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Sierra Scoop: Chaney hangs tough, but comes up short

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Tony “The Tiger” Lopez had a strong debut as a boxing promoter Friday night at Raley Field. Auburn’s Ryan Chaney wasn’t as spectacular in his professional boxing debut. Chaney was the first pro to step in the ring Friday at “Nights Out, Lights Out,” a six-fight event put together by Lopez, a three-time world champion who once trained in Auburn. A Placer High graduate, Chaney took on San Jose native Efrain Rivera. While Chaney clearly had an advantage in strength, Rivera used his quickness and an effective jab to keep Chaney off-balance. Rivera ended the first round with a flurry to take control of the fight. Chaney got in some solid shots in the second round, but could not land the devastating blow he was hoping to find. Chaney suffered a cut below his left eye in the third round and his nose began pouring blood in the fourth and final round. In need of a knockout, Chaney took some mighty swings in the final minute of the fight, drawing roars from the more than 2,000 fans at Raley Field. But Rivera held on, claiming a unanimous decision to win in his pro debut. While Chaney was bloodied, he smiled and waved to well wishers on his way out of the ring. Rivera appeared to be in good shape exiting the ring, but he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance later with dizziness and fatigue. The fights that followed were equally entertaining. Sacramento’s Michael Ortega scored an impressive victory by decision in his pro debut. Sacramento’s Ignacio Solorio was knocked to the canvas in the final round by Francisco Mora and lost by technical knockout. The evening’s main event win went to veteran Cosme Rivera, who landed a third-round TKO to beat Bobby Joe Valdez. Among the celebrities in attendance Friday were former A’s ace Vida Blue, former NFL linebacker Michael Merriweather and former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks. Lopez hinted heavily that there will be more pro boxing to come in Sacramento. “I want to bring exciting boxing events back to Sacramento, the way I remember it during my professional career,” Lopez said. “This area has some of the greatest boxing fans in the world and they deserve a good show. I plan to give it to them.” … Diane Pascua fell short in her push to compete at the Olympics, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying… or travel. After being granted citizenship in the Philippines in 2005, the Bear River High graduate, teamed up with Heidi Ilustre and competed at the Southeast Asia Games three years ago and surprised many by winning bronze. The two California natives were digging and spiking for a chance to go to Beijing throughout June and July, but their efforts came up short in qualifying. The Philippine pair came up about six ranking spots short of the top 24, which earned Olympic bids. But Pascua got plenty of use out of her passport along the way. Pascua played tournaments in Berlin, Germany; Paris; Stavanger, Norway; Moscow and Marseille, France earlier this summer in her quest for an Olympic berth. She and Ilustre had some impressive moments against the top competition in the world, but couldn’t break into the qualifying circle. Pascua is back in California and while her Olympic dream is likely over at age 31, her coaching career is just getting started. Pascua is the coaching director for the Solana Beach Volleyball Club in San Diego after several years as the head coach at Santa Fe Christian School. … Auburn’s Amelia Arnold defended the home courts nicely last weekend at the Foothill Challenger tennis tournament at Auburn Racquet Club. The Placer High senior-to-be made it to the finals in the girls 16s age bracket before losing to Oroville’s Stephanie Smith 6-1, 6-4. Arnold then teamed up with Smith in doubles and they rolled to the title, winning the championship match 8-4. Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Auburn Journal.