Israel Vazquez Magnificent When It Matters

Report & Photos By Roy & Marlene Marquez

 

Former super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez scored a dramatic ninth round knockout of Angel Priolo to secure a victory in a fight that was even on two scorecards through eight rounds. Referee Pat Russell called a halt to the bout at 2:10 of the ninth following Priolo’s third trip to the canvas. “I wanted to knock him out”, said Vazquez through an interpreter. “I was really hungry for the win and now I want the big fights.”

The “big fights” Vazquez (44-4) wants were in serious jeopardy as Priolo (30-8), a fighter who had never before fought above 118 lbs., mounted more of a challenge than anyone expected. “He used really good distance at the beginning when I was a little rusty”, explained Vazquez who was coming back from a 19 month layoff due to an injury. Judges Raul Caiz Jr. and Jose Cobian both had the bout even, 76-76 through eight. Judge Fritz Werner had Vazquez leading 78-74 entering the ninth round.

In a competitive first round Vazquez suffered a slight tear to his left brow from the first right hand he saw. Vazquez rebounded in the second landing an overhand right that straightened up Priolo. The third was another tight round as Priolo used a long left jab and right hand to keep Vazquez at bay. The pace was hurried as both fighters maintained a steady, if not spectacular, work rate. Vazquez closed the distance in the fourth and landed several stiff rights. Priolo buckled after an exchange near the end of the round. Priolo picked up the pace and applied heavy pressure in the fifth. Behind an exhaustive work rate Priolo backed Vazquez to the ropes and flurried. Vazquez started the sixth with excessive head and foot movement but reverted to brawling in tight where he did his best work. Priolo closed the round with a ripping right hand. Priolo rained more rights in the seventh and opened the gash above Vazquez’ left eye. The doctor took a long look between rounds and came perilously close to stopping the bout. Knowing the fight was in danger of being stopped, Vazquez rushed Priolo to start the eighth. The two tangled for three minutes as neither fighter took a backwards step. In the ninth Vazquez landed a right that scored the first knockdown of the fight. Priolo slumped forward and fell but was up at the count of eight. The crowd jumped to their feet in support of Vazquez. Vazquez attacked, landing a left-right that put Priolo on the ropes to score the second knockdown of the round. When referee Pat Russell allowed Priolo to continue Vazquez jumped him. Priolo wilted under a barrage of punches and the fight was stopped.
 

Featherweight prospect Ronny Rios dominated John Wampash over five rounds before stopping him in the sixth to run his undefeated record to eight wins without a loss. Rios (8-0) worked behind a stiff jab to take the opening round. In the second he dug hooks to the body disguised smartly behind the jab. The crowd began chanting “Ronny, Ronny” in appreciation of the clinic they were watching. Wampash fought valiantly but was overrun by Rios, a two-time U.S. amateur champion. Wampash (1-3-1) lost a point in the fourth when he lost his mouthpiece for the second time in the round. Bleeding profusely and hopelessly behind on points Wampash’s corner asked referee Ray Corona to stop the bout, which he did at 1:53 of the sixth.
 

Luis Grajeda knocked down Juan Carlos Diaz with the first punch he threw from the southpaw stance and scored two more knockdowns on route to a second round TKO victory. With two Mexican National amateur championships on his ledger, Grajeda (7-0) proved too polished for Diaz (3-1). In the second Grajeda caught Diaz with a right uppercut that sent Diaz to the floor. When Diaz rose he was greeted a straight right hand that sent him crashing back to the canvas. Referee James Jen Kin stopped the contest at 2:48 of the round though Diaz got to his feet before the count of ten.


Off Air Fights
 

Khabir Suleymanov pulled a rabbit out of a hat and escaped with a fourth round KO victory over Hugo Ramos (2-4-1). Suleymanov dictated the first with busy hands and constant movement. He was ahead in the second when Ramos decked him with a clubbing right hand. With Suleymanov on the mat Ramos landed two more blows and lost a point as a result. Suleymanov started strong in the third but ran into a left hook and tasted the canvas once more. Ramos suffered a cut above the right eye seconds before the end of the round. Knowing he was behind on points, Suleymanov went after Ramos to begin the fourth. Ramos climbed into a defensive shell but absorbed rights to the body and head. With blood spewing from Ramos, referee Pat Russell motioned for the doctor. The ringside physician took a quick glance and signaled the end of the bout. Referee Russell stopped the bout at 2:39.
 

Southpaw Ricky Duenas overwhelmed fellow junior middleweight Jose Cardenas (1-3) with a series of unanswered blows forcing referee Ray Corona to halt the action at 2:09 of the third. Duenas proved too quick for Cardenas and was able to land his jab at will. Cardenas landed the counter-right effectively when Duenas overextended but was unable to hurt him with the punch. With the KO victory Duenas improved to four wins against one loss.
 

In the opening bout of the evening, debutant Oscar Venegas (1-0) defeated Misael Martinez (0-5) by TKO when the ringside physician stopped the contest following the end of round three. Junior featherweights Venegas and Martinez exchanged body shots at a furious pace in rounds one and two with Venegas getting the better of the action. Martinez slowed visibly in the 3rd and absorbed a tremendous number of blows. Venegas trains out of Maywood, CA.
 

In walk-off action, welterweight Sergio Macias of Zacatecas, Mexico was no match for veteran Jose Armando Santa Cruz of Los Angeles, CA. Macias (14-18-1) was in jeopardy from the opening bell and was finally stopped 15 seconds into round four. Santa Cruz (27-4) battered Macias with both hands and ultimately forced referee Ray Corona to put a stop to the beat down.



 

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