Friday Boxing Recaps: Shows in SoCal and Vegas Bleed Into a Big Weekend

Friday Boxing Recap CORONA — The latest installment of SHOWTIME’S  “ShoBox: The New Generation” emanated from the Omega Products Event Center, an outdoor venue in Corona, California. In the main event of the TV tripleheader, welterweight Taras Shelestyuk maintained his undefeated record with a harder-than-expected 10-round unanimous decision over Chicago’s Jimmy Herrera.

A 30-year-old southpaw, Shelestyuk was a member of the vaunted 2012 Ukraine Olympic team that included gold medalists Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk. Since coming to the U.S., he has sparred frequently with future HOF’er Shane Mosley at the Wild Card West Gym in Santa Monica.

The co-feature was a 10-round contest between unbeaten cruiserweights Constantin Bejanaru and Stivens “Steve” Bujaj. Bejanaru, from Catskill, New York by way of Moldova, prevailed over his Albanian-American opponent by scores of 97-91 on all three scorecards, advancing to 12-0. However, Bejanaru did little to improve his status in a sloppy bout in which neither man looked especially skilled. Bujaj declined to 16-1-1.

In the opening bout of the TV portion of the show, a lightweight affair, Manuel Mendez of Indio, California, made short work of previously unbeaten Vitor Freitas of Brazil. It was all over in 122 seconds. Freitas was winning the round when Mendez tagged him with a vicious body punch that had him writhing on the canvas, unable to beat the count. Mendez improved to 13-1-2 (9). Freitas was 13-0 going in.

In an off-TV bout of note, South Africa’s Xolisani Ndongeni made a successful U.S. debut with a workmanlike 10-round unanimous decision over Mexicali’s Juan Garcia Mendez. Ndongeni, who is signed to Art Pelullo’s Banner Promotions, is ranked #2 in the lightweight division by the WBA which recognizes Jorge Linares as their champion. He improved his ledger to 22-0.

Friday Boxing Recap LAS VEGAS

The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip was the setting for Bob Arum’s appetizer to Saturday’s big shebang at the Thomas and Mack Center. In the featured bout, San Jose’s Andy Vences advanced to 17-0 (11) with a technical decision over Casey Ramos who lost for the first time in 24 outings.

Vences opened up a bad cut under Ramos’ left eye in the eighth stanza. An accidental head butt in the next round worsened the injury and, at the advice of the ring physician, the bout was terminated. It went to the scorecards where Vences, who had a significant height and reach advantage, got the nod, prevailing by scores of 87-84, 86-85, and 88-83. Ramos hopes to fare better on Tuesday. He is up for election in a race for City Council in Austin, Texas.

In the co-feature, Mexico-born Alex Saucedo, from Oklahoma City, improved to 23-0 with a hard fought 8-round decision over Philadelphia’s Ray Serrano who had several good moments in a bout that produced a robust final round. Saucedo, now 23-0 (14), had his new trainer Abel Sanchez in his corner.

The best boxer on the show, Philadelphia super middleweight Jesse Hart, had little trouble with Phoenix’s Andrew Hernandez, dropping him with a left uppercut in the opening round and finishing matters with a barrage of punches in Round 3, forcing the referee to intervene. Hart, now 21-0 (17) got little exposure as his bout wasn’t included in the UniMas telecast, but showed those in attendance that he is ready to compete against the better fighters in the division.

The show was brief. The boxers on the 5-bout card answered the bell for only 27 full or partial rounds. But the show was very entertaining, hopefully a portent of good things to come at the PPV extravaganza this evening.
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