitely have work to do to make things grow, but there were a lot of positives,” he wrote.

First and foremost, he said, was the card itself.

Albuquerque heavyweight Cody East’s five-round victory by unanimous decision over Delaware’s Joe Stripling, Kent wrote, “stole the show.” East-Stripling led off CBS Sports Network’s two-hour telecast, which included Albuquerquean Whitney Tobin’s victory by unanimous decision Toronto’s Candice Mitchell.

The night’s final bout, in which Marc Entenberg defeated fellow Albuquerquean Sean Baca by third-round TKO, didn’t make the CBSSN telecast. But Entenberg’s victory in a fight that Kent labeled “absolutely wild” might give Saturday’s attendees reason to return — and encourage others to do the same.

“Word of mouth is the best marketing,” Kent said.

Lion Fight has 2019 dates in July and September that have yet to be filled. New Mexico, Kent wrote, is highly likely to get one of those.

LEGACY’S RETURN: Albuquerque’s Legacy Promotions has scheduled its second boxing card of the year for July 20, with Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres in the main event.

Torres (20-6-2, 12 KOs) will face an opponent yet to be named for the vacant WBC Silver Latino welterweight title, Legacy’s Jordan Perez said.

Legacy is staying at Expo New Mexico but is moving from the Manuel Lujan Exhibition Hall, site of its March 30 event, to Tingley Coliseum. It would be the first boxing card staged at Tingley since January 2010.

FRESQUEZ BOXING CARD OFF: Albuquerque’s Lenny Fresquez has postponed his scheduled June 10 boxing card, which was to be held in conjunction with his 25th year as a promoter.

“I could not put together (a main event) that I felt was worthy of our 25th anniversary,” Fresquez said via text.

He said he still plans to stage a boxing card, which would be his first since 2013, in the near future.

“Waiting until we get a TV date,” he wrote.

Albuquerque super flyweight Matthew Griego (9-0, eight KOs), who had planned to appear on the June 10 card, hasn’t fought since September.

MONTAÑO STATEMENT: Albuquerque MMA fighter Nicco Montaño says she doesn’t know the source of the banned substance for which she tested positive in October.

Montaño (4-2), the former UFC women’s flyweight champion, was suspended for six months by USADA after having tested positive for ostarine. USADA didn’t announce the suspension until this week, though it began in November.

She’s eligible to return on May 15.

“This suspension has further inspired me to work even harder (in) achieving my goals in the UFC,” Montaño wrote in a statement released on Wednesday. “I hope to make my return this summer.”

UPCOMING: On Friday in Sioux Falls, S,D., Clovis’ Harvey Park (11-2) is scheduled to face Demarques Jackson (10-2) with the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance lightweight title at stake. The card will be televised on AXS TV, starting at 7 p.m.

On Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Albuquerque strawweight Jodie Esquibel (6-4) is scheduled to face Angela Hill (8-6) on the undercard of UFC Fight Night 150.

Esquibel-Hill is an early prelim fight, one of three fights to be telecast on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m.

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