2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Nico Hernandez Shines In
Professional Debut Win At Home
A future star was born last night as 2016 Olympic bronze
medalist Nico Hernandez turned in a stellar performance in
his professional debut, stopping Pat "Slacks" Gutierrez in
the fourth round of the "KO Night Boxing: History Begins"
main event, which aired live on CBS Sports Network from
Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.
"KO Night Boxing: History Begins" was presented by KO Night
Boxing LLC, in association with Kansas Star Casino, and
sponsored by Miller Lite, Mel Hambelton FORD and TITLE
The large, hometown crowd of more than 3,100 had Hernandez
(1-0, 1 KO) pumped to start the fight, in which he quickly
established himself as the clear aggressor. The 21-year-old
settled down in the second, showing his full arsenal of
punches, as he banged Gutierrez' body and also landed
Hernandez cut off the ring in the third, often trapping
Gutierrez (0-3) on the ropes, where he unloaded punishing
punches that started to take its toll on the gutsy Las Vegas
fighter. Hernandez' dominance continued in the fourth, even
as he surprisingly switched from orthodox to southpaw
stance, hurting Gutierrez until his corner asked the referee
to halt the action.
"It doesn't get better than this," a beaming Hernandez said
after the fight. "It means so much for me to bring boxing to
Wichita, to all of Kansas, for these awesome fans. I started
switching up a little because it was worked. I'd like to get
back fighting again in two months.
"I wasn't to thank KO Night Boxing. This was the way I
pictured it. As I was waiting in the tunnel, I could hear
the crowd chanting my name. This was a great night of
boxing. I want to bring more shows here.
"Fighting here tonight was much different than fighting in
the Olympics (in Brazil). Tonight they were cheering me,
they booed me at the Olympics no matter who I fought because
I was an American."
In the co-feature, gifted New Haven (CT) southpaw Tramaine
"The Mighty Midget" Williams improved his undefeated record
to 10-0 (3 KOs), displaying special ring skills on his way
to an impressive eight-round unanimous decision over tough
Eduardo "Thunder" Garza (6-2, 2 KOs).
A classic boxer, Williams also showed some pop tonight,
dropping Garza twice, once in the first round and again in
the third. Williams, who made his promotional debut for Roc
Nation Sports, rolled to victory by scores of 79-71 twice
"I performance okay," Williams commented. "The last two
rounds I was a little winded but I hadn't been in the ring
for two years. We knew he dropped his chin when he jabbed; I
followed the game plan and it worked. He fought his butt
off, he didn't come to lose. Now, I want to fight the best.
Relentless junior middleweight Neeco "Rooster" Macias (15-0,
8 KOs), fighting out of Tehachapi, California, enhanced his
reputation as a rising contender on the regional scene,
assaulting his game Mexican foe, Cesar Soriano (26-35-1, 16
KOs), from the opening bell until the very end for a
hard-fought win by eight-round unanimous decision.
A southpaw known for his non-stop motor, Macias connected
with punches thrown from every conceivable angle, leaving
Soriano no room to move or time to catch his wind, to win by
scores of 80-71, 79-72, 78-73).
"I feel like I could have done better," Macias admitted. "My
opponent came to fight eight rounds and we respect for each
other. I'm still learning. Everybody has a game plan until
they get hit. I didn't move like I should have. I thank my
opponent for giving me a fight I can learn from.
"I was surprised he took so many punches, but he's a veteran
and I didn't underestimate him. I trained hard and needed
every bit of it. I'm getting better and I'm coming back
strong to make boxing more exciting."
Fighting for the first time since last August, Kansas
favorite Jeff Page, Jr. (18-3, 12 KOs) dropped Missouri
veteran Steve "The Spoiler" Walker (26-34-1, 16 KOs) three
times for a first-round technical knockout victory in a
fight contested at a 186-pounds catchweight.
In a non-title fight, Kansas State junior middleweight
champion Efrain Morales (5-0, 2 KOs) remained undefeated,
stopping fellow Kansan Robert Alexander Seyan (2-6, 2 KOs)
in the opening round.
Kansas featherweight Eric Vargas (2-0, 1 KO) pitched a
shutout, winning all four rounds against pro-debuting Kevin
Kansas cruiserweight Juan Hollingsworth (1-0) won his pro
debut by way of a four-round unanimous decision over Raymond