By Marc Livitz: Robinson Castellanos did his best to fight the fight of his life. In spurts, he did so. In the end, he did enough to make former lightweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa quit in his corner just before the eighth round was set to begin. The shock TKO victory for Castellanos (24-12, 14 KO’s) highlighted a night of upsets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the now customary curtain raiser fight night which precedes a major contest set to take place the following evening.
In the opening moments, Castellanos looked to put his three inch reach advantage to good use. It worked momentarily as Gamboa did his best to fire back. In the second, Yuriorkis’s attempts at throwing his left hook were met with overhand rights from Robinson. They had brief exchanges yet not with enough power to effectively move the other. Referee Russell Mora decided that Gamboa (26-2, 17 KO’s) had slipped in the opening moments of the third and was not knocked down. He was knocked down, however in the final seconds of the round. A perfectly placed straight right from Castellanos caught him flush on the chin, but he made his way back to his feet just in time for the bell.
Twenty seconds into the fourth, another straight right courtesy of Robinson Castellanos sent Gamboa to the mat yet again. As before, he beat the count but looked the worse for wear. The crowd began to chant "Mexico" for Castellanos, the twelve loss fighter from Celaya, Guanajuato. He may have punched himself out against the former gold medalist and lightweight champion. By round seven, Robinson was going through a much more tactical fight and not putting his punches together by any means. An overhand left hook tagged Yuriorkis but to no avail in the dying seconds. For whatever reason, there would be no round eight because Gamboa quit.
Co-Main Event Report - Rojas KO’s Lopez in Eighth
Jesus Rojas fought hard and plowed through Abraham Lopez in the evening’s co-main event and walked away with the NABA featherweight title as well. The loss was the first professional defeat for Lopez.
Rojas (25-1, 18 KO’s) walked straight at Lopez in the opening round and found his Los Angeles area foe had in his possession a convincing left jab. The first knockdown of the contest came midway through the second. After absorbing a powerful uppercut to the chin from Lopez, Rojas landed a superb left hook which sent Abraham wobbling right, after which he came flying in to land a barrage of shots. Lopez (22-1-1, 15 KO’s) went down yet braced his fall with his gloves upon the mat. Lopez regained his footing and went to the body of his Puerto Rican opponent. The strategy saved him, for sure. The third was an active three minutes. The two men moved in close and fired close in punches both high and low.
Much of the same occurred in the fourth round, which brought the crowd at the MGM Garden Arena to a roar. Another left hook from Rojas caught Lopez once again, this time near the closing minute of the round. The La Puente, California fighter took a quick knee for a chance to regather himself and take another knockdown to his detriment. His nose was bloodied as he returned to his corner and received a mouthful of criticism from his trainer, Joel Diaz. The closing moments of the sixth brought another phone booth style of scrap. Lopez, with his back to the ropes held Jesus at bay with his jab but also appeared affected by the continuing bushel of shots thrown his way.
As before, Rojas continued to come forward and walk into as well as through the punches of Abraham Lopez, whose face was beginning to swell in certain spots. Round eight appeared to be the end of the road for him. The right hand of Rojas was showing no mercy. There was yet another knockdown, much in the same fashion. Three successive overhand rights sent him to the canvas for the third time. He beat the count at nine but Rojas moved in. Unanswered shots promoted referee Tony Weeks to step in and stop the action at the 1:47 mark of the eighth round. Jesus Rojas grabbed the NABA featherweight title with the stoppage.