In his repeat attempt to capture a world heavyweight title, Riverside’s Chris Arreola will have a Southland crowd to support his cause.
Southern California promoter Dan Goossen negotiated to stage Arreola’s bid for the vacant World Boxing Council title against Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 knockouts) at USC’s Galen Center on May 10.
ESPN will televise the bout.
Last April, Stiverne broke the nose of Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario en route to a unanimous decision.
Arreola, who has long struggled with weight problems, vowed to pursue the best fitness of his career and beat Seth Mitchell by first-round knockout in September in Indio, vaulting back into title contention.
Then Vitali Klitschko, the long-reigning WBC champion who beat Arreola by technical knockout when Arreola’s corner threw in the towel following the 10th round of their September 2009 title fight, relinquished his belt to pursue political leadership in the Ukraine.
While Stiverne’s camp, including promoter Don King, originally wanted the fight in Canada, Goossen pitched the boxing-rich history of the Southland and the possibility of filling the 10,000-seat Galen Center.
“It made the most sense to promote this fight in the best way,” said Goossen, who also went to ESPN rather than one of the premium television networks. “The opportunity to reach so many millions, it was an easy decision to make.”
The long-slumbering heavyweight division, dominated by Vitali and his brother Vladimir Klitschko, could be roused by the bout, Goossen said, noting both Arreola’s bid to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican ancestry and the entertainment appeal of the bout.
Arreola went down in the third round of last year’s fight, broke his nose in four places but fought on through heavy bleeding.
“He said it was the most excruciating pain he’d ever felt; punches sent shivers down his spine,” Goossen said. “But he kept trying and fighting and that same spirit in a man in great shape is something. … I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I just want to see it.”
Arreola is training in San Diego, Goossen said.