By Francisco Salazar and Felipe Leon at ringside
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
In a great fight, WBC lightweight champion Humberto Soto (54-7-2, 32 KOs) barely retained his title with a hard fought unanimous decision over Urbano Antillon (28-2, 20 KOs) in front of a crowd of 3,253 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The bout was a total war with both fighters trading bombs throughout. Whenever the champion’s precise punching gave him the edge, Antillon’s fighter’s heart would pull him back into the fight. Referee Ray Corona deducted a point from Antillon in round five for a low blow and that ended up costing him a draw. Scores were 114-113, 115-112, 114-113, all for Soto.
Two-division world champion Nonito Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs) said he would make a statement on Saturday night and that’s just what he did. “The Filipino Flash” destroyed former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko (22-3-2, 7 KOs) to set up a February 19 clash with WBC bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel. After staggering Sidorenko early, Donaire dropped him with a left/right combination at the end of round one. Donaire scored another knockdown with a big left hand in round three and put the former champion down for the count in round four. Time was 1:48.
Undefeated lightweight contender Mikey Garcia (24-0, 20 KOs) scored his most impressive win to date, knocking out former world title challenger Olivier Lontchi (18-2-2, 8 KOs) in round five. Garcia dropped Lontchi with a right to the head then put him down for the count with his follow up barrage. Time was 1:30.
Middleweight contender Pawel Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs), who was originally slated to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event before Chavez pulled out with the flu, survived a rocky start against late sub Jose Pinzon (19-2-1, 13 KOs) but came through with a seventh round TKO. Wolak was knocked down and badly hurt in round two, but survived Pinzon’s follow-up attack and turned the fight around in the following rounds, finally putting Pinzon out on his feet in round seven. Time was 2:24.
In the first fight of the night that went the distance, Lightweight Jessie Roman (5-0, 3 KO’s) won a four round unanimous decision over Johnny Frazier. Roman was the more-polished fighter of the two, with Frazier (3-4-2, 3 KO’s) hanging in there tough. Both fighters went at it in the final round, with Roman landing the harder punches. All three judges had Roman winning by scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Welterweight Rodrigo Garcia stopped Rodrigo Villarreal in the third round of a scheduled six round bout. The taller and stronger Garcia (8-0, 6 KO’s) landed the more effective punches over the wild-swinging Villarreal. In the third round, Garcia dropped Villarreal (4-5-1, 2 KO’s) with a hard left hook to the head. After getting up, Villarreal’s corner told referee Marcos Rosales to stop the bout at 2:43.
Heavyweight Joe Hanks systematically broke Vili Bloomfield down, earning a fourth round stoppage victory in a scheduled six round bout. After a slow start, the larger Hanks (15-0, 10 KO’s) outworked Bloomfield with hard punches to the head. In the fourth, Hanks trapped Bloomfield (9-6-1, 4 KO’s) in a corner, raining punches down on Bloomfield, prompting referee Jerry Cantu to stop the bout at 1:43.
With Freddie Roach in his corner, Heavyweight Andy Ruiz stopped Francisco Diaz in the second round of a scheduled four round bout. Ruiz (7-0, 5 KO’s) dropped Diaz with a counter left hook to the head at the end of the first round. Ruiz finished Diaz (2-5, 2 KO’s) off with a left hook-right hand to the head, dropping him to the canvas face first. Referee Jack Reiss immediately stopped the bout at 1:08.
Featherweight Gabino Saenz (2-0, 2 KO’s) stopped Jesse Adame in the first round of a scheduled four round bout. Saenz dropped the competitive Adame (1-6-1) with a left-right combination and earned the stoppage victory with a hard right hand to the head. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the bout at 2:45.
Soto-Antillon fight photos by Big Joe Miranda
Other fight photos by Chris Farina/Top Rank