About two hours south of San Diego, the beautiful port town of Ensenada, Mexico played host to former WBO Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon's six round demolition of Tijuana's Omar Estrella.
Estrella (15-4-2, 10 KOs) proved tough and even developed a short-lived offensive attack that led to him scoring a punch/slip knockdown in the second round over the well regarded former world champion who’s now fighting one division higher as a featherweight. Ultimately, it was De Leon's brutal punching power and world class that led to the win as he continuously pushed forward and targeted Estrella’s eye which blackened and swelled up.
Fighting in front of a lively pro-Estrella crowd who traveled up the peninsula from Tijuana to see their fighter, De Leon (42-4, 35 KOs) eventually won over the audience as he caught up with and pummeled Estrella in the sixth round with a volley of unanswered shots landed forcefully to the face through the guard of his opponent.
Estrella went down to both knees and thought about getting back up. But he had taken enough punishment. It was over at 1:30 of the sixth round. It was a solid effort by Estrella but the reality is that he'd probably never been hit by the likes of De Leon. It's the first time Estrella has been stopped.
"You're one of my idols," Estrella told De Leon afterwards. "I was very happy to get the opportunity to face you."
"Like every good Mexican, he hung in there bravely and took some punishment," De Leon said. "He gave me some good work tonight."
De Leon will take the rest of the month off and then start training for a possible fight in March. As the winner of the regional WBC title that was at stake, it’s likely he’ll now be ranked as he works his way up in hopes of facing WBC featherweight world champion Jhonny Gonzalez. Talk about an intriguing matchup.
The event was televised on the Spanish television network Televisa from "La Bodega de Boxeo", a warehouse that was retrofitted and turned into a boxing venue. The lighting reflecting off the white walls made for a vivid broadcast picture.
Ensenada: future boxing destination?
According to Golden Boy Promotions executive, Raul Jaimes the city of Ensenada really embraced their promotional efforts and is excited about putting on additional shows.
It seems like the locals couldn't get enough, either, as many were left waiting outside once all the seats were quickly filled in the 1,000 plus venue.
The city made quite an impression on De Leon. "I really like Ensenada. It’s a beautiful place,” he said. “I hope to return and fight here again."
Having stuck to a strict diet while making weight, after the fight, De Leon insisted on dining at The Bahia Mariscos seafood restaurant where he enjoyed the local specialties. "I wasn't leaving Ensenada without trying their Mariscos," he said. "Very delicious."
A seaside town with huge potential, great food and great boxing? What's not to like? Bring it on. The local fans, the boxing commission and the city want it. If everything plays out as expected, Ensenada will be a regularly visited destination by promoters on both sides of the border.
Santa Cruz has easy time with “Payaso” Hernandez in co-main event:
Super bantamweight Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz (19-0-1, 11 KOs) of Los Angeles handled Alejandro “Payaso” Hernandez (24-9-2, 13 KOs) with ease and scored a fourth round TKO after Hernandez didn’t come out for the fourth round due to a damaged right hand. It was all Santa Cruz from the start as he stalked his opponent and landed one combination after the other with Hernandez not having much of an answer.
After the third round, Hernandez sat in his corner and drew attention to his hand as the referee counted him out.
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