By Robert Hough
Photos: Tri Nguyen/GeorgetownProductions.com
Bruno Escalante (11-1-1, 5 KOs) used precise power and effective energy to defeat Michael Ruiz Jr. (9-4-1, 3 KOs), and claim the IBA junior bantamweight championship with a majority decision. Judges scored the high-action fight 95-95, 98-92 and 97-93 for the native of Cebu, the Philippines, who fights out of San Carlos, Calif.
The fight Saturday night at the Sports House in Redwood City, Calif., about 20 miles south of San Francisco and a few miles from San Carlos, featured a considerable measure of action; Ruiz Jr., came forward consistently with free-swinging aggression and Escalante mixed things up in response.
“I wanted to show everything I can do: work off the jab, fight inside and just fight,” said the 25-year-old who’s fought five times in the last nine months. “It was a tough fight and I think it was an exciting one for the crowd; he came to fight, that’s for sure. I had to work hard, but that’s what I need.”
In letting his hands go with some abandon, Ruiz Jr., who split two amateur fights with Escalante, had some success, paid some price and left the ring with a look and tone of despair.
Ruiz Jr., and Escalante set the tone from the bell: the former would attack and throw, and the latter would respond either by trying to slip away and counter or stand his ground and fight.
There was plenty of action, which drew loud cheers from a spirited crowd of 932 at the event, promoted by Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents.
In the occasional moment that Ruiz Jr., wasn’t coming forward, Escalante tried with some success to work off a jab.
Escalante consistently got the better of the action and worked the body, though Ruiz Jr., who came away from the bout with a severely marked-up face, landed enough to keep the fight and rounds close.
In the fifth round of a fight that drew plenty of “Let’s go, Bruno” cheers from his supporters, Escalante made Ruiz Jr., miss, ripped him hard with a staggering combination and moved in aggressively. Ruiz Jr., evaded and eluded long enough to recover from the assault and hurt Escalante as he attacked with some abandon.
The pace slowed some throughout the second half of the fight, and Escalante appeared to have more left in the tank, but Ruiz Jr., kept pressing, pressing, pressing.
“I was attacking him and landing all the time,” the 24-year-old native and resident of Fresno, Calif., said afterward. “He got maybe one or two rounds and he caught me with a good shot in the fifth, but I recovered in that round.”
Escalante said he knew Ruiz Jr., would press the action and focused on wearing down his old foe.
“I wanted to do different things in the ring, but keep a focus on the body punches and slow him down,” he said. “He came fit and he came to fight, but I think that was effective.”
Chicas Crushes Armenta
Welterweight Jonathan Chicas (12-1, 5 KOs) landed about everything he threw at Rodolfo Armenta (13-12-1, 10 KOs) and hurt him with about everything he landed, getting the TKO at 1:22 of the first round of a six-round fight.
Chicas, from nearby San Francisco, dropped the Los Mochis, Mexico, fighter less than a minute into the fight with a left hook and finished soon afterward with a mammoth right uppercut.
Pinell Pounds Brambila
Middleweight Ricardo Pinell (6-1-1, 5 KOs) had an easy time with Arturo Brambila (10-20-1, 5 KOs), stopping the veteran from Guadalajara, Mexico at 2:55 of the second round.
Pinell, from San Francisco, quickly found a home for nasty straight lefts. In the second round, a straight left sent Brambila tumbling and tangling into the ropes. He rose from the blows and Pinell moved in for the kill and got it with a wicked left uppercut, left hook combination.
Johnson Edges Contreras
Light heavyweight Tony Johnson (7-0, 2 KOs) outworked an aggressive Alfredo Contreras (13-17-2, 5 KOs) to earn the decision in a six-round fight; scores were 58-56 for the San Jose, Calif. fighter.
Johnson, who was in his first fight in 2013, buckled Contreras’s knees in the first round with a looping right as the veteran tried to mix it up and consistently countered effectively more than he got caught.
Contreras was effective enough to win some rounds and scored style points in the last round when he wound up for and threw a couple bolo punches.
Vences Vexes Capaceta
Lightweight and crowd favorite Tony Vences (6-0, 2 KOs) dominated Victor Capaceta (3-5-3, 2KO’s , using superior speed and power to win a four-round fight by scores of 39-37 and 40-36 on two cards.
Capaceta was content to stay in range as Vences, from nearby San Jose, Calif., worked, landing single shots and snappy left-right combinations to the head and body. Vences hurt the Tijuana, Mexico fighter with body shots in the third and fourth rounds.
Price Pounds Guzman
Darwin Price (4-0, 2 KOs) out-punched Victor Guzman (3-5-3, 2 KOs), who came to wrestle as much as throw blows.
Price, a tall junior welterweight from Salinas, Calif., worked off a jab as Guzman, from Tijuana, Mexico, relentlessly came forward, tied to fight inside and muscled Price around the ring. After a messy first round Price found some range and repeatedly cracked Guzman as he pressed on. There was more of the same in the last two rounds as Guzman tired and Price showed off good hand-speed and accuracy with both hands landing to the head and body.
Scores in the four-round bout were 40-36.
Batista Bests Salazar
Chris Batista beat Benito Salazar in a four-round battle of lightweights making their pro debuts. Scores were 40-36 on all three cards.
Batista, Medera, Calif., avoided most of Salazar’s punches and countered him as the Paramount, Calif., fighter pressed forward. Batista was more and more effective as his jab found its range and he worked off it with bigger shots to the head and body. Salazar kept pressing forward and swinging, with occasional flashes of success, but Batista earned the decision in a fight that was closer than the scores indicated.