By Felipe Leon
Photos: Paul Gallegos
From the cavernous and legendary Bing Crosby Hall located on the spacious grounds of the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego, California, CA Hall of Fame promoter Bobby DePhilippis and his outfit Bobby D Presents held “San Diego Fights” this past Friday night to a good sized crowd who came in support of their local fighters. Known for guaranteeing great fights, once again Bobby D Presents did not disappoint with the all action six-bout fight card headlined by the return of hometown hero Aaron “Gavilan” Garcia (11-3-2, 3KOs) who proved a point in his first fight back in two years as he scored a rare knockout with a brutal left hook to the body of Cesar “Mayu” Garcia (8-14-1, 4KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico, to earn the stoppage victory.
Aaron had not fought since two back-to-back losses, although controversial, in 2011. The first was dropped to Abraham Lopez with a majority decision in Ontario, CA, that many saw the San Diego fighter win handily. Seven months later, Aaron faced Filipino Bernabe Concepcion for the featherweight WBC Continental Americas title. After a heated ten, Concepcion was awarded a highly controversial split decision and with it, the belt.
Cesar was on a two-fight win streak, stopping Eduardo Avaca and Jose Luis Lopez in the fifth and first rounds respectively.
After a rowdy ring walk bolstered by Aaron’s large fan base, the first round of a scheduled six began even enough as both fighters circled each other trying to find their range in the opening seconds. Soon things moved along as both began to land punches with Aaron being the aggressor putting together punches to the body and then to the head. Cesar kept up there with him but it was evident that Aaron was the quicker of the two and the one with much more to prove.
Near the end of the first, a quick exchange developed with both fighters throwing power punches mainly to the body with Aaron’s bombs getting there quicker and harder. A left hook/upper cut to the rib area was the more telling shot and when the bell rang, it turned out to be the fatal blow as once in his corner, Cesar Garcia began to complain of intense pain in his torso. The ringside doctor Bear Gamboa was called up by referee Tony Crebs and after a quick inspection, it was decided that Cesar might have a broken rib and the fight was stopped awarding hometown Aaron Garcia the TKO win at the 3:00 mark of the first round.
“I hit him hard to the body, I hurt him,” Garcia said immediately after the bout. “I think it was a great comeback performance and now I am ready for a little bit more meat on that bone. Hopefully I can fight a couple of more times this year and then go from there.”
Suleymanov Gets Title
In the co-main event, Russian Khabir Suleymanov (15-3, 6KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Chelyabinsk, Russia, was awarded an unpopular ten round unanimous decision and thus the NABA bantamweight title against Fresno, CA’s Michael Ruiz Jr (9-3-1, 3KOs).
Not much action in the first between the orthodox Russian and the southpaw Ruiz Jr but in the second, punches were began exchanged sporadically between holding from Suleymanov. Ruiz Jr., who had former multi-time champion Israel Vazquez as his chief second, began to score as the taller and longer Suleymanov inexplicably tried to take the fight on the inside. Ruiz Jr would score with right hook and straight lefts as Suleymanov, with his hands down, tried to pot shot his opponent from the waist.
Mid way through the bout it looked as if the momentum was on Ruiz Jr side as he scored with looping punches to the head Suleymanov who looked a bit confused by the aggression coming from his opponent. Ruiz Jr’s corner complained to the referee Jose Cobian of the dirty tactics employed by Suleymanov, from the head butting, rabbit punches and excessive holding, the veteran ref did warn not only the fighter and the corner that the strategy would not be accepted.
By the eighth, Ruiz Jr was making Khabir miss and then making him pay with straight rights to the head as he tried to catch up with the moving Suleymanov. The Russian was having some success with his awkward style of weird angles and scoring straight rights with his longer reach. The naturally bigger main inside the ring, Suleymanov began to impose that advantage in the last couple of rounds by holding and seemingly tiring out Ruiz Jr.
In the two final rounds, Suleymanov was able to turn up the heat and score the more effective punches as Ruiz Jr. looked to just survive to the closing bell.
At the end, judges Alejandro Rochin and Tony Crebs had it an inexplicably wide 98-92 and 97-93 respectively while Sergio Caiz scored it 96-94 all for Suleymanov. Fightnews had it the same, 96-94, but for Ruiz Jr. With the win, Suleymanov gets a top 15 ranking with the WBA and looks for a world title shot in the near future.
Spinks III Wows Crowd with Win
Undefeated lightweight southpaw Leon “Third Generation” Spinks III (5-0-1, 3KOs) went the distance against a game but overmatched Dominic Coca (8-3, 2KOs) and took a landslide unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 three times.
Coming off two easy knock out wins in Tijuana in the last sixty days, Spinks III had a little bit livelier opponent this time and Coca made his presence known in the first when he took the fight to the tall and lanky Spinks III, the grand son of former heavyweight champ “Neon” Leon Spinks.
Although at first Spinks III, of St. Louis but fighting out Huntington Beach, began to trade with Coca, he quickly fell back to boxing mode and began to keep his highly tattooed opponent at bay with a southpaw jab and straight left that soon bloodied the nose of Coca. Coca looked to score to the body to slow down the fleet footed Spinks III but he had trouble catching up with the “Third Generation”. The times that he didn’t corner Spinks III, his prey would wow the crowd with flashy quick moves to get out of harm’s way. By the third round, Spinks III was well in control, putting together combinations and scoring them at will.
A bit of showman, Spinks III began to showboat with pot shots, shoe shines and slick waist movement that not only would make Coca miss but put the crowd on its feet. It turned out to be too much for Coca and despite still trying to score, Spinks III turned out to be just to be too big and quick to beat.
Quiroz Repeats the Dose on Sandoval
Never in a bad fight, flyweight Jonathan “Johnny Boy” Quiroz (5-1, 1KO) of Oceanside, CA, struggled but at the end pulled out the win once again over San Bernardino, CA’s Jesus Sandoval (0-2) in a four round banger. In their first meeting back in February, Quiroz controlled more of the action and it showed with an almost shut out victory but this time Sandoval wanted to exact revenge since he asked for the rematch but Quiroz again turned out to be too much.
The first round was a slow one with both fighters throwing punches but not landing much until the last ten second when with Sandoval’s back to the ropes they began to exchange heavy artillery with Quiroz scoring the better shots. Not to be out done, Sandoval took the fight to Quiroz in the second and they both began to brawl in the center of the ring. Both scored well to the body and head with hooks from either and fists and upper cuts when they inched in closer. Quiroz quite possibly took the round with a right upper cut and left hook combination that landed at the end of the round. The third became one of attrition as both fighters threw technique and caution to the wind and just banged with each other with the crowd egging them for the full three minutes but by the fourth things settled down a bit with Quiroz bleeding from his nose. The punches kept flying but it was at a less intense clip than the previous round. This time the tallies were much closer as all three judges scored it 39-37 for Quiroz.
Gesta Gets Shocked
The younger brother of lightweight title contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, featherweight Anecito “Dondon” Gesta Jr (2-2) of Cebu, Philippines, came up short in his stateside debut when late sub Pablo Cupul (7-12, 4KOs) was able to pressure his way to a four round majority decision over the popular Filipino in a classic Mexican-Pinoy match up. A veteran of the several combat sports such as Muay Thai and MMA, Gesta Jr. looked seasoned despite only his three fights pro fights coming into the bout and seemed as experienced as his sixteen bout veteran opponent. Cupul of Merida, Mexico, quickly proved that he only has one gear and that is forward as he came after Gesta with a high volume of wide looping punches. This gave the southpaw Gesta Jr. the opportunity to counter punch the attack with straight punches down the middle as he made Cupul miss with active head movement.
In the third Cupul straightened his punches and began to score with a right hand as Gesta Jr backed up. Gesta Jr. had his own success with a left hooks and uppercuts including a series that made Cupul take a couple of steps back near the end of the round. Cupul kept pushing as Gesta Jr. looked to be losing some steam on his punches and legs, as Cupul was able to catch up to him much easier and keep scoring with right hands. Gesta Jr kept throwing but not with much behind his punches and by near the fourth round it looked like he was just waiting for the closing bell.
Both judges Alejandro Rochin and Sergio Caiz scored it 39-37 while Tony Crebs saw it an even 38-38 awarding Cupul the majority decision. Fightnews also had it an even 38-38.
Taylor Gets Back in the Win Column
In a busy four round welterweight contest, San Diego’s James “Hollywood” Taylor (3-1) got back in the win column after suffering his first loss in his last fight. This time he took a closely contested majority decision over Andre Ewell (0-4) of Moreno Valley, CA. Taylor by far scored the better punches, finding a home for his left hooks and straight rights against the southpaw Ewell who looked to only survive. Ewell woke up in the fourth and final round, a little too late, but scored with pot shot straight lefts as he moved around the ring. At the end, Alejandro Rochin and Jose Cobian scored it 39-37 for Taylor while Sergio Caiz saw it an even 38-38.