By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
Boxing returned to the Los Angeles Sports Arena for its first world championship card since October of 1996 Saturday night as WBO world flyweight champion Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (32-3, 18 KOs) claimed the WBA flyweight belt held by Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (34-2, 25 KOs) in 112lb unification shootout.
Also, WBA light flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (34-0, 28 KOs) retained his title after a twelve round all-action war with Juan Francisco “Gallo” Estrada (23-2, 18 KOs).
In the main event, Viloria came out attacking the body with a left hook but Marquez countered him with a short left that landed solid in the chin to start round one. Later in the round Marquez seemed to be having the momentum but Viloria countered with a short right that dropped Marquez. Marquez was saved by the bell.
In round three, Viloria continued digging to the body and appeared to bother Marquez as he clinched for dear life.
The fight took a turn in an exciting round five. A flush right hook to the chin caught Viloria, and Marquez launched an all out attack that ended with Viloria on the canvas. Referee Dave Mendoza ruled it a push and warned Marquez. Moments later Marquez attacked again but appeared to have punched himself out. Viloria landed a counter right hand that once again knocked down Marquez.
In round eight, Viloria appeared to be getting tired as he began to ease up and a clean left hook by Marquez shook Viloria. The Mexican fighter went for the attack cornering Viloria but the frustrated Marquez hit Viloria in back of the head and referee David Mendoza warned Marquez. In the ninth round, Tyson Marquez continued to pressure Viloria, roughing up “the Hawaiian Punch” who nicely slipped a flurry of punches from Marquez.
By round ten the fight appeared to be going in Marquez’ favor as he continued his attack on the tiring Viloria. However, a counter left hook by Viloria sent Marquez to the canvas for the third time. Marquez beat referee David Mendoza’s count as he continued to fight but Viloria went in to close the show with his violent follow up attack. The end came when Marquez’ trainer Robert Garcia threw in the towel prompting Mendoza to stop the contest at 1:01 of round ten.
An impressive win for the Viloria who now holds the WBA and WBO flyweight titles. Next up for “The Hawaiian Punch” could be a showdown with unbeaten WBA light flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, who retained his title earlier that night in the semi-main in a sensational fight.
It was all action from the opening bell between Gonzalez (34-0, 28 KOs) and Estrada (23-2, 18 KOs) that has the crowd on their feet with the chants of Mexico and Nicaragua.
The exchanges were fast and furious with Gonzalez landing the heavier punches. Chocolatito began to bring the pressure in round three, backing Estrada to the ropes as the Mexican began to bleed from his nose. In round four both continued to exchange as Estrada landed some right hands that got Gonzalez’ attention and later in the round more Estrada combinations stopped Gonzalez momentum.
In round six through eight, it appeared that Chocolatito was on the verge of getting Estrada out of there, but there was no quitting in the Mexican fighter as he responded with rallys at the end of each round with the crowd on their feet.
Going into the championship rounds both continued to dish it out in the center of the ring as Gonzalez continued landing the heavier punches but Estrada continued to fight countering and landing his series of combinations in round ten. In the final round both fighters continued to exchange as the fans were the winners. Estrada showed up to fight and gave Gonzalez all he could handle, but in the end it was Gonzalez taking a unanimous decision by scores of 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.
In other action, Filipino Drian Francisco (23-1-1, 18 KOs) scored a KO over Javier Gallo (18-6-1, 10KOs) of Buena Park, California in a bantamweight bout. Francisco and Gallo went at it from the opening bell but the former WBA interim titleholder broke down the tough Gallo outboxing him unloading a series of combinations as referee Lou Moret stopped the contest at 2:54 of the fifth round.
Tijuana’s Hanzel Martinez (20-0, 16 KOs) went the distance against rugged veteran Alejandro Moreno (24-30-3, 11 KOs) in an eight round super flyweight bout. Martinez got some work in against the tough and experienced Moreno en route to a 80-72, 79-73, 79-73 verdict. Hanzel “Tornadito” Martinez is the nephew of Antonio Margarito.
Unbeaten Jr. middleweight Rodrigo Garcia (12-0, 6 KOs) took only two rounds to stop Santa Ana’s Octavio Narvaez (7-13-1, 4 KOs). A series of right hands by Garcia staggered Narvaez and as he went down referee Lou Moret stepped in to stop the bout at 1:14.
Southern California lightweight prospect Jessie Roman (13-0, 8 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Angel Rios (9-16, 6 KOs) of the Bronx. As all three judges scored the bout 60-54 for Roman.
In bantamweight action, Indio’s Gabino Saenz (8-0, 6 KOs) scored a TKO over Uriel Torres (1-2) after the Torres corner threw in the towel at 33 seconds in round two.
Bantamweight Edgar Valero (2-0, 2 KOs) won by second round knockout over Anthony Briones (0-2) at the :43 mark.
Opening the card, Oxnard’s Andrew Ruiz (4-0, 2 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Rufino Flores (2-5). Two judges scored it 39-37 while the other had it 40-36.
Among those in attendance at the Sports Arena were former world champions Larry Holmes who was part of the Wealth TV broadcast crew and both Julio Cesar Chavez and Marco Antonio Barrera working with TV Azteca. Also in attendance former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito and former featherweight champion Alejandro “Cobrita” Gonzalez.
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