Chat with prospect Bruno Escalante ahead of initial title shot
By Nick Bellafatto, RCM Boxing Correspondent
Philippine born up and coming super flyweight Bruno “The Aloha Kid” Escalante (10-1-1, 5 KO’s) fighting out of Redwood City, California is this Saturday night looking to capture his first title at the expense of familiar Fresno opponent Michael Ruiz (9-3, 3 KO’s).
And with Ruiz having plans of his own to upend the young man who defeated him in the National PAL Championships in 2008, it should be a charged atmosphere when the bell rings at the Sports House in Bruno’s adopted hometown.
A ten-round affair promoted by Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents, Escalante, fully aware he’s contesting for a fringe title at best [the IBA super flyweight title], is also cognizant of the fact that this opportunity represents a stepping stone towards more meaningful endeavors to come so that he’s ready to rock and roll.
Taking time out from his training routine earlier this week I was afforded the opportunity to speak with the young southpaw as he prepares for what is his most important bout to date. Here’s what “The Aloha Kid” had to say.
NB: You have an opportunity to make inroads towards fighting for bigger and better paydays as well as perhaps advancing towards another level with a convincing win this weekend in what is your most important bout to date. Can you talk about your sentiments as Saturday night approaches?
BE: You know I’m familiar with this guy Michael Ruiz, we know each other very well. I fought him twice in the amateurs. I beat him once at the National PAL Championships in the final, and I lost to him at the U.S. Championships in 2009. So he’s got something to prove, and I got something to prove, and I can’t wait for Saturday. You know it’s going to be an explosive night and I’m very prepared.
NB: Based on the fact that you’ve been in the ring with him on two occasions what do you see as being keys to victory for you?
BE: I think just being smart and listening to my corner. I got a great team with Brian Schwartz and Michael Bazzel. They really help me to become a better fighter each day. I also work with Victor Conte taking supplements and all. Then there’s track training with Remi Korchemny
so I’m very confident with my conditioning.
NB: What was the reason you lost to Ruiz in your second amateur meeting?
BE: I got tired. In a way I underestimated him because I beat him the first time so I thought I would beat him again. Conditioning was definitely a factor. Not to take away from him [Ruiz], but I expect him to be at his best on Saturday and it’s going to be explosive.
NB: I’m sure your training took on added importance this time around. How much more intense was preparation for this particular bout in comparison to past endeavors not only considering what’s on the line, but also from the perspective that you’ll be going ten rounds for the first time?
BE: Every fight is important to me. Any belt is important. I don’t take any fight or belt lightly. I just train hard and listen to my trainers. I’m in great condition and I’m ready for Saturday.
NB: You’ve had success in the recent past against southpaws which Ruiz happens to be. Are you more or less comfortable fighting lefties or does it matter?
BE: It doesn’t really matter who I’m fighting, a lefty, a right hander, or both. It doesn’t really matter, I know how to fight both. My trainer got me a lot of southpaw sparring, right handed sparring, so it’s not a problem.
NB: What do you consider are your best assets in the ring whether it be making adjustments, applying pressure, or simply outworking or outsmarting opponents?
BE: I think all of them probably. I mean I have speed, I got power, I can box, I can come forward. So you know in any fight I’m going to attack an opponents weakness and go from there.
NB: You had a good amateur career growing up in Hawaii and then you end up in Redwood City training under the tutelage and management of Nonito Donaire & company in Redwood City. How did that come to be and how much did that help in your initial development as a professional?
BE: Oh that’s a long story but you know I moved to Los Angeles in 2009 with my friend Walter. He lives in LA. I was going to pursue my boxing career so I left my family in Hawaii. And on November 14th in 2009 me and Walter went to Las Vegas to see the Pacquiao-Cotto fight and Nonito happened to be there so I got his number and called him up to meet with him. 3 days later he flew me to Redwood City and that’s when he wanted to help me with my career. He used to manage me early in my career but then his own career took off so he passed me on to Brian Schwartz and Michael Bazzel so that’s how I ended up in the Bay Area.
NB: Now you’re in the Bay Area and you’re managed by a fellow named Herb Stone. Could you talk about how that relationship got started?
BE: Oh yea. Just last year I was the main sparring partner for Brian Viloria at the Wild Card gym and Freddie Roach was watching me and he and Herb Stone are good friends. They’re like best friends. I think one day Herb Stone called Freddie to ask about me and Freddie told him I could fight a little bit. Then Freddie talked to me actually and asked if I knew Herb Stone and I said not really. Then Freddie said you should sign with him because you’ll make good money because he managed a lot of my [Freddie’s] fighters before like Rudy Zavala, Ernie Zavala, and all that stuff. So I ended up signing on.
NB: As concerns your style, what fighters if any growing up did you admire or try to emulate in the ring? Manny Pacquiao and Brian Viloria. Brian Viloria is from Hawaii so I really looked up to him when I started boxing and it was really an honor to end up being his main sparring partner. That was really cool.
NB: Your building up a solid fan base nowadays in Northern California of which no doubt you will have their firm support this weekend. What would you like to say to them as fight night approaches?
BE: I would like to invite everyone from the area, you should come out to watch me fight. If you haven’t seen me before it’s going to be another exciting fight. But it won’t be on TV.
NB: That’s a good reason to come out then.
NB: Thanks for your time
BE: My pleasure.