Ringside Report from Ontario by Special Correspondent Tarrah Zael

ONTARIO, Calif.-Summer solstice brought a near upset in a battle of southpaws and saw a local lightweight hand an undefeated fighter his first loss on this longest day of the year on Friday.

Thompson Boxing’s “New Blood” featured some of Southern California’s hot new prospects at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario but not everybody was happy, especially in the main event with many in the crowd upset at the decision and yelling
“boo” to the now super bantamweight winner.

Southpaw Isaac Zarate (15-3-3, 2 KOs) of San Pedro, CA went to war with fellow southpaw Ramiro Robles (15-8-1, 8 KOs) of Mexico. Zarate (pictured on the left) mapped out his plan to beat Robles by staying calm and perfectly timing his power shots.

It was clear in the early rounds who was the smarter and more technical fighter. However, the fight could have easily been looked at as being a draw; since we saw Robles land multiple shots on Zarate that created a huge puffy bruise under Zarate’s right eye. But, like the true warrior he is, Zarate pushed through the closing right eye and finished off the last rounds strong. Both fighters went all eight rounds, with Zarate taking home the win by way of unanimous decision. The judges scored the fight at 77-75 two times and 78-74 once.

In the semi-main event, after eight-rounds of toe to toe boxing, the judges scored the lightweight fight with a unanimous decision win for Manuel Mendez (16-2-3, 11 KOs) against previously undefeated Gilberto Espinoza (9-1, 5 KOs).

Mendez looked like the stronger and more technical fighter of the two. Although Espinoza did land multiple combinations on his opponent, it was Mendez that controlled the rounds with his intelligence by keeping Espinoza on the ropes to administer his skill.

Other Bouts

Rising boxing star Saul Sanchez (9-0, 5 KOs) of Pacoima, CA added another knockout to his undefeated record against Leonardo Torres (4-12) of Mexico in a scheduled six-round bantamweight fight. Sanchez, who is trained by Joel Diaz, took the first round by storm when he landed hard body shots on Torres and followed up with hooks to the head; the round ended with Torres outside of the ropes after stumbling backwards. The fight finalized with Torres getting knocked down by Sanchez in the third round with hard body shots. The referee stopped the fight at 2:24 in the third round.

 Anthony “2 Pretty” Chavez (6-0, 2 KOs) of Redlands, CA didn’t break a sweat as he delivered a quick knockout stoppage upon Mexico’s Josafath Vazquez (5-3). Chavez threw a flurry of uppercuts to Vazquez chin dropping him to his knee, the referee gave him a standing eight-count. Finally, hard strong combination punches saw the referee stop the fight at 1:45 in the first round for a knockout win for Chavez.

The second bout of the night awoke the crowd with lively screams and chants all rooting for their favorite pugilist in the ring George Acosta (6-0, 1 KO) of South Whittier, CA who got the unanimous decision win over Juan Albert Castillo (1-1, 1 KO). Acosta dropped Castillo in the first round of the lightweight battle; also, a fourth-round cut from a possible head-butt turned up the volume in the room as both fighters went to war. It was Castillo with his amazing overhand right and quick left hook to the body that sent Acosta to the ropes. But, Acosta’s size came into play when he delivered a perfect uppercut that visibly lifted Castillo from the ground. Two judges had the fight at 40-35 and the third at 39-36 for Acosta.

Brandon Valdes (11-0, 6 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia won by unanimous decision over Jose Fabian Naranjo (3-9-2, 1 KO) of Tijuana, Mexico in four- rounds of a super bantamweight bout. Valdes dealt many liver shots to Naranjo’s body starting from the first round; however, Naranjo’s ability to catch Valdes was vocalized loud enough to hear the strike from the crowd, but it wasn’t enough to hurt Valdes at all. Although the fight went all four rounds, it was Valdes who won the unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the fight at 40-36.

Photo credit: Carlos Baeza

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