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Rare professional boxing card is on tap

Mike Wilson has been in boxing most of his life. He knows the ins and outs.

Armed with that experience, he and his wife, Jenifer, are putting on what is believed to be the first professional boxing event in the area in nearly three decades.

It's something Wilson, 32, of Central Point, has considered for “three or four years,” he said.

“I talked myself into it, then I talked myself out of it, but this is it,” said the former two-time national champion and U.S. Olympic team alternate. “The time is now.”

The scheduled seven-fight card will be April 11 in Compton Arena at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday and can be purchased at Black Bird on West Main and at 619 Clothing in the Rogue Valley Mall. They cost $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

Wilson, a cruiserweight who is 10-0 with four knockouts, will face Juan Carlos Flores-Choque, of Bolivia, in the main event. Flores-Choque, 21, is 14-4-1 with 13 KOs.

Also scheduled to fight is Daniel Boone Wyatt, of Eagle Point, like Wilson a former Bulldog Boxing Club member. Wyatt will make his pro debut against another first-timer, Brandon Maddox, of Sacramento, Calif., at 140 pounds.

Wilson hasn't fought in 1 1/2 years. He was advertised to be on a card last November at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, but he and promoter Patrick Ortiz, president of Ringside Tickets, couldn't reach a contract agreement.

Wilson was frustrated, feeling that he'd been used to sell tickets because of the faithful following he's developed in Southern Oregon. Three of his previous four fights were at Seven Feathers, and they drew well.

“Boxing is a risk-reward business,” said Wilson. “It at least has to be equal. Basically, the last time around, the risk was way too north and the reward was way south, and we just couldn't come to an agreement.”

That stoked his desire to organize a card locally.

At the urging of adviser Bob Spagnola, a longtime manager based in Houston, Jenifer Wilson earned her license to promote from the Oregon State Athletic Commission. The Wilsons then formed Whitedelight Promotions, which is based on the nickname that has followed Mike through the fight game.

Students at Crater High, which Mike graduated from in 2001 and where Jenifer works with special needs children, designed the company logo.

Mike Wilson likens this adventure to the movie Risky Business.

“It's like we're taking every dollar we have and going to Vegas and putting it right on black,” he said. “The thing is, I know it's going to land on black.

“I've been involved in this my whole life. When I go to shows, I nitpick things. I go, if I were doing one, I definitely wouldn't do that, or I would do that. I feel like I'm knowledgeable when it comes to this. It's my first time around, so it's hard. I'm trying to prove myself.”

Unlike other events, he doesn't want to limit it to adult spectators. The Wilsons, who have eighth- and fourth-grade children, want to foster an atmosphere appropriate for kids to experience boxing, said Mike.

There will be ringside tables for sponsors, ring girls will be tastefully dressed and security will be ample, he said. There will be a beer garden.

He recalled a cage fighting event in September at Harry & David Field. Patrons got out of control at the end of the event and a brawl ensued, leading to heavy police response and the arrest of seven people.

“I wasn't there,” said Wilson, “but when I heard about that, I thought, 'What a black-eye for what we want to do.' Those are two completely different crowds and completely different environments. Boxing is a little more elegant and sophisticated.”

Wilson hasn't lost his desire to fight.

Between raising a family and running his own landscaping business — Lawn Shark, where the motto is, “Mow for your money” — he finds time to stay in shape and train.

He'd like to put on a couple fights a year, pick up a couple other fights a year and continue to work up the ranks in the cruiserweight division, which is 200 pounds.

“You just listen to your body,” he said. “I feel great. I weigh less now than when I was in high school. I weigh less than when I started boxing. I was 205 pounds and just a fat little kid. I'm always keeping myself in great shape.”

According to a boxing records website, this will be the first pro fight in the area since November 1986.

Other men’s bouts on the card are Rafael Valencia (1-0), of Medford, against Cole Milani (2-3), of Klamath Falls, 165 pounds; Randy Rogers (1-1), of Medford, against Justin Milani (0-1), of Klamath Falls, 190 pounds; Rasheed Lawal (0-0-1), of Sacramento, Calif., against Gabriel Pineda (4-0-2), of Portland, 140 pounds; and Andres Martinez (0-1), of Sacramento, against Josh Frias (1-0), of Portland, 126 pounds.

In a women’s fight, Claudia Guiterrez (4-1), of Chico, Calif., is scheduled to take on Christina Martinez, of Modesto, Calif., who is making her pro debut.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com

Mike and Jenifer Wilson pose after Wilson's most recent fight at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville. They have put together a fight card locally for next month. PHOTO FROM JENIFER WILSON