SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 31, 2019 – If San Diego is known for anything, it is known for its beautiful weather. During a rare rainstorm, San Diegans hunker down and stay off the road as if they might melt like the Wicked Witch. So for San Diego boxing fans to drive through some severe rain and pack a sold-out Oak Ballroom at the Viejas Casino & Resort to see world-class professional boxing ringside Thursday takes some serious determination.
In the main event of the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions six-fight card, “Mighty” Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs) of the Philippines scored a decisive victory over rival Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (20-1-2, 13 KOs) of Puerto Rico with a dominating second-round TKO win.
To the delight of a crowd of partisan supporters, many from San Diego’s large Filipino community, Palicte had little trouble with the previously undefeated Martinez. He landed a solid left hook to the body which forced Martinez to take a knee early in the second round. From this point forward, it was only a matter of time. Palicte moved in and continued to connect with power punches, forcing a second knockdown. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. gave Martinez a final chance to continue out of respect for his undefeated record, but at 2:18 of the round he called a stop to the contest.
Rematch with Nietes ahead for Palicte
Ranked as a top ten contender by multiple sanctioning organizations, Palicte now becomes the World Boxing Organization mandatory challenger for reigning WBO junior bantamweight (118 pound) champion and four-division world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 24 KOs). It will be a rematch between Palicte and fellow countryman Nietes. In September 2018, Palicte and Nietes fought to a surprising split draw at The Forum in Los Angeles. Many ringside observers felt the underdog Palicte got the better of Nietes and won the fight, but Palicte and his team considered it a moral victory.
“I can’t describe this emotion, thank you so much” said Palicte to his fans after the bout. “It’s a big fight, it’s my dream to get the next fight, a title fight” with Nietes. Palicte said he would go back to the gym before his championship opportunity. “I still think I have some things to work on for the next fight. Nietes, I’ve got you next!”
Prospects shine in undercard fights
Three local fighters from the Bound Boxing Academy in nearby Chula Vista, California had the opportunity to participate in the event in front of their home town supporters.
Super featherweight Jessica Juarez of San Diego (2-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated in her second professional fight, winning a four round majority decision over Kailyn Hansen (1-3) of Whittier. Scores were 40-36 X 2 and 38-38. Juarez punches with authority and confidence behind good power, based in her solid footwork.
Juarez enjoyed her appearance on a national broadcast in her second fight. “I was trying to go for the knockout, but everyone does,” said Juarez. “As long as my record stays clean. My opponent ate a lot of my hot punches.” Just 19 years old, Juarez shows promise with solid skills and a calm, determined manner in the ring. Mark her name down as one to watch.
In the co-main event, San Diego featherweight division prospect Brandon “2 Smooth” Cruz (6-1, 4 KOs) against Dallas, Texas-based Edward “Kid” Vasquez (6-0) in a rare pairing of two undefeated prospects. Two of the three judges scored the fight for Vasquez in a split decision, to the disappointment of Cruz’s many fans. Scores were 59-55 and 58-56 for Vasquez, and the third card 55-54 for Cruz. The 20-year-old Cruz can apply lessons from this experience early in his career to his benefit as he progresses.
The opening bout pitted San Diego’s Dilan “El Rey” Miranda (5-1, 3 KOs) against Daniel Constantino (2-3-1, 1 KO) of Compton, California. Miranda, age 24, won a majority decision after six rough, action-packed rounds in the junior featherweight division. Judges’ scores were 59-55 X 2, and 57-57. It was Miranda’s first pro fight in his hometown.
RJJ Boxing Promotions plans to stage additional boxing events in San Diego County as part of its three-year live streaming broadcast deal with UFC FIGHT PASS®. The next event at Viejas Casino is tentatively scheduled in June, and promoters hope to score a second sellout.
Promoter Roy Jones Jr. thanked the Viejas Casino and the fans, saying “One thing we promise: to have the best fight the best.” The retired four division world champion and 1988 Olympic Silver Medalist is one of the greatest boxers of the modern era, and was voted the “Fighter of the Decade” for the 1990s by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). Jones Jr. is the biggest draw on these cards, getting tremendous fan attention. Jones Jr. never turns down a request for a photo, and there are a lot of them.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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