By Felipe Leon
Photos: Leonso Nuñez
The busiest and biggest promoter in Latin America, Fernando Beltran’s Zanfer Promotions, held their last fight card of the year at Tijuana’s Tecate Box Tour tent located in the parking lot of the historic Caliente Casino and Racetrack in the heart of the city. Since erecting the tent earlier this year, Zanfer has used it as the main center of activity with fight cards of all different sizes, from local fights to major events such as the return of former lightweight champion Antonio De Marco. This time, Mexicali, Mexico’s Jose “Chon” Zepeda (17-0, 15KOs) was passed the baton of the main event and he took full advantage as he took care of late sub Emanuel “Pollo” Lopez (7-2) in the third round of a scheduled ten.
The twenty-four year old Zepeda is on an impressive run lately, defeating a number of B level opponents impressively. Just in 2013 alone, Zepeda has tallied up wins over the likes of proven workhorses Ricardo “Pelon” Dominguez and Luis “Vampiro” Arceo while the feather fisted Lopez, with no knockouts in seven wins, was 3-1 for the year prior to this fight.
The southpaw Zepeda quickly began to dart in and out and punish Lopez to the body making a difference there as Lopez’s punch output quickly began to slow down. Lopez was game as he looked for openings but Zepeda, who is trained by Robert Alcazar, proved to be too quick and displayed a good defense as he was able to catch punches and then counter. Zepeda kept hurting Lopez to the body and early in the third landed a hard left hook to the body followed seconds later by another one. Lopez looked as if he was going to go down to one knee from the punches but thought against it. Inexplicably, the referee Christian Curiel still sent Zepeda to a neutral corner and administer an eight count for Lopez. Lopez kept trying to fight back as he landed a couple of flush over hand rights to Zepeda’s face but it just wasn’t enough to keep “Chon” at bay. Another left hook to the body does drop Lopez. The tough Lopez tried to beat the count but Curiel still waived off the action despite the Chiapas fighter reaching his feet before the count of ten. Official time was 2:59 of the third round.
Valdez Does Quick Work of Barajas
Former two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (8-0, 8KOs) closed out his year with an impressive performance over Tijuana’s Cristian “Demoledor” Barajas (4-5-1, 3KOs) in a scheduled super featherweight six rounder. When it looked that Barajas was going to be able to put up a fight, Valdez decided to step it up near the end of the round and landed a devastating left hook that dropped Barajas to the canvas. Barajas beat the count but he didn’t look like he knew where he was. Valdez decided to end things by landing a couple of more punches, one a right hand that buckled Barajas’ knees, and that is when referee Juan Jose Ramirez jumped in between and stopped the beating. Official time was 1:27.
Flores Convinces Against Santiago in Rematch
In the most competitive fight of the night, undefeated Hector “Rapidito” Flores (5-0-1, 2KOs) sent Alejandro “Peque” Santiago” (7-1-1, 3KOs) to the canvas in the first with a solid left hook and took the unanimous six round unanimous decision in a rematch in the flyweight division.
The first time the two Tijuana fighters met was back in May of this year in what turned out an all-out war. This time Flores took control early as a well-placed left hook dropped Santiago early in the first round. Flores pressured from the opening bell and nullified Santiago’s offense with sheer aggression. Santiago never had the opportunity to stage an attack since Flores kept making him fight from his back foot.
Santiago had his moments as he tried to land a counter right hand but it wasn’t as often as he and his team led by Romulo Quirarte would have liked. Santiago’s best round was in the fourth although it was close as Flores was able to push him against the ropes but this time Santiago was able to slip some of the punches and land his own set of combinations. Santiago tried to slow down Flores to the body but “Rapidito” was a man possessed as it looked that Santiago’s punches weren’t making any effect.
Despite Flores fighting in his first six rounder, he looked the fresher of the two at the end of fight to hear the unanimous decision of 58-55 three times in his favor.
Lil’ Pete Struggles a Little Bit
Super featherweight Pedro “Lil’ Pete” Duran (4-0, 3KOs) struggled but earned his fourth win and remained undefeated when he defeated via unanimous decision over tough Tijuana fighter Santos Rosales (0-3) in a four rounder. Despite Rosales not having any wins, he still made the night long for Duran who was the much better technical fighter but still was touched by Rosales’ long over hand right more than once. Duran punished Rosales’ body and looked to hurt him there but Rosales was able to survive the attack. Duran was in control for most of the fight but seemed to have some trouble with Rosales overall consistent attack. At the end, all three judges saw it three rounds to one for Duran with scores of 39-37 each in a fight that was closer than the scores reflected.
Clearly overmatched Francisco “Paco” Villanueva (13-29-2, 9KOs) of Tepic, Mexico, almost did the impossible and survived the first round but was stopped with six seconds to go by undefeated Venezuelan Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui (21-0, 17KOs). Uzcategui, who lives and trains in Tijuana, landed an impressive left hook that dropped Villanueva and seconds later a follow up right hand that prompted referee Juan Jose Ramirez to stop the fight scheduled for six middleweight rounds. Official time was 2:54 of the first.
Bantamweight Elvis Torres (5-0, 4KOs) of Tijuana needed only 2:03 of the first to drop Erick “Danger” Jimenez (0-6) twice with hard right hands and force the stoppage in the scheduled heavily mismatched four rounder.
San Diego’s Jesus Resendiz (2-0, 1KO) forced a third round stoppage over Joan “Amarillo” Sandoval (1-3-1, 1KO) of Tijuana. Resendiz punished Sandoval to the body and hurt his opponent more than once but “Amarillo” was game but Resendiz was just too strong. Official time was 2:03 of the third when the referee had seen enough. The bout was scheduled for four rounds in the super bantamweight division.
Mexican middleweight Andrik “Loco” Saralegui (7-1, 5KOs) looked good after not fighting for a number of months and controlling the whole action against Francisco “Vago” Flores (0-3), both of Tijuana, in the first round of a scheduled four. A cut from a head butt over the eye of Flores stopped him from continuing and awarding the TKO win to Saralegui at the 2:33 mark.
Ensenada light welterweight Rafael Guzman (13-0, 9KOs) remained undefeated by sending Los Mochis’ Diego “Tyson” Ledesma (15-11-2, 10KOs) twice in the first round of a scheduled eight. A left hook to the body did the trick the first time and then a two hooks, one to either side of the torso, did it again seconds later. Official time was 1:54.