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William Zepeda Scores KO3 Win Over Giovanni Cabrera

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William Zepeda Scores KO3 Win Over Giovanni Cabrera
Photo Credit: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

William Zepeda of San Mateo Atenco, Mexico, looked like he might have found a challenging style in the awkward, taller Giovanni Cabrera of Chicago. 

But Cabrera’s good start quickly faded to a mere memory as Zepeda (31-0, 27 KOs) closed the distance to Cabrera (22-2, 7 KOs), quickly disarming the challenger, forcing him backward, and eventually drilling him repeatedly to the body with vicious shots.

Sporting a kit and glove in Dodger Blue, William Zepeda looked like Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts combined. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Sporting a kit and glove in Dodger Blue, William Zepeda worked the plate like Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts combined. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

“El Cameron” forced Cabrera to his knees with a brilliant left hook to the liver in the third round, and as referee Thomas Taylor administered the count, Cabrera could not get to his feet. It was all over at 1:53 of round 3. None of Zepeda’s fans were unhappy about leaving the Toyota Center in Ontario, California a bit early to enjoy a warm summer evening.

Zepeda acknowledged Cabrera’s solid first impression, but he wasn’t concerned about losing a round. “Every fighter has its essence, every fighter has its difficulties, but we work in the gym for that. We knew we had 12 rounds. We worked round by round. We were looking at his weaknesses, we were able to go ahead on that and get the stoppage,” said Zepeda.

Cabrera managed to keep Zepeda down to a mere 56 punches thrown in the first round. He is a taller fighter with a longer reach. But Zepeda quickly got up to the speed and volume fans of “El Cameron” have come to expect.

Body Shot Fireworks

William Zepeda was effective both to the head and the body, but it was a body shot that got the KO. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

William Zepeda was effective both to the head and the body, but it was a body shot that got the KO. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

After Zepeda’s trainer admonished him not to back up, Zepeda found and quickly closed the distance. Cabrera stood tough as long as he could, but when the left and right hooks to body and head started flowing as Zepeda got into his groove, the script was written. Zepeda pummeled Cabrera to body and head with the crowd cheering him on. It was the body shot that brought an early end to the evening.

“There’s not an individual that can take a body shot,” said Zepeda. “There’s not one person alive that can take a body shot. It’s something me and my team and I have been working on, improving it, and it’s working every fight we come across.”

Zepeda said he knew he hurt Cabrera because he would back up and try to box. ”That’s how I got the job done.”

When Will William Zepeda Get a Title Fight?

William Zepeda is the mandatory contender in all four division, but will have to wait on the champions to do business. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

William Zepeda is the mandatory contender in all four divisions but will have to wait for the champions to do business. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Zepeda is in an unusual position as the number one lightweight contender in all four divisions. But the belts are held by fighters looking for unification fights, including Vasiliy Lomachenko, Shakur Stevenson, and Teofimo Lopez. Zepeda will stay busy in the meantime mowing down whoever is willing to trade with him.

Zepeda said he’d like to fight in Ukraine against Lomachenko, but he’s not picky.

“I want all the champions. I’ve already done my homework, now it’s time for (Golden Boy Boxing promoter) Oscar De La Hoya to do his homework. Just tell me the time, and I’ll show up for the dance.”

After the fight, De La Hoya said, “Shakur, call me!”

Sandoval Gets Upset Win Over Acosta – With Help

Ricardo Sandoval was on his way to a comfortable decision when a last round stoppage shocked him and opponent Tito Acosta. Photo: Golden Boy Boxing

Ricardo Sandoval was on his way to a comfortable decision when a last round stoppage shocked him and opponent Tito Acosta. Photo: Golden Boy Boxing

Flyweight Angel Acosta of San Juan, Puerto Rico, predicted his fight with Ricardo Sandoval of Rialto, California, might look like a car crash. Acosta was right, and he was the one broadsided.

A competitive all-action fight came down to the final round. But referee Raul Caiz Jr. jumped in too quickly, stopping the fight with 90 seconds left as Sandoval (24-2, 17 KOs) landed a combination ending in a solid uppercut on Acosta (24-4, 22 KOs), but Acosta was still on his feet.

Acosta protested the decision along with outraged trainer Joel Diaz Jr. Fans booed the result, even though local fighter Sandoval was the winner of the WBC Silver Flyweight Title. Time of the stoppage was officially at 1:23. Sandoval was well ahead on the scorecards 89-82, 88-83, and 87-84.

Diaz Jr. shrugged at one more outrage when told the scores, believing the veteran Acosta should have been allowed to finish on his feet, and would have accepted a decision loss.

Sandoval: Stoppage Was ‘A Little Early'

Ricardo Sandoval admitted the stoppage seemed early to him as well as the fans. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Sandoval admitted the stoppage seemed a bit early. “I think it was a little early, I’m not gonna lie. But I think I would have stopped him away,” said Sandoval. “I was boxing nice. Most of the punches he threw weren’t landing.

“I thought he would have more power. I was hit a little bit, but overall my defense was pretty good. I started digging the body, that was the game plan.”

Acosta hurt Sandoval in the early rounds, but as the fight continued, the hot pace of the action saw Acosta losing some steam against the younger challenger.  Acosta was able to neutralize the 25-year-old California’s offense at times, but youth was a powerful tool for Sandoval.

Diaz Jr. said he saw Acosta wearing down but pressed him to fight on. Acosta rallied in the final two rounds, landing a good shot as Sandoval punished him to the body.

“I was never hurt, even with the last punch I was moving away. I was in control. He got me with a good shot, but I was in control, conscious, and kept fighting. All of a sudden, the referee stopped the fight,” said a disappointed Acosta. Would he agree to a rematch? “It’s up to the promoter. If that’s what they want, I’ll take a rematch any time.”

Manny Flores Gets Flashy Knockout Win

Manny Flores is back on track and thinking about a move to the 118 pound division. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Manny Flores is back on track and thinking about a move to the 118-pound division. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Super featherweight “Gucci” Manny Flores of Coachella (19-1, 14 KOs) scored a crowd-pleasing second-round stoppage of Noehl Arambulet of Las Vegas (23-7-2, 13 KOs). After Arambulet landed a few solid punches to start the right, Flores found success drilling Arambulet with body shots. He dropped Arambulet twice in a span of 10 seconds with only the count of referee Jerry Cantu giving him a break. After the second knockdown, Cantu waved it off, giving Flores the victory.

Flores saluted the crowd and thanked his Coachella Valley fans in attendance. Flores gave credit for his performance to sparring partner Murodjon Akhmadaliev, the former unified bantamweight champion who trains with Joel Diaz in Indio. “I want to thank him, best sparring in the world,” said Flores.

Flores said he learned from his single loss he can’t overlook any opponent. When he knew he had Arambulet hurt, he moved in. “We know when a wounded cat is in the corner, they’ll do anything to get away. I felt he had no power, I wanted to go in there and destroy. I’m still looking more for the body, but the uppercut came,” said Flores.

Flores hopes that a strong performance will open doors to the fight he craves against WBC Bantamweight champion Junto Nakatani of Japan, one division lower at 118 pounds. “We fought in the amateurs. He has one of those belts, and I’m coming for those belts,” said Flores.

 Joel Iriarte Blasts Yainel Alvarez in Two Rounds

Prospect Joel Iriate is quickly getting attention for his flashy knockout wins. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Prospect Joel Iriate is quickly getting attention for his flashy knockout wins. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Promising welterweight Joel Iriarte of Bakerfield (3-0, 3 KO) fired up the fans with an aggressive assault from the opening bell of Yainel Alvarez of Hutto, Texas (3-5-2, 1 KO). Referee David Sullivan had seen enough and waved off the fight as Iriarte was on the brink of a knockout from an uppercut and left hook combination at 2:41 of the second round.

Undercard Results Before the Bell: Campa, Garcia, Saldivar, Luna, Llamido

Veteran Pedro Campa was too much for a game Alex Martin. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Veteran Pedro Campa was too much for a game Alex Martin. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Welterweights Pedro Campa of Sonora, Mexico (36-3-1, 24 KOs) and Alex Martin of Chicago (18-6, 6 KOs) ground out ten hard rounds, only turning up the heat in the tenth and final round of a messy fight. Campa’s crowd of supporters cheered the unanimous decision results in Campa’s favor, 97-90, 96-91, 94-93. Referee Thomas Taylor had his hands full and docked both fighters a point for holding in the fifth round.

Gael Cabrera scored three knockdown in his second round stoppage of Mychaquell Shields. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy william zepeda

Gael Cabrera scored three knockdowns in his second-round stoppage of Mychaquell Shields. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Gael Cabrera of Sonora, Mexico (5-0, 3 KOs) took care of business against Mychaquell Shields of Alpine, California (2-3) Cabrera scored knockdowns near the end of both the first and second rounds, with Shields taking a knee in the second after a body shot to protect himself. When Cabrera landed another hard body shot and Shields took a knee again in the third round, referee Raul Caiz Jr. had seen enough.

Joshua Garcia put in six good rounds of work against Jason Buenaobra. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Joshua Garcia put in six good rounds of work against Jason Buenaobra. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Lightweight prospect Joshua Garcia of Moreno Valley, California (9-0, 4 KOs) got a stiff test from Jason Buenaobra of Manila, Philippines (10-11-3, 4 KOs). Garcia hurt Buenaobra early, and it seemed it might be an early night, but the pair went all six rounds, with Garcia winning by scores of 59-55, 58-56, and a 57-57 draw.

Middleweight Anthony Saldivar got a win for his hometown Ontario fans. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy william zepeda

Middleweight Anthony Saldivar got a win for his hometown Ontario fans. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Middleweight Anthony Saldivar of Ontario (7-0, 3 KOs) gave his hometown fans a thrill with a second-round knockout win over Roman Canto of Manila (15-18-3, 9 KOs).

Daniel Luna delivered the first knockout of the night over Joseph Walker. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy william zepeda

Daniel Luna delivered the first knockout of the night over Joseph Walker. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Daniel Luna of Victorville (4-1, 4 KOs) scored a first-round knockout win over Joseph Walker of Forrest City, Arkansas (1-2) in the lightweight division fight.

Japhetleee Llamido of Long Beach (left) won a unanimous decision over Ryan Allen of Las Vegas in the opening bout. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Japhetleee Llamido of Long Beach (left) won a unanimous decision over Ryan Allen of Las Vegas in the opening bout. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Japhetleee Llamido of Long Beach (12-1, 4 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Ryan Allen of Las Vegas (10-8-1, 5 KOs) in the eight-round featherweight opening bout. Scores were 91-80, 78-73, and 77-74.

Gayle Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist and the only woman journalist who is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). She is West Coast Bureau Chief based in San Diego, California.