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CITY ENTERS FIGHT GAME FIRST EVENT MET WITH SELLOUT CROWD.

Byline: Scott Magoloff Staff Writer

VALENCIA - With all the flair of a Don King tirade, ring announcer Vic ``The Brick'' Jacobs described Friday night's inaugural pro boxing event in Santa Clarita as ``magnanimous'' and ``groundbreaking.'' He called it ``a renaissance'' for the burgeoning suburban community.

``This is the first time they've ever had a sporting event of this magnitude in Santa Clarita,'' said Jacobs, who works with XTRA Sports 1150 AM and has lived in the area for 10 years.

RW Promotions, headed by Glendale's Ron Williams, is responsible for staging the event, which featured four bouts and a capacity crowd of approximately 600 mostly well-dressed spectators.

Interest from fans led spokesperson Kathy Williams to say that as many as 1,500 tickets could have been sold for what was the first of an expected five- or six-card series at the Hyatt in Valencia. She said an outdoor ring might be considered for the next card to accommodate a larger crowd.

The spectators lounged in the lobby for about an hour before the first fight, enjoying the hotel amenities such as the bar and smorgasbord of hot food.

``For hotel events, this is par for the course,'' said Rob Lynch, executive officer for the California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the event. ``This is a ballroom setting. It's a more upscale setting; it seems like a more upscale audience.''

And right down to the ring-card girls, the event's late start and the announcement of boxing celebrities - such as Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas, who were the first brothers to win championships (WBC and IBF, respectively) on the same night - in the audience, it had all the pomp and glitz one would expect of a Las Vegas affair, although it was at more of a grass roots level.

``I like the City of Valencia and I know this is sold out,'' said Gabriel Ruelas, who lives in the San Fernando Valley. ``It should give the promoters an idea about getting a bigger place for next time.''

Added spectator Randy Snyder: ``The community needs something out here; it's a growing community and we have no sports teams other than junior college and high schools.''

Snyder was with his wife, Jacque, who were both meeting five other couples from the area for an evening at the fights. The presence of a local professional boxing venue also benefits many amateur or recently-turned-pro fighters in the region as well as the public.

Lancaster's Le Angelo Smith was able to make his pro debut at the event, although he lost to Tony Ojeda by TKO in the second round. Also, Santa Clarita Valley Youth Boxing Club president David Smith brought all of the club's coaches and its top two amateur fighters, John Ruiz and Hector Guizar.

``The next level is the vision we have for our boxers,'' Smith said. ``If this goes well, the next show in April is where some of our guys could make their pro debut.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 26, 2000
Words:492
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