Undefeated former WBO Jr. Middleweight champion and current Middleweight contender Jaime Munguia scored a hard fought sixth round stoppage of fellow contender Tureano Johnson on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, CA. In what was his second fight in the Middleweight division, Munguia, a fighter who has established himself as a “Knockout Artist”, was put to the test by Johnson early. Johnson immediately looked to pin himself to Munguia’s chest and make it difficult for him to get any space to throw his punches or room to move. Johnson had success in landing hard right hands to the head of the former world champion and mixing in hooks throughout.
As the fight progressed, Munguia began trying to catch Johnson as he came forward to try to get on the inside and gradually found a home for his own hooks and uppercuts. The climatic moment in what was a very competitive fight came late in round six when a flush right uppercut to the head of Johnson ripped open a deep gash on Johnson’s upper lip. Although Johnson was allowed to finish the round, the fight was halted immediately after the sixth round giving Munguia a knockout victory. Jaime Munguia advances to 36-0, with 29 Knockouts. Tureano Johnson falls to 21-3-1, with 15 Knockouts.
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In a battle for the WBO Light-Flyweight world championship, champion Elwin Soto successfully made the second defense of his world title by scoring a convincing twelve round unanimous decision over multi-time world title challenger Carlos Buitrago. The one constant throughout the entire fight was the champion consistently coming forward, making Buitrago miss by crouching down, slipping the challenger’s offense and frequently landing hard hooks with both hands to the head. Buitrago, who was making his sixth attempt at a world championship was able to have moments periodically throughout, but was unable to let his hands go frequently enough or land the type of attention-grabbing punches that may have swayed the official judges in some close rounds to score in his favor allowing the champion to earn a convincing unanimous decision. Official scores were: 119-109, 117-111, and 115-113 in favor of Soto. Elwin Soto advances to 18-1, with 12 Knockouts. Carlos Buitrago falls to 32-6-1, with 18 Knockouts.
In a clash of undefeated Welterweight prospects, Rashidi Ellis outworked previously unbeaten Alexis Rocha over twelve rounds to earn a convincing unanimous decision victory. Ellis used lateral movement to make himself an elusive target from the consistent pressure of Rocha. As Rocha came forward, Ellis consistently landed counter punches and beat Rocha to the punch. Although Rocha’s best moments came during periods where he was able to get Ellis on the ropes and land body punches, he was inconsistent in his attack and that proved to be his downfall in this encounter. Official scores were: 116-112 (On two scorecards), and 115-113 in favor of Rashidi Ellis. Rashidi Ellis advances to 23-0, with 14 Knockouts. Alexis Rocha falls to 16-1, with 10 Knockouts.
In a WBC world title eliminator in the Women’s Flyweight division, top contender Marlen Esparza scored a hard-fought eight round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Sulem Urbina. This fight featured several compact exchanges between the two fighters, which made it difficult to distinguish which fighter had the advantage, but it was Esparza’s ability to generally get her punches off first and hand speed that ultimately carried her to the unanimous decision victory. Official scores were: 80-72 (On two scorecards) and 78-74 in favor of Esparza. Marlen Esparza advances to 8-1, with 1 Knockout. Sulem Urbina falls to 12-1, with 2 Knockouts.
Jr. Lightweight contender Lamont Roach needed one body punch to knockdown veteran Neil Tabanao to score a third round knockout. Official time of the stoppage was :34 of round three. Lamont Roach advances to 20-1-1, with 8 Knockouts. Neil Tabanao falls to 17-8, with 11 Knockouts.
Unbeaten Super-Middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev scored a third round knockout of Alan Campa to remain undefeated. Melikuziev scored two knockdowns of Campa in the second round and a third knockdown in round three before the bout was stopped. Official time of the stoppage was :21 of round three. Bektemir Melikuziev advances to 6-0, with 5 Knockouts. Alan Campa falls to 17-6, with 11 Knockouts.
Undefeated Cruiserweight Tristan Kalkreuth scored a six round unanimous decision over Tyler Vogel. Official scores were 59-55 (On all three scorecards) in favor of Kalkreuth. Tristan Kalkreuth advances to 6-0, with 4 Knockouts. Tyler Vogel falls to 3-4, with 2 Knockouts.
The second chapter of Jaime Munguia’s career as a Middleweight ultimately proved successful as he will likely remain on a short list of potential opponents for current unified Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, when Alvarez resumes his career. Although he was successful against Tureano Johnson, Johnson was able to have more success against him than most previous opponents and with Alvarez sidelined for the time being due to a well publicized legal dispute between he, his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who also promotes Munguia and digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, it may not be a bad idea to consider a rematch with Johnson as an argument can be made that if it weren’t for the gash Munguia was able to open that the outcome of this fight was not conclusive at the point where the fight was stopped.
Nevertheless, a win is still a win and Jaime Munguia did what he had to do to make sure his name remains in the discussion of potential opponents for Alvarez. Alternatively, if a rematch with Johnson is not in the cards at least for the immediate future, this victory over Johnson might convince Alvarez, De La Hoya, and DAZN to return to the negotiating table and resolve their impasse, which would hopefully, result in Alvarez getting back in the ring sooner rather than later even as the global COVID-19 epidemic continues to worsen.
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