Despite challenges, promoter determined to showcase club fighters in Las Vegas

Pete Pochiro admits it hasn’t been easy trying to promote club fights in Las Vegas.

For the past 14 months, his company has been attempting to provide local boxing fans with cards featuring young, promising fighters at reasonable prices.

On Saturday, Pochiro will team with former world champion Roy Jones Jr., who recently opened a boxing school and gym in Las Vegas, on an outdoor card at Sunset Station’s amphitheater.

The main event features Las Vegas lightweight Jesus “Chuy” Gutierrez (12-0, four knockouts) against Rashad Ganaway (14-4-1, nine KOs) for the World Boxing Council’s USA title.

“Our last card at Sam’s Town in April did well,” Pochiro said. “We nearly sold it out. We think we can sell out Sunset Station with this card. Chuy is very popular and brings a lot of fans, and there’s some very good fights on the card.”

The amphitheater will hold 2,500 for boxing. Bryan Lindsey, the general manager of Sunset Station, said it’s a good use of space on the property.

“Las Vegas has a history of putting on outdoor fights, and we think we have a good venue for boxing,” he said.

Pochiro said his main challenges are meeting the Nevada Athletic Commission’s strict statutes as it pertains to drug testing, as well as getting approval for boxers who don’t have a large track record.

“We have the same costs as a major fight,” Pochiro said. “Nevada’s standards are very strict. We don’t get a break on anything, and while they’re selling 16,000 tickets to a (Floyd) Mayweather fight, we’re trying to sell a couple of thousand, so there’s a genuine inequity.

“But the bigger challenge is getting the fights approved. We’re featuring fighters who don’t have a lot of fights under their belt, and the commission is concerned about mismatches, which I understand. But it’s hard sometimes getting fights approved.”

Lindsey said his biggest concern about doing business with Pochiro and Jones was the quality of the card. But when he saw who was on it, his fears were put to rest.

“I just wanted it to be the most competitive card possible,” he said. “Chuy’s a great draw, and there are some great undercard fights.”

The undercard will feature Australian middleweight Wes Capper, a former kickboxing champion who is 7-0 with five knockouts. Junior middleweight Eric Johnson (7-0, four KOs) also is scheduled to compete, as is Leon Spinks’ son Leon III, who is 7-3-1 with three knockouts in the lightweight division.

Tickets are $25, $35 and $50. The first bell is scheduled for 7 p.m.

■ VARGAS IN MACAU — Las Vegan Jessie Vargas, the undefeated World Boxing Association junior welterweight champion, will make his second title defense Nov. 22, facing veteran Antonio DeMarco on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri welterweight title fight in Macau.

Vargas (25-0, nine KOs) retained his belt Aug. 2 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Antono Novikov at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs) has won three straight since losing to Adrien Broner on Nov. 17, 2012.

Vargas-DeMarco will be the first televised fight on the HBO Pay Per View telecast.

Vargas begins his training camp Monday at Top Rank Gym.

■ HOF HONORS — Referees Richard Steele and Kenny Bayless and former NAC executive director Marc Ratner will be inducted into the Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday at the Tuscany as part of a 10-person class.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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