Lightweight William “El Cameron” Zepeda came on like a zombie against former champion Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. in the main event Saturday in San Diego. Zepeda of Mexico (26-0, 23 KOs) won a lopsided decision victory over Diaz Jr. of Downey, California (32-3-1, 15 KOs) by scores of 119-109 X 2 and 118-110. NYFights.com had it scored 118-110.
The undefeated Mexican fighter’s stamina and work rate were relentless, making it nearly impossible for Diaz Jr. to stop him or slow him down. Zepeda never let up for 12 grueling rounds, blitzing Diaz Jr. to the body and head. Diaz Jr. landed effective power punches at times, especially a hard right hook to the head. But he never significantly hurt Zepeda, and he didn’t hit him enough to make a dent.
Zepeda said he was grateful for the victory. “The victory is not just mine, it’s my team’s as well. I knew that he was a complicated fighter. My respects to him, his team, and Golden Boy for the opportunity as well. I studied him very well. There were a lot of comments on social media that said this would be my toughest test. I think I passed the test excellently. I’m ready for the best at 135.”
Zepeda’s high mountain training camps in the Mexican interior state of Jiquipilco pay off for him against fighters like Diaz Jr., who has all the fortitude it takes to let lesser opponents gas out and take over. In this case, Zepeda never slowed down to give Diaz Jr. a chance.
Diaz Jr. credited Zepeda’s pressure for shutting his offense down. “He threw a lot of shots. I was trying to land my body shots, trying to land effective shots, break him down. I felt I was a little bit, but I wasn’t picking it up as much as I should have. He was a better man this fight. I knew he would put on a lot of pressure. But consecutive, constant nonstop pressure, it’s pretty tough,” explained Diaz Jr.
After taking time off, Diaz Jr. said he would go back to the drawing board and continue to be “the type of fighter always fighting the best.” Zepeda believes he’s among the best in the 135-pound division and wants to continue seeking big opportunities.
Lex Rocha Rolls In Firefight
Orange County native Alexis “Lex” Rocha (21-1, 13 KOs) got more than he expected coming at him from challenger Jesus ‘Ricky’ Perez of Tijuana (24-4, 18 KOs). Rocha won in a blowout on the scorecards, retaining NABO Welterweight title by decision. Judges gave Perez just a single round (100-89, 100-90, and 99-91). “This is a tough hombre,” said Rocha of his opponent.
Fans were ready to head for the craft beer stands after Rocha blasted Perez with body shots and uppercuts through the first few rounds. Perez refused to hold, refused to yield, and emptied the tank against Rocha. He never seriously hurt Rocha, but he landed enough punches to make Rocha work for the win.
Rocha was testing his recovery from a torn tendon in his right hand, and it may have taken just a touch off his power shots.
“I wanted to break him down, I thought he’d be out in the second round. But he kept it up, my hat’s off to him. He took me by surprise,” said Rocha. Rocha said these are the kind of rounds he needs to prepare for bigger challenges. He named Keith Thurman and Conor Benn among the opponents he’d like to face in his next fight. Rocha will need to shore up his defense against bigger punchers.
And The New: Arely Mucino Becomes IBF World Flyweight Champion by SD
Arely Mucino of Monterrey, Mexico (32-3-2, 11 KOs) delivered a victory to her fans in San Diego, defeating champion Leonela Yudica of Argentina (17-1-3) to become the new IBF World Flyweight champion. Mucino won the close contest by split decision (97-93, 96-94 for Mucino, 96-94 for Yudica). Yudica didn’t yield easily in her 11th title defense as Mucino pressed the action, backing up Yudica throughout the fight.
Mucino suffered a hematoma due to a headbutt in the third round, but her cornermen kept it from stopping the bout. Credit goes to trainer Joel Diaz who urged Mucino forward. Mucino had predicted a tough battle, but with the crowd and her corner behind her, she pulled it off. Awaiting her is a unification fight with WBA and Ring Magazine World flyweight Champion Marlen Esparza, sitting ringside. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya confirmed the matchup was likely.
Mucino dedicated the fight to her late father, who died of COVID-19 a year ago. “This belt belongs to him. I am just so happy, and I can’t believe it.” Mucino said she’d leave future matchups to her promoter, and go home to Mexico to celebrate with her team and family including her husband former world flyweight champion Angel “Tito” Acosta,
Early Undercard Results from San Diego
Jorge “El Niño Dorado” Chavez of San Diego (4-0, 3 KOs) donned the San Diego Padres City Connect colors and had the crowd on his side in his bout against Adrian Leyva of Houston (3-4-2, 1 KO). Chavez suffered his first pro knockdown in the first minute of the fight, but returned the favor before the round was over, and the pair pounded their way to a decision win for Chavez. Scores were 60-57, 59-55, and 58-55. “It was like a light switch. I turned the light back on,” said Chavez of the knockdown. “I didn’t expect to go to war with this guy.” Call it a good learning experience for the 22-year-old prospect, who promised to bring a championship title home within the next two years.
In a battle to remain undefeated, Hector Valdez of Dallas (16-0, 8 KOs) got the nod by split decision against Max Ornelas of Las Vegas (15-1-1, 5 KOs). Scores were 97-93 X 2 for Valdez, and 97-93 for Ornelas. It was a difficult, awkward fight to watch, with neither man willing to lay it all on the line and engage. The San Diego crowd let the fighters know they weren’t thrilled about the lack of activity.
Japhethlee Llamido of Norwalk (10-0, 4 KOs) made quick work of Pablo Cruz of Houston (22-56-1, 6 KOs). The featherweight prospect needed just 1:36 of a scheduled eight rounds to force a TKO stoppage with a repeated series of left hooks and body shots.
Asa Stevens of Hawaii (3-0, 1 KO) sent Mychaquell Shields of San Diego home with a loss annd a learning experience in his super bantamweight pro debut. Scores in the decision win were all 40-35.
Flyweights Jan Salvatierra of Los Cabos, Mexico (9-2, 4 KOs and Robert Ledesma of San Antonio (3-9, 2 KOs) gave the fans a show. Ledesma dropped Salvatierra in round one, but the Mexican came back to get his revenge with scores of 38 – 37 for the win.