Romero Remains Undefeated With Impressive 12-Round Decision
Over Efrain Esquivias
Photos: Tom Casino - SHOWTIME
super bantamweight Jhonatan Romero (22-0, 12 KOs), of
Cali, Colombia, dominated Efrain Esquivias Jr. (16-2, 9
KOs), of Gardena, Calif., en route to a near-shutout
12-round decision in the main event Friday on ShoBox:
The New Generation live on SHOWTIME®.
Romero, in command from the outset, was victorious in an
elimination fight for the No. 2 ranking in the IBF by
the scores of 120-107 and 119-108 twice. There were no
knockdowns. Romero entered the ring ranked fifth in the
IBF and WBO and ninth in the WBA.
In a collision of undefeated super bantamweights in the
co-feature at Chumash Casino Resort, Roman Morales
(13-0, 6 KOs), of San Ardo, Calif., registered a
hard-fought eight-round unanimous decision over
previously undefeated Jhonatan Arellano (13-1-1, 3 KOs),
of Ontario, Calif.
Morales won by the scores of 78-72 twice and 77-73 in a
scrap in which both boxers went down. Morales hit the
deck from a left hook to the head in the third, Arellano
from a left hook to the body in the seventh.
“Tonight we saw two good wins by fighters at different
stages in their careers in the same weight class,’’
ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood said afterward. “One
was world-class, the other was a world class prospect.’’
Farhood liked what he saw in the 5-foot-9, 25-year-old
Romero, who was making his third start in a row in the
United States, and fourth overall.
“Romero was impressive
in several ways,’’ Farhood said. “It was predictable
that he’d be effective when he was on the move but for
large portions of the fight he also fought Esquivias at
his own game on the inside. To me the most important
thing of all was Romero’s energy level from round one to
Morales won the toughest fight of his career to date.
What surprised Farhood was the way he accomplished it.
“Morales was fighting a style a bit different than I
expected,’’ Farhood said. “Once he hurt Arellano, he
turned boxer, used the ring and picked his spots very
effectively. He also got off the floor for the first
time in his career and showed the ability to overcome
adversity, something all prospects eventually have to
Romero was pleased with his performance and is hopeful a
world title shot is forthcoming.
"I felt very good every single round,’’ he said. “I
prepared hard for this fight. I sparred with guys that
came forward all the time. I knew what he was coming to
do because I’d seen him fight. I'm ready to become world
champion. But to be a world champion I have to go
through great fighters like Esquivias to get to my
five-foot-four Esquivias spotted the winner five inches
in height, but he never stopped pressing the issue.
Esquivias even started quickly, which isn’t the norm for
him. But it did no good against the classy Romero.
“He fought his fight and he fought well,’’ said
Esquivias, who was docked a point after the seventh for
a blatant late hit. “He didn't want to brawl, but he
fought smart. He boxed and I couldn't catch him. There's
really not much I could have done differently. I was
little tired toward the end; it was my first 12-rounder.
But I was still throwing punches at the finish. He gave
me problems with his movement. I wanted to make it an
exciting fight for the crowd. Too bad he didn't want to
stand and trade more."
The 23-year-old Morales,
making his fifth start this year and seventh at Chumash,
was satisfied with his performance despite getting
"I felt I did well,’’ he said, “I was just trying to
listen to my corner. They were telling me to use my jab
a lot and that's what I kept trying to do. They were
also telling me to work the body more. I should have
done that from the beginning.’’
So what was it like getting floored for the first time
in his career? "It was a new experience, something I
never had felt before,’’ Morales said. “It’s part of
boxing, but I said to myself that I have to keep coming
forward and show some heart and respect for the game. It
was a good fight and he's a good boxer."
Arellano felt the
scoring was a tad out of line. “I feel that it was a
little high in his favor,’’ he said. “I feel I won more
rounds than they gave me. It was a good fight though. I
don’t take anything away from the kid. I thought I had
him out when I dropped him. I was ready to jump on him
but for some reason the ref kept me from going right
after him and gave him more time. Then he hung in and
made it through the round.’’
Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside alongside
Farhood. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall
with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips
The doubleheader will re-air the first time this week as
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT SHO EXTREME
Friday’s fights will be available ON DEMAND beginning
today/Saturday, Sept. 22.