Fight Report by Barbara Pinnella
All Photos Courtesy of Cynthia Saldana
This past Friday night Thompson Boxing Promotions gave us New Blood, held once again at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California. This marked the 17th year anniversary for Thompson Boxing, and TOPCLASSBOXING was there for the action.
Giovani Santillan was supposed to be involved in the main event, but he became too dehydrated beforehand trying to reach 140 pounds and opted out of the fight rather than risk damage to himself. He also decided to move up one weight class, and we look forward to seeing this talented fighter in action soon.
The main event became a fight for the Junior NABF featherweight title between Erick “The All American Boy” Ituarte (16-1-1, 2 KOs) and Isaac “Dinamita” Zarate (12-3-2, 2 KOs). This fight was scheduled to go eight rounds. In the first round the fighters didn’t jump right in, but rather seemed to feel out their respective opponent.
Round two was a back and forth one until the last 10 seconds, when Ituarte looked to almost end the fight, but the bell came in time. Isaac regrouped and came back pretty strong for the third, landing some good head and body shots. Erick jumped on him a little bit until a well-placed left hand by Zarate caught him and put him on the canvas.
Ituarte knew he had to come out strong in the fourth and did so, but Isaac did not let himself get run over. They both were able to score some points. They came out fighting in the fifth, with Erick getting in some good body work while Isaac was still able to head hunt. We were seeing a good fight in this main event.
In the sixth round Ituarte landed the more powerful punches. Zarate got in some, but he seemed to be a bit out of steam compared to how he had been in the other rounds. Isaac landed some good punches in the seventh, but late in the round he got caught with some really hard shots courtesy of Ituarte. We moved into the eighth and final round.
Back and forth it went, Isaac would land good shots, and then Erick would come back and land some. If it was up to the fans, the winner would be Zarate. The cheers for him were heard the entire fight. However, the vacant Junior NABF featherweight title belt rested in the hands of the judges. We had a split decision. One judge saw it 76-75 for Zarate, and the other two had it 76-75 and 77-74 for Ituarte. Erick took home the belt, but kudos to Isaac for his performance.
Bantamweights took to the ring in the co-main event as Ricardo Espinoza (10-2, 8 KOs) faced off against Christian Nieto-Ayala (10-1, 4 KOs). This fight was slated for eight rounds. Within the first 10 seconds there was a clash of heads – no blood at that time – and then the glove of Espinoza touched the canvas and that was ruled a knockdown. That happened so fast you couldn’t really see the hit that caused it.
They fought in close for most of the second round. Espinoza landed many body shots and both men got in some good head shots. The fighters shot out of their corners for the third, both appearing to want to end the bout early. But even though they stayed active and for the most part accurate, the fight continued into the fourth. They kept the pressure on each other for the three minutes of that round. The last two rounds had been close.
Past the halfway point and they were still fighting at a hard and fast pace. Ayala has been hanging right in there since the first couple of rounds and the fight had turned into an interesting one. The sixth round was more of the same; fighting in close quarters, body and head shots by both, and almost non-stop action. That continued into the seventh. If it hadn’t been for the knockdown in the first this fight would be very close to call.
The eighth and final round was still more of the same, and was a testament to how fit these two men were coming into their fight. They fought pretty much non-stop for all of the 24 minutes. We went to the scorecards. One judge saw the fight 76-75 for Espinoza, while the other two had it 76-75 and 77-74 for Ayala. Christian got the split decision victory.
Next, Ruben Villa (6-0, 4 KOs) stood across the ring from Anthony de Jesus Ruiz (2-3, 2 KOs). This fight was scheduled to go six rounds in the super featherweight division. These two came out strong to start their fight off, with Villa connecting more often, and with both hands. Ruiz threw a lot of punches in the second, but most of them did not land. Villa loved to throw combinations, and in contrast to Anthony, many of his did make contact.
Ruiz landed a few more of his punches in the third, but they still did match the work produced by Ruben. He has a great right/left combination. In the fourth Villa effectively added some great body work to his arsenal, and almost took Ruiz out when the bell sounded to end the round.
Villa was battering Ruiz from pillar to post in the fifth when the ring doctor caught the attention of referee Ray Corona and the fight was waved off at 2:43 of the fifth round.
In a bantamweight fight that was scheduled for four rounds, Mario Hernandez (2-0) met up with May Garduno, who was making his professional debut. The first round started out easy and ended up wild and wooly. Hernandez really got to Garduno in the last 30 seconds of the fight, and might have gotten him out of there altogether if not for the bell.
Mario was very aggressive in the second and caught May with some great right hands during the course of the round. Garduno was game, but at the halfway point it seemed to be all Hernandez. In the third, almost every time that Mario threw his right hand it landed somewhere, usually on the head of May. Another good three minutes for Hernandez.
Garduno was able to land a few more punches in the fourth and final, but it was still Mario who showed us the most skill. We went to the scorecards. All three judges saw the fight the same, 40-36, all for Hernandez. Mario showed a lot of promise for only his second pro fight. Expect bigger things from him in the future.
Juan Garcia Mendez (19-2-2) faced off against Cesar Villarraga (9-3, 1, 4 KOs). This fight was scheduled for six rounds in the junior welterweight division. There were a lot of punches thrown in the opening round, but no damage done. Mendez rocked Villarraga back on his heels a couple of times in the second, but Juan landed some good shots of his own.
The third was pretty even that saw both men landing leather on the other. Cesar was starting to become braver as the fight went on, going in to land more shots on Mendez. Juan still appeared to be the better fighter, but Villarraga was willing to stand right in there and punch back. In the fifth Mendez landed some hard shots near the end of the round, which might have negated the attack that Cesar started at the beginning of that round.
In the sixth and final Mendez landed some good shots to the head, and Villarraga got in several great body shots. Too bad he hadn’t started that sooner. One would have thought that Villarraga would jump in and attack Mendez, since out of those 19 wins for Juan, no knockouts. Instead, we went to the scorecards.
One judge saw it 58-56 for Mendez, the second had it 59-55 for Villarraga, and the third scored the fight 57-57, making the fight a split draw. I can’t say I disagreed with that decision, but it might have been different had Cesar started his attack a bit sooner.
The opening fight was scheduled for four rounds in the lightweight division. It saw Brandon Trejo making his professional debut against Pablo Cupul (5-23, 3 KOs). In the opening round of his pro debut Trejo showed that he had speed and power. The second round was more of the same. Brandon was giving a good showing thus far.
Cupul was punching back in the third. That is not to say he won the round, but at least he was able to land a few on Trejo. Still, it was Brandon who was peppering his opponent with combinations throughout the fight. Action stopped a minute in the final round when Pablo got hit with a low blow and needed a few seconds to regroup. In the end, we went to the scorecards. The judges all saw the fight the same, 40-36, for Trejo. Brandon got his first pro victory.
Keep an eye on Zarate, Villa, and Hernandez. They might be interesting fighters to watch in the future. This was a good card for the big 17-year anniversary of Thompson Boxing Promotions. Hopefully, there will be many more to come.