Rick Mirigian was a happy man on Saturday night about the crowd for the world-class card at Chukchansi Park that he estimated at “just under 10,000 people.”
“Twenty days of me promoting and getting stuff done, I think it’s an absolute success,” Mirigian said.
The California State Athletic Commission had yet to verify the attendance as of Monday morning.
Mirigian helped British super promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing for the big event, which was carried live on streaming service DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone”).
The main parking lot across the street was filled by 5 p.m., something baseball’s Grizzlies do once or twice a season.
The ring was situated in the infield, approximately on the pitching mound. On-the-field seating was underneath a blanket/tarp. I’m told the Grizzlies will have a brand new field for the 2022 season.
Mayor Jerry Dyer, clad in a blue plaid shirt and jeans, had a second-row seat for the action, sitting along with his wife, Diane. He is thrilled about what regular world-class boxing events could mean to Fresno for entertainment and ringing up dollars for the economy.
“We want downtown Fresno to be the entertainment hub of Central California. So I think this is just a taste of it,” Dyer said.
Dyer cheered on Fresnan Marc Castro.
“I love boxing, especially boxers that are a good role models for our youth,” Dyer said. “You look at Marc Castro … he’s homegrown, he graduated from Sunnyside High School. He’s just a good Christian kid and ends up mentoring a lot of kids in our community.”
Dyer said Hearn is welcome back anytime.
“You get a lot of fans here from out of town, so they’re taking up hotel rooms or buying food. Everything that’s going on here at Chukchansi, we need more activity here,” Dyer said.
“I can tell you, the stadium is making a lot of money. The city is making a lot of money. Just look around and see the fans in the seats.”
What’s Next for Ramirez?
Central Valley boxing favorite Jose Ramirez had a front-row seat, with his family.
“We came here to support Mikey Garcia, Marc Castro, and Bam Rodriguez, to support boxing,” Ramirez said. “I’m happy that Matchroom Boxing with Eddie Hearn, found interest here in Fresno to bring boxing here and give everyone here in the Valley an opportunity to come and enjoy themselves.”
When might Ramirez fight again?
“We’re starting training camp soon and hopefully early next year with ESPN and Top Rank Boxing, we’re negotiating right now,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez (26-1, 17 KO) last fought in May, losing for the first time in his career to Josh Taylor in a junior welterweight unification bout in Las Vegas.
— David Taub (@TaubGVWire) October 17, 2021
A Pro Wrestling Flair
Boxing has many similarities to pro wrestling — a loyal, fanatical following, a complex level of organizations, and spectacular ring entrances, or “ring walk,” as ring announcer David Diamante called it.
The difference, of course, is that pro wrestling matches are strictly entertainment exhibitions with officially pre-determined outcomes. Boxing literally can be a matter of life and death for those in the ring.
As if it was booked that way, Fresno-native Marc Castro (4-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Angel Luna in the first round. Castro had a live band playing during his ring walk.
No one had a more impressive ring walk than main eventer Mikey Garcia, the man the many in the crowd came to see. A tractor and a full entourage of fans, musicians, and more led the way. A full fireworks show blasted over the center-field wall.
“You have to make someone feel an emotion. And tonight these people are going to feel that,” Mirigian said of the entrance.
Garcia entered the ring with a black cowboy hat. It mysteriously turned into a white hat in a matter of moments.
Fresno WWE Results
Results from last week’s WWE card at the Save Mart Center, reported by WrestleZone:
- United States Championship: Damian Priest defeated Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins
- WWE Women’s Tag Titles: Rhea Ripley & Nikki ASH defeated Natalya & Tamina
- Karrion Kross defeated John Morrison
- WWE RAW Tag Titles: Randy Orton & Riddle defeated AJ Styles & Omos
- Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs defeated Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss
- SmackDown Women’s Title: Becky Lynch defeated Bianca Belair
- Roman Reigns & The Usos defeated Finn Balor & The Street Profits
When the show was first announced, it included a WWE title defense by Big E against Bobby Lashley. Of course, “card subject to change.”