LOS ANGELES-While thousands of teenie boppers gathered in L.A. Live to watch the premiere of the Twilight series, a real fight was taking place at Club Nokia around the corner as Las Vegas boxers Jessie Vargas and East L.A.’s Frankie Gomez stopped their opponents on Thursday.
No werewolves or vampires here.
Burbank’s Zavala (21-5, 9 KOs) welcomed Vargas with a barrage of punches in the first round in the first minute of their welterweight fight. Then the Las Vegas boxer showed Zavala the canvas with a right cross and left hook that dropped him.
The rest of the fight was not so one-sided but Vargas still was the stronger fighter and was able to turn it on whenever he wanted to against the gritty Zavala. Ironically, Zavala is trained by Freddie Roach. Vargas is trained by Roger Mayweather. Roach was not present but is in San Antonio.
Both kept attacking the body relentlessly but Vargas added those uppercuts that caused damage to Zavala’s right eye. By the third round it was swollen and nearly shut. In the sixth and final round Vargas trapped Zavala in the corner and unleashed 10 punches with many catching Zavala flush and snapping his head back. Referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight at 33 seconds of the sixth and final round.
“He was a tough guy. I give him all the respect in the world. I’m glad the crowd enjoyed it. That’s what I try to do is please the crowd,” said Vargas (11-0, 6 KOs) who fights for Mayweather Promotions. “I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me. I love fighting here. I was born in LA so I love these fans.”
East L.A.’s popular Gomez (4-0, 4 KOs) shredded Mexican veteran Jaime Orrantia’s (13-27-5) defense immediately forcing referee Pat Russell to halt the fight at 2:32 of the opening round.
“I wanted to get more rounds but after I felt the guys punches I decided to take him out,” said Gomez. “I want to fight better competition.”
Former U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr. (10-0, 7 KOs) impressed many with his strength and speed in knocking out Las Vegas veteran Rodrigo Aranda (8-13-2) in 34 seconds of the second round. Russell never allowed Aranda to land more than a single blow if any in their featherweight contest.
“I always try to improve,” said Russell of Capitol Heights, Maryland.
Ireland’s Jamie Kavanagh, who formerly fought out of Spain and now fights out of the Wild Card, out worked Northern California’s Luis Sanchez in a four round junior welterweight bout. Two judges scored it 40-36 and one judge scored it 39-37 all for Kavanagh.
“I’m here with the best trainer in the world Freddie Roach and the best sparring in the world,” said Kavanagh who moved to L.A. six months ago. “I’m trying to adapt to the pro style.”
Lancaster’s Robert Reyes (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped San Jose’s Clinton Coronel (3-1-1) by technical knockout due to a cut over the left eye at the end of the junior middleweight first round. It looked like a head butt caused the gash but referee Jack Reiss nor the three judges saw a clash of heads. Because the blood was streaming down the fight was stopped and ruled a TKO win for Reyes.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV