TACOMA, Wash. - The first time Chicago-based trainer Johnny Nocita saw Giovanni Mioletti Cabrera box in his gym he immediately showed the youngest the door.
"He got beat up pretty bad," a chuckling Nocita remembers. "He got knocked down. I said, 'Get him out of my gym.'"
Mioletti Cabrera did just that.
"But he kept coming back," Nocita said. "I kept throwing him out and he kept coming back."
A few more beatings occurred but eventually Mioletti Cabrera's persistence paid off.
"The kid has heart," Nocita said. "All the other traits in boxing can be taught. You can develop a fighter athletically. You can show him how to box and improve their technique. You can teach them the correct way to do cardio. But it's the one thing a trainer can't teach a boxer - how to have heart. When he kept coming back I thought to myself, 'Ok, this is a kid I can work with.'"
From being asked to leave the gym to being one of the sport's rising young super featherweights, Mioletti Cabrera is hardly the same boxer skill-wise that Nocita first got a glimpse of years ago.
Mioletti Cabrera will face his biggest challenge as a professional on Saturday when he steps into the ring to square off against fellow undefeated fighter Ray Lampkin, Jr. in the main event of Battle at the Boat 115 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash.
Mioletti Cabrera brings a perfect 10-0 record into the 10-round bout, while Lampkin sports an unblemished 11-0 mark.
"Right now we are just fine-tuning Gio," Nocita said about the final preparations for Mioletti Cabrera. "He's been training great. The kid works extremely hard. We're looking forward to Saturday."
The 10-round main event will be one of six bouts on the card, which will also include a middleweight battle between former Contender TV star Walter Wright and Eduardo Torres.
Tickets are available through the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster Outlets. Preliminary bouts will start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
The 23-year-old Mioletti Cabrera is coming off a unanimous decision over former IBF-USBA lightweight champion Tyrone Harris on Jan. 13.
"I expect to establish myself in 2018 as a world (title) contender," Mioletti Cabrera said. "I'm ready to prove myself in the ring against anyone who wants to test their chances. Training has been great so far. I haven't stopped since my last win in January. I'm in the best shape I have ever been in my life and I'm getting stronger."
This will mark the fifth career fight at the Emerald Queen Casino for Mioletti Cabrera. Prior to defeating Harris, Mioletti Cabrera defeated two undefeated boxers and a one-loss fighter in his previous three bouts.
Lampkin, who fought in the 2004 Olympic Trials, is coming off an impressive victory of his own, handing Joshua Davis just his second career setback on Oct. 19, 2017 in Atlanta.
"Training has been great. I've been in a two-month long camp, Sugar Bert Boxing Program located in Doraville, Georgia," Lampkin, a native of Portland, Ore., said. "The fans and EQC should expect a great night of boxing from me. (I'm going to have a) high-paced punch count. (I'm) bringing it all. I can't afford a loss so I've been working and preparing for war."
Local fight fans are very familiar with Lampkin as well as he has fought three times at the Tacoma venue, beating previously undefeated Andres Reyes in his last Emerald Queen Casino bout in 2015.
"This main event is incredible," said promoter, Brian Halquist. "It was originally scheduled to be on Showtime here at the EQC, but we weren't able to make it happen due to a scheduling conflict. We were able to keep the fight and give the Tacoma fans one heck of a main event. I'll say it again, somebody's O has to go!"
Renton's Tenochtitlan Boxing Gym will be well represented on the undercard with members Jorge Linares and Cris Reyes both fighting.
Linares (2-1-0, 2 KOs) will face Nicholaus Brannies in the 140-pound bout, while undefeated Cris Reyes will make his Battle at the Boat debut when he squares off against fellow 135-pounder Nicholas Credit.
"Cris and Jorge are working hard to make sure they're ready come March 17," said trainer Francisco Reyes. "They will both bring their A-game and look to give the crowd a night of unforgettable boxing at the Emerald Queen. (These are) two amazing athletes that are extremely focused."
Battle at the Boat 115 will feature the VIP experience with 3rd Row Seats being discounted to $75 per ticket. All fans seated in in the VIP section (rows 1-3) will have an exclusive access point and a dedicated server to help create a true VIP experience.
Battle at the Boat 115 is brought to you by Brian Halquist Productions. For more information, please visit gsubx.com and the Battle at the Boat Facebook page.
Battle at the Boat 115 Card
Saturday, March 17, 2018
10 Round Main Event - Super Featherweights
Giovanni Mioletti Cabrera (10-0-0, 2 KOs) vs. Ray Lampkin, Jr. (11-0-0, 4 KOs)
6 Round Semi-Main Event
155 pounds: Eduardo Torres (2-1-1, KO) vs. Walter Wright (15-4-0, 7 KOs)
4 Round Undercard Bouts
121 pounds: Marcos Flores (1-0-0) vs. Isaiah Najera (3-2-0, KO)
135 pounds: Cris Reyes (1-0-0) vs. Nicholas Credit (debut)
127 pounds: Benjamin Amezquita (0-1) vs. Juan Gomez (debut)
140 pounds: Jorge Linares (2-1-0, 2 KOs) vs. Nicholaus Brannies (1-7-0)
ABOUT BRIAN HALQUIST
Brian Halquist Productions is the Northwest premiere fight promotion company creator of the famed "Battle at the Boat" boxing series promoting more than 20 years and over 110 fights at the Emerald Queen Casino. BHP has also built the largest professional MMA series on the USA's west coast with "CageSport MMA" nearing more than 50 fights. Brian Halquist Productions has promoted events for ESPN, ShowTime and HBO and featured on Showtime's historic boxing event in St Lucia, West Indies. Brian Halquist Productions has been promoting fights and concerts for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.