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  Vargas Handles Kameda; Rios Shocks De La Hoya

By Albert Castillo
Photos: Marlene Marquez


From Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, Golden Boy Promotions featured a classic matchup between unbeaten WBC super bantamweight champion, Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KO’s) of Mexico City against Japanese assassin Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20 KO’s). Vargas out boxed Kameda in nearly every round. His defense was impregnable, his stiff jab was in Kameda’s face all night, and his footwork kept him out of trouble whenever Kameda made an attempt to rush him.

For his part Kameda chased Vargas and did all he could to pursue the polished Mexican champion. Although it was not an exciting fight Vargas has come to rely on his slick skills and to be content with the fight going the distance and thus garnering the win by decision. His style may not be a crowd pleaser but his family and pocketbook are certainly satisfied. All judges scored the bout the same 117-110 for a Vargas unanimous decision win as he maintains his WBC title.

Vargas on his performance: “The idea was to throw a lot of punches and to have a very intelligent fight. I believe that we made this a very smart fight, an intelligent one. This is a boxer’s style, to fight with precision. I believe that he brought a lot of fans from Japan and that’s why they don’t agree with the decision.”

On why it was a difficult fight: “He mentioned before that he has all the experience. I knew that Kameda was going to push but again, we did a very, very smart fight.”

On who we wants to fight next: “Danny Roman. We need to unify titles, why not? I want all three titles. Danny, we are ready. I am ready whenever you want to fight. You know when a Mexican fights another Mexican, it’s a war.”

Kameda On why the crowd is on his side: “First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone. I recognize Vargas. I believe that he won the fight tonight and I respect him as a champion. He won. I need to learn and to practice more in order to get another chance to be champion again. I am very grateful for all the Mexican people. I want to be World Champion again.”

In another major upset of the evening Santa Ana Super Banty, Ronny Rios (31-3, 15 KO’s) took Mexicali’s and Oscar’s younger cousin, Diego De La Hoya (21-1, 10 KO’s) to task by battling him across six rounds and finally stopping him with a right uppercut at 1:17 of the sixth round. This highly competitive bout was the best fight of the evening as both fighters exchanged heavy punches throughout the contest.

The battle was very much up for grabs until De La Hoya got caught. He did make the ten count but it appeared as though he communicated to the referee that he was done. Everyone was shocked and Rios jubilantly climbed the ropes in celebration. A huge win for Rios! Rios commented afterwards,

On his performance: “I feel great. It is an unbelievable feeling. Especially winning in front of my friends and family who came out here to support me – I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I did this for me, but I dedicate this victory to you guys.”

On what was different about tonight versus his last title shot in Carson: “To be honest with you, I think a lot of fighters tend not to focus too much on the mental side. I think this time, I felt very hungry and mentally focused. With other fights, I think I would overthink it and let it get to my head.”

On almost walking away from the sport: “I was in a dark place. It was very hard to come back but thanks to my team, especially Hector Lopez who pushed me. He got me mad, he got me irritated at times. But man, he inspired me to come back and not for anyone else, but for myself. I am proof to fighters all around the world: no matter how many times you lose, you can still come back as long as you believe in yourself. No matter what – boxing, your career – just go for it man. I am not done. I still have a lot more years left. This was a hard camp, I pushed them. They told me to ease up. I would tell them that my opponent was outworking us and I kept pushing.”

On the finish: “I saw a lot of tape and noticed he has a really high guard. It leaves him open to the body. We were working on that in the gym a lot. Honestly, it was shock. I didn’t know he was going down. I know Diego, he is a warrior and he’s never been down.”

Diego on what he told the referee when they asked him if he wanted to continue: “I told him that I didn’t feel good. I don’t know what it was. I was hurt in my head. I didn’t feel well. I didn’t feel right. I did my best camp possible and I didn’t do that in the ring. You have to accept the losses just like you accept the wins.”

The older brother of Jousce Gonzalez and the more experienced half of the dynamic brothers duo, Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KO’s) out of Glendora, CA captured the vacant WBA Continental Americas Featherweight Title by stopping Manuel Avila (23-2-1, 8 KO’s) at 2:12 of the sixth round.

Gonzalez stepped up to a whole new level as Avila was a legitimate opponent. Avila had never been stopped but Gonzalez was on his game and hammered Avila with devastating combinations. After going down in the fifth and having his right eye closed Avila was destined to be stopped in the following round. He continually dropped his hands and Gonzalez took advantage sharpshooting all of his punches. Gonzalez looked more and more like a contender for a world championship. He is focused, in great shape and has all the skills to be a world champion.

On why he was so confident: “Because I went for it, I work hard every day in the gym. All I do is sleep, eat and everything boxing. I am confident in myself so when I say I am going to do something, that is exactly what I am going to do.”

On his trainer telling him to finish Avila in the sixth round: “It was time to go. I could tell that by the second or third round, he was gassed. I knew he wouldn’t be able to box long. And I got him out in the sixth.”

On who he wants to fight next: “Any champion at 126. Anyone who is running their mouth, come down to 126 or come up or whatever. Everybody is running their mouth. Shakur Stevenson and JoJo Diaz. All I do is box, all they do is like to run their mouth on social media. Run your mouth face to face, do something then. They just say they are going to slap me around. That’s girly stuff, I’m a grown man. I want the belts first but I will give it to them.”

On his new fans: “I hope you enjoyed the fight, I am going to keep working hard. I don’t care if I lose. I am not like these cherry pickers. I will fight the best and beat the best. I just want the champions and I will keep training hard to give you great fights.”

A reticent Avila had few words after the bout, ““Thank you for the support. I will be back.”

In a stunning upset Venezuelan’s Roger Gutierrez (22 -3-1, 19 KO’s) delivered three precise right left combinations the last of which put previously undefeated Mexican warrior, Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez (28-1, 25 KO’s) on the canvas. As he wobbled in getting to his feet, he fell again and could not gain his composure. Referee Mora waved his arms calling the fight even before finishing the ten count. A jubilant Gutierrez offered the following responses:

On how he won: “I won with my mentality. I came in here to rip his head off and that’s what you saw. It was my mentality that made the difference. Everyone on my team, my family, my parents, my children – they all believed in me. That’s how I did it.”

On if he felt he had a chance: “Yes, of course. I always had the mentality that I would be able to win and that’s why I did. I want to take the opportunity to greet everyone here in Los Angeles and let them know that the era of Roger Gutierrez has begun.”

Kazakhstan fighter and formerly undefeated Ruslan Madiyev (13-1, 5 KO’s) outlasted Los Angeles fighter, Ricky Sismundo (35-14-3, 17 KO’s) in this eight round matchup. Madiyev garners this win after coming off his only loss to Pablo Cesar Cano.

Unfortunately Madiyev was not as impressive as one would expect. Every round was close with the two warriors providing intense exchanges. As an up and coming contender Madiyev was hit too often and needs work tightening up his defense. However his offensive attack was on point. In the end all judges scored it 78-74 for Madiyev.

Anaheim’s hot prospect Jonathan Esquivel (!2-0, 11 KO’s) disposed of Washington DC fighter Gregory Clark (4-4-1, 1 KO) with a first round knockout. Esquivel, “It feels great to have fought here at the Dignity Health Sports Park. This is a place where many legends have fought.”

One half of the dynamic brother duo, undefeated Glendora, CA boxer, Jousce Gonzalez (9-0-1 9KO’s) punished an unarmed Mexican scrapper Jorge Padron (4-4-1, 1 KO) dropping him three times in the first round. Somehow Padron survived the round. At 2:15 of second round, a Gonzalez straight right, left hook combination put Padron down for good.

Gonzalez looked sharp and crisp. He was methodical in his approach and displayed excellent boxing skills. He is hard on himself but he looks like a champion in the making. His unbeaten streak remains unblemished.

Gonzalez on his performance, “I’m my toughest critic. I give myself a 5 out of 10. There are a lot of things I could have done to get him out earlier, so that’s why I give myself a 5 out of 10. I feel good to be back in action. I want to be busy. I didn’t take many shots today, so I’m ready to come back soon.”

Welterweight Alexis Rocha (14-0, 9 KO’s) of Santa Ana, CA maintained his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title with a seventh round knockout of Dominican pugilist Berlin Abreu (14-3, 11 KO’s). Rocha was in top form this evening as he pummeled Abreu in the early going with a devastating body attack. It appeared to pull Abreu’s head down into the chest of Rocha allowing Rocha to connect on a variety of uppercuts.

In every round Rocha dominated with a tremendous attack of combinations. Finally Referee Jack Rees had seen enough and called the bout at 2:56 of the eighth round. Rocha keeps his title and remains undefeated. Rocha reflected after the fight, “I feel good. He was way tougher than I expected. Kudos to him. But I’m hard on myself. I’m my biggest critic. I think I should have gotten him out quicker. That’s the way I look at it. I want to get back in there with some big names.

My attitude has changed since the last fight. I had a reality check in that fight. But I stayed in the gym and worked on perfecting my craft.

My conditioning was great. I didn’t have a problem. It’s also a blessing to have so many Pro-Santa Ana crowd. We bring a big fan base wherever we go.”


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