ONTARIO, Calif.-Isaac Zarate switched gears, stood his ground and grinded out a victory against talented Christian Ayala of Tijuana in a super bantamweight clash on Friday. It wasn’t easy.
Zarate (14-3-3) fell behind Ayala’s counter-punching style before a sold out audience at the Doubletree Hotel, but he made the necessary adjustments after losing the first three rounds on the Thompson Boxing Promotions main event.
As long as Ayala had arms-length distance, the fight was his to command. But once the southpaw from San Pedro stayed in the pocket, the battle switched gears and became a battle of attrition.
A clash of heads in the fourth round saw Zarate suffer a cut around the left eye. It seemed to spark more energy from the lefty. That energy persisted and Ayala was unable to regain the momentum with his long counters.
Left and right uppercuts landed continuously for Zarate. It was something Ayala never could figure out. The Tijuana fighter kept charging but his long blows were no longer effective inside. Neither fighter was ever hurt.
Two judges scored it 77-75 for Zarate and the third saw it 78-74.
During intermission Daniel Franco was introduced to the crowd. The former featherweight contender, who suffered a brain bleed during a knockout loss last June, was in good spirits and seemed very energetic. Last year he nearly lost his life in the boxing ring.
“Thanks for keeping boxing alive,” said Franco to the crowd.
Southpaw prospect Ruben Villa IV (10-0, 4 KOs) used his laser jab to keep veteran Juan Sandoval (15-18, 5 KOs) from using any of his bag of tricks in their six round super featherweight fight. But the cagey Sandoval, who fought six days ago in Palm Springs, was able to grab a round against the Salinas boxer. It was the first time as a pro Villa lost a round according to the judges. No matter, Villa showed a snapping right hook and solid jabs to keep Sandoval from scoring an upset. Two judges scored it 60-54, and a third saw it 59-55 for Villa.
Saul Sanchez (7-0, 4 KOs) pounded the body to victory over Mexico City’s Pedro Melo (17-18-2) after four rounds in a bantamweight fight. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Pacoima, California’s Sanchez who is trained by Joel and Antonio Diaz. Sanchez had too much speed and accuracy for Melo.
Mario Hernandez (5-0, 2 KOs) wasted no time in wasting Mexico’s Jorge Careaga (1-1) with bludgeoning body blows that resulted in two knockdowns before a minute had passed. Santa Ana’s Hernandez won by knockout in 52 seconds of the first round.
South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (pictured) was too sharp for Mexico’s Anthony De Jesus Ruiz (2-5) who was floored three times in eventually getting stopped at the end of the second round. Double left hooks proved devastating to De Jesus who looked puzzled by the combination. Torres has won all four of his pro fights by knockout.
A battle between undefeated hard-hitting lightweights was won by Armenia’s Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) by unanimous decision after four rounds against Tijuana’s Sergio Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs). It wasn’t easy as Ramirez came out blasting at the opening bell but tired and was caught in between combinations by the sharp-shooting Hamazaryan who dropped the Mexican in the second round with a counter right. After that, the sizzle was gone from Ramirez who did everything he could from getting knocked out by the Armenian. Scores at the end were 39-36 twice and 40-35 for Hamazaryan.
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