Welterweight Anchondo on path to rebuild career

Sometimes a boxer needs to get away from the ring to figure out just how much he misses the sport.

For welterweight Mike Anchondo, all it took was stocking shelves at a home improvement center to realize he belonged in the ring.

The former WBO super featherweight champion left the sport from 2007 to 2009. Since his return, Anchondo (30-2, 19 knockouts) has won three straight fights, and his reward is a spot in the main event tonight in Primm against Freddy Hernandez (28-1, 19 KOs), which will be televised tape-delayed on Showtime at 11 p.m.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Anchondo said. “I’m excited about fighting in Nevada for the first time, and a win will open up a lot of opportunities for me.”

Anchondo won the vacant WBO super featherweight title in 2004, outpointing Julio Chacon in Dallas. But he lost the belt in his next fight, getting stopped by Jorge Barrios in the fourth round in April 2005 in Miami.

“I wasn’t ready to deal with the success,” Anchondo said. “My life was unstable at the time, and I didn’t have the understanding of what it takes to be a champion.”

Anchondo fought three more times before walking away from boxing.

But as he was stocking shelves at Home Depot and later selling cars, Anchondo realized how much he missed competing.

He also had found stability in his life — he was married in 2009 — and the two components convinced him to get back in the gym and attempt to resume his career.

“I’ve been boxing since I was 5 years old,” he said. “It’s in my blood. I just needed to find myself.”

He appears to have done so. At 28, Anchondo said he has plenty of time to again become a world champion, and a win over Hernandez in front of a national TV audience could be a big step in that direction.

“This is the right time for me,” Anchondo said. “My training has been going great. I’m in a good place (emotionally). I’m going to do what I have to do to win this fight.”

Also on the card will be a six-round fight between super middleweights Anthony Dirrell (18-0, 15 KOs) and Jimmy Campbell (11-4, 8 KOs), and a women’s six-round featherweight bout pitting Las Vegas’ Crystal Hoy and Lucia Larcinese.

The first bell is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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