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The Hauser Report: The Return of Deontay Wilder

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The Hauser Report:  The Return of Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder, as expected, confirmed his status as a major player in the heavyweight division with a one-punch, first-round round knockout of Robert Helenius at Barclays Center on Saturday night.

Wilder, age 36, had fought twice in the preceding 34 months and been knocked out each time by Tyson Fury. Those fights showed that Deontay is exciting to watch, brave, and tough. They also showed that, while he takes a good beating, he doesn’t take a particularly good punch. And his defensive skills, such as they are, are rooted in his offense.

In some ways, Wilder’s irrational, mean-spirited response to his first defeat against Fury caused as much damage to his image as Fury’s fists did. After that loss, Deontay claimed that the costume he’d worn during his ring walk was too heavy and had robbed him of his strength. Then, without evidence, he accused Fury of fighting with loaded gloves and referee Kenny Bayless of either being drunk on fight night or taking part in a conspiracy against him. Finally, again without evidence, he claimed that Mark Breland (his trainer at the time) had tampered with his water bottle and prematurely stopped the fight.

All of that ran counter to the narrative that Premier Boxing Champions (Wilder’s promoter) was trying to build in support of the notion that Wilder is a role model. After Deontay’s second loss to Fury, in the pursuit of image control, PBC issued a statement in his name that read in part, “I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed in the outcome. But after reflecting on my journey, I now see that what God wanted me to experience is far greater than what I expected to happen. We didn’t get the win, but a wise man once said the victories are within the lessons. I would like to congratulate Tyson Fury for his victory and thank you for the great historical memories that will last forever.”

That was preferable to the diatribe that had followed loss number one. But then, when asked by Brian Custer during a September 2022 interview whether he would consider a rapprochement with Fury, Wilder replied, “Nah, never, because I know the truth behind that. I don’t condone cheating and shit like that. I know that no matter what people say. You got analysts that say, ‘If he did have something in his glove, why did you not go to the authorities?’ Why the f*%! would I go to the authorities when I have an opportunity to release my own energy and put my hands up on him in the possibility of trying to kill him and get paid millions of dollars doing it. Okay, go to the authorities and they lock him up. Then what’s next? That’s it. We proved our case. Nobody getting fed. What justice has that done? That don’t make no sense.”

In sum, people have grown accustomed to strange ramblings from Wilder. Indeed, in a February 2022 podcast with Byron Scott, Deontay addressed his decision-making process regarding his ring future with the advisory, “I’m thinking about doing Ayahuasca [a psychedelic tea that originated in South American religious rites]. That’s gonna be my decision-making process. Boxing’s put a bad taste because of what it’s done to me. It’s dangerous, politics, cheating.”

Here, one might note that Healtline reports, “Those who take Ayahuasca can experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, feelings of euphoria, strong visual and auditory hallucinations, mind-altering psychedelic effects, fear, and paranoia. Some experience euphoria and a feeling of enlightenment while others go through severe anxiety and panic.”

Sounds like a plan.

Then, in May, Wilder announced during the unveiling of a statue in his honor in his hometown of Tuscaloosa that he would fight again and proclaimed, “I’m coming back on popular demand because that’s all I’ve been hearing from high and low. From homeless people all the way up to millionaires. You feel me? It’s just been an amazing feeling. So many people reaching out, telling me it’s important because, without an American, heavyweight boxing really isn’t exciting.”

Later, Deontay augmented that sentiment to include, “I knew that I had to come back because I motivate and inspire so many around the world. What really got me back to this point was like, damn, the world really needs me.”

The designated victim for Wilder’s comeback fight was Robert Helenius. Born in Sweden, now living in Finland, Helenius had compiled a 31-3 (20 KOs) ring record marked by two victories over Adam Kownacki and marred by stoppage losses at the hands of Gerald Washington and Johann Duhaupas. During the Wilder-Helenius promotion, he was hyped as “Finland’s finest” (which is a bit like being a snowball’s warmest).

Helenius had never beaten a world-class fighter and wasn’t about to start on October 15. If one were to take a computer and design a perfect opponent for Wilder to stop in two rounds or less, Robert would be the guy. Years ago, I described him as having the movement of a stalagmite. Now 38 years old, he had gotten slower and easier to hit since then.

Wilder had sparred with Helenius numerous times preparatory to fighting Tyson Fury. That experience confirmed that Helenius was a “safe” opponent. Very safe. The feeling was that this would be a payday for Deontay, not a test.

Neither Wilder nor Helenius attended the August 30 kick-off press conference at Barclays Center, addressing the media electronically instead. Later, Deontay declared, “October 15 is the return of the king. My second reign is going to be filled with joy and excitement for me and those who support me.” Wilder also advised, “I want to get back to the big fights and to giving the fans what they want to see. I’m doing it for the people this time.”

One might question whether charging $74.99 to see Deontay fight Helenius on pay-per-view was doing it for the fans or to the fans.

October 15 promised to be a long night at Barclays Center with eleven bouts on the card. The first fight was scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM. The four-bout pay-per-view telecast didn’t start until nine o’clock.

The early undercard bouts were contested in a virtually empty arena and distinguished by the fact that, in one of them, both fighters (Keeshawn Williams and Julio Rosa) wore pink trunks.

In the first pay-per-view bout of the evening, Emmanuel Rodriguez dominated Gary Antonio Russell throughout the fight. Then, in the latter stages of round nine, Russell headbutted Rodriguez, who suffered a cut beneath his right eye and fell to the canvas, stunned. Rodriguez appeared to be in no condition to continue. But inexplicably, referee Benji Esteves (who has Magomed Abdusalamov vs. Michael Perez and Arturo Gatti vs. Joey Gamache on his refereeing resume) allowed the fight to go on. Fortunately, there were only fifteen seconds left in the round. Rodriguez survived those seconds, after which Nitin Sethi (chief medical officer for the New York State Athletic Commission) stopped the bout. The fight went to the scorecards because it had been terminated as the result of a headbutt (ruled “accidental” by Esteves – a questionable determination) and Rodriguez won a lopsided unanimous decision.

Then Frank Sanchez stopped Carlos Negron in round nine of a predictably one-sided fight that referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped at precisely the right time.

That was followed by the co-featured bout of the evening – Caleb Plant vs. Anthony Dirrell in a fight styled by the WBC as a 168-pound title-elimination contest.

One year ago, Plant had a 21-0 record with 12 knockouts and was the IBF 168-pound beltholder. Then he learned the hard way in a knockout defeat that Canelo Alvarez is better than Caleb Truax, Vincent Feigenbutz, and Mike Lee (the guys Plant had defended his title against).

Dirrell, who came into the bout with a 34-2-2 (26 KOs, 1 KO by) ring ledger, is seven years older than Plant. Eight years ago, Anthony held the WBC 168-pound belt before losing to Badou Jack in his first title defense.

At the August 30 kick-off press conference, Dirrell had played the role of loud-mouthed instigator, calling Plant a pussy, etcetera, etcetera, and so forth. His infantile behavior continued through the final pre-fight press conference.

Plant took it all in stride, responding, “I definitely feel there’s a lot of jealousy there. I don’t give a fuck about where he’s from or what he says. That don’t mean nothing to me. When I beat him, it will be because I’m better than him. But he already knows that.”

Plant was an 8-to-1 betting favorite.

The fight began with Dirrell, the quicker man, looking to counter. Plant kept trying to get untracked and make something happen but couldn’t. Dirrell fought a chippy fight, fouling repeatedly in the clinches. That should have earned a warning followed by a point deduction but didn’t. Finally, in round eight, Plant took matters into his own hands and threw Dirrell to the canvas during a clinch.

Meanwhile, Dirrell had slowed down and was posturing more than fighting. The boos from the crowd were raining down.

In round nine, the boos turned to BOOM!

Plant hooked to the body and followed with a hook up top that landed flush on Dirrell’s jaw, rendering Anthony unconscious. Immediately after the knockout, with Dirrell still out cold, Caleb pantomimed shoveling dirt onto his grave.

Bad feelings between the two? Absolutely! Dirrell had been shooting off his mouth throughout the promotion as though he were to have the final word on the subject. He didn’t.

Then it was time for the main event. Wilder was a 7-to-1 betting favorite. His presence at the top of the card made the evening a happening even if Wilder-Helenius didn’t shape up as a competitive fight. That said; ticket sales had been slow. It took steep discounts and a lot of freebies to fill in the lower regions of Barclays Center. No celebrities were shown on the big overhead screen at ringside.

It should also be noted that no sport other than boxing starts its signature competitions a half-hour after midnight. Fans who had arrived at Barclays Center when the doors opened had spent more than eight hours in their seats when the bell for round one of Wilder-Helenius sounded.

They didn’t have to wait long afterward.

Wilder is a vicious puncher with an aura of menace about him. Opponents know that he wants to hurt them, short-circuit their brains. And with a single punch delivered at any time, he can do it. His record (now 43-2-1 with 42 knockouts) stands testament to that fact.

This was the first time since 2019 that Wilder had fought someone other than Tyson Fury. It had to be a relief for him to see someone other than The Gypsy King standing across the ring from him when the bell for round one sounded. Helenius had promised to bring his A-game. And maybe he did. But the fight was about Deontay, not Robert.

Helenius moved forward clumsily at the opening bell behind a pawing jab that he brought back slowly and low. Wilder bided his time; waited until Helenius leaned forward head-first while overreaching with a lunging left to the body that fell short; and closed the show with a compact righthand that landed smack in the center of Robert’s face at 2:57 of the first stanza. Referee Michael Griffin didn’t bother to count. Helenius was unconscious before he hit the canvas.

As for what comes next; on September 6, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced that the winner of Wilder-Helenius would face Andy Ruiz in a final elimination bout to determine the mandatory challenger for Tyson Fury’s WBC title. If Fury were to retire, presumably Wilder-Ruiz would then be for the WBC belt. Or the WBC might engage in some sort of slight-of-hand nonsense, designate Fury a “franchise” champion, “super” champion, or some other kind of champion, and proclaim that the winner of Wilder-Ruiz will be the WBC “world” heavyweight champion.

Twenty-nine men held a recognized version of the heavyweight championship between 1885 (John L. Sullivan) and 1979 (Larry Holmes). Then the world sanctioning organizations and their enablers took control of boxing. There have been 53 claimants since then. That’s 29 champions in 94 years as opposed to 53 “champions” in 43 years. Those numbers speak for themselves.

Meanwhile, a lot of knowledgeable people think that Deontay Wilder is the second-best heavyweight in the world today. I’m one of them.

Thomas Hauser’s email address is thomashauserwriter@gmail.com. His most recent book – In the Inner Sanctum: Behind the Scenes at Big Fights – was just published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, Hauser was selected for boxing’s highest honor – induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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Artem Dalakian, Sunny Edwards, and the Most Storied Title in Boxing

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When the mighty Roman Gonzalez departed the 112lb division in 2016 he vacated the title and broke the longest remaining lineage in the sport. In a moment of quiet heartbreak for the boxing aficionado, the final direct link with boxing’s glorious past was cut forever.

That lineage had begun back in 1975 with perhaps the greatest flyweight champion, Miguel Canto.  Canto cleaned house that year, shading the wonderful Betulio Gonzalez and the evergreen Shoji Oguma, part of a calendar year that saw him go 6-0 and establish his absolute pre-eminence in the deepest of flyweight divisions. In 1979, old in the face, Canto was out-worked and even in some ramshackle way out-jabbed by a swarming, aggressive Korean named Chan Hee Park. Park was a good fighter, Shoji Oguma lay in wait to send him tumbling with counter-rights, taking his turn in an impressive second tour. In 1981, the new generation asserted itself in the form of Antonio Avelar.  Avelar seemed, briefly, to be the real deal but he was unseated by a murderous punching Colombian, Prudencio Cardona, who inflicted upon Avelar the most violent knockout in flyweight history.

This heralded the advent of a series of caretaker champions, good fighters, all, but no great ones as the early eighties evaporated while the hot-potato flyweight championship passed from Fredy Castillo to Eleoncio Mercedes to Charlie Magri and others, none of them holding it for more than a matter of months. When the mighty Sot Chitalada wrestled it from the last caretaker champion in 1984, Canto finally had a descendent who could be named a peer. In two spells, Chitalada held the title into the 1990s whereupon it was ripped from him by the Thai Maungchai Kittikasem who then dropped it to an early emergent of the Soviet and former Soviet schools in Yuri Arbachakov.  Arbachakov was the first flyweight whose legacy was to suffer at the hands of the ABC title-belt madness, his record-breaking spell as champion marred by matches with WBC-nominated journeymen. Despite his lengthy title reign, Yuri managed to fight men who were held to belong in the top ten just twice as champion.

Less than a year after the lineal title and Arbakachov were parted, it would be wrapped around the waist of a youngster named Manny Pacquiao, who had crushed Chatchai Sasakul in eight who had in turn outpointed Arbachakov. From the madness of the alphabet soup to the emergence of one of the greatest fighters of our time, the story of the flyweight lineal championship is the story of modern boxing untrampled by titular uncertainty. The history of the championship, of the divisional king, can be traced back to a time when Muhammad Ali ruled the world and so a fistic tendril connects Ali, a hero to his people, to Pacquiao, a hero to his. Pacquiao nearly ruined it all though.  Manny missed weight for his 1999 match with Boonsai Sangsurat and had he won that fight, the title would have been vacated as he departed the weight forever, but fortunately, a weight-drained mess, he was crushed in three rounds.

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam then, when he lifted the title in 2001, became the latest great to trace his lineage back to Canto. Wonjongkam’s reign was as modern as can be imagined, dictated thoroughly by ABCs, fought almost exclusively in his backyard, and despite amassing an astonishing twenty title defences in two spells as king, his win resume underwhelms. A list of the worst ever lineal title challengers would draw heavily from Wonjongkam’s opposition.

Wonjongkam made way for Sonny Boy Jaro of The Philippines who made way for Toshiyuki Igarashi and Akira Yaegashi, both of Japan, underlining what has always been the most international of championships. And finally, at the end of the longest road in modern boxing, the title was lain at the feet of a great fighter from Nicaragua, the wonderful Roman Gonzalez.

Roman Gonzalez was my favourite fighters for years, I watched his boxing obsessively. More than a decade ago, I wrote an article predicting his eventual enshrinement as a pound-for-pound number one and his likely vanquishment by a southpaw, even going so far as to predict this would occur up at 115lbs, all of which came true. But it cut me when he stepped aside in 2016, the lineage that had begun with Canto destroyed, a lineage that had run through four different abdications and coronations at 160lbs, that ran all the way back to the last golden age of the flyweight division.

From the ashes, finally, a phoenix menaces. Far from stipulated, certainly not sure, but stirring. On Saturday night, Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (pictured) came to London to meet David Jimenez on the undercard of the Artur Beterbiev-Anthony Yarde fight. Dalakian-Jimenez is one of those rare and wonderful fights British and American fans are sometimes treated to, elite combat athletes who struggle to secure rewarding purses fighting low on a card which a just sport might see them headline. Jimenez, the challenger for Dalakian’s strap, refutes befuddlement with aggression, boxable but brutal, left floundering early in the biggest fight of his career against Ricardo Sandoval only to button up and fire forwards, hard-scrabbling enough rounds to conquer his more cultured foe. This would be his approach, too, against Dalakian. Dalakian is a fighter of no small culture whose activity suffered during those COVID months but with a legacy that stretches back to the last generation of top flyweights and a victory over Brian Viloria. Having boxed just twenty rounds in three years he was now bringing an unfortunate mix of rust and, at thirty-five years old, age.

Nevertheless, for me he dominated Jimenez. The younger man was reasonably quick-handed and tried to remain ambitious in his rushes, but Dalakian was never less than the cleaner puncher and rested on a steeper bank of experience that saw him nullify his more aggressive foe inside while consistently out-scoring him outside. It was a thoroughly impressive performance that confirmed Dalakian’s remaining superiority over most of the rest of the division. Jimenez, in just his thirteenth fight, had established himself firmly in the divisional top five and likely has a future at 112lbs if he wants it. This was a crossroads fight only in the sense that it tested the last generation with the new, and the new was found wanting.

This victory, a unanimous decision over twelve, was a significant one for Dalakian, however. For me, it establishes him as the number one flyweight in the world but at worst he is the number two. The man with whom he shares the top table is one Sunny Edwards, a London boy and very much the division’s coming man. Edwards has boxed nearly as many contests in the upper echelons of the division as Dalakian, and Dalakian’s victory over Viloria aside, Edwards probably has the most meaningful victory of the two having defeated the ageing Moruti Mthalane in early 2021. The recency of his important victories is the source of the tension concerning the number one divisional flyweight currently.

Sunny

Sunny Edwards

The hope is the two will settle this in the ring.

While it is not unusual for a fighter to arrive from foreign shores and never be seen in a British ring again, it is more often the case that they arrive with targeted opposition when they are boxing at title level, and from Dick Tiger to Zolani Tete, Britain welcomes foreign winners with open arms. It is likely that Dalakian has been brought to Britain to tease a fight with the only man in the division that might be seen as his better and in the only fight either man could hope to box and be similarly enriched. Some promotional tensions exist, but what would be unusual money for a flyweight contest might tip the scales.

And if they settle it in the ring, as the number one and number two flyweight contenders, they will start a new lineage, a new passage of the flyweight title. More than that, the fight would be a fascinating and evenly matched contest between Dalakian, a technician who will likely be forced to box with pressure as a result of his physical limitations and Edwards, a quick-footed slickster who will nevertheless have to commit to outworking maybe the only fighter in the division with superior straight punches. That is not to say that Mexican Julio Cesar Martinez will be excluded – clearly the division’s number three, he may yet have a say.

But if a new and meaningful lineage is to begin it is Dalakian and Edwards, the two best flyweights on the planet, who must seed it.

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Emanuel Navarrete Aims to Become Champion in a Third Weight Class on Friday

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Champion in both the super bantamweight and featherweight categories, the strong Mexican puncher Emanuel Navarrete will try to be champion at 130 pounds on Friday, February 3, when he faces Australian Liam Wilson at the Desert Diamond Arena in the city of Glendale, Arizona. ESPN will be broadcasting the fight.

For Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs), who has a 31-fight winning streak since his one and only setback in July 2012, the duel with Wilson will be his debut into the super featherweight division.

Navarrete, 28 years old and born in San Juan Zitlaltepec, defeated his countryman Eduardo Báez with a sixth-round knockout last July in San Diego, California, where the winner made his third successful defense of the WBO featherweight title.

Subsequently, Navarrete decided to seek the WBO championship at 130 pounds which had been vacated after the talented American southpaw Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) was unable to make weight on the scale before unanimously defeating Brazilian Robson Conceicao on September 23rd in New Jersey.

The WBO accepted Navarrete’s request to fight for the vacant title and opened the doors to fellow Aztec Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs), ranked second by the WBO and third by the WBC.

But in December, Valdez’s camp announced that he was withdrawing from the fight after undergoing a medical evaluation. Australian Liam Wilson (11-1, 7 KOs), ranked third by the WBO, was designated to take Valdez’s place.

A confident Navarrete stated: “This is my opportunity to become a three-division world champion. I am going for that crown. Liam Wilson is a good fighter, but this is my moment, and everyone will see a much more complete ‘Vaquero’ Navarrete that has a lot of thirst for victory. My ideal weight is 130 pounds, and that will be demonstrated on February 3rd when I become world champion for Mexico and San Juan Zitlaltepec. Wilson will not get in the way of my dream.”

Navarrete began his string of 31 wins after losing in four rounds against his compatriot Daniel Argueta on July 26, 2012, at the José Cuervo Hall in the finals of the XVIII Gold Belt Tournament. Despite the setback, Navarrete was the one declared champion of the contest, as Argueta failed to show up for the mandatory weigh-in.

Although he is on the verge of conquering his third championship in a third weight division, Navarrete has not defined what his immediate steps will be.

“Let’s see how things evolve,” Navarrete said. “We will see how I feel (at 130 pounds), and then make the right decision. It all depends on how I perform in February and analyze the result. How my body assimilates to the new weight class and things like that.”

Likewise, Navarrete confirmed that he was having difficulty making 126 pounds and that during his career in both the super bantamweight and featherweight divisions he had tried to unify the titles with the other champions without success.

“You know that I have been seeking unification fights in other weight classes,” stated Navarrete. “That is what I want, and what I’m looking for. I hope I can unify in this weight class (130 pounds). But first I hope to win against Wilson, and then we will decide.”

When analyzing his possibilities in the super featherweight division, Navarrete said that he has a tall stature which can benefit him. In the same sense, he considered that now at 130 pounds he will not have to wear himself out to make weight so he will be strong.

Wilson, 26 years old, won the vacant WBO International belt against Argentine Adrián Rueda (37-2, 32 KOs) on June 29th of last year in Brisbane, Australia. Wilson’s lone loss came from Filipino southpaw Joe Noynai (20-3-2, 8 KOs), who knocked him down once in the 1st round, twice in the 4th round, and again in the fifth round on July 7, 2021, in Newcastle, Australia, before referee Phil Austin stopped the lopsided match.

Wilson, however, got even eight months later in a rematch where he chloroformed Rueda in the second round and regained the WBO Asia-Pacific title.

For his upcoming fight, Wilson has set up a seven-week training camp in Washington DC at Headbangers Boxing Gym where Isaac Dogboe trains. Dogboe has fought Navarrete twice and can hopefully provide some valuable insight. “I’m only going off YouTube footage, so to get the advice off Isaac and his trainer over here, they’ve been in the corner against him, they’ve seen him in person, up close, so I have to take their advice onboard,” Wilson added.

Wilson is confident going into this fight, even though he has less professional experience. “He’s been in these fights so many times before. This is my first 12-rounder,” Wilson said. “In a sense, he has every reason to overlook me – I’ve only been in 10 rounders, he’s been 12 rounds multiple times, he’s a two-division world champion and for him it’s just another fight, for me it’s what I’ve dreamed of. I think I’ll be the bigger, stronger fighter. I believe I’ll be the biggest puncher he’s fought.”

Article submitted by Jorge Juan Álvarez in Spanish.

Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.

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Garcia Promotions’ Event in San Bernardino was a Showcase for Saul Rodriguez

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SAN BERNARDINO-Saul “Neno” Rodriguez, out of action for nearly three years, returned to the prize ring on Saturday in San Bernardino at the Club Event Center in a Garcia Promotions event. San Bernardino is in the Inland Empire which is two counties just east of Los Angeles.

Riverside’s Rodriguez (24-1-1) weighed much more than the designated weight and his match with Mexico’s Juan Meza Angulo was demoted to an exhibition because of the weight disparity. Despite wearing head gear, the popular Riverside fighter was able to stop Angulo (6-1) in his first fight since February 28, 2020.

Though Rodriguez looked slightly over-weight as a super lightweight, it didn’t dampen his sharp punching skills. He immediately caught Meza with a well-timed overhand right. Luckily, Rodriguez didn’t put muscle on it. The fight proceeded.

Because of inactivity, Rodriguez seemed to relish getting back to work. He moved around and tried different combinations. Everything seemed to be working in his favor. But Meza countered a left by Rodriguez with a strong right. It proved the popular Riverside fighter needs work on bringing back his left quickly.

After Meza connected things got serious.

Rodriguez immediately opened the third round at a quicker tempo and seemed intent on changing from a wait-and-see attitude to one of bad intentions. Meza didn’t notice the change and looked to catch Rodriguez with a combo and instead was caught with a monster counter-right. Down went Meza with a thud. The fight was stopped.

Fans, many of them wearing Team Neno t-shirts, were deliriously happy to see Rodriguez back in action.

In the co-main event, San Bernardino’s Leo Ruiz clashed with granite-chinned Cameron Krael.

Ruiz (11-0, 7 KOs) unloaded horrific bombs on Krael (19-25-3) who calmly kept his gloves covering his head and although some managed to connect flush, nothing fazed the Las Vegas fighter.

Round after round Ruiz unloaded on Krael only to quickly realize that attempting a knockout was futile. The reputation of Krael’s chin was correct and no need to break a knuckle trying to score a knockout. Instead, Ruiz went six rounds and won every one to take a win by unanimous decision by scores of 60-54 on all three cards.

Other Bouts

Gabe Muratalla (9-0) knocked out Michael Nielsen (6-3) with a four-punch combination in the third round of a bantamweight fight. Body shots dropped Nielsen in the second round.

Ventura’s Jose Delgado (10-1-4), a southpaw, overcome a sluggish start with body shots to defeat San Bernardino’s Jesus Beltran (6-3-1) by majority decision after four rounds in a lightweight fight.

Riverside’s Victor Pelayo (2-0) defeated Milwaukee’s D’Angelo Hopgood (2-1) by decision after four rounds in a very close super bantamweight match. Both fighters showed solid fundamentals in a fight that could have easily been scored a draw. Pelayo won by decision 39-37 on all cards.

Riverside’s Jose Rodriguez (2-0) stopped Henry Mendez (0-9-2) in the fourth round of a super welterweight bout. Mendez was deducted a point in the second round for incessant holding after numerous warnings.

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