Ringside Report: Francisco Vargas Razor Sharp at Fantasy Springs

INDIO, Calif.-Former world champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas looked sharp as a razor in slicing up Rod Salka to win by stoppage on Thursday.

The Mexico City warrior Vargas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) was in total control in dominating veteran Salka (24-5, 4 KOs) before more than 1,000 at Fantasy Springs Casino. It was his second fight since losing the title in the same venue a year ago. ESPN televised the Golden Boy Promotions card.

From the opening bell Vargas was in stalk mode as Salka circled away. Although he fired punches, few of them were landing or hard enough to slow down the Mexican fighter. Meanwhile, Vargas was extremely accurate.

A left uppercut by Vargas in the fifth round had a delayed effect on Salka who dropped to a knee a full two seconds after the blow. He survived that round, but he didn’t survive the next round as Vargas continued the onslaught of blows that had Salka in full retreat and bleeding inside his mouth.

“I wanted to put on a great show and I think that I proved that. This is what we worked on in the gym. We worked on fighting cautiously, jabbing and moving my head,” said Vargas.

At the end of the sixth referee Jerry Cantu stopped the fight and Vargas was awarded the win by technical knockout.

Vargas wants a rematch with Miguel Berchelt who now has his old WBC super featherweight world title.

“I’m ready for a rematch with him, let’s go,” said Vargas. “I gave him the opportunity and I want the opportunity back.”

Regional Title

Once again Andrew Cancio (18-4-2, 14 KOs) disrupted yet another over-achiever in beating upstart Aidar Sharibayev (7-1, 6 KOs) of Miami, Florida by knockout to win the vacant WBA Inter-Continental super featherweight title.

Blythe, California’s Cancio couldn’t miss with the clean-up left hook and floored Sharibayev twice and hurt him several times more in the 10-round fight. Though the Miami boxer (7-1, 6 KOs) walked in with nearly all knockouts on his resume, he walked out suffering a loss by technical knockout 43 seconds in the 10th and final round.

The desert fighter Cancio knocked off another contender. He had previously knocked off Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado a couple of years ago and added another notch to his belt. This time he grabbed the belt too.

“I listened to my corner and I trained hard,” said Cancio who prepared in Ventura, Calif. for this fight. “I threw jabs and combinations and I kept moving my head.”

In another test fight of sort, Genaro Gamez (8-0) seemed over-matched against Japan’s Shoki Sakai (22-7-2, 12 KOs) especially fighting at the heavier welterweight division. But his speed and skills gave him an advantage against the Japanese veteran who trains in Mexico City.

Gamez tired a bit midway through the fight but slowed the ever-charging Sakai with effective body shots. From that point on Gamez was mostly in control except for some rounds where Sakai connected with solid right leads and uppercuts. After eight rounds two judges scored it 79-73 and the other 77-75 for Gamez.

“I felt great though he was much bigger,:” said Gamez. “It was good experience because he was tough.”

Other Bouts

Jonathan Navarro (14-0, 7 KOs) started quickly but slowed down after the midway point but still managed to win by unanimous decision after eight welterweight rounds against Justin Savi (9-15-1). Navarro jumped out to an early lead with effective power shots that seemed to stun Savi repeatedly. Two judges scored it 80-72 and a third 79-73 for Navarro who departed the boxing ring holding the left side of his abdomen.

Ireland’s Aaron McKenna (3-0, 2 KOs) needed less than 30 seconds to floor Keasen Freeman with a left hook in the welterweight match. The South Carolina fighter beat the count but was floored again by a short right that stopped him at 2:06 of the first round for a knockout win. McKenna showed pinpoint accuracy and timing in winning by knockout again.

“I landed some good solid shots,” said McKenna. “After he went down the first time, I knew he couldn’t handle my power.”

A super featherweight rematch saw Indio’s Javier Padilla (6-0-1, 5 KOs) defeat Mexico’s Ricardo Arias (1-3-1) by unanimous decision. Last summer the two fought to a draw in Carson, Calif. Padilla, who is trained by Joel Diaz, used his jab and defense to separate himself from Arias and connected with more precise power shots this time. But Arias showed a good chin again and withstood some heavy thunder coming his way. One judge saw it 39-37 and the other two 40-36 for Padilla.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

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