LAS VEGAS, NV — Fight fans in Las Vegas for Saturday’s big boxing event were served appetizers on Friday in an oversized ballroom at the MGM Grand. In the main go of the Golden Boy Promotions card on ESPN, Puerto Rico’s Jesus M Rojas (26-1-2, 1 ND,19 KOs) connected with a left hook coming off the ropes late in the seventh round to put a sudden end to an entertaining skirmish with Claudio Marrero of the Dominican Republic. At stake was the WBA interim world featherweight title.
Marrero, who declined to 22-2, had faster hands but fought much of the fight with his back against the ropes, enabling Rojas to dig to the body effectively. Ironically, the knockout punch came during a rare sequence when it was Rojas that had his back against the ropes.
Rojas extended his unbeaten skein to 16, a run that includes two draws and a no-decision. After the fight, he dedicated the victory to his late father and noted that he was the second Puerto Rican in three weeks to claim a world title, following on the heels of Miguel Cotto’s conquest of Yoshihiro Kamegai.
The co-main event was a scheduled 10-round welterweight affair between Rashidi Ellis and Juan Carlos Abreu, but Ellis backed out with an undisclosed illness. A 10-round contest between junior lightweights Ryan “Kingry” Garcia and Miguel Carrizoza was bumped up on the bout sheet.
“Kingry” brought a large rooting contingent and rewarded them with a sensational showing. The 19-year-old hot prospect from Victorville, California, needed only 30 seconds to put away his Mexican opponent. An overhand right had Carrizoza on the deck moments into the fight. He beat the count but was greeted by a vicious straight left that put him down a second time. Referee Jay Nady didn’t bother to count. Garcia advanced to 11-0 with his seventh straight win inside the distance.
Philadelphia super lightweight Damon Allen (13-0-1, 5) kept his undefeated record intact with an 8-round unanimous decision over Jayro Duran (10-3), a spunky but outclassed Honduran making his U.S. debut. Allen would have pitched a shutout if not for having a point deducted for low blows.
The off-TV opener was a scheduled 8-rounder between Guadalajara super bantamweights Horacio Garcia and Diuhl Olguin. This was a rematch. When they met earlier this year in California, Olguin scored a big upset, winning a unanimous decision.
Garcia (33-3-1, 23 KOs) would avenge that defeat, stopping Olguin (11-8-2) in the fourth frame. An overhand right deposited Olguin on the deck and Garcia jumped on him when he arose, pinning him against the ropes with a volley of punches. Olguin pitched to the canvas as referee Robert Byrd was waving it off. He returned to his corner on unsteady legs but left the ring on his own power.
Also, middleweight Alexis Salazar improved to 12-3 with a 6-round unanimous decision over Evan Torres (6-5).
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