Undefeated former WBO Super-Middleweight world champion Gilberto Ramirez scored a dominant fourth round knockout of former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera on Friday night at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. In the main event of a twelve bout card, Ramirez, now rated number five in the world in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Light-Heavyweight ratings, quietly bided his time in the first two rounds against Barrera, who entered the fight rated number six in the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Light-Heavyweight ratings.
What appeared to be setting up as a tactical chess match quickly changed late in the third round when Ramirez connected with a left hook to the liver of Barrera, who went down following a delayed reaction from the punch. Although Barrera was able to get up and survive the round, Ramirez knew he had his opponent in trouble and in round four he continued the attack dropping Barrera for the second time with another left hook to the body. At this stage, Barrera was clearly hurt and it was only moments later when he would be sent down for a third and final time from another left hook to the body forcing the fight to be stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 1:38 of round four. Gilberto Ramirez advances to 42-0, with 28 Knockouts. Sullivan Barrera falls to 22-4, with 14 Knockouts.
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Former IBF Jr. Lightweight world champion Joseph Diaz scored a twelve round unanimous decision over top Lightweight contender Javier Fortuna. In what was his Lightweight debut, Diaz faced some adversity in this fight first in suffering a cut over the left eye in the third round as a result of an accidental clash of heads then being deducted a point in round four for hitting Fortuna behind the head. Despite those elements working against him in addition to Fortuna’s awkwardness, Diaz was able to gradually take control of the fight by pressing the action, counter punching effectively, and out working Fortuna down the stretch to earn the unanimous decision victory. Official scores were: 117-111, 116-111, and 115-112 for Diaz. Joseph Diaz advances to 32-1-1, with 15 Knockouts. Javier Fortuna falls to 36-3-1, with 25 Knockouts.
In a battle for the Women’s WBO World Jr. Flyweight championship Seneisa Estrada successfully become a two-division world champion after previously winning a world championship in the 105lb. Minimumweight division by scoring a ten round unanimous decision over champion Tenkai Tsunami. A tactical, but physical fight saw Estrada make use of her hand speed, combination punching, and lateral movement to out box Tsunami over ten rounds to win the world championship. Official scores were: 99-91, and 98-92 (On two scorecards) in favor of Estrada. Seneisa Estrada advances to 21-0, with 8 Knockouts, Tenkai Tsunami falls to 28-13-1, with 16 Knockouts.
Undefeated Lightweight William Zepeda scored a sixth round stoppage over previously unbeaten Hector Tanajara. Zepeda forced the fight on the inside and got the upper hand by frequently beating Tanajara to the punch and throwing frequent combinations to the body and head. The increasing one-sided flow of the combat was halted at the conclusion of round six when Tanajara’s corner requested the fight be stopped to save Tanajara from further punishment. William Zepeda advances to 23-0, with 21 Knockouts. Hector Tanajara falls to 19-1, with 5 Knockouts.
In a battle for the Women’s WBA World Flyweight championship champion Naoko Fujioka scored a hard fought ten round majority decision over Sulem Urbina retain her title for the second time. It was not an easy title defense for the champion as the fight was fought at an extremely high pace from the outset. Although it appeared that neither fighter was able to stand out clearly from the other for a period of time, as the bout progressed, Fujioka became more aggressive and brought the fight to the challenger. By forcing the action and landing a full variety of offense, the champion was able to do enough to retain her crown via majority decision. Official scores were: 95-95 (Even), and 96-94, 99-91 in favor of Fujioka. Naoko Fujioka advances to 19-2-1, with 7 Knockouts. Sulem Urbina falls to 12-2, with 2 Knockouts.
A bout for the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO Featherweight championship saw Bryan Chevalier score a hard fought ten round unanimous decision over James Wilkins. A grueling fight that was primarily fought in close, the two fighters frequently traded the ebb and flow and had several exchanges throughout. What was not an easy fight to score, it appeared that Chevalier would be at a disadvantage on the scorecards as he was penalized a point in round eight for pulling Wilkins’ head down resulting in Wilkins landing an unintentional low blow that was ruled would not have occurred if Chevalier had not been pulled Wilkins’ head down. Despite the point deduction and seemingly fighting fatigue over the second half of the fight where it appeared Wilkins might have been getting the better of the action, Chevalier was able to get the nod of the three official judges in earning the unanimous decision. Official scores were 97-92, 96-93, and 95-94 un favor of Chevalier. Bryan Chevalier advances to 16-1-1, with 12 Knockouts. James Wilkins falls to 9-2, with 6 Knockouts.
Jr. Lightweight contender Lamont Roach scored a second round stoppage of a “Game,” but over matched Daniel Rosas. From the opening bell, Roach systematically walked Rosas down and unleashed a full arsenal of offense throughout. The gradual battering was halted when a right hand to the body forced Rosas to hunch over in pain, which forced the fight to be stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 2:14 of round two. Lamont Roach advances to 21-1-1, with 9 Knockouts. Daniel Rosas falls to 22-5-1, with 14 Knockouts.
Lightweight Miguel Gaona successful made his professional debut by scoring a hard fought four round unanimous decision over Gilberto Aguilar. A bout that saw plenty of exchanges between the two fighters, Gaona generally got the better of the action throughout and was able to earn a unanimous decision victory. All three official judges scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Gaona. Miguel Gaona advances to 1-0, with 0 Knockouts. Gilberto Aguilar falls to 0-3, with 0 Knockouts.
Jr. Featherweight Azat Hovhannisyan scored a ten round unanimous decision over Jose Gonzalez. Hovhannisyan consistently pressured Gonzalez throughout the fight landing the harder punches and keeping Gonzalez from being able to turn the ebb and flow in his favor. The highlight of the fight for Hovhannisyan came in round eight when a barrage of punches sent Gonzalez down to the canvas. Despite being clearly fatigued, Gonzalez was able to get up from the knockdown and battled to the final bell. Official scores were: 100-89, and 99-90 (On two scorecards) in favor of Hovhannisyan. Azat Hovhannisyan advances to 20-3, with 16 Knockouts. Jose Gonzalez falls to 23-9-1, with 13 Knockouts.
Heavyweight Mihai Nistor improved to 3-0 in his career by scoring a second round stoppage of Colby Madison. In what can be described as a slugfest that did not see much technique between the two combatants, Nistor was credited with a knockdown in the first round when Madison took a knee against the ropes even though a punch did not appear to land. Madison complained that he had been hit behind the head, but the call of a knockdown stood. Moments later, Madison would respond by dropping Nistor with a counter round hand to the head. In round two, almost the exact same scenario occurred when Madison scored his second knockdown of the fight with another right hand to the head of Nistor. Nistor would respond however, following his second knockdown by dropping Madison with a flush overhand left to the jaw. Madison was able to beat the count getting up at the count of nine, but the bout was stopped by Referee Raul Caiz Sr. at 2:16 of round two. Mihai Nistor advances to 3-0, with 3 Knockouts. Colby Madison falls to 9-3-2, with 6 Knockouts.
A battle of unbeaten Jr. Welterweights saw Starling Castillo score a devastating one punch second round knockout over previously undefeated Miguel Contreras. Contreras appeared to get the better of the action in the first round getting on the inside of the taller and longer Castillo and landed some hard body shots. In round two however, Castillo brought a sudden end to the fight when he connected with a straight left hand to the head that knocked Contreras out cold before he hit the canvas. The bout was immediately stopped. After a few minutes of being observed by ringside physicians, Contreras was able to leave the ring under his own power, despite going down hard on the canvas. Official time of the stoppage was :46 of round two. Starling Castillo advances to 15-0, with 12 Knockouts. Miguel Contreras falls to 11-1, with 6 Knockouts.
In the opening bout of the card undefeated Featherweight Gregory Morales scored a six round unanimous decision over veteran Rodrigo Guerrero. Morales was put through his paces by Guerrero, a veteran of forty professional bouts, but he simply out worked him over six rounds to earn the convincing unanimous decision victory. Official scores were: 59-55 (On all three scorecards) for Morales. Gregory Morales advances to 13-0, with 8 Knockouts. Rodrigo Guerrero falls to 26-12-2, with 16 Knockouts.
This marathon of Boxing, which was promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions signaled not only the debut of Gilberto Ramirez under the Golden Boy promotional banner, but also a bit of a transitional process for Golden Boy following a well-publicized split with its former top draw Saul “Canelo “ Alvarez. While there has also been speculation regarding Golden Boy’s long-term plans particularly in regard to its broadcast deal with global digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, who was caught in the middle of the dispute and ultimate split between the promoter and Alvarez, Golden Boy’s strongest point as a promotional entity has always been its ability to develop rising prospects into contenders, then to world champions while also developing those fighters into stars throughout the sport of Boxing.
With Gilberto Ramirez now in a position as one of Golden Boy’s top fighters in it’s stable, the recent troubles of the past could well be viewed in time as a bump in the road for De La Hoya and Golden Boy especially if they are able to maintain their relationship with DAZN as the network continues its global expansion, which could ultimately benefit Ramirez, Golden Boy, and several other world champions, prospects and contenders that were featured on this card or will be featured in the future.
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