Albuquerque boxer Sharahya Moreu is ready, more than ready, to turn pro after a long and successful amateur career.
But even if she weren’t turning pro, she said in a phone interview, she still would have signed with Atlanta-based Fighters First Management.
Fighters First is a relatively new enterprise, headed by two experienced boxing professionals: Adrian Clark and Jolene Mizzone.
Yoruba Moreu, his daughter’s trainer, said he has known Clark for some time. He believes “Fighters First” means what it says.
“(Clark) wrote this book called ‘Protect Yourself at All Times,'” the elder Moreu said. “That’s what the management company is based off of, his book. And he’s had a lot of other fighters in the past.”
Among Clark’s clients: current welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr.
Until this spring, Mizzone was Vice President/chief matchmaker for Main Events, a storied boxing promotional firm founded by the Duva family.
Sharahya Moreu, 23, admitted some anxiety about the move from the amateurs to the pros – though she’s known for some time this was the plan. USA Boxing has provided her experiences that many would envy, such has trips to India and Bulgaria for international events.
“I’m excited, but also mixed feelings,” she said. “It’s a new journey, a new path, not really known. Just like stepping into something you don’t know.
“I’m just glad I have a good team, like the managers and advisers, not just (about) boxing. They check on me mentally and physically, just making sure I’m OK.”
She and her father were already working with Clark – there’s no rule that says amateur boxers can’t have advisers – well before her final amateur bout.
That bout, a disputed loss by split decision to Briana Carrera in an Aug. 18 Golden Gloves nationals quarterfinal, stands in Yoruba Moreu’s mind as a major reason it’s time for his daughter to leave the amateurs.
“There’s a lot of questionable decisions she’s got over the last year that make you wonder what the hell we’re doing wrong,” he said. “But we were advised by people outside USA Boxing and with an interest, they were saying USA Boxing at this point already has who they want (as Olympic candidates), so anybody that’s a threat, they’re not gonna let them advance.”
The elder Moreu said he had reason to believe, as well, that his outspokenness about some of his daughter’s outcomes hadn’t played well with USA Boxing – another reason it was time to move on.
Fighters First is strictly a management company and not a promoter, but Moreu said he’s confident Clark and Mizzone can get Sharahya a spot on an upcoming card staged by a major promoter – or, best case, to get her signed with one.
“Not to let the cat out of the bag,” Yoruba Moreu said, “but there’s a major promoter that’s really interested in her.”
WHERE THEY DARE: Traditionally, the state of Utah has been less than friendly to New Mexico athletes.
The UNM football team is 15-51-1 all-time on the road against Utah, Brigham Young and Utah State. The Lobo men’s basketball team is 26-112 in Utah against the same three teams – plus one defeat at Weber State.
Undaunted, three New Mexico pro boxers will buck the odds Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
Bosque Farms’ Katherine Lindenmuth (2-0) is matched against Yadira Bustillos (5-0) in a scheduled six-round super flyweight (115-pound) bout. Neither boxer has scored a knockout.
Albuquerque light heavyweight Lorenzo Benavidez (3-4-1, one KO) is scheduled to face Damarian Kelly (4-4, three KOs) in a four-round bout.
Bosque Farms heavyweight Manuel Eastman (3-7-1, one KO) is matched against Bishop Le’i (3-0, three KOs) in a four-rounder.
For Lindenmuth and Benavidez, at least, Salt Lake City is a neutral site. Bustillos is from Las Vegas, Nevada, Kelly from Casper, Wyoming, and both are fighting in Utah for the first time.
Not so the power-punching Le’i, Eastman’s opponent, who’s listed as from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City. Two of Le’i’s previous fights have taken place in SLC.