HIGHLAND, CALIF.-Kaliesha West fought former three-time world champion and received a draw and Southpaw Jose Reynoso fought a perfect fight against Aris Ambriz sporting the perfect record and also got a draw on Thursday.
Back to the drawing board.
The two co-main events at San Manuel were expected to be tight struggles but not that tight as West and Reynoso both seemed the better fighters on this night but did not receive the nod from the judges on this night.
Fast climbing West, the girl with the quick hands and hard punches agreed to meet former world champion Ada Velez, a left-hander who was coming off more than two years without a fight. But the Boricua came armed with knowledge, so much knowledge.
“I could feel her experience in the ring,” said West.
It’s what West anxiously awaited: a big test with an experienced pro.
Velez (16-3-3) and bantamweight contender West (11-1-1) gave fans what they expected in the six round bout held at 122 pounds. It was speed and youth versus strength and experience.
West opened fast with several left hook follow ups that caught Velez flush. A few body shots added some steam to her attack as the Californian captured the first round pretty decisively.
“She was wide open for the left hook,” West said of her ability to land the hook continuously in the first two rounds. “I shot right hands to the body pretty well too.”
The second round saw West fight from the outside and score with some quick right hands from outside and some loud booming punches to the body. Inside the fighting was even with Velez finally landing a resounding right hook at the bell.
“I wanted to test out her technique,” said Velez, who had legal problems that caused her to miss more than two years in the ring. “I wanted to see what style she had.”
Velez changed direction in the third round and began to attack the body. Several double right hooks to the body and head landed flush. During the middle both fighters worked each others body with West also landing several double hooks to the body and head. Several clean punches by West finished off the round.
“The girl had good counters,” said Velez, who seemed to relish being back in the ring. “She was very fast and very young. I couldn’t stay outside.”
West opened the fourth round by catching Velez walking into a left hook flush on the jaw. The Puerto Rican took the blow and walked inside as both traded blows to the body with equal verve. It was a close round but that left hook by West was the best punch of the round.
“I wanted to see if I still got that bite,” said Velez about her slow start.
Velez had her best round yet as West seemed to slow down in the fifth round. Working the body and head Velez pressed the action as West used her jab from the outside to keep Velez at bay. The Florida based fighter scored most of the punches as she pressed the action and kept the fight inside. A number of times both fighters clashed heads with West backing up with a grimace each time they collided.
“We kept butting heads a lot,” said West. “But that’s to be expected when you fight a southpaw.”
In the final round Velez opened fast as West tried to keep her spacing. With some good combinations to the body and head Velez kept the fight at her pace and distance. West rallied in the middle with a solid left hook and some combos but with mere seconds remaining Velez landed just enough to win her the final round.
Judge Jerry Cantu scored it 59-55 for West but judges Marty Denkin and Jose Cobian had it 57-57 for a majority draw.
Patrick Ortiz, whose Ringside Tickets Promotion staged the fight card, offered congratulations to Velez.
“You know you got a gift decision by the hometown judges,” said Ortiz, who felt West won the fight. “You were lucky.”
Velez nodded her head.
“Next time we fight it will be different and hopefully for more rounds,” said Velez, a very classy prizefighter. “I felt comfortable.”
West said Velez did a number of things that her other opponents never offered.
“I felt I was going in there with somebody who was very wise,” said West, whose ranking should remain among the top contenders despite the draw. “I think her under and over (punches) were good because most girls don’t do that.”
A rematch may be in the future.
In the co-main event Riverside’s Reynoso, a southpaw boxer, fought a perfect five rounds against Azusa’s Aris Ambriz and could not get the nod from the judges. Sometimes an undefeated record can be a daunting task to overcome.
Just ask Reynoso.
From the first round to the fifth the lanky Reynoso was able to fight the perfect fight. By generally fighting at a perfect distance he was able to land flush and not get caught in return by the taller power punching Ambriz.
In the second round, Ambriz seemed to be getting a slight edge in punching but with seconds remaining Reynoso landed a thudding one-two that caught his opponent square to win that round. Other than that close stanza, Reynoso seemed to be fighting perfectly.
In the sixth round Ambriz began to find his timing and was able to score more by simply throwing more. But Reynoso kept hitting him back flush with those sneaky land hands.
Reynoso had been landing that left hand like it was tattooed on Ambriz for most of the fight. Suddenly, a right hook caught Ambriz as he rushed in and seemed to wobble him a bit. He motored on against Reynoso who opened up with his best artillery.
Ambriz probably knew he was in trouble and stepped up the pace in the eighth and last round. Despite getting hit with those pesky Reynoso left hands the Azusa fighter kept swinging and got the edge in the final round.
With most of the audience thinking Reynoso had upset the undefeated Ambriz, it just wasn’t to be. Judge Jose Cobian had Reynoso winning 79-73, but judge Jerry Cantu had Ambriz winning 77-75 and Marty Denkin scored it a draw at 76-76.
Tijuana’s Juan Zuniga (3-6) jumped to a lead quickly against San Francisco’s Dario Castillo (5-10-1) but blew his load in the first two rounds trying to knock out his opponent. After that, it was touch and go for Zuniga and Castillo with each getting their share of punches in. After five rounds Zuniga was given the decision 50-45, 49-46, 48-47 in a junior welterweight contest.
Northern California’s Juan Tepoz (3-2-1) dropped Moreno Valley’s Sean Soloman (0-1-1) immediately with a right hand in the first round. Soloman never could recover from that deficit though he won two of the four rounds on two judge’s score cards. All three judges gave Tepoz the decision 39-36, 38-37 twice for the Santa Rosa bantamweight.
Colton’s Artemio Reyes (5-1, 5 KOs) took his time against big swinging Bhakari Gates (2-7) and caught the Oakland fighter with a perfect right hand for a knockdown in the first round. The fight continued as Gates moved cautiously but another well-time right cross by Reyes found its mark. Gates hit the floor hard and referee David Mendoza waved the fight over immediately at 2:20 of the opening round of the welterweight fight.
South El Monte’s Francisco “Huero” Mora (5-1) pulled out a win after a slow start against Seattle’s Eddie Hunter (2-2-1) in a five round middleweight bout. A solid right to Hunter’s body turned things around after the second round. One judge scored it 50-45 and the other two had it 48-47 for Mora.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV