Combat sports: Ortega follows boxer-son into fight business - Albuquerque Journal

Combat sports: Ortega follows boxer-son into fight business

Promoter Danny Ortega (center) talks with fighters, Matthew “Diamond Boy”€ Griego (left), Justice Jiron (cq) and his son Adrian Jiron on Tuesday at Jack Candelaria Community Center. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

Feb. 4

Pro Boxing: Matt Griego-Ortega vs. Bryan Aquino, five other fights, Revel Entertainment Center. Tickets: $50-$70, revelabq.com

 

For 26-year-old Albuquerque boxer Matt Griego-Ortega, 12 professional bouts in a span of seven years have been too few to take him where he wants to go — even though all 12 were victories.

In stepped Danny Ortega, a Valencia County contractor, because that’s what dads do.

Griego-Ortega’s scheduled bout on Feb. 4, the main event of a six-bout card at Revel Entertainment Center, is his father’s first venture in boxing under the banner of Wrecking Crew Promotions.

It will not, said Griego-Ortega during a Tuesday news conference at South San Jose Community Center, be the last.

“It’s the start of something,” said Griego-Ortega (12-0, eight knockouts), who’s scheduled to face Puerto Rico native Bryan Aquino (12-2, six KOs) in an eight-round flyweight (112-pound) bout. “From what I understand, I think we already have three shows scheduled this year.

“… It’s been kind of tough for me to keep getting fights, so we’re just gonna try to stay busy and keep New Mexico fighters busy and fighting.”

As announced on Tuesday, nine of the 12 boxers on the card are from New Mexico.

Among them is popular Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres (24-7-2, 14 KOs), who’s matched against Houston veteran Todd Manuel (21-21-1) in a six-round bout.

Torres said he’s pleased to be fighting on a card headlined by Griego-Ortega, who in the past has fought on shows headlined by Torres.

Unlike Griego-Ortega, Torres has had little trouble getting fights — 33, equaling his age, during a 14-year pro career.

He doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.

“I’m no spring chicken,” he said,  ”but … even though a lot of fighters are close to the end of their run by the time they’re 33 or 34 years old, as crazy as it sounds, I feel like my career is just getting started.”

Griego-Ortega said Aquino, a southpaw, is likely the toughest opponent he has faced.

That’s by design.

“I know it’s gonna be tough,” he said, “but we want to keep on continuing to fight tougher and tougher opponents and keep climbing my way up to a future world title.”

In building their organization, the Ortegas have enlisted the services of event coordinator Doris Robinson, who for years worked for Albuquerque promoter Lenny Fresquez.

NMAC MEETING: The New Mexico Athletic Commission on Tuesday approved the card for the scheduled Feb. 17 Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event at Tingley Coliseum by a 3-1 margin.

The card includes a fight between veteran Albuquerque MMA fighter Diego Sanchez, 41, and former world boxing champion Austin Trout, 37, of Las Cruces. Both men would be making their bare-knuckle debuts.

Commissioner Jerome O’Connell voted against approval of the card, reiterating concern he’d expressed during the commission’s December meeting about Sanchez’s fitness to continue fighting after the punishment he’d absorbed during his 20-year MMA career.

Commissioners Joe Chavez, Ed Manzanares and Lawrence Louick voted to approve the card, based on a review of neurological tests submitted by Sanchez and his management supporting his fitness to compete.

… A Feb. 24 boxing card at the Rio Rancho Events Center, promoted by Teresa Tapia, was approved contingent on the commission’s receiving more information about a Triller pay-per-view telecast of the event — in particular, whether the NMAC would get a percentage of the PPV proceeds or a flat fee.

Tapia’s main event, according to information supplied to the commission, is a rematch of the main event of Tapia’s most recent card in Paradise Hills — matching Torres against Reggie Harris Jr. (7-2, three KOs) of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Torres defeated Harris by unanimous decision on June 17.

Richard Espinoza, NMAC executive director, said the 20-day interval between Torres’ scheduled bout on Feb. 4 and the proposed bout on Feb. 24 is approvable provided Torres is not knocked out and/or does not sustain a serious cut in the first bout.

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