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  Thieves Steal Gloves At Fantasy Springs; Challengers Take Titles On Golden Boy Card

By William Trillo

The only thing hotter than the Indio desert was the fighter’s gloves that were stolen before the show began. Cameras caught the criminals as they left the resort with the tools of the trade in tow but they were long gone before anyone realized what had happened. Fortunately there is always an alternate set of gloves chosen so the show would go on as scheduled. And oh what a show it was.

In the main event NABF Middleweight Champ Jason Quigley (16-1, 12 KO’s) took on the battle tested Tureano Johnson (21-2-1, 14 KO’s) in a bout that could launch the victor into some high profile showdowns. Both fighters looked very confident as they squared off in this barnburner to be.

In the early going Quigley looked sharp and was landing some very accurate shots on Johnson who seemed to be chasing The Irishman and having little luck landing any significant leather. The first three rounds seemed to be going the way of the champ.

But something changed dramatically in the ensuing rounds. Johnson finally put some heavy thunder on Quigley and suddenly the tide had turned. Now it was Johnson who was the stalker, and he was relentless.

The confident look on Quigleys face was now one of concern as he was getting beat to the punch over and over again. Quigley was now in full retreat fighting with his back to the ropes throughout most of the latter rounds.

At one point things were looking so bleak for Quigley that the ref told him, “You gotta show me something Jason!” Quigley quickly barked back at the ref telling him he was doing just that. But it was clear Tureano had brought Quigley out into deep waters and now he was letting him sink.

In round nine Johnson was on a bombs away onslaught throwing guided missiles that were landing flush over and over again. Quigley was game but at this point he was unable to do any damage to the challenger.

After the round Quigley slumped in his stool and to the shock of no one at the advice of his corner the bout was brought to a merciful and timely halt. Quigley would not answer the bell for round 10.

For the Bahamian Johnson the victory was a minor upset but the win makes him a major player in the 160 pound division.

"You don't know what I've been through," said Tureano Johnson. "But soon you'll see why everything I went through was worth it. I pay my respects to Jason Quigley. He showed a lot of heart. I hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, and he still didn't quit. I'm here to get a big strap. I want a world title."

"I wish Tureano Johnson the best," said Jason Quigley. "I have respect for you. I congratulate you on your win."

Super bantamweights Alberto Ezequiel Melian (5-1, 3 KO’s) and Leonardo Baez (16-2, 9 KO’s) put on a free swinging affair that had the crowd cheering from beginning to end in this NABA Super Bantam title donnybrook.

It was a classic matchup of Mexico vs. Argentina fighters who wanted to prove who is truly the tougher man. Melian gave it all he had but on this night it was the challenger Baez who wanted it more as he snagged the champs title with a unanimous decision 97-93 on all cards.

"I feel excellent. This is my first time fighting in the United States," said Leonardo Baez. "I want to thank Golden Boy for the opportunity. I won because of my heart. I threw the harder punches. I'll be honest, I lost the last round, but I won this fight because of my heart."

Flyweight Ricardo Rafael Sandoval (16-1, 11 KO’s) was dropped in the first seconds of round one by Marco Sustaita (12-2-1, 10 KO’s). To add insult to injury he was dropped again in the same round but was able to score a knockdown of his own. That’s three knockdowns in the first round if you are counting.

No sooner said than done and Sandoval hit the deck again in round two. Again he arose and over the next few rounds this one was a war. Call it pedal to the metal or balls to the wall, whatever it was it was a lot of fun and highly entertaining.

It was in round five that Sandoval really opened up leaving Sustaita in big trouble. He did not go down but the ref and seen enough and stopped the fight before any further damage could be done. With the stoppage at 1:16 of round five Sandoval retained his WBC Youth Intercontinental Title.

"I faced a good opponent," said Ricardo Sandoval. "We knew he was strong, so our plan was to box and take our time. Little by little we found our rhythm. Hopefully, Golden Boy can give me another opportunity."

Marlen Esparza (7-0, 1 KO) of Houston, Texas successfully defended her NABO Flyweight Title via eight-round unanimous decision against Sonia Osorio (13-7-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico. The judges scored the fight 78-74, 79-73 and 79-73.

"I think I did okay," said Marlen Esparza. "I'm always so hard on myself, though. She kept putting her head on my chest, which I didn't like. The referee never stopped her, which makes me think he was letting us fight. That's good, but I also figured I had to take matters into my own hands. So, I found my timing and started landing the counter right hand. I want to beat Seniesa Estrada's ass first, and then I want to fight for a world title."

Super featherweight Charles Huerta (21-6, 12 KO’s) took on a crafty if not dirty Recky Dulay (11-6, 8 KO’s) in a fight that would end colored in crimson, (blood). For Huerta this was his chance to get back on the winning track after a tough unanimous decision loss in a title shot with Jo Jo Diaz. Huerta seemed to be having some problems with the awkward style of Dulay but he was doing enough to put rounds in the bank.

In the mid-rounds Huerta was cut by an (intentional) unintentional headbutt that opened a gash that was going to bleed throughout the remainder of the fight. Huerta fought through the cut and even seemed to gain momentum in latter rounds. Another headbutt happened late, (now we know why Dulay’s nickname is “The Terror”), but it did not stop Huerta from pushing ahead.

The fight went the distance and when the tallies were read it was Huerta who was given the nod 78-74 twice and 77-75 on the cards.

"I give my performance a C," said Charles Huerta. "I think I could have hit the body more. His trying to land headbutts played a big factor though, and he didn't get warned until he actually headbutted me. We'll see what's next for me. I'm going to get back in the gym soon, and hopefully I get one more fight before the year ends."

Super bantamweight Anthony Reyes (7-0, 5 KO’s) had little or no trouble disposing of Gilberto Duran (3-4, 3 KO’s). Before Duran knew what was happening he was literally kissing the canvas.

Not letting the moment go Reyes was all over Duran until he left his foe curled up like a ball in the corner. Officially the fight was stopped at the 2:10 mark of round one, but quite frankly this one was over before the ink dried on the contract to fight.

"I like that I came out smart and strong," said Anthony Reyes. "I worked hard to be able to go the distance and fight all six rounds. But we got the knockout, which is even better."

Lightweight Carlos Morales (19-4-3, 8 KO’s) looked in top form as he dominated an extremely awkward Rosekie Cristobal (15-5, 11 KO’s). From the moment the fight started you could see Cristobal was about as an unorthodox fighter as there could be.

But that must be why they call Morales “The Solution”. It didn’t take him long to solve the problem and at the 1:08 mark of round two Cristobal was quivering on the canvas after taking some KO medicine for Morales.

"The great Morales is back," said Carlos Morales. "I've moved up to lightweight, and I plan to stay there. I want to get into the top ten of the world and fight for at title."


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