Joet Gonzalez and Emilio Sanchez, the next generation

(From left to right) Featherweight prospect Joet Gonzalez, welterweight prospect Raul Curiel and junior featherweight prospect Emilio Sanchez


The featured performer tonight, from Indio, California, on the latest edition of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) is headlined the brash and boisterous Ryan “Kingry” Garcia, who is demanding his handlers put him on the fast track.


Featherweight Joet Gonzalez and junior featherweight Emilio Sanchez, a pair of undefeated, hardnosed, blue-collar fighters are part of the undercard from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, that can be viewed via stream, available on the Watch ESPN app.


Both are handled by the respected Frank Espinoza, whose two best-known clients are a pair of world champions, WBO featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez and WBO junior featherweight beltholder Jessie Magdaleno.


“They are the new wave of boxing. Both of these kids are undefeated and I think highly of both of them,” said the veteran manager, who signed this pair coming out of the amateur ranks. “Both of them were in the Olympic Trials and I look for big things from them. At the end of this year, or next year, they could be fighting for a world title or getting close to it.”


The goal is to get them in position for more meaningful fights ”and get them more exposure and get them tougher competition and in the rankings,” stated Espinoza, who has taken the steady path with Gonzalez and Sanchez. “Then we want to move them up to get regional titles and, from there, we position them to fight for a world title. But we’ll move them at the appropriate pace but I think Joet and Emilio can be ready by the end of this year.”


Gonzalez, 18-0 (10), is a featherweight who is matched against Rolando Magbanua, 28-6 (20), in a scheduled 10-rounder. He says his goal for 2018 is to “get close to a world title shot but if I have to get a junior title on the way, that’s what I’ll do. Get my rankings up but the main goal is to get a world title shot.”


Gonzalez, whose brother Jousce is also a highly regarded young prospect (who recently signed a promotional pact with Golden Boy Promotions), has been a pro since 2012. He says of his early professional journey, “It’s been good. It’s had its ups and downs but I’m happy so far. I’m undefeated; I have a good promoter behind me, my manager as well. I got my dad; I got my brothers and I feel like I got a great team.”


In one of his more impressive outings, he stopped Derrick Murray in five rounds, last April, in Las Vegas:



“I think I’m ready for bigger opponents and bigger names,” said the 24-year-old Gonzalez, who has since notched two more victories. “I’ve seen world champions and I spar those world champions and we go toe-to-toe and we compete with each other. Seeing them up there and seeing them do good and win in great fashion, I know I’m at that level as well. And I’m ready to show them.”


Sanchez, 16-0 (11), is a junior featherweight who will be facing Eugene Lagos, 12-5-2 (7), in an eight-rounder. He spent a few weeks in Mexico in camp with Valdez, who was in preparation for his recent title defense against Scott Quigg. “Camp was a good experience; it was like a boot camp,” he said, chuckling.


And yes, the 23-year-old native of Pacoima has moved around the ring with Valdez.


“It’s a great experience; he’s one helluva fighter. He always keep me on defense and offense at the same time,” said Sanchez, whose younger brother Saul has shown early promise as a fighter. “He brings the best out of me, him and Jessie.”


Last year, on the same card on which Gonzalez defeated Murray, Sanchez wore down the tough Jose Bustos at the Cosmopolitan:



“By the end of the the year, hopefully, I’ll have some small title fight or something,” said the reserved Sanchez. “I’m ready to fight some names this year.”


Roberto Diaz, the matchmaker for Golden Boy, tells of this duo, “I think it’s time. They’re both ready; they’re both hungry. Both are training and sparring with some of the better fighters here in L.A., world champions. I’ve talked with their manager Frank Espinoza. I think they’re ready and I’d like to see Emilio in a co-main event and, of course, Joet in a co-main event but right away into a main event, right after.”


Gonzalez and Sanchez have not been the most heralded or hyped prospects. They have just steadily worked in quiet, workmanlike fashion. In many respects, it’s the reason many hardcore fans respect this pair more than the flamboyant KingRy but Garcia’s vibrant personality and flair have made him the focus of Golden Boy early on. He does have a star quality that is undeniable but Gonzalez and Sanchez are solid and steady, the types that, over time, can craft significant careers.


“There’s never a day these guys miss the gym. They work hard and put everythng into their workouts,” said an admiring Espinoza, who also has 2016 Mexican Olympian Raul Curiel on this card. “They’re very dedicated about the sport; they love it. And they have a mission – and the mission to to work hard and will pay off one day, when they’re world champions.”





Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round,” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly.





Ryan Garcia vs. Fernando (not that one) Vargas is the main event. The co-feature is a 10-round welterweight bout between Keandre Gibson and Eddie Gomez…Also on this card are junior middleweight Aaron McKenna and junior welterweight Jonathan Navarro…ESPN2 will provide coverage of Ryota Murata’s upcoming fight on April 15…OK, when are we all getting our spring weather?…Yeah, I knew I should’ve stuck with MySpace and not Facebook…I can be reached at and I tweet (a lot) at I also share photos of stuff at and can also be found at





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