SAN JACINTO, CALIF.-Riverside’s Josesito Lopez kept his WBC Continental America’s lightweight title by knockout over Tijuana’s Luis “Vampiro” Arceo on Saturday and each of the California Wild Bunch scored knockout victories.

Lopez was fighting his toughest competition to date and scored three knockdowns in winning by a sixth round knockout over Arceo (19-6-2, 13 KOs) at Soboba Casino before more than 1,000 people.

“I think I proved I can compete at the next level,” said Lopez (21-2, 13 KOs).

Arceo was dropped in the first round by a perfect left hook and continued to be hurt by Lopez’s left hand throughout the fight.

“I proved to myself that I can fight the high-caliber fighters,” said Lopez.

It looked like Arceo was over-matched against Lopez but after surviving the first round the Mexican boxer began to attack Lopez’s body with some results. But oh that left hook kept popping up in the Tijuana fighter’s jaw and down he went again.

Finally in the third round, perhaps because Lopez had unloaded so many punches attempting to finish Arceo, the Mexican fighter rallied to win the third round with a consistent body attack.

Arceo seemed to feel he had the left hook figured out in the fourth round but that short left hook of Lopez found its mark again and again. Both traded punches at the end of the fifth round in a close round.

At the beginning of the sixth round Arceo seemed to have more confidence. He fired a one-two combination and ran into a counter left hook by Lopez. Down Arceo went again seemingly for good. But he rose at the count of nine and proceeded to fight again. Lopez moved in to attack once again firing combinations as Arceo had his back to the ropes.

The Tijuana fighter’s corner asked the referee to stop by the fight at 1:40 in the sixth round.

Semi-main event

Rialto’s Dominic Salcido made it look awful easy with a first round knockout over Puerto Rico’s Jose Quintana (13-12-2, 7 KOs) in a lightweight bout scheduled for six rounds. A razor sharp right hand through Quintana’s guard paralyzed him and Salcido jumped in and fired a right-left-right combination that had the Puerto Rican fighter seemingly unconscious slumped on the ropes. Referee Jose Cobian stopped the fight at 2:33 of the first round.

“I was really comfortable in there,” said Salcido (14-0, 7 KOs). “I had no idea who I was going to fight.”

Salcido is scheduled to fight on Sept. 21 in Ontario.

In perhaps the Fight of the Year in Southern California, Hector Serrano (5-0, 2 KOs) who fights out of Riverside and Anthony Ramos from Santa Barbara engaged in a brutal surreal junior welterweight fight that could have been ripped from pages of a Rocky movie. After six bloody and action-packed rounds Serrano was given the decision 59-55 on all three judge’s cards.

“It was physically the toughest fight I’ve ever been in,” said Ramos (1-3-1). “But I never thought about quitting.”

Both Ramos and Serrano suffered swollen eyes, the Riverside fighter had his nose broken and the Santa Barbara fighter suffered a large cut under the right eye. Each fighter landed telling blows but neither seemed willing to give in.

Serrano, the taller boxer, was able to land his stiff jab early. But Ramos countered the jab and began to land his counter-right. There were surprisingly no knockdowns though each scored with riveting shots.

The crowd cheered loudly for both participants and congratulated the duo as they left the ring. Serrano trains at Lincoln Boxing Club and Ramos at the Broadway Boxing Gym.

In another fight featuring a major prospect, Covina’s John Molina stepped in against an East Coast fighter Ronald Byrd who is trained by boxing Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson. Though Molina was knocked down with an overhand left by Byrd, he got up to unload a four-punch combination at 2:28 of the first round. Byrd was slumped against the ropes forcing referee Tony Crebs to halt the fight.

It was the first time in Molina’s career he had been knocked down.

“It was a lucky punch,” Molina said. “After that I had to get it on.”

After cornering Byrd, Molina fired a right hand to the jaw the dazed the DC boxer, then a barrage of four lightning quick bombs had Byrd out on his feet. The referee immediately stopped it.

“I wanted to take my time,” said Molina after the first round knockout. “But he caught me with the left. I saw his eyes go out of focus when I hit him and knew I had him.”

Another fight between junior lightweights saw Oxnard’s Fernando Quintero (4-0-1) win a split decision over San Jacinto’s Ron Hurley (1-3-2) in a four round fight. There were no knockdowns in the close battle that saw Hurley work well to the body. But two judges preferred Quintana’s volume of punches to Hurley’s well-placed blows. The judges scored it 40-36 twice for Quintero and 39-37 for Hurley.

Commerce lightweight Carlos Molina (2-0) scored a unanimous victory over Ricardo Torres (0-1) of Los Angeles who was making his debut. Though Molina clearly was the better boxer, he had problems avoiding Torres head butting. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Molina.

WBC champ Israel Vazquez honored

Israel Vazquez, who had two tremendous fights against fellow Chilango Rafael Marquez, was honored by Thompson Boxing Promotions during the fight card.

Vazquez scored a sixth round knockout of Marquez a few weeks ago. He lost by technical knockout to Marquez in March. Both have agreed to fight again probably in early 2008.

Many consider their last meeting the international Fight of the Year.