Junior welterweights Arnold Barboza Jr. of South El Monte, California, and Danielito Zorrilla of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico knew a good performance Friday night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino would be more than just a win. It could vault them into play with vacant titles available someday soon.
Barboza Jr. (27-0, 10 KOs) seized the opportunity, using speed, punch selection, and superior footwork to defeat Zorrilla (16-1, 12 KOs), winning a minor WBO title. Scorecards were 98-92 and 97-93 X 2.
“I'm a little rusty. It's been a while,” admitted Barboza Jr., who fought for the first time in a year after staying busy during the pandemic with multiple fights in The Bubble. Barboza Jr. gave credit for the win to his father/trainer, Arnold Barboza Jr.
Barboza Jr. beat Zorrilla to the draw consistently with his speed and timing. While he's not a knockout artist, Barboza Jr. thrilled his fans in the house, buzzing the Puerto Rican with uppercuts and a chopping left and kept him honest with good bodywork.
Zorrilla could punch and found the target, but he could only manage single punches for much of the fight. It was not enough to slow Barboza Jr. down. In the second half of the ten-round bout, Zorilla began losing steam. His footwork wasn't solid underneath him.
The scores don't reflect the final round drama as Zorrilla dug deep, hurting Barboza Jr. and creating a chance to turn the entire fight around. With trainer and former pro Rocky Martinez urging him on from the corner, Zorrilla did what he could to follow through, but he didn't have enough left. It made for an exciting finish to an entertaining fight.
Barboza Jr.'s fans hoped for a knockout, and Barboza Jr. said he tried to deliver. “I was trying to relax. It was hard. We're going back to the gym, and we'll be ready.”
Barboza Jr. is 30 years old, and if he's going to get a title fight, the time is now. After the fight, Barboza Jr. said his target was Teofimo Lopez. Lopez doesn't currently hold a title, but this could change if current unified champion Josh Taylor moves up a division and puts his belts up for grabs.
Raymond Muratalla Scores Shutout Win, But KO Streak Ends
Lightweight Raymond Muratalla of Fontana (15-0, 13 KOs) took it hard to a game opponent in Jair Valtierra of Leon, Mexico (16-2, 8 KOs). Despite being knocked down, Valtierra survived to the final bell, ending Muratalla's nine-fight winning streak. But the lightweight trained by Robert Garcia can't be disappointed. He delivered an exciting action fight, winning all three cards 80-71 for the decision.
“I feel like I should have stopped him,” said Muratalla, who sometimes shook his left hand during the fight after landing his hard shots, including the fourth-round knockdown, placed perfectly on the temple and causing Valtierra's legs to tie up and stop working. “My knuckles, man, just from punches. It was tough. He had a strong head,” said Muratalla.
Muratalla landed 51% of his power punches with surgical precision, catching Valtierra and disarming him with exceptional skill. Valtierra's toughness was impressive, but his desire didn't match his skills.
Richard Torrez Jr. Shows Growth In Second Pro Win
The opening bout on the main card didn't give fans of Olympic heavyweight silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr. of Tulare, California (2-0, 2 KO) enough of their favorite fighter for their liking. They booed when referee Eddy Hernandez stopped the bout after 58 seconds as Torrez Jr. turned up the heat against the ill-equipped Roberto Zavala Jr. of Del Rio, Texas (2-2-1, 2 KO). It was a far improved performance in his second pro fight by Torrez Jr., with solid straight power punches on display.
Undercard Entertainment: Stephen Shaw, Floyd Diaz Work Fast For Wins
Heavyweight prospect Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw of St. Louis (17-0, 13 KOs) was true to his name, blowing out Bernand Marquez of Imperial Valley CA (14-5-1, 10 KOs) in a single round. Shaw started the carnage 90 seconds into the first round with a hard left hook Marquez didn't see coming. He hurt Marquez a second time and unleashed his arsenal, finally dropping Marquez for good at 2:35 of round one.
Junior featherweight Floyd “Cash Flow” Diaz of Las Vegas (6-0, 2 KO) picked up right where he left off in April. He delivered a strong power punching performance ending in a third-round knockout win over Pedro Salome of Anaheim (3-1-1, 1 KO).
Featherweight Austin Brooks of San Diego (7-0. 2 KO) sent his San Diego fans home happy with a shutout performance in four rounds over Victor Saravia of Los Angeles (1-3, 1 KO). The scorecards were all 40-36. Brooks and heavyweight Stephen Shaw are stablemates.
Welterweights Adrian Yung of Los Mochis, Mexico (28-7-3, 22 KOs) and Jorge Marron Jr. of San Diego (20-3-2, 7 KOs) warmed up the crowd, delivering even-handed action and fighting to a majority draw with two cards equal and the third going to Yung of 59-55.