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By David A. Avila

LOS ANGELES-Vyacheslav “Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy, ranked #5 in the light heavyweight division by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, knew ahead of time he might have a little trouble with Laredo’s Oscar Riojas and had some concern. But after a few rounds the Ukrainian with a Mexican nickname figured it out and that was bad for Riojas on Friday at the Belasco Theater.

Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) knocked out the tricky southpaw Riojas (10-6, 3 KOs) in the third round to maintain his goal of hunting down those light heavyweights ranked ahead of him.

At first Riojas with his side to side movement and awkward ducking style seemed to confuse or at least slow down Shabranskyy’s attack. The smaller Riojas was like a gnat you can’t quite swat that keeps annoying you.

After two rounds of missing swats and swings by the Ukrainian light heavyweight, it looked like Riojas was gaining a full steam of confidence. Then came the third round.

For two rounds Shabranskyy had started off with one-two combinations. But in the third round, Shabranskyy fired a lead right cross that connected to Riojas chin like a ton of bricks and down he went in sections. Somehow he got up. Shabranskyy then unleashed several blows and referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight at 1:43 of the third round.

“In the first round, I wanted to feel him out, find out what he had as a fighter. By the second round I started to expose his weaknesses and knew that I could finish the fight early, and that was what my corner was telling me to do,” said Shabranskyy. “I try to make sure I listen to my corner as they can see things that I can’t. Luckily we were able to finish the fight early and I am looking forward to the next fight.”

Riojas was morose.

“I feel really disappointed–this fight was not how I expected it to go,” said Riojas. “The knockout caught me by surprise and there was nothing I could do. I feel really disappointed about how this ended but everyone can definitely expect me back in the ring again soon.”

Other bouts

Three pretty left hooks from Ivan Delgado (10-0-1, 3 KOs) ended the night for Santa Ana’s rugged Alejandro Ochoa (7-12-2) at 1:42 of the seventh round. L.A. fighter Delgado floored Ochoa early in the first round but discovered the lightweight was a lot tougher than that.

Throughout the fight Ochoa charged ahead firing combinations to the body and Delgado responded coolly with perfectly timed left hooks. That was the answer in almost every round of the fight. Though Ochoa was staggered several times he recovered quickly and charged ahead.

Finally in the seventh round Delgado connected with a left hook and fired two more in quick succession to send Ochoa crumbly to the floor. Referee Lou Moret did not bother to count.

“I never got frustrated because I knew I had to keep my cool and land my punches so I didn’t get sloppy,” Delgado said. “That’s how I was able to successfully capture the knockout.”

Santa Ana’s southpaw slugger Alexis Rocha (4-0, 3 KOs) wasted little time in finding the weakness of Mexico’s Israel Villela (4-3) in their super welterweight match. Rocha was on attack from the opening bell and caught Villela with a jab and left cross combination that floored the Cancun fighter. Villela beat the count but was met with a right hook to the chin and two more crunching blows. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight at 1:18 of the first round for the knockout win.

“Once I had him down I knew I had to apply smart pressure to win this fight,” said Rocha, who is the younger brother of featherweight contender Ronny Rios. “I am glad I was able to finish it early and secure another victory.”

A battle between Mexican lightweights was no stand-off as Oscar Duarte (6-0-1, 3 KOs) blasted out Monterrey, Mexico’s Omar Garcia in a quick 58 seconds. Garcia may not have landed a single blow against Parral, Mexico’s Duarte who caught Garcia with a left hook then bludgeoned him till he sunk in a corner.

“I feel so blessed to have another victory under my belt,” said Duarte. “My game plan was to enter the ring calmly, and relaxed. I knew I could get the knock out when I felt like I hurt him with my body punch. I am going to keep up the discipline that I have, and turn that into more results like this.”

David “June Bug” Mijares (3-0, 2 KOs) out-classed Jorrell Sparenberg (0-2) of Houston in forcing a stoppage at 1:36 of the second round. Mijares was able to do whatever he wanted against the taller Sparenberg who tried but lacked the skills to keep from getting hit. In the second round referee Lou Moret wisely stopped the fight. Santa Monica’s Mijares brought a large crowd of supporters for his third solid pro performance.

“It feels so great to have a dramatic victory in front of my hometown crowd. I feel like I put on a great show for all the fans supporting me tonight,” said Mijares. “There are still some things I need to work on, particularly taking my time and exercising my patience in the ring, but I am just very excited about my victory tonight. I am ready for the next fight.”

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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