CABAZON, Calif. – New Mexico’s Monica Lovato came from behind with intense pressure to win by majority decision over Fontana’s Heather Percival on Friday in a junior bantamweight fight.

In front of more than 500 people at Morongo Casino, Lovato, ranked in the top 10 by several boxing organizations, increased the pressure after losing the first two rounds according to two judges. Then she began firing lefts despite getting a bloody nose in the fourth round of the six-round bout.

“I always start out slow. I knew she moved good but not that good,” said Lovato (8-1, 4 KOs), whose only loss came in California. “She hit hard too.”

Percival (7-3), who is also ranked in the top 10 in the world by several boxing organizations, used her speed and combination punches to jump out ahead in the first two rounds. It seemed the Fontana fighter was too fast for Lovato and would score and easy victory. But Lovato adjusted.

“I don’t know why I always start so slowly,” said Lovato, from Espanola, a small town outside of Santa Fe. “Later I began cutting off the ring, but she was a great fighter.”

The last two rounds saw Percival start quickly with three-punch combinations. Lovato retaliated with right hooks and left hands down the pipe.

“She has long arms,” said Percival. “Usually I can step back from a punch and not get hit. But she was reaching me.”

The judges scored it 57-57, 59-55, 58-56 for Lovato.

“No excuses, she was a good fighter,” Percival said. “I’d love a rematch.”

In other bouts

Hesperia’s Jerry Pavich (2-2-1) stopped San Jose’s Juan Ramos (0-2) at 1:39 of the third round in a flyweight bout scheduled for four rounds.

San Diego’s Lester Gonzalez (2-0) scored a technical knockout against Sacramento’s James Jefferson (1-2) in a middleweight bout. Former Cuban amateur star Gonzalez, a southpaw, dropped Jefferson twice in the third round with left hands. Referee James Jen Kin stopped the fight at 58 seconds of the round.

Culiacan, Mexico’s Orlando Lora (14-1-1, 12 KOs) scored a technical knockout against Christian Solano (10-10-1, 6 KOs) of Los Mochis in a welterweight fight. Solano’s corner stopped the fight at the end of the seventh. Lora scored two knockdowns, but was penalized a point for hitting him while he was down.  

The middleweight bout between Joseph McAllister of Long Beach, California and Jonathan Embry of Los Angeles ended at 1:50 of the first round. McAllister dropped Embry twice with thunderous right hands.