By Rocco Morales at ringside
Photos by Big Joe Miranda
Unbeaten middleweight James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KOs) continued his reign of terror scoring a second round KO over Jhon Berrio (15-9, 11 KOs) on Friday night at the Hangar at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. Kirkland found himself, surprisingly, in a real fight in the first round and was even stunned a couple times by his Colombian opponent. However, after Kirkland landed a hard body shot a minute into the second round, the fight went out of Berrio and he took a knee from a mystery punch and was counted out by the referee. Time was 1:05. Matchmaker Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions was upset with the effort, or lack thereof, by Berrio and instructed the California State Athletic Commission that he wished for them to withhold his purse pending further review. Kirkland will return to action for the third time in as many months on April 09th as he works his way back into title contention following his two year layoff.
In the main event, unbeaten lightweight Luis Ramos Jr. (18-0, 8 KOs) was fortunate to get a majority eight round decision over hard luck loser Jose Hernandez (10-5-1, 4 KOs). The taller Hernandez was able to control action for most of the fight with his jab and straight right crosses from the outside and was able to also score on the inside with hard uppercuts and hooks to the body of Ramos. For most of the fight, Ramos was trying to figure out a way to get on the inside but was unable to get past the accurate and hard punches of Hernandez. Hernandez stunned Ramos on many occasions during the fight and seemed the clear cut winner. While Ramos had his moments in the fight, he seemed accepting of his impending first defeat at the final bell. Fortunately for Ramos, however, the ringside judges had other ideas. Scores were 79-73, 77-75, 76-76. FightNews scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Hernandez.
In a scheduled four round junior welterweight contest, Antonio Orozco kept his record perfect by delivering a punishing left hook to the body of Manuel Aguilar that sent him down for the 10 count. Orozco was able to land hard and concise combinations to the head of Aguilar early in the round and once Aguilar raised his hands to protect his head, Orozco was able to put him away with body .shots. Orozco improves to 9-0 (6KO) while Aguilar drops to 5-2 (4KO).
A super middleweight attraction, scheduled for four rounds, saw debuting local fighters, J.J. Ambrose and Stephan Lugo in action. Lugo was able to control the action over Ambrose who appeared through his manerisms to be more of an MMA fighter than a boxer. The end came when Lugo landed a solid right cross lead to the chin of Ambrose who went down face first prompting the referee to immediately wave an end to the fight. At 1:49 of the third round, Lugo is the winner by KO victory to improve to 1-0 while dropping Ambrose to 0-1.
In a walkout bout, somebody’s O had to go, but in this case it meant someone had to win a fight as two 0-2 fighters in hometown favorite, Bobby Chavez, took on Steven Rubalcava. In a lackluster fight, Chavez won a TKO victory at 1:14 in third round to get into the win column and improve to 1-2 while dropping to 0-3. Inexplicably, the corner of Rubalcava threw in the towel while the two were still engaged in battle.
A scheduled six round lightweight contest saw former Dominican amateur standout and rising prospect, Francisco Contreras, methodically box his way to a unanimous decision victory over veteran Adolfo Landeros. Contreras, while technically sound, looked more like the amateur fighter who put together an amazing 350-14 record than the professional banger who came into the fight with 13 knockouts in his first 15 fights. Meanwhile, Landeros, to his credit, extends Contreras to the distance for just the third time, but drops his eighth fight in a row. With the victory, Contreras improves to 16-0 (13KO) while Landeros drops to 20-18-1 (9KO).
In opening action, a four round junior lightweight contest, debuting Humberto Zatarain barely survived a first down knockdown at the hands of Jose Sanchez but was able to come back and slug out a unanimous decision. It was an all action fight and with the victory, Zatarain improves to 1-0 and drops Sanchez to 3-2 (1KO).
Promoters for the event were Golden Boy Promotions and Roy Englebrecht Promotions. A capacity sellout crowsd of 1,524 fans packed the venue, The Hangar at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA.
Boxing returns to The Hangar when Roy Englebrecht Promotions presents the next installment of Fight Club OC on April 21st. For tickets, visit www.fightcluboc.com