INGLEWOOD, CALIF.-WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt proved his win was not a fluke and led the fight card with a successful defense of his world title against the super aggressive Takashi Miura of Japan on Saturday.
A crowd of 5,846 at the Forum saw two super featherweight title fights including Mexico’s Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) retain the belt with a 12 round unanimous decision over former champion Miura (31-4-2, 24 KOs).
Berchelt had taken the title away from fellow Mexican Francisco Vargas who had taken it away from Miura. This time the title stuck with Berchelt who knocked down the Japanese warrior in the first round with a right-left combination. It got harder after that.
Miura concentrated his attack to the body of the always moving Berchelt whose awkward style of moving and hitting from his toes looks like a dance move. Slowly the Japanese fighter closed the distance and was able to strike with more than one blow at a time as the fight continued.
But the Mexican from Cancun proved resilient to the body blows and the sneaky left overhand blows coming from Miura. That showed just how tough the fighter from the tropics could be.
“I knew he was tough,” said Berchelt. “He hurt me at times to the body. But we prepared well for this fight. I knew I was going to fight an ex-world champion.”
Miura was gracious in defeat.
“Berchelt was a smart fighter,” Miura said. “He did not allow me to get my distance.”
All three judges scored it for Berchelt 116-11, 119-108, 118-109.
WBA super featherweight world titlist Jezreel Corrales (22-1, 8 KOs) was floored twice in the fight against Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos (22-12, 14 KOs) but rallied to win a majority technical decision in a bloody fight.
Panama’s speedy Corrales entered with bleached blonde hair and showed off his speed and reflexes early from his southpaw stance. But Castellanos showed he was plenty prepared in flooring the quick lefty twice in the fourth round.
But just when it looked like Castellanos would take over the fight, Corrales sent the Mexican down with a lead left cross in the seventh round. Head clashes were seen throughout the fight with Castellanos getting the worst of it.
Early in the 10th round another clash of heads resulted in a gash near the left eye of Castellanos. The fight was stopped by the ringside physician and went to the score cards according to California and ABC rules. One judge saw it 94-94 and the other two 94-93 and 96-92 for Corrales who retains the world title.
Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) survived an early knockdown from Joe Smith (23-2, 19 KOs) and took over the fight to win by unanimous decision and take the WBC International light heavyweight title.
Smith started out quick and connected with a counter left hook during a furious exchange that delivered Barrera to the canvas at the end of the first round. He got up groggily and was lucky it came with seconds before the bell.
From the fourth round on Barrera used his skills and varied attacks to put the offensive-minded Smith into defensive mode. He was out of his depth.
Barrera tried for the knockout but Smith withstood every charge and actually benefited from every attack. But when it resumed into a strategic mode Smith could not find the antidote for the Cuban fighter’s array of skills. After 10 rounds all three judges scored it for Sullivan 97-92 twice and 96-93.
“I feel very happy about this win. Joe Smith is a great champion and I respect him very much,” said Barrera. “When Smith knocked me down in the first round I got back up cause that’s who I am.”
Victorville’s Ryan “KingRy” Garcia (10-0, 9 KOs) barely let his large fan contingent sit in their seats before a quick right delivered Mexico’s Mario Macias (27-22-1, 14 KOs) to the floor. Groggily the Mexican veteran of more than 40 pro fights got up with a look of determination and was soon met with a snapping left hook and another one of those crisp right crosses that short-circuited Macias again. Referee Jack Reiss did not bother to count and ended the fight at 1:18 of the first round.
Garcia, 18, scored his sixth consecutive knockout and each time he seems a little more impressive than the previous. In this fight, it seemed Macias was warned about Garcia’s left hook. He never saw the right cross coming like a sidewinder missile. Twice.
This was supposed to be a test of Garcia’s pure athleticism and youth versus an experienced pro who had fought world champion Gervonta Davis. It ended in the same result – a first round knockout.
“I wouldn’t rate this as my best performance since I think my first fight against Tyrone Luckey was the best,” said Garcia who turns 19 in August. “I want to be on the Canelo-GGG card and continue to step up the level of opponents I face. Maybe when I’m 20 years old I will start to call out world champions.”
A battle between a fringe contender Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) and an old Mexican warhorse Martin Honorio (33-11-1, 16 KOs) ended by knockout in the eighth round as referee Tom Taylor saw enough and ended the one-sided fight 18 seconds into the round. Gesta floored Honorio with an evil left cross in the fourth round. Though the former world champion battled on, he was getting pounded by Gesta repeatedly.
Diuhl Olguin (11-7-2, 10 KOs) showed why most of his wins are by knockout or not at all and Horacio Garcia (33-3-1, 22 KOs) found out why. A quick one-two by Olguin put Garcia down in the second round. Garcia rallied back in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, but then Olguin decided to increase the pressure. In the eighth round a right cross dropped Garcia again but he survived until the final round. All three judges scored it for Olguin 77-73 twice and 76-74.
“I’m very happy about my first win outside of Mexico,” said Olguin who lives in Guadalajara. “I had to move up a couple of weight classes to take this fight.”
Manny Robles Jr. (13-0, 5 KOs) won by technical knockout at 1:08 of the fifth round of a featherweight bout versus Mexico’s Christian Esquivel (29-12, 22 KOs). The fight was stopped by Esquivel’s corner after he was hit with a counter right. He protested the stoppage but his own corner asked for the stoppage.
Photo credit: Al Applerose
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