In the main event of the Golden Boy Promotions card at the Belasco Theater in Down Town Los Angeles on Friday night, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico native Antonio “La Joya” Gutierrez (20-2-1, 9 KOs) faced the tough Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (28-6-1, 26 KOs) of Manati, Puerto Rico in a 10-round middleweight event.
The classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico battle kept all the fight fans at the edge of their seat as both fighters aggressively pressured each other in 10 intense rounds. In the first round Gutierrez, was shaken holding on to the ropes, while Melendez was visibly shaken in rounds seven and eight. After 10-rounds of intense continual action the judges ruled in favor of Gutierrez with scores of 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93, winning the bout via unanimous decision.
“These Mexico versus Puerto Rico fights are always a war,” said Gutierrez. “I came in knowing we were going to go the distance. He was a tough opponent, and he made me fight for this win. I came out with more Mexican pride in my heart, and I am glad that I was able to provide a good show for the fans.”
In the co-main event, Buena Park, California’s Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (15-0, 13 KOs) clashed against Phoenix, Arizona’s Jonathan “Johnny” Corrales (8-3-2, 3 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round lightweight bout. Corrales hit the mat after “Chimpa” launched a left hand uppercut and left hand hook in the first round; however Corrales got back up, and withstood the rest of the round. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the knock out artist, as Gonzalez stopped Corrales at the 1:57 mark in the second round, maintaining his undefeated status.
“It feels really special to fight at LA FIGHT CLUB,” said Gonzalez. “I was on the first edition when they first opened LA FIGHT CLUB, and I love fighting here. With every fight, the game plan is to go for the knock out, and I was glad I was able to get it with this fight.”
Opening up the televised portion of the night, Parral Mexico’s Oscar Duarte (7-0-1, 3 KOs) performed in a four round lightweight bout against Tamaulipas, Mexico’s Rafael Reyes (6-9, 5 KOs). Duarte landed some tough punches, causing Reyes to hit the mat in the second round after a frenzy of blows. Reyes, demonstrating his endurance and retaliated with combinations at Duarte. The fight went the distance, and with a score of 38-37, the judges all unanimously agreed that Duarte was the victor.
“He was a tough fighter, and I’ve learned a lot,” said Duarte. “I knew he was going to get back up after he hit the mat, and I was ready to finish all four rounds. I am excited to hit the gym and train hard to keep up my undefeated record.”
Tenochtitlan Nava (3-0, 1 KO) dazzled the crowd in a super featherweight match that only lasted three of the four scheduled rounds against Juan Byrand of Laredo, Texas(1-5-1). “T-Dog” was in clear control, as he led Byrand to the ropes various times throughout the bout releasing a storm of heavy hitting punches. It was at the 1:47 mark on the clock in the third round where the judges called the fight, giving Nava his first career technical knockout.
“I got my first knock out of my career tonight, which makes me feel great about how we have been training,” said Nava. “I don’t think the win is going to hit me, and I am so glad my fans came out to support me. They aren’t just my fans, they are lovers of boxing.”
Lamont Roach, Jr. (12-0, 4 KOs), of Washington D.C. represented the East Coast in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight against Mexico City’s Mario Macias (26-19, 14 KOs). Roach, Jr. landed some powerful punches, destabilizing Macias and causing the referee to start the count. In the second round. Roach, Jr’s one-two combinations hurt the fighter, with body punches that slowly broke down the fighter, causing him to drop to the mat. Macias valiantly rose back up, only to fall again at the beginning of the third round, leading for the referee to call the fight at the seven second mark.
“I spar with world champions, former world champions, and anything else in-between,” said Roach, Jr. “I knew Macias was tough since he had fought for world titles before in his career, making me enter the ring even more cautious and even more determined. I knew my punches were breaking him down at the beginning, and it was going to be a matter of time before I knocked him out.”
Edgar Valerio (8-0, 4 KOs) opened the nights action as he fought against Emmanuel Castro (2-3, 2 KOs) of Los Mochis, Valerio set the tone of the night, entering in calm and relaxed. It was in the second round that Castro turned up the heat, launching a series of hits to Valerio’s face resulting in a cut over his eye. The two fighters went the distance and engaged in a series of exchanges that had fans cheering them on. By the end of the fight it was clear that Valerio was the victor, and he was granted a unanimous decision victory by the judges.
“I’m glad we go the win tonight,” said Valerio. “However, I am disappointed in myself for not making it through all six rounds straight. I wanted to give the fans tonight a show worth watching, and this was a learning experience for me. My opponent sure could take a punch, and I can’t wait to hit the gym to improve for my next performance.”
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September 2 2016