Maricela Cornejo vs. Erin Toughill in Hollywood on Sunday

Maricela Cornejo vs Erin Toughill in Hollywood on Sunday


By David A. Avila

In a place once famous for staging some of the best entertainment during World War II, prizefighting returns to the saloon of the Hollywood stars.

360 Promotions brings back its boxing series on Sunday Jan. 27, with former titlist Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo (12-3) facing Erin “Steel” Toughill (7-3-1) in the main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. It will be streamed live on page.

The last time Cornejo stepped in the boxing ring she battled for the WBC super middleweight world title and lost to Franchon Crews-Dezurn by decision. Since that moment in September 2018, she dropped down to super welterweight at 154 pounds.

“I feel stronger and comfortable,” said Cornejo, 31, who is originally from the state of Washington.

On the opposite corner will be Toughill, who though not boxing since 2006, has been busy in mixed martial arts and fought in 14 MMA bouts. Whether fighting or training throughout the years she’s always been in the gym.

Over the years I’d run into Toughill especially in Huntington Beach. I remember seeing her fight Laila Ali on TV and Kuulei Kupihea at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, Calif. She just loved competitive fighting.

It’s been a few years since Toughill has boxed, but she’s someone who fought Dakota Stone and Jacqui Frazier-Hyde the daughter of the great Joe “Smokin” Frazier. Staying in shape was never a problem for the 41-year-old Orange County fighter.

Cornejo, 31, has shifted to Hollywood for training because of involvement in a Hollywood movie with actress Gina Rodriguez. A film called “Miss Bala” is set for release on Feb. 1. She also teaches boxing to a small group and brought several students to the recent media day.

As she worked with about a half dozen students at the City of Angels Boxing Club near downtown L.A. she looked very slim and energetic. Dropping down in weight can be a tricky endeavor but last week boxing fans saw Amanda Serrano drop from 140 to 115 and obliterate an Austrian girl in less than a minute.

Tom Loeffler, the head of 360 Promotions, has a penchant for staging competitive fights especially with female bouts. Remember the two upsets by Mexican girls over Louisa Lawton?

“Uninformed people don’t realize how competitive this fight is going to be,” said Loeffler, one of the top promoters in the world. “Erin Toughill is very confident in this fight and she has always stayed active even if she hasn’t been in the boxing ring for a while.”

Cornejo and Toughill are the main event and signify the recent swing toward highlighting female prize fights.

A number of young guns also fill the fight card at the Avalon including New York’s Brian Ceballo (6-0) meeting Randy Fuentes (8-7-1) in a welterweight clash set for six rounds.

Another youngster set for action is George Navarro who lives in nearby Huntington Park but trains at the Wild Card in Hollywood. He’s been fighting for 13 years as both an amateur and professional.

“I just have a passionate love to fight,” says Navarro, 21, who fights at super flyweight but will be at bantamweight for this fight against Anthony Torres of Visalia. “I want to start my own era.”

Years ago Hollywood stars would arrive at the same saloon to raise money for the war. That era has long gone but now stars come to see boxing on a regular basis at the Avalon.

Doors open at 3 p.m. For tickets go to this link: