LAS VEGAS, May 6, 2017 – Enjoyable action but not many surprises for early arrivals at the T-Mobile Arena Saturday in the Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. undercard bouts featuring notable prospects. One fight made women’s boxing history.
Golden Boy partner and former world champion Bernard Hopkins told the young fighters early in the week to “take care of business, and be sure to put on a great show.” They listened to the veteran.
The pride of Victorville, California proved he’s the real deal. Lightweight Ryan “Kingry” Garcia (8-0, 7 KOs) wasted no time in his bout with Tyrone Luckey (8-6-3, 6 KOs), scoring a first round knockdown, and made it stick with a second round TKO at 2:20 of the round. Garcia deployed a nice array of shots, putting Luckey away with impressive straight rights to the head.
“The better the competition, the better the fight for me,” said Garcia. “I felt this was a really great chance for me to show off my skills because I usually get the knockout early. This fight was different because I was able to show how quick I can pop my opponent with a hook. People think because I’m small, I don’t have power—but I have explosive power and speed. I’m ready to go make history from here.”
Before leaving the ring, Garcia leaned over after the victory to talk with Roy Jones, Jr. and Max Kellerman sitting ringside for HBO Boxing. Introducing himself in advance of future appearances on bigger stages, perhaps?
Women’s flyweights U.S. Olympian Marlen Esparza (2-0) and Samantha Salazar (2-4-1) made history in their four round fight, a shutout decision in favor of Esparza. These women were the first to fight three-minute professional rounds as the male fighters do on a Vegas card.
“It’s great to make history being the first woman in Nevada to do three-minute rounds,” said Esparza. “I know it’s been done elsewhere—but tonight it feels really special doing it in this fight. I plan on staying at three minutes and not going back to two minutes, so I know we will need to be strategic about how I train and fight.” More professional women including Olympians Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams of Great Britain say they want three minutes rounds, and it’s the right time with a strong field in the pro ranks to make it happen and make it stick.
Former Mexican Olympian Raul “El Cugar” Curiel had a successful pro debut against a strong Jesus Sanchez (1-1-2), also of Mexico. Curiel won a majority decision by scores of 78-75 and 76-74 for Curiel, and a draw from Patricia Jarman, 76-76. “I thought I won all four rounds, but I got the win that I needed,” said Curiel. “I thank God for me and my opponent being able to get out of the ring healthy and safe – he was a strong fighter. I’m going to go back to Mexico for vacation, and jump back into the ring to get ready for my next fight.”
Super bantamweight contender Ronny Rios (28-1, 13 KOs) put on a strong performance, scoring a TKO at 2:22 of the fourth round over Daniel Noriega (28-11-1, 15 KOs). “I’m obviously proud of the knockout win, but I think as a fighter we are always critical of our performances,” said Rios. “I need to clean up a lot of my mistakes including leaning forward too much and loading up my punches; however, I’m ready for a title shot and some micheladas for the Cinco de Mayo weekend.”
Opening the card, lightweight Joseph “Diamante” Aguirre (17-0, 9 KOs) put on an entertaining six rounds, scoring a shutout decision on all three judges’ cards over Angel Aispuro (8-5-2).
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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