Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 | 11:30 p.m.
Ever since female fighting champion Ana Julaton moved to Las Vegas in 2011, she has dazzled not only with her supermodel looks, but also her dedication and discipline to the sport.
Now she’s about to face a major ring battle and possibly appear on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez undercard at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 14, the two within a month of each other.
No wonder she’s nicknamed “The Hurricane.” In recent days, she also has been dubbed “Sharknado.” Ana is a 33-year-old former WBO and IBA world champion who has won three of her last four bouts. She is 12-3-1, with 2 KOs.
Here’s the YouTube video of her IBA super-bantam world title win:
Ana’s fight against Celina Salazar is a 10-round co-main featherweight bout in Plaza de Toros in Cancun, Mexico. If she wins her third consecutive fight, she’ll get a title shot against BF bantamweight champion Yazmin Rivas, and rumors indicate that could be on the Mayweather Jr. undercard.
The Cancun battle will be televised Aug. 17 on Televisa and Fox Sports, along with the main world championship showdown between WBC titleholder Takashi Miura and Sergio Thompson, who has won not only 13 consecutive bouts but 11 in a row by knockout in the last three years.
Ana now proudly calls Las Vegas home and at UNLV’s fight gym said: “Training is fantastic here. With the heat reaching up to 120 degrees, I’ve been training to help prepare me for Mexico’s weather when I fight outdoors.” Her coach and adviser is Angelo Reyes, with Allan Tremblay as her manager and adviser.
Here in Ana’s own words is a look at 48 hours in her professional fight-training life:
I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’ve been living and training in Las Vegas for the past two years, and not a day ever goes by that gets stale.
Tuesday: Mitts/Bag Work Day
I start my day at UNLV’s boxing gym and have a pleasant visit from IVC Global Management CEO Neda Barrie and NBA champion Ronny Turiaf. These great people flew in to visit me in Las Vegas to check out my training. As always, I start off feeling sore from previous days. I start to loosen up, get in my rhythm and push until my body is numb. Then I push even more, grunting out punches, demanding my body to move faster, longer. It’s an uncomfortable feeling in which a fighter learns to find comfort.
As my coach Angelo Reyes says, “If you can feel strong when you are at your weakest point, then imagine what you can do at your strongest.” Wise words from a man who has been with me for nine years, since the amateurs. Ronny got to box himself during his visit, and he now has an appreciation for us fighters.
After practice, I hit the showers and fight to stay awake. I dress and venture to Mandalay Bay’s Fleur by Hubert Keller with friends. When I open the menu, my eyes widen. Executive chef Lupe Avila (a fighter himself) starts us off with truffled onion soup shooters, ahi tuna tacos, tarte flambe — unbelievable. Fleur’s new menu features delicious dishes from around the world. A night of great talks (some in French with chef Laurent Pillard and Ronny, not me), food and positive energy.
Wednesday: Sparring Day
The next day, I wake up, my body screams pain and my limbs stiffen as I stretch out of bed. I look at the clock and hobble to the kitchen — my sparring session starts in two hours. I peel a banana, slice it with a spoon and drop it onto a bowl. I grab a box of cereal, scoop the nutritious granola flakes on top of the sliced fruit and began pouring milk. My breakfast has become a form of meditation as I focus my mind for a 10-round sparring session against two fierce male opponents. I quietly sip my coffee, grab my bags and off I go.
My warm-up begins with my short trip to the car. The scorching 100-plus-degree heat causes me to sweat, and my body starts to loosen up. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, I keep the “warm up” by rolling down the windows and embrace the heat. My tense limbs slowly limber up.
When I arrived at UNLV, the first person I see is UNLV coach Chris Ben. Chris just finished training Ronny, the man with a big heart (a heart surgery survivor). Ronny decided to stick around another day to watch me train and put on a pair of gloves himself to experience the art of pugilism. After his lesson, he was knocked out on coach’s desk. Yup, Ronny learned boxing the correct way.
For me, it’s sparring 10 rounds in the ring. Two male fighters rotate rounds while I stay in for all 10 rounds, then a few more rounds of punching combinations on the heavy bags, double-end bags, shadowboxing, calisthenics and stretching. I want to introduce Ronny to the best ramen noodle house, so we all take a trip to Monta on Spring Mountain Road. Luckily, we don’t have to wait, so we eat while discussing basketball and boxing.
After we eat, we drive a few blocks and visit Mayweather Boxing Gym. It’s packed, and the gym is as hot as it is outside. Undefeated, pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. is tag teaming in the ring between mitt work with his uncle, coach Roger Mayweather, and body-punching drills with coach Nate Jones. Cameras from Showtime post at ringside, and supporters and teammates surround the perimeter of the gym, all focusing on the champion craftsman at work.
As Money cashed in his work for the day, he disappears to his locker room. More media arrange themselves in the ring for interviews. Ronny and I take this moment to sneak in a quick hello to Floyd and wish him well for his Sept. 14 fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Floyd is very welcoming, and the Money Team led by Leonard Ellerbe offer words of encouragement for my fight in Cancun.
I am very much looking forward to my fight in Mexico. It has been a home arena for me for the past two years (this will be my fourth consecutive fight in the Yucatan area). Boxing is a culture to the people of Mexico, and if you're in Las Vegas on Sept. 14, watch their champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, fight against Mayweather Jr. Then you’ll understand what I mean.
As for the rumors of me fighting IBF world champion Yazmin Rivas on the undercard, that decision will soon be made. All I can tell you is I’m focused on my fight Aug. 17. If you’re thinking Sept. 14 is too soon to fight again, keep in mind that I won my last fight via knockout in 17 seconds in Round 1, the fastest in Yucatan history.
I was absolutely thrilled (and still am!) that Robin Leach asked me to write a guest column. I am lucky to have spent some time with him; we met at chef Hubert Keller’s souvenirs recipe book dinner launch and shared a fantastic dinner at Sushi Roku at the Forum Shops at Caesar Palace, where I had the chance to pick Robin’s brain for a bit. It was my version of champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
Now back to training for the Cancun fight!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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