CARSON, CALIF.—It was an ugly, frustrating fight for the fans, but Ukraine’s Viktor Postol rallied from behind to score a stunning knockout in the 10th round against Argentina’s powerful Lucas Matthysse to win the vacant WBC junior welterweight title on Saturday.
A loud, mostly pro-Matthysse crowd was shut down to silence when Postol (28-0, 12 Kos) scored a knockout of Matthysse (37-4, 34 Kos) to win the world title before more than 7,500 at the StubHub Center. It was a shocking ending to a fight infested with holding.
For most of the junior welterweight world title fight Matthysse was the aggressor as Postol moved around the ring and held whenever the Argentine fighter closed in. Matthysse tried again and again to fire blows while Postol held.
Referee Jack Reiss warned Postol in the third round and again in the fifth round. Fans became increasingly angry at the Ukrainian fighters’ willingness to hold instead of fight. Meanwhile Matthysse was piling up points.
Postol made his move in the fourth round with two combinations. But he then resorted to holding again.
In the 8th round Postol began unleashing quick combinations that scored. Matthysse seemed arm weary and shook his hands a few times. Postol won the ninth round too with some more pinpoint combinations. Matthysse fired some shots to the body and a left hook to the head, but Postol seemed to win the round.
The referee informed both fighters that it was the 10th round. Matthysse should have heeded the warning. He ran into a right cross to the eye and went to the floor. The referee counted to 10 and Matthysse was ruled knocked out though he was conscious at 2:58 of round 10.
“I felt a pop in my eye,” said Matthysse, adding that he could have got up, but did not want to risk further eye damage. “He had his night.”
Postol credited trainer Freddie Roach for the victory.
“I used the right uppercut and left hook over and over again at the Wild Card,” said Postol. “It was a combination I worked on over and over.”
San Diego’s Antonio Orozco (23-0, 15 Kos) out-maneuvered former world champion Humberto Soto (65-9-2, 35 Kos) of Tijuana over 10 rounds with a varied attack against the veteran from Mexico in their junior welterweight clash.
Despite faking a low blow in the ninth round, Soto was unable to keep up with Orozco’s fast pace, though he did have some good moments in the first, fourth and sixth round.
Soto showed his experience and world class chin early in the fight. Some well-timed counters caught Orozco, especially in the second round toward the end. Orozco seemed stunned by a right uppercut.
Soto was able to land combos, especially the right uppercut early in the fight. But Orozco made adjustments in the fight to take away that punch and maneuvered into strafing Soto with body and head shots.
Orozco pummeled the body throughout the fight. Most of the boxing world knows Soto can take a head shot, but the body of the former Mexican champion no longer absorbs body shots after so many years. Orozco dropped Soto with a left to the liver and Soto feigned a low blow in the ninth round. Referee Jerry Cantu erroneously ruled it a low blow and deducted a point from Orozco, who protested. Soto used the same tactic against John Molina in his last fight with success. This time, one point would not be enough.
Despite the deduction, Orozco had piled up enough points with his varied attack of inside fighting and outside fighting. The jab proved effective in the last three rounds. Orozco did not allow Soto to trap him against the ropes. The Mexican fighter never could land the knockout blow though he tried often to set it up.
After 10 rounds the judges scored it 97-92 twice and 98-91 for Orozco.
Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez (15-0, 8 Kos) proved too polished and smart for Mexican veteran Hugo Partida (20-6-2, 15 Kos) in winning almost every round in their 10-round featherweight clash. Ramirez connected early with hard combinations that seemed to change Partida’s plan of attack. After the third round Ramirez was forced to initiate the action while Partida chose to counter with body shots. It was the only location he could connect.
“I felt like I dominated the fight throughout,” said Ramirez. “Although I hurt my hand in the second round and felt comfortable using my left hand.”
Ramirez, a southpaw, was effective with combinations and showed off good footwork in evading Partida’s attacks. It wasn’t a complete one-sided fight, but each round saw the fighter from East L.A. just land more accurate punches in combinations. Partida showed a good chin throughout the fight. He was caught with right uppercuts early, then straight left cross bombs. None could make him stumble.
After 10 rounds, two judges scored it 100-90 and one 99-91 for Ramirez.
Mercito Gesta defeated Mexico’s Miguel Mendoza by unanimous decision despite suffering a knockdown in the second round that should have been ruled a slip. It took the Filipino southpaw a few rounds to figure out the awkward fighting Mendoza, who fired over-hand rights that sounded like they landed, but did not. More often Mendoza’s punches were not landing with knuckles but with the inside of the glove. It sounded nice but it was mere sound, not effect.
Gesta was the much faster fighter but found it confusing to adjust to the weird crouching style of Mendoza who fired looping shots that fired up the crowd, but seldom landed flush. Early in the fight Mendoza did catch Gesta with some good blows but they were far from common.
After 10 rounds, the junior welterweight fight ended, with all three judges scoring it for Gesta 96-93, and 97-92.
“I kind of adjusted my style,” Gesta said after the fight.
Nick Arce (5-0) remained undefeated and handed Tijuana’s Juan Hernandez (3-1) his first defeat. After three competitive rounds Arce ended the discussion with a knockout at 29 seconds into round four in their super featherweight contest.
Argentina’s Marcelino Lopez (32-1-1, 17 Kos) defeated David Rodela (17-12-4) of Oxnard by knockout to win their junior welterweight match.
D’Mitrius Ballard (10-0) of D.C. defeated Northern California’s Juan Rojas (8-13-1) by decision in a light heavyweight clash.
Alejandro Ochoa (7-10-2) upset Kevin Rivers (12-1, 9 Kos) of Maryland by decision after six rounds in a super featherweight fight.