Mexico vs. Philippines Split Main Events On ESPN:
Duno & Duarte Both Earn Unanimous Nods
By Albert Castillo
Photos: William Trillo
In the main event of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy
Springs Casino and Resort in Indio, California Philippine
Fighter Romero “Ruthless” Duno (17-1, 14 KO’s) continued his
winning ways with a unanimous decision over Mexico’s
Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez (26-5, 22 KO’s).
Romero looked sharp and was well conditioned. El Flaco was
tall and lanky, but wiry and a hardened veteran. Romero
landed savage punches to the body and head of El Flaco. He
hurt Gonzalez in the 6th round with a crisp right hand to
However, like a piece of scrap iron Gonzalez was unbreakable
and withstood the punishment doled out by Duno. Gonzalez for
his part often connected with several clean shots of his own
but he was unable to move the Philippine pugilist.
Additionally, Gonzalez was much too tentative, waiting for
Duno instead of trying to get off first.
By the end of the fight, Gonzalez face was damaged whereas
Duno still looked fresh. Judges all had it for Duno, 97-93,
"Gonzalez is a very good fighter with a good chin," said
Romero Duno. "I got him early, but he's very tough, so he
lasted the whole fight. This was a big fight for the
Philippines and everyone was watching. I hope this takes me
to bigger and better fights. I'm ready to come back
"I felt I won the fight," said Gilberto Gonzalez. "He [Duno]
wasn't really landing shots. Even though he dropped me, I
won more rounds just by keeping him at a distance. The
headbutts were also a constant problem. Just watch the
In the co-main event of the evening, Golden Boy’s popular,
unbeaten Oscar Duarte beat up Filipino scrapper Rey Perez
(22-10 6 KO’s). It should be noted that Perez tore apart
Chimpa Gonzalez in his last fight here at Fantasy Springs
Resort. That Rey Perez did not show up.
It was obvious to even the untrained eye that Perez was not
here to win and his role was to serve as a human punching
bag for Duarte. When a fighter continually backs up, throws
pitty pat jabs and rights, with an occasional hard right
that either misses or is caught on the gloves you know that
fighter has no intentions of winning.
Duarte for his part was on his game delivering ferocious
flurries in every round. He dropped Perez twice in the
eighth round but couldn't put Perez away.
Duarte is strong, a big puncher, with a conqueror’s
mentality. He is a force to be reckoned with and fans look
forward to seeing him again. This fight ended with both
fighters on their feet. The judges saw it all for Duarte.
98-90, 99-89, 99-89.
“I started cautiously because I needed to find my distance,”
said Oscar Duarte. “Once I found my distance, I was able to
land more shots. I saw that I was hurting him so I looked
for the combination that would drop him, starting from the
head and finishing to the body. I look forward to working on
my craft and moving on to bigger and better fights.”
Francisco Esparza (8-0-1, 3 KO’s) out of Las Vegas, Nevada,
kept his unbeaten record intact by outlasting Texan, Edgar,
“The Beast” Cantu in a highly entertaining 8 round slugfest.
Esparza, coming off a knockout of previously undefeated
Tenochtitlan Nava, had his hands full against a
hard-as-nails adversary in Edgar Cantu.
Esparza regularly connected with rights, uppercuts, and
hooks to the chin of Cantu. Cantu responded with shots of
his own cutting Esparza on the ear and eyebrow.
Although Esparza was leading throughout the fight the mighty
mite Texan never quit and landed a huge punch in the last
round that caused a stream of blood to trickle down the side
of Esparza’s face.
This fight was so competitive that a rematch would be
welcomed. In the end, Esparza by unanimous decision, 80-72
on all cards.
“Cantu has got a good chin,” said Francisco Esparza. “I
didn’t really feel any of his shots, except for the
head-butt which caused the cut above my ear. I don’t know
what’s next, but I’m ready for whatever. I trust my team.”
Behind the cheers of a huge fan club Fontana’s Raymond,
“Danger” Muratalla (1-0), making his professional debut,
scraped together a unanimous decision over a formidable
Frenchman in Benjamin Da Cunha (0-4).
Muratalla displayed a sharp offense and sound defensive
skills. He ripped punches to the head and body of Da Cunha
earning the judges support - 40-36 on all cards.
“I had so much fun in there,” said Muratalla. “This is what
I am going to do from now on. I’m so happy my family and
friends came out to see me.”
In the opening bout of the evening at Fantasy Springs Casino
and Resort in Indio, California, the big men took center
stage as light heavyweight Jaba Khositashvili (3-0, 2 KO’s)
demolished an outclassed Fabian Valdez (2-3) knocking him
out at 0.26 seconds of the second round. The Georgian
(Eurasia) born Khositashvili got off to a quick start
dropping the Mexican Valdez in the first round following up
a punch flush to the nostrils with a body shot to the ribs
which had Valdez turning his back on one knee in a neutral
Khositashvili continued battering Valdez in the second
round. Referee Jerry Cantu could take no more and when
Valdez dropped to one knee once again after eating a right
hand the fight was called. Jaba wins his third fight in a
“It was a bit difficult because I was not able to fight for
a year,” said Jaba Khositashvili. “But now I feel perfect.
I’m always ready and can even fight in a week or two.”