ONTARIO, CALIF-Two rising prospects met stiff resistance in their climb up the contender ladder with NABA super bantamweight Danny Roman retaining the title by unanimous decision over Oxnard’s Erick Ruiz on Friday.
L.A.’s Roman (16-2-1, 5 Kos) made the first defense of the title with a solid win over Oxnard’s Ruiz (14-4, 6 Kos) who weathered the early storm by the champion and showed how resilient the better fighters can be. A large crowd at the Doubletree Hotel saw a pretty good fight card.
The first four rounds saw Roman blister Ruiz with blinding combinations and counters. Ruiz just couldn’t cope with the speed and had a bloody nose after the first round. Around the fifth round Roman slowed down enough for Ruiz to hang in.
Uppercuts continued to land for Roman who landed several off four-punch combinations. Ruiz countered but only one punch at a time. Roman was racking up the rounds.
Not until the eighth round did Ruiz manage to offset the avalanche of points Roman was mounting. Behind several jabs Ruiz was able to upset the timing of Roman. Jabs kept landing for Ruiz who looked to win the eighth round. He also won the ninth behind jabs and some shots to the body. Roman seemed puzzled.
The 10th and final round saw Roman attack with perfect four-punch combinations. He had been stymied for the two previous rounds but did not allow Ruiz room or time to utilize the jab. A blistering attack by Roman put Ruiz in defensive mode. Though he tried for a knockout blow Ruiz never could land the big one.
After 10 rounds two judges scored it 99-91 and another had it 98-92 all for Roman who retains the title.
San Diego’s undefeated Giovanni Santillan (17-0, 9 Kos) won by majority decision over Mexico’s Ernesto Ortiz (10-3, 7 Kos) after eight rounds in their junior welterweight clash. Santillan usually has a speed advantage against most fighters but found Ortiz equally as quick- fisted and with a longer reach. Santillan was nearly floored in the fourth round but found his footing.
Ortiz had a sneaky-quick right cross that landed frequently and bloodied Santillan’s nose in the fourth round. But the San Diego southpaw used his quick combinations to pierce Ortiz’s peek-a- boo defense and that proved the difference in the last three rounds. One judge scored it 76-76, the other two 78-74 and 80-72 for Santillan.
Utah’s Jose Haro (11-1-1, 6 Kos) struggled against the always rushing Juan Reyes (12-3-3, 2 Kos) of Riverside in their featherweight bout. Haro pulled out the win with more accurate punching and better defense to win by unanimous decision. Every round was close but the judges preferred the more accurate Haro.
Santa Ana’s Erick Ituarte (12-1-1, 3 Kos) defeated an excellent fighter in Laredo, Texas’s Angel Martinez (6-2-1, 2 Kos) in a duel between featherweights. Both had severe body attacks but it was a fifth round knockdown by Ituarte with a left hook that proved the difference. The judges had Ituarte winning by margins 59-54, 60-53 twice, but Martinez could easily have won three rounds in their six-round fight.
Indio’s Manuel Mendez (6-1-1, 3 Kos) was losing every round until he landed a right hand bomb to knock out Colombia’s Cesar Villarraga (8-1, 4 Kos) at 2:25 of the third round. From the first round it was obvious Mendez was bent on lowering Villarraga’s guard with body shots. It finally happened during an exchange that saw Mendez connect solidly on Villarraga’s chin and down he went. He tried getting up but his leg was hurt from the fall. He was helped out of the ring.
Dakota “Chosen One” Walker won his heavyweight pro debut with a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Edgar “Porky” Najera (0-5) after four rounds. Walker was in control all four rounds behind some quick jabs and one-twos. Najera tried counter-punching but was too slow to catch the faster Walker.
Photo: Carlos Baeza / Thompson Boxing Promotions