San Diego, Calif., October 30, 2020 – Former WBO Junior Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia of Mexico (36-0, 29 KOs) found a way to adjust to a solid offensive attack by Tureano Johnson of the Bahamas (21-3-1, 15 KOs), using effective uppercuts to hold Johnson at bay before scoring a sixth-round TKO win.
Munguia landed a hard right uppercut near the end of the round that bisected Johnson’s uppercut through and through. Johnson wanted to continue, but on the advice of the ringside physician, referee Raul Caiz Sr. felt he had no choice but to stop the fight. Because the cut was caused by a legal punch, Munguia scored the TKO win.
“I didn’t know they were going to end the fight,” said Munguia. “But in the second round, I did see I was hurting him. I cut him a little on the eye, and could see it hanging. I knew it was just a matter of time.”
Johnson came roaring out of the corner at the opening bell, swarming Munguia and forcing him to fight right back. He kept Munguia busy for the first two rounds trying to figure out where the offense was coming from.
“I felt good, but in the first round he did come out there and surprise me,” said Munguia. “My corner told me to adjust and get my distance. Tureano Johnson is a very strong fighter and it was hard to have him on me. But we adjusted our plan.”
By the third round, Munguia had settled down. On the advice of his trainer, former world champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales of Mexico, he began to adjust and land hard uppercuts on Johnson.
“We’ve been working on that a lot with Erik Morales, he really likes that punch,” said Munguia “When we found out we were fighting Tureano Johnson, we worked on it even more.”
Munguia and Johnson both had their moments through the middle rounds. It was anyone’s fight. The ringside judges had Munguia up on all three cards at the time of the stoppage by one or two points. Johnson was still in it – until he wasn’t.
“We knew he was a fighter. He’s a fighter with an annoying style. He makes you very uncomfortable. I used my distance, and punched to the body. We had to adjust everything, but we made those adjustments,” said Munguia.
Munguia landed 158 of 416 punches (38 percent) to 111 of 445 (25 percent) for Johnson. Munguia said he’d like to fight again in January, and feels capable of fighting any of the middleweight titleholders. “Of course, I consider myself to be one of the best fighters at 160.,” said Munguia. “I would take any challenge against any of them. With (Jermall) Charlo, if we were to fight it would be a more exciting fight, a bigger show. With (Demetrius) Andrade it would be a more complicated fight.”
Johnson has been bedeviled by a string of unlucky injuries. Just as Johnson was poised to hit the top level, he struggled with shoulder injuries. Now it was an ill-timed cut. Johnson’s record doesn’t reflect his abilities. He produced a solid effort against Munguia,
Speed kills: Ellis defeats Rocha
In the co-main event, welterweight Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis of Lynn, Massachusetts (23-0, 14 KOs) was true to his moniker. Ellis defeated Golden Boy stablemate Alexis “Lex” Rocha of Irvine, California (16-1, 10 KOs) by a unanimous decision in 10 rounds. The scorecards were 116-112 X 2 and 115-113. Ellis wins the vacant WBC International Silver Welterweight belt, putting him in line for a title eliminator.
The 27-year-old Ellis was able to steer clear of Rocha’s power shots and use his speed to deliver accurate counterpunches against the 23-year-old Southern Californian Rocha. Ellis also made far better use of his jab to set up the cleaner, harder punches. Rocha threw few jabs, and he couldn’t land his power punches at the same rate as Ellis.
After the bout, Ellis gave more credit to his nimble footwork than his hand speed for stalling Rocha out in the fight. “When he was coming in, I set up side movement, and he was paralyzed, he didn’t know what to do with it so I could poke him,” said Ellis.
Ellis said it was different to fight in an empty arena, “We was talking trash to each other, so we could hear each other better,” he laughed. Ellis vowed to be busier in the near year “so I can deliver more fireworks.”
Ellis landed 171 of 709 punches overall (24 percent), including 113 of 301 power punches (38 percent). Rocha landed 149 of 683 punches (22 percent), but just 122 of 391 power punches (31 percent).
Undercard bouts: Esparza, Melikuziev, Roach Jr., Kalkreuth all in win column
Female flyweight contender and U.S. Olympic Bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (8-1, 1 KOs) of Houston roared back from her only loss last year with a skilled, assured performance against Sulem Urbina of Phoenix (12-1, 2 KOs). Scores for the eight round bout were 80 – 72 X 2, and 78 – 74. By winning this WBC world title eliminator. Esparza now has an opportunity to challenge the current world flyweight champion, Ibeth Zamora Silva of Mexico.
Esparza thanked the WBC for the opportunity. “I knew coming into this fight it would be a worthy fight, and I was very excited to showcase what I can do,” said Esparza. “I know there’s been a lot of changes in my camp since the last fight, all the reason for me to show the world what I can do. I’m ready to fight for the WBC title next. Thank you to God, Golden Boy, and all my fans; l won’t let you down!”
Elwin “La Pulga” Soto of Mexicali, Mexico (18-1, 12 KOs), successfully defended his WBO Light Flyweight World Title against Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua (32-5-1, 18 KOs). Scorecards were 119-109, 117-111, and 115-113, The fight was a grinder without any highlights. Soto landed good countershots cleanly to take it on the cards. Soto landed 170 of 550 punches landed (31 percent), against 147 of 298 landed for Buitrago (18 percent).
“I’m very happy to walk away with the victory,” said Soto. “I tried to pressure as much as I could to score a win. These are the kind of tough fights you are in when a world title is at stake. His style was difficult for me, but I felt I did enough to win. Now it’s time for me to rest and see what my team has in store for me.”
Uzbekistani power punching super middleweight Bektemir “Bull” Melikuziev(6-0, 5 KOs) remained undefeated with a second-round TKO win over Alan Campa of Sonora, Mexico(17-7, 11 KOs). “The Bull” nailed Campa with a hard straight left dropping him to the canvas near the end of the round, and repeated it just a few seconds later. Campa was done for the night.
With the win, Melikuziev picks up the NABO Super Middleweight Title. “I’m happy to be in the ring. There are no monsters at 168, and I’m not scared of anyone,” said Melikuziev.
Super featherweight Lamont Roach Jr. of Washington DC (20-1-1, 8 KOs) made a serious statement with a third-round knockout win over Neil John Tabanao of the Philippines (17-8, 11 KOs). Roach Jr. whipped a left hook to the head, followed by the same shot to the liver. Referee Thomas Taylor didn’t even administer a count after Roach Jr. landed the winning shot.
“I knew he would be tough until I stopped him,” said a pleased Roach Jr. “I got him with a hell of a shot. I’m planning to do this with everyone at 130 and hopefully those with a belt too. I’m just trying to capitalize on what I learned in the Jamel (Herring) fight,” which was Roach Jr.’s only loss.
Young cruiserweight talent Tristan “Sweet T” Kalkreuth of Texas (6-0, 4 KOs) went the distance, winning his six-round cruiserweight fight against Tyler Vogel of Fargo (3-3, 2 KOs) with ease. Scorecards all read 59 – 55. “This was my first six-round fight so it was a good learning experience,” said Kalkreuth. “I really wish I had gotten the stoppage because everyone wants a highlight-reel performance. When you hurt someone late in a round, you get a little anxious, so I wasn’t able to stop him. I’m just happy to be back.”
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