Top Rank on ESPN has returned to the Southern California region by way of Los Angeles for their Saturday card at the Banc of California soccer stadium.
This was the first boxing event held at the stadium so it will be interesting how the event is received by the hardcore boxing fans of L.A.
It’s been an interesting nine months for WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (27-1) who not only beat former champion Isaac Dogboe once in December of 2018 for the WBO title but he came right back in May of this year, to do it once again in a more convincing fashion.
After Jose Benavidez had to pull out for a leg injury a few weeks back, Navarrete was placed as the headliner for this event and is looking to continue to prove the doubters wrong by attempting to put on a star making performance.
His opponent is Francisco De Vaca (20-0) who is a undefeated super bantamweight that is primed and ready for this title opportunity. He recently won a unanimous decision victory over Ernesto Guerrero in February of this year but only fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017. Will the inactivity in the last couple of years play a part in this main event?
Here is how the fights unfolded on Saturday night.
Main Event: Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (27-1) vs. Francisco “Panchito” De Vaca (20-0)
This one had fireworks written all over it. In the first round, no one was being shy as both men were landing heaving leather. In the second round, Navarette landed a counter right hook that sent “Panchito” to the canvas. Navarrete tried to finish him but De Vaca was just too tough.
In the third round, it was a “Gatti-Ward” type of round as both men were relentless with power shots but in the end, it was Navarrete that had more in the tank which led the referee to stop the fight. Your winner in a short thriller is Emanuel Navarrete.
Co-Main: Jesse Magdaleno (26-1) vs. Rafael Rivera (27-3-2)
This one was every bit of a “Mexican Style” fight as you can find. Rivera was tough as expected but Magdaleno showed an improved defense and a good bounce on his legs. The looping right hook was the “go to” for Magdaleno in the second round while also hurting Rivera in the third round with a right hook to the body. In the fourth, a clash of heads busted Magdaleno’s nose but he kept cool and stayed with his game plan. The fifth through the eighth round was more of Rivera coming forward while Magdaleno was countering and being smart defensively. In the ninth round, it was a left hook that knocked down Rivera and when going in for “the kill”, Rivera hit Magdaleno with an elbow which opened his eye and led to the stoppage.
The fight went to a technical decision and the three judges saw this one 88-82,89-81 & 89-81 all for the winner Jesse Magdaleno. There was a question about whether Magdaleno could hang at the featherweight division and he showed against a tough opponent that he belongs and his power moved up with him.
Arnold Barboza Jr.(21-0 ) vs. Ricky Sismundo (35-14-3)
The weigh-in was interesting as Sismundo came as the hulk but unfortunately he did not fight like it. Barboza Jr. controlled this fight from the start and in the third round, Barboza Jr. landed a left hook that sent Sismundo to the canvas. In the fourth round, Barboza Jr. was just teeing off on Sismundo and at the end of the round, Sismundo bent over and the corner stopped the fight. Your winner by knockout is Arnold Barboza Jr.
Janibek Alimkhanuly (6-0) vs. Stuart McLellan (27-3-3)
Alimkhanuly showed right away some great fundamentals and a stiff right jab. Although he only has six fights, he showed that he is more experienced than what his record reflects. In the second round, it was a very slick left uppercut that knocked down McLellan but was unable to finish the job. Rounds three and four, it was more right jab and left upper cut combinations by Alimkhanuly that were landing which were hurting McLellan. In the fifth round, McLellan was caught with a left hook which led to another knockdown and when he got up, he was welcomed with a flurry of punches which led to the referee stopping the fight. Your winner is Janibek Alimkhanuly by fifth round TKO.
Chris Van Heerden (27-2-1) vs. Aslanbek Kozaev (33-2-1)
In the first round, both men were establishing distance to figure out the range this one was going to take place. Rounds two through three, Van Heerden was just too slick and too fast for Kozaev who looked as though he just couldn’t get going. In the fifth round, two nasty cuts opened up by way of head-butt on Van Heerden which was affecting his vision. The corner did a great job on the cuts and minimized the blood flow which allowed Van Heerden to continue his work all the way to a unanimous decision victory.(79-73, 79-73 & 78-74)
Javier Molina (19-2) vs. Manuel Mendez (16-5-3)
This fight was a straight up “club show” type of fight. It was nothing but back and forth action which didn’t look as though any one fighter was dominating the other. While at ringside it seemed a little tough to score, the judges saw this one as a unanimous decision victory for Javier Molina with the scorecards showing 79-73,79-73 & 78-74.
Dimitry Yun (1-0) vs. Javier Martinez (4-6)
The first 15 seconds was interesting as Yun was knocked down with a straight right hand by Martinez. In the second, Martinez kept oddly spitting his mouth piece out which was annoying referee Jack Reiss. In the third round, Yun was knocked down again with the same right hand by Martinez. Rounds four through six saw some good back and forth action. In the end, the judges saw this one 57-54,57-54 & 56-54 for your winner and still undefeated Dimitry Yun.
Prospect ALERT: Elvis Rodriguez (2-0-1) vs. Jesus Gonzales (6-2)
Freddie Roach has said in multiple interviews that one of the prospects he is really excited about is Elvis Rodriguez. I have seen him fight three times now and I can see why Freddie is excited. Elvis is a southpaw and started with a good jab in round one but it was a whipping right hook that sent Gonzales down for the first knockdown of the night. Once he got up, Rodriguez landed a straight left sending Gonzales down again but this time, the referee decided he had enough. Elvis Rodriguez wins by first round knockout. Make sure you put this kid on all of your radars!
This fight card didn’t have big names attached to it but it was just what the boxing fans were looking for on a Saturday afternoon/evening in L.A. The hardcore fans truly enjoyed their boxing experience and I would expect that more events will be held in this arena in the future