He has fought many boxing champions and legends – from Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz and Chris Byrd to David Tua, James Toney and Ruslan Chagaev. But while he has never held a world title, contender Fres Oquendo is recognized as a durable and experienced challenger. The 42 year old from Chicago by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is in Belize for a tune-up fight to be held in San Ignacio’s Victor Galvez Stadium against Mexican Pablo “El Ruso” Gibran. We spoke to him at the Philip Goldson International Airport shortly after his arrival in the Jewel.
Fres Oquendo, Heavyweight Boxer: We’re here for a great cause. Give the people of Belize my services. I’m a world-class heavyweight and I’m fighting for the championship next month and I’m here to showcase my talent in front of all the Belizeans and hope they’ll enjoy it because I’m here for a great cause. Come out and see the fight because it’s going for a great cause, a boxing academy here in Belize to help all the youths and kids.
Reporter: Sir you’re going up against El Ruso. What’s your anticipation for that match on Friday?
Fres Oquendo, Heavyweight Boxer: I’m sorry. I have no clue who he is. I don’t know. I’m here to do my job and you’ll see Friday.
Fight promoter and trainer for the Cayo Lion’s Den Asad Frank Martinez speaks about the plans for the proceeds of the fight.
Asad Frank Martinez, Boxing Trainer: It’s actually about inspiring the Country right because boxing in the country is like on the lowest level. Most sports in the country get support but boxing is downstairs. So I asked my brethren Fres here to come to the country to do an exhibition bout. This event is an event of inspiration. It’s about the young people. I love Fres like a brother but I tell people this is the Country’s event . This is about inspiring the policy makers to invest more in our young people. Once upon a time Fres was an amateur and he came from a functional developed system. Like I said we’re trying to inspire the decision makers to start investing in our young people. We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of human resource. We just need investment in our young people.
The fight is scheduled for eight rounds and will highlight an 11-fight card. Fight time is 7:00 p.m. Friday and tickets are on sale countrywide for $30 general admission, $80 reserved and $300 special. To our knowledge it’s the first major fight to take place in Belize although some top fighters including the legendary Muhammad Ali have visited and in his case sparred here.