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Ex-UNLV fighter Brett Rather eager to make pro debut

It’s time for Brett Rather to take the biggest step in his young boxing career.

The former UNLV heavyweight, who fought less than 20 times as an amateur, will make his pro debut Friday in Laughlin. If all goes well, Rather will return to the ring Aug. 4 at Texas Station on the undercard of Top Rank’s card featuring NABF super featherweight champion Diego Magdaleno and Antonio Davis in the 10-round main event.

“I’m anxious to get going,” said Rather, whose opponent for his fight at the Edgewater Hotel has yet to be determined. “It’s an important time for me. When I didn’t make the Olympics (in April), it was time to move on and turn pro.”

Rather, 21, has been working with Skip Kelp and said he has sparred close to 50 rounds to prepare for his debut.

“He’s trying to raise my boxing IQ, help me understand the game at this level,” Rather said. “It’s a chance for me to start from scratch and really learn what I need to in order to be successful.”

Rather has yet to sign with a promoter, but he said the important thing is to stay active and learn.

“It’s so different from the amateurs,” he said. “The more experience I get, the quicker I’ll learn and the better I’ll be.”

■ TEXAS TWO-FER – Top Rank, which is promoting cards at Texas Station on Aug. 3 and 4, is selling a combined ticket for both shows at a discount.

For $75, fans can get reserved seats for each night, saving $25. A general admission ticket for both cards is $35.

Undefeated lightweight Mercito Gesta headlines the Aug. 3 card, which also will feature unbeaten Las Vegas super bantamweight Jesse Magdaleno. His older brother Diego headlines on Aug. 4.

Tickets are on sale at all Station Casinos.

■ PED REVIEW PANEL FORMED – The Nevada Athletic Commission approved the formation of a Performance Enhancement Review Panel, which will be charged with obtaining information on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs and provide the commission with the information so it can choose to upgrade its regulations if necessary.

“We don’t pretend to know it all,” NAC chairman Skip Avansino said. “It’s important we balance our regulatory integrity with the state’s interests.”

The six-member panel, which will be composed of physicians, officials and former athletes, will spend three months gathering information before reporting to the commission. Avansino said he hopes the panel will be selected in the next month.

■ JUNIOR GOLDEN GLOVES – More than 300 competitors will be in Mesquite for the national Junior Golden Gloves tournament, which begins Wednesday at the CasaBlanca Resort Event Center.

Boxers ages 9-16 will be competing. Among those representing Southern Nevada will be Jojit Butay-Fillon, a two-time winner of the Junior Golden Gloves, at 114 pounds, and Marco Magdaleno at 145 pounds. He is the younger brother of Diego and Jesse Magdaleno and won the bronze medal at 145 at the recent Junior Olympics in Mobile, Ala.

Competition will begin at 6 p.m. daily. Tickets, priced at $16.50, are available at the door. A four-day pass for all sessions is available for $37. For more information, go to jrgoldengloves.com.

■ REMEMBERING HOGGATT – Local audio engineer Paul Hoggatt, who worked on HBO’s boxing telecasts in Las Vegas for years, died late Friday after battling colon cancer. He was 58.

Hoggatt was remembered with a tribute by HBO before Saturday’s Amir Khan-Danny Garcia world junior welterweight title fight at Mandalay Bay.

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

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