Ex-G.C. boxer Orozco lands Friday night fight on FOX Sports 1

1/23/2014

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

When Antonio Orozco was honing his boxing skills as a young amateur in Garden City, he had the benefit of seeing Victor Ortiz and Brandon Rios develop at the same time.

Orozco, 26, is the youngest of the three boxing stars who all trained in Garden City as amateurs.

But on Friday, the lights of the boxing world will shine brightly on Orozco, who will fight veteran Miguel Angel Huerta at 9 p.m. (CST) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight (147-pounds) bout that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.

It has been a steady climb up the boxing ladder for Orozco, who brings an unblemished record into the ring at 18-0-0, having recorded 14 knockouts in the process.

Huerta, meanwhile, may be in the late stages of his career at age 35, but brings a wealth of experience into the match with Orozco. Huerta, who has compiled a 27-11-1 record, has fought only twice since December of 2008. His most recent outing was a loss by unanimous decision against Mauricio Herrera on Sept. 27, 2013. Until then, he had not been in the ring since a Dec. 19, 2008, technical knockout loss to then unbeaten Mike Alvarado.

"It's a great opportunity of doing the things that I've worked hard for," Orozco said in a Wednesday telephone interview just more than 48 hours prior to his fight. "I see that Huerta has a lot of experience, and he's been in (the ring) with a few guys who have been world champs. He packs a punch, and I'll just have to be cautious."

Orozco said each of his opponents poses different challenges, and that is what makes preparation so important.

"Just getting my rest today," Orozco said from southern California. "My reputation's been building because I've worked hard, trained hard, listened to the right people. I'm very excited to be able to showcase my boxing skills. The doors have been opening."

And while Orozco was learning his skills at an early age with both Ortiz and Rios, he says he has tried to stay focused solely on himself and his career. He has watched the other two at a distance.

"Haven't had any conversations with Victor or Brandon recently," Orozco said when asked if the western Kansas group stays in touch with each other. "It's not that I'm cut-off. We just all have different things we do. It's not my first rodeo. You get used to what you're doing. I've seen their careers, and both have had big fights. They've accomplished a lot. I've got another opportunity to keep Garden City on the map."

Orozco said having started in Garden City, many opportunities were presented to him in the early portion of his professional career.

It has been less than six years since he turned professional, winning his debut bout with a third-round TKO of Ricardo Martinez in June of 2008. Since then, he has fought either three of four matches per year until 2013 when he earned a TKO of Jose Reynoso in the seventh round of a scheduled 10-round bout on May 3, 2013. On Aug. 24, 2013, he knocked out Ivan Hernandez in the third round at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. In his last six matches, three have come via TKOs and three by knockouts. Those six opponents had a combined record of 82-21-5.

"Everyone I've fought has presented another challenge," Orozco said of his recent opponents. "This one is a little more difficult. Huerta's very dangerous. I'm ready to go the distance (scheduled 10-rounder). I want to take full advantage of this opportunity. I'm on the rise, and this is a great chance to step forward."

Orozco said he has not relied on any one punch in his 18 wins.

"I try to use a balance of punches," Orozco said. "I'm not looking for just that one punch to win. If I use all the different skills, the different punches I've worked on, there's a big reward at the end. I'm ready to go the distance, but if it doesn't, then that's OK, too."

Orozco and Huerta were scheduled for their official weigh-in at 3 p.m. today.

Orozco fights for Golden Boy Promotions, the same organization that had signed Ortiz.

Boxing notes

Ortiz is scheduled to return to the ring on Jan. 30 at the Barclays Center in New York when he takes on Luis Collazo.

Ortiz (29-4-2) is trying to rebound after two tough losses, suffering a broken jaw in the ninth round against Josesito Lopez on June 23, 2012, forcing him to retire from the bout. He previously lost his WBC welterweight title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 17, 2011, in a fourth-round knockout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a controversial finish.

The Ortiz-Collazo fight is slated for 12 rounds and will be for the WBA International Welterweight title. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the fight at 8 p.m. Collazo, 32, is 34-5-0 in his career.

Garden City will be the site on Feb. 22 for the Midwest Championship belt when Garden City native Herbert Acevedo (10-1-0) takes on Marcos Herrera (6-10-1) of Denver at the American Legion building on south Main street. JAB Promotions is sponsoring the night of boxing. That is a light welterweight division match.

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