The Coachella Valley was treated to a night full of action at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Friday night, featuring the return to the ring of two of the most exciting fighters in the featherweight division.
The main event of the night featured former world title challenger Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (23-3-1, 16 KOs) of Juncos, Puerto Rico, taking on the Nicaraguan warrior Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (24-7, 16 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight fight that went the distance.
The evenly matched fighters consistently traded blows and it was Velez who attempted to use his boxing skills in the first few rounds. By the fifth round, both fighters began to fight from the inside as came at each other for a classic brawl with both landing effective shots. An accidental head butt in the sixth round did stun the fighters, but that did not stop them from keeping the momentum going. A close fight, the judges awarded a split decision victory to the former WBC Silver Featherweight Champion, Rene Alavardo with scores of 96-94, 96-94 and 97-93 for Velez.
“This is a very important victory for me,” said Rene Alvarado. “I have been fighting tough prospects and fighting such a notable fighter like Velez proves that I am still a force in this division. I want to keep the momentum going and come back as soon as I can. I will be back in the gym next week to stay in shape and be ready for the next fight.”
In the co-main event of the night, undefeated prospect Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (16-0, 11 KOs) of Boston retained his undefeated record when he took on Luis “La Roca” Hernandez (12-2, 7 KOs) of Rio Pierdas, Puerto Rico. Ellis made sure to keep the pressure on Hernández but in the fourth round was caught by a solid left hook that sent him to the canvas. Hernandez saw an opportunity and aggressively came after Ellis as Ellis tried to keep his distance in what became the most exciting bout of the night. Ellis adjusted his game and began using is jab and counterpunching when Herenandez attacked. This plan proved successful as Ellis was awarded the decision with scores of 78-73 by all three judges.
“He caught me with a good shot,” said Rashidi Ellis. “But I felt that the adjustments I made to make sure he didn’t catch me again were effective. I wanted to make sure that I kept moving and continued to land clean shots. That is what gave me the victory tonight.”
Opening up the Estella TV broadcast, decorated amateur, Cesar Diaz of Palmdale, Calif. made his professional debut against Isau Duenez (1-5) of Monterey, Mexico. Diaz, was not shy in the first rounds of his scheduled four-round featherweight fight, aggressively coming at Duenez while landing hard punches to the body. The punches were effective as they continued to overwhelm Duenez and in the third round the referee called the fight awarding Diaz his first professional victory via technical knockout.
“This victory motivates me to keep going,” said Cesar Diaz. “I have a great corner and felt very comfortable and calm in my first fight as a professional. I felt that I was properly prepared for this fight, I have a team that gave me the best sparring. Fighting professionally is more fun, knowing that I can go in the ring and finish my opponent is very exciting and I am looking forward to the next fight.”
Part of the non-televised undercard and streaming on RingTVLive.com, Azat Hovanissyan (9-2, 8 KOs) of Glendale, Calif. took on Sacramento’s Mario Ayala (4-3-1, 1 KOs) in a schedule six-round super bantamweight fight. In the fifth round, Hovanissyan sent Ayala to the canvas as the crowd cheered on the fighters. Making the count, Ayala was not able to shake off Hovanissyan and the fight was called off by the referee.
“I am very excited about this victory,” said Azat Hovanissyan. “I have been off for more than a year and I am glad I was able to shake the ring rust. I am ready to fight again and ready to come back at eight to 10 rounds.”
Indio, Calif.’s Marco Magdaleno (4-0, 2 KOs) put on a great display of dominance as he faced, Hugo Padilla (3-7, 2 KOs) of Aguascalientes, Mexico in a four-round lightweight bout. In the first two rounds, Magdaleno aggressively came after Padilla, cornering him in the ropes with his quick combinations. By the third round, Magdaleno began to out-box Padilla, effectively using his jab and counter punching. In the end, the judges awarded Magdaleno the victory via unanimous decision with scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37.
“Padilla was a tough fight, he came prepared,” said Marco Magdaleno. “I felt like the guy was very durable and my corner and I decided that it would be best to box him, hit him with the best and cleanest shots to secure the victory. I trust my team and Joel Diaz always knows when we have to switch it up, he brings out the best in me.”
Opening the night Jhon Leon (1-0, 1 KO) of Los Angeles made an impression in his first professional fight knocking out his opponent Jose Huerta (0-1-1) of Villahermosa, Mexico in the first round knockout of their scheduled four-round welterweight.
“Winning this fight is the prize after so much sacrifice,” said John Leon. “I have been fighting since I was 11 years old and have been on the Colombian Olympic team and now to finally start my career as a professional is a dream comes true. I can’t wait until my next fight, I am ready to keep putting in the work to become the next world champion.”
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July 15, 2016