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19 JULY 2018

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Rios Returns, KO's Herrera In Seven

By Marc Livitz: Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios looked good, though just a pinch rusty on Sunday night as he scored a seventh round knockout victory over Aaron "La Hoya" Herrera.


The welterweight contest took place at the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California, about an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles. The former lightweight champion returned from a nineteen month, self imposed break from the sport and did so with a new trainer, Ricky Funez, in his corner. Though he indicated his relationship with longtime trainer, Robert Garcia was always a good one, he decided a new voice was needed in his career. This was Rios’ first fight since November of 2015, when he was thoroughly pummeled by Tim Bradley, Jr. in Las Vegas.


Rios (34-3-1, 25 KO’s) used his jab early and looked to use the ring, although Herrera was more than eager to trade shots with him. Brandon connected with uppercuts, yet as before, Aaron answered as he refused to move back. More shots were exchanged in the second, yet Herrera managed only single ones while Rios began to show signs of progress with flush combinations to the head. "La Joya" Herrera (32-7-1, 21 KO’s) used his jab well in the third but his follow up shots only got a smile from his Oxnard, California opponent.


Whenever he got too close, Rios found success with overhand rights and left hooks. Brandon continued to allow his challenger from Yucatan state to come to him. Herrera would jab, connect and then move in. He didn’t look to the body much until the closing minute of round four, when he threw four consecutive left hooks to the rib cage area. A nice one-two to the head of Rios may have won him the period. Each man continued to land shots that would normally fell typical fighters, yet they did so flat footed. "Bam Bam" Rios stayed the course and threw his shots straight in, while Aaron’s shots began to fly wide. This allowed the former world champion to counter. Through five, Rios showed some rust but had certainly come to fight.


He continued to show relentless pressure in the sixth as he pushed himself into Herrera’s chest in order to land more body shots. The punches to the head were beginning to slow Aaron down as well. The first knockdown of the contest would be the only one. Late in the seventh, Rios threw several hard left jabs to set up a well placed right hook down low. Herrera took a knee and didn’t attempt to beat the ten count of referee Jack Reiss. Although he took several rounds to move into position, Brandon Rios did well in his first night back after a long layoff.



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