It was a well earned victory for Efrain Esquivias on Friday.
It’s a shame Esquivias couldn’t take home the championship belt.
Esquivias’ bout was originally set to be for the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super featherweight title. The belt was made available to Ruiz but not to Esquivias, who couldn’t make weight the day before.
Esquivias (14-0) got the nod from the judges but it wasn’t until after 10 hard rounds with Ruiz, who, earlier in his career, was a promising prospect himself when he fought six times at various venues in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.
So the title remains vacant. Ruiz (23-7), now loser of five of his last six, gains some respect with a better than respectable performance. And Esquivias remains undefeated, winning a fight in which he was pushed and challenged like never before as a pro.
But Esquivias finished strong, looking fit and sharp in the final three rounds. He dominated the eighth, scoring big points early in the round with hard rights and lefts.
He did the same in the ninth and tenth rounds, picking Ruiz off with sharp jabs and followed with those chopping right hands.
Ruiz pressed Esquivias from start to finish, keeping his head on Esquivias’ chest in an effort to smother his attack. The first couple rounds were good for Ruiz, who was aggressive and didn’t give Esquivias much room to breathe. He tagged Esquivias with a couple tough left hooks. Still, Ruiz was never able to wobble Esquivias.
Esquivias, however, seemed at ease with Ruiz’ attack. He picked his shots and scored with short rights and stinging jabs.
Ruiz’ last stand came in the seventh round when he caught Esquivias on the ropes and roughed him up for most of the round.
It was a unanimous decision for Esquivias, winning with scorecards one scorecard of 97-93 and two scorecards of 99-91.
‘King wins first title’
Artemio ‘King’ Reyes Jr. won his first championship belt on Friday.
Reyes Jr., featured in the co-main event, took possession of the World Boxing Council Latino welterweight title with a second round KO over Miguel Angel Munguia.
Reyes Jr., who wears “POPS” on his trunks as a tribute to father, forced the stoppage at 2:58 of the second round.
It was the 12th straight win for Reyes Jr. since suffering his only loss back in 2008. And it was the fifth knockout in seven fights for Reyes Jr., who improved to 13-1 with his 11 KO victory.
Reyes Jr. was on the attack and had landed a series of punches when he floored Munguia with a right to the head. Munguia stayed down for the 10 count. Reyes Jr. nearly scored the win in the first round when he floored Munguia with a right to the liver for a knockdown near the bell.
Contreras pounds out a win
Riverside’s Richard Contreras (6-0, 5 KOs) landed at will on Manuel Sarabia (16-32) throughout this bantamweight bout.
But it was a three punch combination in the fifth that forced a stoppage. Contreras caught Sarabia with his back on the ropes and unleashed a tough three punch combination, a left-right-left, that forced referee Zac Young to wave the bout off 46 seconds into the round.
Contreras nearly forced a stoppage in the third when landed 10 unanswered power shots, the majority of them rights to the head.
Aponte wins pro debut
Super bantamweight Angel Aponte looked sharp in his pro debut and picked up a unanimous decision over winless Cain Garcia.
Aponte (1-0) scored well from his southpaw stance, landing some stinging shots in the first two rounds. He wore down a bit in the third and fourth rounds as Cain (0-4) made it respectable by pressing the fight.
Judges scored it 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Crespo gets the nod
Welterweights Roberto Crespo and Javier Albonica put on a good show in their four rounder.
But it was Crespo who got the nod from the judges. Crespo improved to 2-0 with a unanimous decision, winning all three scorecards with scores of 39-37.
Crespo, of Riverside, used his jab and boxed his way to the win. He picked his shots and finished strong when he wobbled Albonica, of North Hollywood, with a left hook late in the fourth.
Sharp win for Miguel Diaz
Undefeated Miguel Diaz was too slick for Samuel Gutierrez in their four round flyweight bout.
Diaz (6-0) boxed Gutierrez (5-7-1) when he wanted to and scored well with power shots as well. It was a unanimous decision for Diaz, who won with three scorecards of 40-36.
Diaz put a welt under Gutierrez’ right eye in the first round and dominated the rest of the bout.
Franco cruises to win
Featherweight Daniel Franco remained undefeated (3-0) with a solid effort against Mauro Brenes.
Franco’s best moment arrived in the second round when he wobbled Brenes (0-1) with a left hook. Franco went on the attack and landed a few power shots but couldn’t finish it off.
Franco won the fight with three scorecards of 40-36.
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