Report and photos by Felipe Leon
The reign of the first and only champion out of Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, Mario “Drangoncito” Rodriguez (15-7-4, 11KOs) was a short one as Japanese kamikaze Katsunary Takayama (25-6, 10KOs) of Osaka outworked, out and plainly out hustled the hometown hero over twelve rounds for the IBF minimumweight tile. More than eight thousand rabid Guasave fight fans packed into the Francisco Carranza Limon baseball stadium to take in the packed fight card presented by Box Latino, Branco Sports, Promociones del Pueblo and Goosen Tutor. The fight was broadcast live in Mexico by Televisa.
The southpaw Takayama, who had challenged for the same title twice against south African Nkosinathi Joyi, the same man Rodriguez stopped last year for the belt, always threw in combinations and used slick foot work to score against the mostly sedentary Rodriguez who looked for a big punch through the night. Rodriguez was finally able to land a blistering left hook to the chin as Takayama slipped against the ropes. Takayama went down but beat the count. As it looked as if the momentum was going to sway towards Rodriguez as the crowd chanted “Guasave, Guasave”, Takayama went back to boxing by the fifth round.
An accidental head butt opened a cut over the left eye of Takayama and a round later another cut over the right eye. As Takayama’s face became a red mask of blood, he never stopped moving and throwing punches, at times scoring with three and four punch combinations while Rodriguez attacked the body when he was able to slow Takayama down.
By the eleventh with the fight practically in the bag, Takayama began to play to the crowd as he did the Ali shuffle and toyed with Rodriguez as the “Drangoncito” desperately looked for the knock out. They went to war in the twelfth and final round but Rodriguez just didn’t have enough in the tank to stop the man from Japan.
Two of the three judges saw it for Takayama by a wide margins of 117-112, 119-109 while the third had it a much closer 115-113. The local crowd was not at all happy with the announced score displayed by their heckling but as a true champion, Rodriguez accepted defeat and before leaving the ring, he acknowledged the work that Takayama did inside the ring. Takayama traveled back to the land of the rising son with two severe cuts, a broken jaw but a well-deserved world title.
Guevara Squeezes Past Garcia
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico’s Pedro “Pedrin” Guevara (19-1-1, 13KOs) dropped and then defeated former world champion Raul “Rayito” Garcia (33-3-1, 21KOs) by close and hotly contested split decision to capture the vacant WBC light flyweight title in the semi-main event of the night. The southpaw Garcia, who at one time held the WBO 105 lbs. title, never took a backward step as he always took the fight to the much younger Guevara for all twelve rounds. Guevara was the quicker of the two and when he fought at a distance like he did on the outset of the bout, he would control the action by scoring a lead right that would stop Garcia on his tracks.
Mid way through the fourth, Guevara scored one of those rights and dropped Garcia. Garcia beat the count and after the round, according to WBC rules, the scores were read as 39-37, all for Guevara. Inexplicably, Guevara slowed down and allowed Garcia to push the action to the inside that gave him the advantage as he scored well with Guevara up close. Garcia just kept pushing as Guevara tried to keep him off but was not having any success as he lost his control of the distance.
After eight, the announced scores reflected the action inside the ring as the lead swayed to Garcia with scores of 76-75, all three for Garcia. As Guevara heard the scores, a determined look came across his face as he went after Garcia and fought with the same intensity as the opening rounds, controlling the distance and scoring with combinations of straight punches to the head of Garcia. Despite suffering a cut over his left eye and a nice sized mouse developing under it, Guevara kept fighting and at times let the fight go to the inside where he was also able to score. Garcia still stayed in the pocket and attacked but Guevara’s determination was just too much.
After the twelve exciting rounds, one judge saw it 114-113 for Garcia while two scored it 115-113 and 114-113 for Guevara giving Guevara the title.
Castro Crushes Franco
Super flyweight Osvaldo “Magnifico” Castro (17-5-1, 10KOs) was truly magnificent as he impressively stopped the experienced Javier “Chivero” Franco (21-11-1, 10KOs) of Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico, in the sixth round of a scheduled eight. Castro of the boxing hotbed of Los Mochis had a large contingency of fans as he controlled the fight from the beginning, throwing a large number of punches as he used his lanky frame and long arms to fight from the outside. In the third, Franco switched game plans and began to circle the ring and to stay away from Castro. Castro had trouble catching up to Franco until the fifth round when he scored a knockdown with a straight right and in the next round, scored a scorching overhand left that left Franco out cold. Franco needed about five minutes to recover and regain his composure. Official time was 2:51 of the sixth.
Silva Beats Lopez
In a slight upset, journeyman Fernando “Picapiedra” Silva (8-6-2, 2KOs) Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, easily out pointed Guamuchil, Sinaloa’s Abner “Castigador” Lopez (11-3, 10KOs) in a six round light welterweight bout. The hard hitting Lopez just couldn’t figure out how to let his hands go and even though Silva didn’t have much as far as technical skill, he did push the fight and tried to engage Lopez.
Not until the fifth round did Lopez finally let his hands go and did stun Silva more than one with big power punches to the head. Silva was well ahead in the scorecards to be able to play it somewhat safe. In the sixth and final round, Lopez went for broke but Silva tied him up every chance he got and was able to survive the onslaught from his bigger opponent to take the unanimous decision. No official scores were announced.
Salcido Cruises to Win
Mazatlan, Sinaloa southpaw super featherweight Paul Salcido (9-1, 4KOs) troubled early but eventually figured out the style of Marcos Urquidez (5-4, 2KOs) of Guasave to earn a four round unanimous decision. As Salcido tried to fight from a distance, Urquidez had a different idea as he tried to make it a brawl on the inside. The tug of war produced an accidental head butt that caused a cut on the forehead of Salcido and after that the Mazatlan fighter was pushed towards keeping his distance and scoring with lead lefts that eventually earned him the win. No official scores were read.
2012 Mexican Olympian welterweight Oscar Molina (3-0, 2KOs) with a quick first round knocked out over Ciudad Obregon, Sonora’s Francisco Sahuar1 (0-5) in a scheduled four rounder. While Molina of Los Angeles represented Mexico in the London Olympics, Sahuary could quite possibly represented the same country but a diver as he looked to first excuse to land on the canvas after hardly a punch. Molina dropped him early in the round and even though Sahuary beat the count, seconds later he took another dive, this time for good. Just to prove his point, Sahuary took his time to reach his feet but eventually was able to reach his feet. Official time was 1:02 of the first.
After weighing in and it was announced that Los Angeles, CA’s Charles Huerta was going to face Jesus Cruz Bibiano (11-9, 7KOs) of Acapulco, Guerrero, inexplicably ended up facing late sub veteran journeyman Trinidad Mendoza (26-29-2, 21KOs) in a scheduled six round super featherweight bout. Cruz Bibiano only needed about five minutes to display his superiority over the finished Mendoza and stopped him at the 2:15 of the second round after sending him to the canvas a couple of times.
Middleweight Marcos Mendez (2-0, 1KO) of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico earned his first knock out by forcing perennial local loser Charlie Soto (3-14, 3KOs) at the onset of the fourth and final round. Mendez controlled the action for all four rounds with hard straight punches from either fist. Official time was :10 of the fourth.
In an entertaining back and forth affair, local favorite Jesus “Choby” Acosta (13-1-2, 9KOs) earned a well-deserved six round unanimous decision over tough Jesus “Che Che” Santillan (5-10, 4KOs) of Queretaro. Both had their moments with Santillan being the stalker while Acosta prey. Santillan was more experienced by Acosta fresher and that proved to be the difference towards the end of the bout although Santillan was able to close strong but not strong enough. No official scores were announced.
Queretaro southpaw Ramiro Robles (9-1-1, 5KOs) took a split decision over tough local Carlos “Rayito” Hanzel (2-1-1, 1KO) in a four round bantamweight fight.
Super featherweight Abel Cruz Mendoza (2-0, 1KOs) stopped Alexis Acosta (0-1) of Gusave in the third round of a scheduled four. Official time was 2:47.