CABAZON, Calif.-Kaliesha West brought the crowds and showed she could be the next female boxing star and Abner Mares didn’t disappoint with a riveting performance to keep their winning streaks going on Friday night.
Top bantamweight contenders West and Mares kept their undefeated records intact with strong performances on Friday night before a sold out audience at Morongo Casino. The two Southern California bantams were unable to score knockouts but were nearly flawless.
Moreno Valley’s West (9-0, 1 KOs) looked nervous and tight in the first round against the bigger Elizabeth Villarreal (5-7, 2 KOs), but finished the round with a speedy combinations that displayed her advantage early on.
The second round saw Villarreal make use of her height and strength as she fired a three-punch combination that caught West to take the second round.
But West returned to her jab and defense to out-speed Villarreal for rounds three and four. Whenever the Texas-based fighter tried to impose her strength West ducked underneath than fired pot shots and jabs to keep the fight at a distance.
In the fifth round, after West connected with several strong snapping jabs, Villarreal fired back with a strong three-punch combination and both girls traded furiously. A strong left hook caused Villarreal to stumble back to her corner at the bell.
West and Villarreal had their most explosive round in the sixth and final round as both landed big punches. A strong one-two combination capped West’s efforts and prompted the judges to score it 60-54 twice and 59-55 for West.
“It was different from fighting other girls. She was like a brick wall,” said West, who moved up two weight divisions for this fight. “My jab was the main factor.”
West could move up the rankings with this performance.
“She was real strong,” said West of Villarreal. “I landed a lot of clean shots.”
NABO bantamweight titleholder Mares (17-0, 10 KOs) lost his original opponent, but his Mexico City roommate Jonathan Arias (15-2, 8 KOs) agreed to step in as a substitute. It looked like it would be a non-aggressive affair, but that was not the case.
Mares fired on all cylinders in dominating over Arias in a 10-round super bantamweight fight. Both fired bombs against each other but it was Mares’s speed that proved the difference. With only 30 seconds left in the final round, Mares hurt Arias and pummeled him without mercy trying to get the knock out. But Arias survived.
“The referee should have stopped the fight,” said Mares, who trained by Nacho Beristain as is Arias. “I followed him to three corners and he didn’t respond.”
The judges scored it 99-89 twice and 98-91 all for Mares. A point was deducted from Mares for a low blow in the fifth round.
Arias, who is originally from Mexicali, said it was an honor to fight his room mate.
“I know he will be a world champion,” Arias said.
Mexico’s Jose Beranza (30-13-2, 25 KOs) opened the fight like gangbusters with several left hooks on Nestor Rocha’s head. It all changed in the second round as a concentrated effort to the body changed things around.
“I felt the inactivity,” said Rocha (19-1, 6 KOs) whose last fight was seven months ago. “I felt tired in the last round.”
From rounds two through nine Rocha worked the body consistently and forced Beranza to move backwards for most of the fight. All three judges scored it for Rocha 100-90, 98-92, 97-93.
“This fight was big for me,” said Rocha.
Mexico’s Jose Mercado (6-7, 5 KOs) caught San Bernardino’s Joey Silva (8-1, 4 KOs) with a counter right hand that dropped him for a knockdown in the first round. Though he beat the count, he couldn’t recover fast enough and was overwhelmed by Mercado, forcing referee Jerry Cantu to halt the fight at 2:16 of the first round.
Puerto Rican twin Juan Velasquez scored a win by unanimous decision over Mexico’s Missael Nunez 60-54 twice and 59-55 in a junior featherweight bout.
In a wild welterweight match it was Las Vegas fighter Abdon Lozano winning by knockout over Puerto Rico’s Carlos Garcia (2-1-1) at 1:59 of the third round. Garcia was floored three times, but caught Lozano with a counter right hand in the second for a knockdown too. Lozano recovered and caught Garcia with a left hook then followed up with a body attack for the final knockdown. Referee Cantu stopped the fight. It was Lozano’s pro debut.
Puerto Rico’s super tall junior welterweight Hector Sanchez (14-0, 5 KOs) dropped Nicaragua’s Julio Gamboa (28-14-2, 17 KOs) with a counter-right hand, but was later tagged with a counter left. After that, Sanchez decided to tap his way to victory with a lackluster six round decision. The judges scored it 59-54 twice and 58-55 for Sanchez.
Paramount’s Charles Huerta (5-0, 2 KOs) jabbed and moved his way to a unanimous decision over veteran Manuel Sarabia (16-26-9, 10 KOS) in a four round featherweight bout. All three judges scored it 40-36.
Doubletree fight card
Lightweight prospect Dominic Salcido (26-0, 8 KOs) used his speed to out-score Tijuana’s Luis “Vampiro” Arceo (19-7-2, 13 KOs) in an eight-round bout before a sold out audience in Ontario, California.
Salcido was pretty rusty, but that was acceptable after being on the injured list since last September. A year ago he engaged in seven pro bouts, this year, only one.
By the fifth round Salcido seemed to find his distance and rhythm as he battered Arceo with an eight-punch combination that sent the Tijuana tough guy reeling along the ropes. He hung on.
By the seventh round it was obvious that Arceo had no answer for Salcido’s blistering speed. The last round saw Salcido unleash another barrage of combinations that forced Arceo to cover up, but he made it to the end.
All three judges scored it for Salcido 79-73 twice and 78-74.
Yonnhy Perez (17-0, 12 KOs) won by unanimous decision over Oscar Andrade (36-33-3, 18 KOs) to win the NABF bantamweight title.
Riverside’s Rafael Lopez (5-1) was stopped by Sammy Gonzalez (6-0) in the sixth round of a junior middleweight contest.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV