The Novo theater in downtown L.A. had a “big fight” buzz surrounding it as fight fans made their way into the venue on Friday.
All week, fans on social media were chatting about this card, which was placed on the regular ESPN TV platform.
The main event, which was for the vacant NABO featherweight title, saw undefeated fighter Joet Gonzalez facing his toughest challenge to date, Rafael Rivera.
Joet has desires to face the kingpins of the featherweight division (SantaCruz, Valdez, Russell Jr. and Warrington) but also understands that the task at hand must be taken care of first in order to position himself for a future battle with one of the current champions.
His opponent, Rafael Rivera, who fights out of Tijuana, Mexico, is a featherweight contender whose only blemish came last year in Vegas on the undercard of Canelo vs GGG. He lost a unanimous decision to the very tough Joseph “JoJo” Diaz.
Main Event: Joet Gonzalez vs Rafael Rivera
The first round both men were figuring out distance and punch angles from each other. The second round is where the battle really started. They call Rivera “the Big Bang” and rightfully so, as he was hammering Joet downstairs, which looked like Rocky hitting the meat in the freezer. Joet on the other hand was countering some, but not enough to keep Rivera off. Round 4 is when the real Joet Gonzalez showed up and his punch output increased and he started landing with accuracy. The middle to late rounds, Joet produced impressive counter punching but Rafael, with hard punches to the body, made this fight extremely interesting. In the end, Joet Gonzalez came away with the split decision.
Co-Main Event: Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada vs Jhosep Vizcaino
After her successful win at the StubHub in May, Seniesa Estrada was again looking to impress fight fans and show why Golden Boy has consistently showcased her on their events. Seniesa came out explosively in the first round, continuously landing the left hook to the head. Possessing great speed, Seniesa mixed her attack with punches to the body and head, which inevitably lead to the first knockdown of the fight. In the second, it was more of the dominating Estrada landing to the body with no answer back from Vizcaino. In the 3rd, Estrada smelled blood in the water and landed a vicious left hook to the body, sending Vizcaino to the canvas, which resulted to an immediate stoppage by the referee.
Maricella “LA Diva” Cornejo vs. Samantha Pill
Maricella Cornejo came into this fight wanting to make a statement in the middleweight division with hopes of a big fight in the immediate future. She did, in impressive fashion. The first round saw more of a feeling out round but in the second, that’s when the action quickly picked up. Pill made the adjustments on Cornejo’s 1-2 combo but she was caught with a huge right hand and hurt badly in the second. Pill survived the round. However, in the start of the 3rd, “LA Diva” jumped on her right away with big rights, which led to referee Jack Reiss stopping the fight.
Fight Fans miss watching ESPN boxing consistently on Friday nights. It has the same vibe like the old “Tuesday Night Fights” on the USA network which showcased up and coming fighters along with broadcasting occasional championship fights. There is something electric about ESPN boxing on Friday nights and this card re-emphasized that we need more of it on a consistent basis.