CABAZON, CALIF.-Surviving two knockdowns NABF titleholder Enrique Ornelas pounded his way to victory over Arizona’s Norberto Bravo in middleweight clash on Friday.

Ornelas probably expected an easy fight but Tucson’s Bravo (25-15-3, 14 KOs) didn’t let the size difference faze him at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa. The former Contender reality TV contestant dropped Ornelas twice before the fight was over, but it was not enough.

La Habra’s Ornelas came out firing in the first round and landed some stifling combinations that seemed to wobble Bravo. But a short right hand by the Arizona boxer connected and dropped Ornelas. Referee Lou Moret missed the knockdown and ruled it a slip.

The third round looked like Ornelas would finish Bravo, but a left hook to the back of the head dropped him and this time the referee counted the knockdown. The titleholder got up and resumed the fight.

“Yes he connected, but I was off-balance again,” said Ornelas (27-4, 17 KOs). “I was off-balance both times I was knocked down.”

From the fifth round on Ornelas began punishing Bravo to the body and mixing in some combinations to the head. Slowly Bravo seemed to wilt.

“Those body shots slowed me down,” said Bravo.

After enduring multiple punches in the seventh round Bravo’s corner told the referee to stop the fight.

“They said I was taking too many punches,” Bravo said. “The weight was too much for me.”

Ornelas, who was surprised at his opponent’s grit, said he was his toughest fight yet. But now he wants even tougher competition.

“With all respect I want to fight Kelly Pavlik the champion,” said Ornelas. Pavlik recently defeated Jermain Taylor in a rematch last week. “Bravo was a very tough fighter.”

Other bouts

Scotland’s Craig McEwan (10-0, 6 KOs) ran into a rough customer in Mexico’s Erik Esquivel (15-7-1, 12 KOs). In an eight round middleweight bout the Scottish fighter looked like he was going to cruise to victory but it didn’t happen.

“I listened to my corner and they told me what to do,” said McEwan who is trained by Freddie Roach. “My jab was working well.”

Esquivel began trapping McEwan on the ropes and landed some vicious lefts and rights. But it wasn’t enough. No knockdowns were scored and all three judges gave McEwan the decision 78-74 twice and 80-72.

“I needed more time to show people what I can do,” said Esquivel who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. “He’s a very good fighter.”

In a lightweight bout Santa Ana’s Robert Vargas (0-0-1) survived a knockdown in the first round but couldn’t survive a point deduction from the referee and fought to a unanimous draw against Michigan’s Scott Furney (1-3-1) in a brutal four round bout. Referee Lou Moret stopped the fight in the fourth due to a severe cut on Furney’s eye due to a clash of heads. All three judges scored it 37-37 a draw.

Featherweights Jose Magallon (7-5, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas and Arizona’s Gregorio Torres (5-1-1) put on an electric display in a six round fight. Magallon uses his speed and agility to keep Torres from landing too many clean blows. The judges scored it 60-54 twice and 59-555 for Magallon.

San Diego’s Chris Martin (9-0-1, 2 KOs) used a tight defense and accurate uppercuts to out-score Cathedral City’s Adrian Aleman (6-3-3, 4 KOs) in a six round junior featherweight bout. The judges scored it 58-56 twice and 59-55 for Martin.

Coachella’s Carlos Tangrago captured his first pro win in a four-round junior welterweight match against Oxnard’s Carlos Herrera with tight defense and quick spurts of punches. The judges scored it 40-36 twice and 59-55 for Tangrago.