Vergil Ortiz Takes Air Out of Former Champ in L.A.

LOS ANGELES-Step up and take a chance was the name of the game as two undefeated prospects saw their time under the spotlights on Saturday.

Super lightweight contender Vergil Ortiz (10-0, 10 KOs) stepped up and took his turn with the human litmus test and Mexico City’s Juan Carlos Salgado (27-9-1, 16 KOs) at the Belasco Theater in front of a packed house. ESPN televised the Golden Boy Promotions card.

Ortiz switched trainers recently, moving from the capable Joel Diaz to the capable Robert Garcia. Performing as the main event there was no discernable difference in Ortiz’s fighting style.

One thing about the lanky Dallas native that most discover quickly: he can seriously crack.

Salgado, a former WBA and IBF super featherweight world champion, was confident that he could derail the speeding train that is Ortiz’s career. His experience was too mountainous in volume for Ortiz to escape. Or so he thought.

As soon as the first round began Ortiz’s crackling blows nearly toppled Salgado who had this look of shock in his eyes after feeling the initial blows. It was a look that would repeat itself over and over until the fight ended.

The Mexico City native tried to mount an attack to the body and connected several times with thunderous blows to Ortiz’s body. But none of the blows seemed to change the look on Ortiz’s face.

Ortiz tried different attacks and moved from one side to another looking for openings. And when all else failed the Texan blasted the arms of Salgado and the mid-section.

Everything seemed to be building up toward a knockout and did when the undefeated Ortiz let loose with a left hook to the solar plexus. Salgado writhed in pain as referee Raul Caiz did not bother to count at 1:52 of the third round.

“Salgado has a lot of experience, and he showed it. He got me a few times, but I learned from this fight,” said Ortiz. “The left hook to the body is definitely my best punch. I’ve been working on it since I was a kid.”

Experience can be good, but power is better.


Fighting as a full-fledged lightweight, Hector Tanajara (14-0, 5 KOs) started carefully against the heavy-punching Venezuelan Roger Gutierrez (19-2-1, 15 KOs) but after the first round the lean Texan began surging forward behind a ramrod left jab. From there on it was business as usual.

That streamline left jab by the Texan was deadly accurate and most effective in the fifth round when he snapped Gutierrez’s head back violently three times in succession. It also must have snapped sense into the Venezuelan who realized the fight was in jeopardy.

Gutierrez had his best round in the sixth when he unleashed several right leads that connected each time. Tanajara backed off and that allowed Gutierrez to regain confidence in his attack. But not enough to make up for the slow start.

In the eighth and final round of the lightweight match Tanajara regained control with that sleek left jab. All three judges scored in favor of Tanajara 80-72, 79-73, 78-74.

“I had to listen to my corner and stay tight,” said Tanajara. “Every time a round ended, my corner would tell me to not take any risks, so I stuck to the game plan in order to win.”

Tanajara, 21, had been fighting as a super featherweight and maybe it’s time for him to remain at 135 pounds or maybe go up a weight division. According to Dr. Paul Wallace, the San Antonio fighter who trains in Riverside, Calif. weighed 20 pounds above the 135-pound limit at fight time.

Other Bouts

North Hollywood’s Ferdinand Kerobyan (9-0, 5 KOs) methodically and systematically dominated Mexico’s Edgar Garcia with blasts to the body and head. The super welterweight fight ended at 2:48 of the second round when Kerobyan unleashed some digging body shots to both sides of the Mexican fighter who slumped to the corner. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight for a knockout win for Kerobyan who showed extremely fast hands with his patient but deadly dominating performance.

“I wanted to show that not only am I powerful, but I’m also very fast,” said Kerobyan.

Kazakhstan’s Meiirim Nursultanov (20-0, 7 KOs) outworked Mexico’s Josue Obando (15-21-1, 12 KOs) from the opening bell until the end that arrived at 1:37 of the sixth round of a super middleweight fight. Nursultanov unleashed a six punch combination the caused referee Wayne Hedgepeth to stop the action for good.

“He has a very awkward style, which made me take long to really find him,” said Nursultanov, who trains in Oxnard.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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