LOS ANGELES, April 15, 2016 – In front of a rowdy crowd of happy Los Angeles fight fans, Yoshihiro Kamegai (26-3-2, 23 KOs) had to give his best effort against a never say die Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-4, 18 KOs), while Soto Karass did exactly the same at Friday night’s LA Fight Club main event.
After 10 rounds of thrilling boxing, not a single fan at the sold out Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles was disappointed when the result was a draw. Judges scored it 97-93 for Kamegai, 96-94 for Soto Karass, and 95-95 on the third card.
The two welterweights came right at each other from the opening bell. Soto Karass seemed the stronger in the opening rounds. He opened a cut over Kamegai’s right eye in the second round. Kamegai’s corner did an exceptional job cleaning it up and it wasn’t a factor again.
It didn’t much matter whether the pair were in the center of the ring, corner, or near the ropes. Neither one avoided the other. It was a phone booth fight on wheels as the pair trade shots while eating up ring real estate.
As each round neared the ten second warning, Soto Karass and Kamegai would step on the gas even harder to impress the judges; it was that kind of fight.
By the seventh round, Kamegai started to come on strong. He began hurting Soto Karass with excellent body shots, and followed with snapping rights to his head. It’s relative to say “hurting” Soto Karass, because it didn’t stop his own offense.
Based on the strong final few rounds all won by Kamegai, this writer thought he might have pulled out a 96-94 victory, But I have no complaint about a draw.
“I’m still getting used to the time zone here, but I feel really good about my performance tonight,” said Kamegai. “Soto Karass did catch me a few times, but every time he did, he was met with my counterpunches. Soto Karass was the kind of fighter I was expecting to fight – a true warrior.”
“This fight was a war, exactly waht the fans expected,” said Soto Karass. “The people truly won tonight. I felt really good in the ring, but Kamegai was a true Japanese warrior. I feel we both delivered an exciting night of boxing.”
They did indeed. Fans are already thinking about a rematch. If it wasn’t so soon, putting this pair together with Orlando Salido and Francisco Vargas in June would be more than a boxing fan’s heart could take. But there’s no doubt we will see this pair again, together or separately. They earned it.
There was more energy in the small room of 1,200 than in the entire MGM Grand Garden Arena more than ten times its size last weekend. Give Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz credit for bringing these two warriors together, and for once a promoter didn’t have to hype or exaggerate the potential of the fight.
See the final minute of the bout and aftermath as it looks from a ringside viewpoint.
In the co-main event, as expected, Ukrainian cruiserweight Vyacheslav “Slava” Shabranskyy (16-0 13 KOs) had little trouble with Derrick Findley (23-19-1, 15 KOs) of Chicago. The height difference put Findley at a big disadvantage from the start, and Slava moved him around the ring with ease.
Near the end of the third round, Shabranskyy swarmed Findley with a flurry, pinning him in the corner Findley dropped into a squat, and it was ruled a knockdown. He beat the count and lasted the remaining ten seconds of round 3, but did not come out of his corner for the fourth round.
“I have the best team and the best fans,” said Shabranskyy. “I’m so happy Los Angeles has welcomed me into their familia. In the ring, I’ve learned to become more patient, waiting for my opponent, but I’m also ready to pound for an attack … I’m looking forward to training hard to give my fans more shows.”
Shabranskyy has ambitions of getting in the ring to fight some of the big names in the light heavyweight division where he usually competes. The daunting list includes people like Andre Ward, Adonis Stevenson, Andrzej Fonfara and the Krusher himself, Sergey Kovalev. Be careful what you wish for, Slava.
Both new boxers in the Golden Boy stable won their debut professional fights. Trained by Robert Garcia, lightweight Genaro Gamez (1-0, 1KO) of San Diego defeated Archie Weah of Norcross, Georgia with a first round knockout at 2:24. Employing strong body work, Gamez drove Weah to take a knee in a neutral corner, and he never got up.
“I made sure to start the fight slow so I could figure out Weah,” said Gamez, although ‘slow’ is relative with a first round stoppage. “Once I was aware of Weah’s style I proceeded to take control of the fight and am glad I was able to stop him early. I am excited about this victory as my professional debut and look forward to the next fight.”
Super featherweight Jousce Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO) made his boxing family proud with a first round knockout over Noe Perez 1-2) of Mexico, including his trainer father and his brothers and sisters who are all boxers as well. Welterweight Jonathan Navarro of Los Angeles (5-0, 4 KOs) made it three for three on the undercard with a second round TKO over Tavorus Teague of Paramount, California (3-11-2, 2 KOs).
“I feel so blessed to start off my professional career how I did tonight,” said Gonzalez. “Coming out to my song, to the lights, and to the fans, I can’t help but feel excited for the future. I’m from a boxing family, and having Joet Gonzalez as my brother makes me really competitive against him, so I push to train harder in the ring and this is what makes me a better boxer.”
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, put your boxing backside in a seat at the Belasco Theater. Better yet, take a friend and introduce him or her to boxing. It’s a fun, friendly venue and you get to see the athletes up close. If you are lucky like many fans Friday, the fighters come out to the lobby at the end of the evening to greet fans and take photos as Genaro Gamez and Jesus Soto Karass did.
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 [email protected] Gayle can be reached via Google +
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