Professional boxing makes its long-awaited return to the Northwest gem known as the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, on Friday, April 7, when Toro Promotions Inc. in association with Whitfield Haydon, presents a seven-bout card at the state-of-the-art EQC Event Center, starting at 8 p.m. PT.
At stake in the main event will be a terrific match-up for the WBA Fedebol Featherweight Championship as Mexican upset specialist and all-out action fighter Angel Antonio “Cachorro” Contreras (15-5-2, 7KOs) takes on the equally capable Colombian Brandon Valdes (14-3, 7KO) in what figures to be a rough ten-round affair. If that’s not enough there’s the return of the boxing meteor Neeco “The Rooster” Macias, who will make his triumphant return to the ring after a four-year absence.
This will be the first bout held at the long-standing fight venue since January. 2020, which held well over 100 pro boxing cards known as the “Battle of the Boat” series during the last three decades, overseen by legendary Northwest boxing promoter Brian Halquist. However, this will be the first to be held within the confines of the new Event Center on the casino premises, which offers great sight-lines and the feeling of being up-close to the action in a modern setting.
One thing that won’t change, however, are the great fights that “The Queen” and its great fans have seen over the years. Whitfield Haydon was a part of that in 2000’s and 2010’s as matchmaker for Halquist’s Battle of the Boat series and he looks forward to giving Northwest boxing fans what they expect and are used to, great and evenly-matched fights.
“Northwest boxing fans are the very best this country has to offer, and I have seen them all,” Haydon said. “They appreciate the fighters and aren’t like some regions where fans feel like a ticket to the fights is an opportunity to take out life’s frustrations on the fighters who go in there and risk everything. The Seahawks and Mariners are lucky to have fans like this. Anybody ever placed on a professional fight card at The Queen begs for an opportunity to return, and many call fondly remembering their fights there 10, 15, 20 years ago. Not everybody goes on to win a world title – this here is the super bowl for many, many fighters.”
An opportunity is exactly what the main event will be for the careers of both combatants. Contreras and Valdes have both enjoyed success on the “B-side”, but both lament various close losses while in that role versus brutally tough opposition. For example, prior to his last fight, Contreras held up well against this elite opposition posting a respectable 3-3-1 record against opponents whose combined record was 96-4-1. Among these was a decisive win at T-Mobile Arena in August of 2021 versus undefeated Filipino John Dato, then 14-0-1, in a wild affair on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao versus Yordenas Ugas.
“I want to thank Toro Promotions Inc. for this great opportunity,” Contreras added. “I’m coming full force to bring the victory and WBA Fedebol belt back with me to Mexico. The fans can expect nothing less than the very best ‘Cachorro’ Contreras.”
In Valdes, a one-time prospect who came to the U.S. with great hopes, has had his share of ups and downs. Tough narrow defeats mixed in with victories against stellar opposition, namely a sixth-round knockout loss to 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Robeisey Ramirez in December of 2020 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where one judge actually had Valdes leading on the scorecards in the tight affair at the time of the stoppage. Regardless, Valdes brings in a very good record of 14-3 and he will be ready for battle on the 7th.
“I’m excited and more than ready to take on the challenge,” Valdes noted. “All my wins and losses have prepared me for this moment, and I plan on seizing the opportunity.”
“This fight is happening for a reason” Haydon remarked. “They have earned the right to compete in a main event and potentially win a WBA regional belt. Our impetus for putting this fight on is very simple: to give fans an opportunity to see a great fight on April 7 at The Queen.”
The remainder of the card will feature both regional and local talent in competitive bouts, highlighted by combined records of all combatants on April 7 being just shy of an 80-percent win ratio. Leading this charge will be boxing cult hero Macias (17-2, 10 KO)of Tehachapi, CA, in an eight-round scrap in the super welterweight division versus tough Ramon Ayala (25-7-1, 13 KO), of Mexico City. Macias may be best known for his ten-round split decision loss on ESPN in November of 2018, in which Compubox records were completely shattered. Additionally, his trademark “Rooster” crow has been greatly missed on the boxing circuit.
Heavyweight hope Dante Stone(11-1, 9 KO), of Phoenix, will face rugged, undefeated Mississippian Detrailous Webster (5-0, 2 KO) in a six-round slugfest.
Standout super welterweight Jon Bryant (6-0, 2 KO), a local favorite from Bremerton, Washington, will put his undefeated record on the line against the very capable Timothy Parks (5-3-1, 4 KO), of San Diego. Parks has shared the ring with what figures to be a future boxing superstar in Travon Marshall.
Rounding out the card will be a trio of four-round bouts featuring pro debuting Josue Cadena from nearby Auburn, as he takes on Browning, Montana’s Jayden Salway (0-1-1) in a super lightweight clash. Cadena is trained by Emerald Queen Boxing alum Francisco “Paco” Reyes, whose brief but very exciting career concluded with a ten-round decision loss in March of 2011 to eventual IBF Featherweight World Champion Evgeny Gradovich in front of a standing room only, sold-out crowd in the main event. Interestingly, Reyes defeated Brandon Valdes’ trainer Cesar Garcia in an all-out war in 2009 at this same location.
Heavyweight Bryan Hall, of Fresno, CA, will see his first action in the pro ranks versus combat fight veteran Joshua Tuani, of Seattle (2-3, 1 KO), and Margarito Hernandez (3-5-1), of Wapato, WA, will aim to get back into the win column against a tough Michael Portales (2-1-1, 1 KO), of Hayward, CA, in a four-round super lightweight fight.
Toro Promotions Inc. is proudly presented by Azat Torosyan, who is greatly looking forward to Toro Promotions’ inaugural show at Emerald Queen Casino, saying: “I want to thank Emerald Queen, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, and all those involved to help us make this a very memorable night.”
Card subject to change.
Tickets for the event are priced at $100.00, $60.00, and $40.00, and may be purchased by calling (253) 594-7777 or at www.Emeraldqueen.com.