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Jojo Diaz Wins Non-title Fight; East L.A.’s Navarro KOs Philly Fighter

David A. Avila



tough battle

HOLLYWOOD, CA.-A rough and tough battle between WBA featherweight titlist Jesus Rojas and Jojo Diaz may have lacked the suspense of a title challenge, but the two fired away with impunity for 12 nonstop rounds on Saturday.

Diaz won the fight, but was ineligible to win the world title for failing to make the 126-pound limit.

Still, the extremely loud crowd at the Avalon saw South El Monte’s Diaz (27-1, 14 KOs) win by unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs) in the first ever streamed boxing card by Facebook in collaboration with Golden Boy Promotions.

It wasn’t pretty, but never boring.

Diaz showed off his dazzling combinations in front of an excited crowd that also had Sugar Ray Leonard and former Dodger Adrian Gonzalez in the audience. Machine gun-like combinations rattled off the head and body of Rojas throughout the 12 round non-title fight.

“We knew he was a tough aggressive fighter,” said Diaz. “I also he knew he could take a shot.”

Rojas kept moving forward like a human tank and whenever Diaz was against the ropes, the Puerto Rican slugger unleashed sidewinder rights and left uppercuts that occasionally found the mark.

“It was a great fight. Diaz came to fight,” said Rojas. “We gave a fight that the people deserved.”

Both fighters tired around the eighth round, but after a lull in the action, each rebooted the combinations and fired away once again. Diaz was bloodied early in the fight but was able to win the debilitating battle by unanimous decision after 12 brutal rounds. The scores were 117-110, 116-111, 115-113.

It was just two months ago Diaz was defeated in his first world title attempt against Gary Russell Jr. for the WBC featherweight title. This fight tonight was supposed to be for the WBA title, but when Diaz was unable to make the 126-pound weight limit, the title was not at stake.

“We anticipated the weight wrong,” said Diaz. “I suffered a loss in my last fight and I wanted to show I could come back stronger.”

It was a victory but not a complete victory as Rojas returns to Puerto Rico with his world title belt wrapped around his waist.

“He wasn’t the great Joseph Diaz that you saw against other fighters when he was in the ring with me,” said Rojas who made his first defense of the title he won last September against Claudio Marrero. “I still feel I’m one of the top 126-pounders in the world.”

West vs. East

East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (15-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated with a vicious knockout of Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (15-1-1, 5 KOs) that went one round too many. A four punch Navarro combination ended the fight at 1:33 of the seventh round.

Allen opened the fight boxing on his toes while Navarro was looking for openings to land power shots. In the second round Navarro landed some solid shots but was hit with a low blow. The fight stopped and also stopped Navarro’s momentum.

“That hurt. That really hurt,” said Navarro about the low blow.

In the third round Allen landed a double left hook and the two unloaded blows on each other. The real fight began. But once again Allen connected very low and the fight was stopped. This time a point was deducted from Allen for a second low blow.

Both exchanged more freely for the next two rounds and Navarro seemed to have the advantage in power. In the fifth, after some more exchanges Navarro connected with a well-placed one-two combination that wobbled Allen.

Navarro noticed.

The sixth round saw Allen resort to the jab, keeping Navarro at bay with multiple left jabs. Navarro was calm and was in stalking mode until the 10-second warning, then unloaded a combination at the bell that saw Allen turn and collapse to the floor. The referee did not signal a knockdown and the Philadelphia fighter’s corner helped him to his corner.

“Once I seen him wobble that was it for him,” said Navarro.

The fight could have been stopped by Allen’s corner but he came out for the seventh round.

Navarro patiently stalked Allen and fired a right here and a right there and a few body punches. A right cross staggered Allen again and Navarro moved in for the finish and unloaded a four-punch combination that dropped Allen in a neutral corner as referee Zach Young waved the fight over. It was a knockout win for Navarro.

“He was prepared, I’m prepared, I came into give everything,” said Navarro, who lives in East L.A. but trains in Riverside. “I thought I had him early too but he was hungry. It was a great experience.”

Other Bouts

Ferdinand Kerobyan (10-0, 5 KOs) over-powered Jose Rivera (6-4, 4 KOs) in all six rounds of their middleweight fight. The North Hollywood boxer was relentless with his combinations but Rivera had his moments early in the fight with some pot shots against the aggressive Kerobyan. After the third round Kerobyan figured out Rivera’s tactics and was able to strafe the Connecticut fighter’s defense. All three judges scored it 60-54 for Kerobyan.

“I wanted to get the knockout, but I am pleased with the result we got tonight,” said Kerobyan.

Ireland’s Aaron McKenna (5-0, 3 KOs) met Mexico’s Rolando Mendivil (10-5, 3 KOs) and the two welterweights had a test of chins and angry exchanges in their four round clash. Mendivil was equal height as McKenna but he couldn’t match the precise punching and boxing technique of the Irish fighter. Each fighter connected plenty, but McKenna was busier and more effective, especially in the last two rounds as he flaunted a beautiful jab that completely neutralized the rugged Mexican fighter. All three judges scored it 40-36 for McKenna who was the opening bout on the very first Facebook boxing show.

“Being a part of the Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook was amazing,” said McKenna. “It was a great opportunity and a great platform for me. A lot of people can watch it.”

Jose Vargas (5-0, 4 KOs) floored Tijuana’s Leonardo Reyes (7-18, 3 KOs) three times with body and head shots in the featherweight bout. A right to the body and left hook to the head ended the fight at 38 seconds of the third round. Vargas fights out of Pasadena.

“I’m barely starting out so everything I do still needs work,” said Vargas.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Bohachuk KOs Unlucky Number 13 in Hollywood

David A. Avila




HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Super welterweight prospect Serhii “El Flaco” Bohachuk (13-0, 13 KOs) disposed of local urban legend Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis with nary a sweat in less than four rounds on Sunday evening at the Avalon Theater before a sold out crowd.

Bohachuk remained undefeated and continued his knockout streak with Pendarvis (21-5-2, 9 KOs) the victim. Aside from the main event, the 360 Promotions card was stacked with competitive action.

Bohachuk, 23, trained expecting an easy fight especially knowing that Pendarvis lacked firepower. But sometimes firepower is not all that important.

“He only had nine knockouts,” said Bohachuk, who trains with Abel Sanchez and Max Golovkin (Gennady’s twin) in Big Bear, Calif. “It was easy fight.”

The young Ukrainian felt it was easy but Pendarvis still unleashed several Cracker Jack combinations that caught Bohachuk flush. If only Pendarvis had power there might have been a different result.

Bohachuk floored Pendarvis in the first round with a left hook dug into the liver of Pendarvis and down he went. He resumed the fight but was visibly worried.

In the second round Mookie unleashed some of his magic with a sizzling left uppercut left cross combination that stung Bohachuk for a split second. Then he followed that with a sneaky overhand left and a right hook combination that seemed to come out of the dark. But without power behind those blows, Bohachuk remained in control.

Bohachuk regained total control in the third round and floored Pendarvis with a left hook bomb that immediately dropped him to the ground. The round ended seconds later and seemingly allowed Pendarvis to escape, but at seven seconds into the fourth round Pendarvis told the referee he could not continue and the fight was stopped.

“I wanted the fight to go longer,” Bohachuk said.

A super middleweight match saw Ali Akhmedov (13-0, 10 KOs) defeat Sacramento’s Mike Guy (9-4-1) by decision after eight rounds. All three judges scored it for Akhmedov who struggled with Guy’s stop and go style.

Kazakhstan’s Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8 KOs) out-worked Luis Hernandez after eight rounds in a middleweight clash to win by unanimous decision.

Other Bouts

A lightweight clash between Mario Ramos (8-0) and Arnulfo Becerra (7-2) started slowly for two rounds then erupted into a bloody war for the remaining four rounds. Becerra caught Ramos repeatedly with three and four-punch combinations but Ramos always retaliated back. The crowd roared at the action that saw both suffer cuts and bruises to each other’s face that did not discourage more blows. Ramos was deemed the winner by decision.

“He pushed me into a war,” said Ramos of Becerra. “That’s what fans want.”

Other winners on the fight card were Devon Lee (7-0), Adrian Corona (4-0), Christian Robles (3-0), George Navarro (5-0-1) and Timothy Ortiz by knockout in his pro debut.

In attendance were actor Mario Lopez, WBC minimum weight titlist Louisa Hawton, European champion Scott Quigg and others.

“They’ll be appearing on our future shows this year,” said Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Oxon Hill: The Peterson Brothers Fail to Deliver

Arne K. Lang




The story of boxing’s Peterson brothers, Lamont and Anthony, has been well documented. Growing up in Washington, DC, they were often homeless. Then Barry Hunter came into their life. A carpenter by trade, Hunter coached amateur boxing at a local rec center. He took the brothers in when Lamont, the older by 13 months, was only 10 years old and he’s been with them ever since, a rarity in a sport where some boxers seemingly change trainers more frequently than they change their underwear.

Today the brothers, who turned pro on the same card in 2004, appeared in the featured bouts of a Premier Boxing Champions show at the MGM National Harbor casino resort in Oxon Hill, Maryland, a stone’s throw across the Potomac from their old stomping grounds. And they were well-matched. Both of their fights were near “pick-‘em” affairs with the invaders the slightest of favorites.

Welterweight Lamont Peterson, a former two-division champion coming off a bad loss to Errol Spence Jr, was pitted against Sergey Lipinets, briefly a 140-pound title-holder coming off a loss on points to Mikey Garcia. Peterson was seemingly ahead on the cards through several frames, but one big punch, a straight right hand by Lipinets in round eight, turned the momentum in his favor.

The end came two rounds later when Lipinets hurt Peterson with on overhand right and followed up with an assault that sent the DC man down hard. Peterson arose on spaghetti legs but it was a moot point as his corner tossed in the white flag almost as soon as he hit the canvas. The official time was 2:59 of round 10.

After the fight, in an emotional moment in the ring, Peterson announced his retirement. If he holds tight to this decision, he will leave the sport with a 35-5-1 record. Sergey Lipinets, a kickboxing champion before he took up conventional boxing, improved to 15-1 with his 11th win by stoppage. Overall it was a good action fight with a high volume of punches thrown.

The co-feature, a 10-round junior welterweight contest between Anthony Peterson (37-1-1, 1 ND) and former IBF 130-pound champion Argenis Mendez (25-5-2) ended in a draw. The decision was unpopular with the pro-Peterson crowd but met the approval of the TV commentators and likely most everyone tuning in at home.

Both fought a technical fight. Peterson did most of the leading and seemingly had the fight in hand going into the late rounds where Mendez did his best work. There were no knockdowns or cuts, but Peterson suffered severe swelling over his left eye. The last round was the best with Mendez fighting with more urgency, perhaps out of fear that he would be victimized by a hometown decision.

Anthony Peterson was making his first start since January of last year when he coasted to an easy decision over Eduardo Florez, a decision later changed to a no-contest when Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.

In the swing bout, an entertaining 10-round contest in the 154-pound weight class, Cincinnati’s Jamontay Clark (14-1) overcame a rough patch in the third round to score a unanimous decision over Chicago’s Vernon Brown (10-1-1). The scores were 95-94 and 96-93 twice. At six-foot-two, the rangy Clark had a 7-inch height advantage.

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Pulev Wins Heavyweight Clash and Magdaleno Bests Rico Ramos in Costa Mesa

David A. Avila




COSTA MESA, Calif.-Eastern European heavyweights slugged it out in Orange County with Kubrat Pulev scoring a knockout win over Bogdan Dinu on Saturday evening. The win keeps him in line for a possible showdown with Top Rank’s newly signed Tyson Fury.

After a slow start the Bulgarian heavyweight Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs) scored the knockout win over Romania’s Dinu (18-2, 14 KOs) before a large supportive audience who arrived with Bulgarian flags and hats at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa.

Until the fifth round the action lacked with both heavyweights not eager to fire. But an angry exchange of blows by Dinu saw Pulev emerge with a cut over his left eye. It also opened up the action between the European heavyweights.

Pulev increased the pressure and caught Dinu in the neutral corner where he unloaded right after right on the ducking Romanian fighter who dropped to a knee and was hit behind the head with a blow. The knockdown was ruled down by an illegal punch and a point was deducted from Pulev.

It didn’t matter. The Bulgarian heavyweight proceeded to unleash some more heavy rights and down went Dinu again. The Romanian fighter beat the count and was met with more right hand bombs and down he went for good this time at 2:40 of the eighth round. Referee Raul Caiz ruled it a knockout win for Pulev.

“Sometimes its good and sometimes it’s bad,” said Pulev about his actions in a heavyweight fight. “Sometimes blood makes me very angry.”

Dinu felt that illegal blows led to his downfall. But the winner Pulev was satisfied.

“It doesn’t matter, I was prepared and really good in this moment. I think I was very good boxing today and showed good punching today,” Pulev said.

Former champions

An expected battle between flashy ex-super bantamweight world champions didn’t deliver the goods as Jessie Magdaleno (26-1, 18 KOs) defeated Rico Ramos (30-6, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a featherweight contest for a vacant WBC regional title.

A tentative Magdaleno was cautious and deliberate against Ramos who seemed to be stuck in slow motion for the first half of the fight. Behind some lefts to the body and snappy combinations Magdaleno mounted up points for six rounds.

Ramos stepped up the action in the seventh round and began stepping into the danger zone while delivering some threatening combos inside. Magdaleno resorted to holding and moving as the action shifted in Ramos’s direction.

But it was never enough as Ramos seemed to lack pep. The last two rounds saw Ramos engage with Magdaleno but neither landed the killing blows. After 10 rounds all three judges saw the fight in favor of Magdaleno 97-93, 98-92, 99-91 who now holds the WBC USNBC featherweight title.

“It was a long layoff and I took a fight against a tough, tough veteran and former world champion,” said Magdaleno, whose last fight was the loss of the WBO super bantamweight title to Isaac Dogboe last May. “Got to go back to the drawing board. I boxed as good as I could, he’s just a tough fighter.”

Other Bouts

Max Dadashev (13-0, 11 KOs) was dropped in the second round by muscular Filipino southpaw Ricky Sismundo (35-13-3, 17 KOs) and had a look of surprise. He turned it up in the third round and caught Sismundo rushing in with a slick counter left-right combination on the button. Sismundo was counted out by referee Tom Taylor at 2:30 of the third round of the super lightweight clash.

Former Olympian Javier Molina (19-2, 8 KOs) had a rough customer in Mexico’s Abdiel Ramirez (24-4-1, 22 KOs) who never allowed him space to maneuver in their super lightweight match. After eight close turbulent rounds Molina was given the decision by scores 78-74 twice and 79-73.

South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden (27-2-1, 12 KOs) thoroughly out-boxed Mexico’s Mahonry Montes (35-9-1, 24 KOs) until a clash of heads erupted a cut over his right eye. The fight was stopped in the sixth round and Van Heerden was given a technical decision by scores 60-54 on all three cards.

Welterweights Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, 8 KOs) and Jonathan Steele (9-3-1, 6 KOs) slugged it out for six back and forth rounds at high intensity. There were no knockdowns but plenty of high level stuff going on. The bigger Mominov had the advantage and tried to take out Mitchell, but the smaller welter from Texas was just too tough and skilled to be overrun. Judges scored it 59-54 three times. Good stuff.

Detroit’s Erick De Leon (19-0-1, 11 KOs) survived a knockdown in the fifth and rallied to win by technical knockout over Mexico’s Jose Luis Gallegos (16-6, 12 KOs) in the seventh round of a lightweight clash. A barrage of unanswered blows by De Leon forced referee Ray Corona to halt the fight at 1:55 of the seventh round.

L.A.’s David Kaminsky (4-0, 2 KOs) out-pointed rugged Arizona’s Estevan Payan (1-7-1) to win by unanimous decision after four round in a middleweight contest.

Tyler McCreary (15-0-1, 7 KOs) fought to a draw with Mexico’s Roberto Castaneda (23-11-2) after six rounds. He got all he could handle from the Mexicali featherweight as both traded blow for blow throughout the contest. It was good experience for the young McCreary who looked good but tried too hard to take out the hard headed Castaneda.

Eric Puente (2-0) beat Alejandro Lopez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a lightweight match by 39-37 scores all three cards. It was a very close match with little separation between the two.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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