Richard Vansiclen took up boxing as a hobby in college and the sport may pay dividends in the future, as long as he continues winning.
The unbeaten super middleweight prospect will face once-beaten Manuel Gallegos tonight at the Whitesands (ProBox TV) Events Center in Plant City, Florida. The 10-round bout will headline a four-bout ProBox TV stream (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
At Tuesday’s weigh-in, Vansiclen weighed in at 169.4 pounds. Gallegos weighed 168.8 pounds.
Vansiclen (13-0, 6 knockouts), who lives and trains in Seattle, Washington, last fought on September 9, defeating amateur standout and highly-touted Hakim Lopez by unanimous decision. In his previous fight on March 12, Vansiclen defeated Cameron Sevilla Rivera by decision over eight rounds.
The 29-year-old played football in high school, and after graduating, attended the University of Washington. He picked up boxing as a sophomore, saw improvement in his skill-set and decided to turn pro at the age of 23 in July 2016, one year after earning a Bachelor’s degree in communications.
Hoping to ride the momentum from his last fight, Vansiclen is confident a win over Gallegos will open more opportunities later this year.
“We had a good camp,” said Vansiclen, who is still trained by his coach in college. “Got the call for this fight a few weeks ago, but we had been training. I was gonna be on the (Tim) Tszyu-(Jermell) Charlo card (on January 28).
“My opponent is tall and lanky and has had many fights in Mexico. I know he comes forward and likes to throw hooks and he has a good record. He doesn’t use his reach to his advantage and likes to fight inside. He doesn’t like to fight moving backwards. I’m going to utilize my athleticism and connect on more devastating shots.
“My last fight (in Plant City) was the furthest away from home I had been for a fight. But now that’s in the rear-view mirror and I want to win better than I did last time. From that fight, I learned perseverance and just being myself and landing shots and being confident.”
Gallegos (19-1, 16 KOs), who resides in the boxing hotbed of Los Mochis, Mexico, has not fought since October 2021, stopping Gabriel Flores in the fifth round. Gallegos has won his last two bouts since losing to Oziel Santoyo in October 2020.
The 25-year-old claims he was not at his best on the night he lost to Santoyo, stating he fought two weight classes below his normal fighting weight.
“I’d been (training) for a February 8 fight, then was advised this is (a) better opportunity,” said Gallegos, who is promoted by Guy Taylor. “I was inactive for some time due to COVID, then had a hard time finding fights. There are not many Mexicans in Mexico in my weight class.
“I know he’s a tough fighter and a southpaw, which is always difficult, but we have been training for (a) southpaw, so it shouldn’t be a problem. We have found some fighters in other gyms (with the) same size as Vansiclen and (who are) southpaws. I will use my reach and try to avoid letting him get inside.”
In the co-feature, middleweight prospect and 2020 Olympian Darelle Valsaint of nearby Orlando will square off against Sao Paolo’s Lucas de Abreu in a six-round bout.
Valsaint (6-0, 5 KOs) scored a second round knockout win over fringe contender Paul Mendez in his last bout on October 7. The 20-year-old is managed by Tim VanNewhouse.
De Abreu (14-2, 11 KOs) last fought on December 16, losing by unanimous decision to unbeaten Ernesbadi Begue. He has split his last four bouts, with the other defeat coming at the hands of super middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco.
Najee Lopez (5-0, 5 KOs), another fighter managed by VanNewhouse and who resides in Greenwood, Georgia, will face Argentina’s Cristian Rios (23-16-3, 7 KOs) in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
In a compelling clash of junior lightweights, Marques Valle (7-0, 6 KOs) of nearby Wesley Chapel will square off against Los Angeles’ Jarrod Tennant (8-1, 4 KOs) in a six-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]