ONTARIO, CA.----Junior featherweight contender Efrain Esquivias couldn’t make the usual 122-pound limit, fought at 136 pounds against Mexico’s Ruben Tamayo (23-5-3, 15 Kos) and was defeated by majority decision in a lightweight bout after eight rounds on Friday.
A slow and sluggish start hurt Esquivias (17-3-1), whose last fight was a televised television knockout win over Mexico’s legendary Rafael Marquez (as seen above, in Hogan Photo, Esquivias landing on Marquez). This time at the Doubletree Hotel he fought three weight divisions heavier and couldn’t seem to get unraveled for the first four rounds. Though he soon gained his rhythm, it was too late.
Tamayo won the last round with body punches –though most were below the belt – and movement that kept Esquivias from getting a peg on the moving target. There were no knockdowns and neither fighter was stunned as one judge scored it 76-76 and the other two had it 77-75 and 78-74 for Tamayo.
It was a minor setback from Esquivias who needed a win to stay in contention in his weight class.
Welterweight prospect Jose “Gato” Roman (16-1-1, 12 Kos) drove a left hook into Lauro Alcantar’s (8-2) liver and knocked him out in the first round on the undercard.
“We work every day on doing what I did,” said Roman, who has a wife and son in Garden Grove. “Every day I work hard against guys like Julio Diaz, Omar Figueroa, Diego Magdaleno and Artemio Reyes. It’s great sparring. You learn a lot.”
San Diego’s Giovanni Santillan (12-0, 7 Kos) won the battle of undefeated welterweights against Ukraine’s Daniyar Ganyk (10-1, 4 Kos) by decision after eight rounds. Santillan had the tighter defense and was able to snap Ganyk’s head back on numerous occasions. In the last two rounds the taller Ukrainian slipped into overdrive and began pummeling the retreating Santillan with some long rights and wicked lefts. It came a little too late as all three judges scored it 78-74 for Santillan.
Santa Ana’s Erick Ituarte (7-0-1) edged San Bernardino’s Juan Sandoval (7-14-1) in a four round junior lightweight bout that was contested heatedly every round. Sandoval used his longer reach to score at a distance but the judges favored Ituarte’s counter-punching. The last round proved to be the most active as Ituarte finally opened up with the punches.
Mexico’s Francisco Camacho (2-4-1) nearly upset Arizona’s undefeated Fernando Samaniego (6-0-1) in a four round junior featherweight contest. Camacho landed more combinations but Samaniego landed the big bombs. The scores were 39-37 for Camacho with two other judges scoring it 38-38 for a majority draw.