Home Boxing News Mike Ortega Makes Boxing Return on June 24th

Mike Ortega Makes Boxing Return on June 24th

Just as mixed martial arts has pulled some of the young fight fan demographic away from boxing in recent years, the sweet science lost out on a promising young fighter a couple years back when former amateur standout Mike Ortega decided to make the move to caged combat. However, throughout that time the Sacramento, California native never closed the door completely on the sport he grew up loving and has decided to make up for lost time beginning next Friday at the Fairfield Sports Center in Fairfield, California.

After struggling to move his boxing career, Ortega (1-0) took advantage of an opportunity to train alongside MMA superstar Urijah Faber as part of his Team Alpha Male camp and devoted himself to his new craft. “My focus just went from boxing to MMA,” says Ortega. “I wanted to pursue it. At the time, MMA was rising in popularity and I thought I could do it due to my athleticism and everything. The opportunity was there, so I just focused on MMA for about two years now.

Though he still plans on pursuing mixed martial arts, Ortega’s affection for the sport of boxing brought him back to the ring. “I have been doing it since I can remember doing anything,” says Ortega. “I have the passion, the itch [to comeback.] It’s my first love and I could not forget about it.”

Though others have tried and failed at maintaining a high level while competing in both sports, Ortega has not had too much trouble adjusting back to his boxer roots. “I won’t say it’s been hard, but it’s a lot of detailed work,” admits Ortega. “I have to get the finesse back and the timing back, which is completely different. Not having to worry about someone taking me down. I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult, but it is different.

One might think the time Ortega has concentrated on mixed martial arts may detract from his boxing, but the young fighter believes what he has learned as actually complemented his ability. “I have gained a lot of strength and things from MMA, but the muscle memory is in there, explains Ortega. “I run, I do my road work and I work hard in the gym, so I don’t think it will be a problem at all. I think it is the best of both worlds.”

Aiding Ortega’s return is a reunion with the amateur boxing coach that helped guide him to much success before turning pro, respected trainer Mateen Saifudeen. “There’s a comfort level and I trust what he has to say,” explains Ortega. “He knows his stuff when it comes to training. No doubt one of the better mitt men I have ever done mitts with. So it’s just a great fight and I am happy to be there.”

Ortega’s return to boxing has created buzz among his fans, family and friends, as well as throughout the Sacramento boxing and mixed martial arts communities. “Everyone I have talked to is excited,” says Ortega. “I am really seasoned in boxing, everyone knows that. And it is my boxing which made my MMA good and continue to get better. So everybody is just real excited to see me do my boxing again, because that is my truest art form. That’s what I am best at. And it just creates more spark. Everyone is more excited to see me box now, even more so because of the MMA I believe.”

Ortega’s fellow mixed martial artists are especially interested to see him back in the squared circle, wearing ten ounce gloves. “They are all super excited,” says Ortega of his MMA teammates. “A lot of them do homework on boxing. I actually help out Mateen with boxing classes as well, and they know I know my stuff and when they watch other guys fight, whether it be on ESPN or it’s a pay-per-view card, they are always telling me that I need to get back into boxing just to show that I am the real deal. So they are super excited for me and if anything they help me and motivate me to do it more.”

After several potential opponents either opted to take other fights or simply opted out of a fight against Ortega altogether, matchmaker Edward Rodriguez was able to secure Michael Alexander (1-4-3) of Antioch, California for their four-round light middleweight bout. “First I am appreciative of him for taking the fight,” says Ortega of his opponent. “I believe he is a little taller than me. I have a fight plan and I will take advantage of his height. Anything he brings to the table, I will counter or I will do better. I am sure he is a great fighter. He steps up. He says ‘yes’ to whoever they get him and I respect him for that.”

One of the fighters Alexander said ‘yes’ to early in his career was another Sacramento-based prospect Brandon Gonzales. Though their May 2008 bout resulted in Alexander’s only career defeat via stoppage, the Antioch resident managed to drop Gonzales in the first-round. Fighting Alexander gives Ortega a chance to overcome the same hurdle a fighter he respects and knows personally did just a few years ago.

“I never thought I would be fighting one of Brandon’s opponents, since he was at 160 and I always considered myself a 147,” admits Ortega. “But over the years I have put on some weight, so its good to fight this guy. It is kind of tough for him to lose to two Sacramento guys, but we are the best of the best. Sacramento creates great fighters.”

In a twist of irony, the main event on June 24th is a pairing of Fairfield’s Alan Sanchez against Clint Coronel of San Jose, California. Sanchez had been scheduled to fight Ortega in Sacramento in 2008. After some solid showings and a couple upsets against top prospects in their hometowns, Sanchez has emerged as a local gate attraction while fighting in main and co-main events at the Fairfield Sports Center and now has a record of 7-2-1, 2 KOs.

It would not be out of the question for a fighter in Ortega’s position, having left boxing for MMA, to wonder about what might have been had he stuck to bigger gloves. “I don’t look at it as what would have, but what will soon be,” explains Ortega. “Everything that I have learned over the last two years in MMA will help me in my boxing. I don’t really look at it as that’s where I would have been, but I look at it as that’s where I will be and that’s for sure.”

The journey ‘there’ begins again June 24th.

Tickets for the event, promoted by Don Chargin Productions, Jorge Marron Productions and Paco Presents, are available online at 15rounds.com or at any of the following locations: Paco’s Mexican Restaurant in Woodland (530-669-7946), the J.L Tepito Boxing Club in Fairfield (707-384-8420), Allstate Insurance in Fairfield (707-425-1045) and Vacaville (707-448-8330), Courtyard by Marriott Fairfield Napa Valley Area in Fairfield (707-422-4111), Solano Coin, Gold & Silver in Vacaville (707-447-4708) and Mexifoods Inc. (916-373-1400) in West Sacramento.

Visit www.Ringnews24.com for the latest boxing news, press releases, interviews and fans’ own articles, or follow us on twitter @ringnews24

{loadposition boxing}