Story and photos by Felipe Leon
Tijuana’s Mayen Promotions has single handedly kept the sport of boxing alive in the talent rich border region with his monthly club show held at the cavernous Las Pulgas Nightclub in the heart of Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion. While Mexico’s biggest promoter, Zanfer Promotions, as well as Erik Morales’ Box Latino are based in Tijuana, Guillermo Mayen and his Thursday night’s fight card has regularly kept the fire burning in between major shows presented by bigger promoters. This past Thursday was no exception as Mayen featured twelve bouts shock full of local Tijuana talent battling in front of their home crowd. The only outside bout was the main event between Los Mochis, Mexico’s Abner “Gringo” Lopez (9-2, 8KOs) and Jesus “Pantera” Gurrola (16-4-3, 7KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico. In it Gurrola took an unpopular close split decision win over Lopez.
Lopez is known in Tijuana as the executioner of popular local fighters Mario “Popeyin” Padilla and Emilio Bojorquez, both who succumbed to knock out at the fists of Lopez, with Padilla in five rounds in February while Bojorquez in three in April.
After a slow first round in which Lopez didn’t do much but receive punches to the body, the action picked up as Lopez tried to counter with power punches to the head of Gurrola. The game plan worked in the third as Lopez sent Gurrola down to the canvas twice, first early on in the round from a straight right hand then again from a barrage of punches in the middle of the ring. Gurrola survived the round despite Lopez looking to finish him off for the rest of the three minutes.
Lopez kept up with the counter power punches in the fourth but by the fifth Gurrola turned the tide as he began to move more and put together his punches in bunches. Lopez had no answer as he just plodded forward hoping to land another big punch.
In the second half, the fight grew repetitive as Gurrola boxed form the outside, landing the jab and followed by straight right as Lopez did everything he could to catch lighting in a bottle once more. Lopez had his last hurrah in the seventh as he came out of of the corner with abandon and looked to hurt Gurrola more than once in the round. With fatigue settling in, it looked as if Lopez did not have enough on his punches to really do anymore damage.
Gurrola took it all the way to the end and earned the win with two scores of 95-94 awarded by judges Alejandro Rochin and Esteban Franco while the third judge Jesus Gonzalez saw it 95-94 for Lopez.
Lightweight Daniel Nava (3-0, 2KOs) of Tijuana, cousin of female super star Jackie Nava, had a tough time with the highly unorthodox Juan Salazar (0-1), also of Tijuana, who threw punches from all angles, held his hands low and came in with his head. Nava kept his cool and chased Salazar around the ring until he caught up to him with a right hook flush to the chin that crumbled Salazar to the floor. No count was administered. Official time was 1:48.
Welterweight Pastor Elenes (3-0, 2KOs) cruised to an easy win over the over matched David Orozco (0-12-1), both of Tijuana, in a four rounder. Elenes dropped Orozco twice, once in the second and again in third, but the tough Orozco survived until the final bell. Judges Leo Ibarra and Sergio Lechuga scored it 40-34 while Christian Uriel saw it 40-35.
In an even super middleweight four rounder, Tijuana’s Luis Rodriguez (1-1) took a majority decision and his first professional win over Guadalajara, Mexico’s Francisco Flores (1-1) with scores of 39-37 twice and an even 38-38.
Jose Galvez (1-0, 1KO) looked explosive as he dropped Victor Amador (0-1) twice in his debut to force referee Juan Jose Ramirez to waive the fight over a devastated Amador. Both fighters went at it in the first but Galvez proved to be the harder and smarter puncher when a left upper cut dropped Amador, both of Tijuana, in the second round. Galvez repeated the dose in the third when he trapped Amador against the neutral corner. This time Amador didn’t even attempt to get up and Ramirez waived off the contest. Official score was 1:31 of the third.
Tijuana junior welterweight Jose Valdez (6-1, 3KOs) was on a losing end of a four round unanimous decision versus Marcos Villasana Jr. (6-1, 4KOs) of Acapulco, Mexico. Scores were 39-37 three times.
In a slight upset, super bantamweight Joan “Amarillo” Sandoval (1-0-1, 1KO) of Tijuana stopped the popular Alfredo Pitta (0-1-1), also of Tijuana, to hand Pitta the first loss of his career. Both fighters began landing bombs from the opening bell with Sandoval being the more accurate of the two. With the crowd behind him, Pitta grew confident and decided to exchange with Sandoval but it proved to be his downfall as Sandoval scored with straight hard punches that put Pitta on the canvas in the third. Pitta beat the count to only get caught in a barrage of punches near the end of the fourth and final round forcing referee Juan Jose Ramirez to stop the fight at the 2:06 mark of the last round.
An all-out war broke out between crowd favorite Carlos “Baby” Castañeda (4-1, 2KOs) and Luis “Pantera” Nery (3-0, 1KO), both of Tijuana, as neither fighter gave no quarter. The southpaw Nery struck first when he scored with an over hand left that hurt Castañeda in the opening of the bout. Castañeda looked flustered as he tried to make do with Nery’s high pressure style. Nery kept charging and attacking the body all the way to the unanimous decision. Judges Carlos Flores, Sergio Lechuga and Esteban Franco scored it 40-36.
In an abrupt and controversial ending, referee Manuel Rincon awarded flyweight Victor “Pelon” Ruiz (8-1, 5KOs) a TKO win when a body shot floored Jose Iñiguez (5-14, 1KO) in the second round of a scheduled four. Iñiguez quickly beat the count but for no apparent reason and no rhyme or reason, Rincon waived off the bout. Not surprisingly, Iñiguez corner had some choice words for Rincon after the bout.
Tijuana flyweight Jose “Pepe” Quirino (2-0, 1KO) had no trouble with Bernardino Guevara (0-4), also of Tijuana, as he took a unanimous decision with all three scores 40-36 in a four rounder.
Ensenada, Mexico lightweight Carlos “Chema” Ocampo (2-0, 1KO) was finally able to stop Pedro Garcia (1-3) of Tijuana in the third round of a scheduled four. Ocampo was in control the whole way until the fatal power punch to the head. Official time was 2:16.
In a forgettable four round super bantamweight bout, Rafael “Batman” Rivera (2-0-1, 1KO) took an easy unanimous decision over Juan “Pitufo” Gomez (2-3, 1KO). Rivera was the slight busier of the two. All three judges, Carlos Flores, Diana De La Mora and Esteban Franco, scored it 39-37.