By Peter Lim
Houston will see two consecutive nights of live boxing as former heavyweight contender Lou Savarese puts on a fight night at the Bayou City Events Center on Friday, a day prior to the dynamic showdown between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and James Kirkland at Minute Maid Park. While big HBO-televised bouts like Canelo-Kirkland only comes to Houston every once or twice a year, Savarese Boxing Promotions has been staging regular cards in the city since 2009.
The show has traditionally served as a platform for young local fighters to transition from rookie to prospect to contender while honing their skills in front of their homegrown fans, but it gradually evolved to feature an international cast of foreign imports as well. Fighters from South Africa to Uzbekistan to El Salvador and everywhere in between began to attract immigrants from their respective homelands to the cards, creating a festive atmosphere where people from all corners of the globe and walks of life with little in common except their passion for the sweet science comfortably mix, mingle and make merry.
This latest card, showcasing an eclectic mix of local and foreign talent, is no exception.
In the main event, local favorite and regular fixture on the Houston boxing scene Juan Leija (11-1-1, 3 KOs) takes on Samuel Gutierrez (10-12-4, 3 KOs). Leija is the Texas flyweight champion but his title will not be on the line.
Radmir Akhmediyev (4-0, 4 KOs) takes on Aaron Anderson (3-36, 1 KO) in a middleweight bout. Akhmediyev, 24, who relocated from Kazakhstan to Houston last year to train under Bobby Benton, has often been touted by Savarese as the next Triple G.
Welterweight Craig Callaghan (7-1, 4 KOs) of Liverpool, England, will attempt to rebound from his first loss against Anthony Hill (1-7).
Polish heavyweight Krystian Dzienski makes his pro debut against Jerome Aiken (0-1).
Justin Ledet (3-0, 2 KOs) faces Celso Pinzon (3-2-1, 3 KOs) in a heavyweight bout.
And junior middleweight Angel Huerta makes his debut against Raymond Johnson (0-1).
Results and fight report: http://www.boxingscene.com/gutierrez-shocks-leija-radmir-akhmediyev-wins-big--90811