Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California has a mystique about it that is equivalent to the old Yankee stadium in the Bronx. Some serious battles have been held at the place named “War Grounds” and this evening, the main event and those on the card, were hoping to provide the type of action that will continue the legacy of great fights in that arena.
WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Rey Vargas (33-0) is a tall and highly skilled fighter who uses every bit of that long frame to his advantage, which has led to nothing but victories. In his last fight, the champion Vargas cruised to a unanimous decision victory over Franklin Manzanilla. Prior to that though, he fought only once in 2018 while fighting three times in 2017.
The challenger and WBC interim Champion Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda (36-2) was all smiles on fight week as he was coming into this evening’s main event full of confidence. Kameda is also looking to avenge a loss he had to Vargas in the amateurs. With his last four fights being held in Japan, this will be the first time since 2015 that Kameda has fought in the U.S.
Here is how tonight’s fights unfolded.
Main Event: Ray Vargas vs. Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda
The first round was interesting because it was Kameda’s overhand right that was making a ton of noise while Vargas was establishing distance. The remainder of the fight consisted of Kameda landing the over hand right in spots while Vargas was throwing the inside uppercut that led to immediately holding. The fight consisted of a lot of hit and holding and reminded me of a Klitschko fight. In the end, all three judges saw this one 117-110 for the winner and still WBC Champion Ray Vargas.
Co-Main Event: Diego De La Hoya (21-0) vs. Ronny Rios (30-3)
In the first round, there wasn’t much going on as both men were trying to establish the distance they wanted to be at for the remainder of the fight. In the second round, Rios stunned De La Hoya with a straight right hand down the middle but was unable to capitalize off of it. In the third, a left hook stunned De La Hoya again but it was De La Hoya who gained his composure and continued to put pressure on Rios. The fourth was a bit of an off round for both men but in the fifth, they went blow for blow which had the crowd on their feet at the end of the round. In the sixth round, Ronny Rios landed a crushing left hook to the body which was followed by a right uppercut to the head sending Diego to the canvas for the knockdown. When De La Hoya got up, he told the referee he did not want to continue. Ronny Rios won by sixth round knockout in a thriller.
Joet Gonzalez (22-0) vs. Manual Avila (23-1-1)
Coming into this fight, there was plenty of buzz behind Joet Gonzalez who went on TalkBox with Michael Woods on Tuesday, saying that he was ready for a world title at the end of 2019. Was it all hype or was the hype real? Gonzalez started off a little slow in rounds one and two as it seemed that Avila’s movement was giving him some issues. One thing that was working for Gonzalez was the straight right hand that he landed successfully while Avila was pumping the left jab and landing combinations at will. In the third round, Gonzalez finally turned it up and started to show why everyone is really high on him by landing precise straight right hands while mixing in a crisp left hook and uppercut. In the fourth, Avila’s eye started really swelling giving him problems seeing which resulted in more effective left hooks from Gonzalez. In the fifth round, it was a left hook to the head that sent Avila down to the canvas for the first and only knockdown of the fight. In the sixth round, Gonzalez just started pouring it on and the commission jumped on the apron stopping the fight. Joet Gonzalez wins by sixth round knockout.
Rocky Hernandez (28-0) vs. Roger Gutierrez (21-3-1)
As soon as this one started, Gutierrez started immediately with the straight right hand down the middle and he was landing it with success. Rocky looked as though he was thrown off and was trying to find a way to counter it but couldn’t right away. Towards the middle of round one, Gutierrez landed a crushing straight right hand that knocked down Rocky Hernandez. Hernandez tried to get up but he was extremely hurt and couldn’t stand on his own which forced the referee to stop the fight. Roger Gutierrez wins by first round knockout in a shocker. This is what Gutierrez had to say on how he won: “I won with my mentality. I came in here to rip his head off and that’s what you saw. It was my mentality that made the difference. Everyone on my team, my family, my parents, my children – they all believed in me. That’s how I did it.”
Alexis Rocha (13-0) vs. Berlin Abreu (14-2)
This fight was truly “War Grounds” worthy as Alexis Rocha and Berlin Abreu fought in a phone booth all afternoon. Round one started with Rocha immediately focusing on the body with left and right hooks. Abreu was landing a nice uppercut inside in the second round and was continuing to counter well however Rocha’s relentless body work was wearing his opponent down. In the seventh, Rocha had Abreu in some trouble but in the eighth round after a ton of offense, the referee jumped in to save Abreu from receiving any more unnecessary punishment. Your winner is Alexis Rocha by eighth round knockout.
Ruslan Madiyev (12-1) vs. Ricky Sismundo (35-13-3)
Going right into the action in round one, the two fighters tangled and seemed as though Sismundo pulled his shoulder out of his socket a bit. After being examined by the doctor, he continued. The story of this fight was Madiyev landing a really good over hand right with Sismundo putting on relentless pressure. Although Madiyev had a two week camp with Coach Joel Diaz, he was still able to pull a unanimous decision victory with the judges seeing this one 79-73,78-74 and 78-74. Not an impressive showing so it will be interesting to see what he looks like with a full training camp for his next fight.
Jousce Gonzalez (8-0-1) vs. Jorge Padron (3-3)
After a controversial draw in his last fight, Jousce “Tito” Gonzalez was set out to make a statement and that he did this afternoon. In the first round, it was the overhand right that landed for Gonzalez and scored the fight’s first knockdown. Shortly after that, Gonzalez got some good tourque on a left hook to the body which landed and scored the second knockdown. In the second round, Gonzalez landed a left hook to the head that knocked down Padron for the third time in the fight and led to the stoppage. Jousce Gonzalez wins by second round knockout. The young prospect had this to say after the fight: “I’m my toughest critic. I give myself a 5 out of 10. There are a lot of things I could have done to get him out earlier, so that’s why I give myself a 5 out of 10. He also added, “I feel good to be back in action. I want to be busy. I didn’t take many shots today, so I’m ready to come back soon.”
Jonathan Esquivel (10-0) vs. Gregory Clark (4-3-1)
This fight was the opener and it ended really quick within the first round. Esquivel landed a fight hook to the body that sent Clark to the canvas and he did not get up as he was in agonizing pain. Jonathan Esquivel improves to 11-0 and wins by first round knockout.
Tonight was filled with drama with the exception of the main event but the fans enjoyed every bit of the card this evening. Here is to another great card in the place they call “War Grounds”