SAN DIEGO, Calif., August 25, 2018 – Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico (25-1, 12 KOs) flipped the script in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday, ruining WBO champion Ray Beltran’s homecoming by taking his title in a hard-fought victory behind a sound game plan and an 11th round knockdown. Scores were 117-110 on two cards, and 115-112 on the third judge’s card.
Beltran (35-8-1, 21 KOs) lost in his first title defense at age 37, outsmarted by Pedraza and his team who put together a superb game plan. Pedraza was a replacement opponent, stepping in for Roman Andreev who had surgery for appendicitis. He made the most of his opportunity.
“I told you before the fight, the fight was all about the focus,” said Pedraza. “We were able to maintain the focus, and that was the key to victory. We won the fight round by round.”
Pedraza’s team delivers and excuted the perfect game plan
Pedraza switched to a southpaw stand in the second round and it caused Beltran problems. Beltran needed to move in to take away the right hand of Pedraza, but he had trouble finding his rhythm with it.
Meanwhile, Pedraza worked effectively with a lead right jab Beltran couldn’t avoid. Beltran suffered a cut over the left eye in the round from a lead right hook around the guard by Pedraza, Beltran’s sixth cut in the last seven fights. Not a big surprise for someone who’s been in as many wars as Beltran.
Pedraza caught Beltran near the end of the third round with a solid left hook as Beltran was moving backward, catching him off balance. Beltran was lucky there were just seconds left in the round.
Beltran finally found a home for his right hand as he began closing the distance more successfully and fighting more on the inside in the middle rounds. It seemed Pedraza might tire. But in a fight like this one it comes down to the man who wants it more, and that was Pedraza.
Beltran’s corner urged him to start pressing the action in the second half of the fight. He did his best, but Pedraza kept catching him coming in. In the 11th round, Pedraza landed a left upper cut as Beltran was leaning in. It couldn’t have been better timing for Pedraza in what had been a close fight to that point. Beltran made it through the final minute and out of the round, but it seemed his fate was sealed, especially when Pedraza unloaded everything he had left in the final round. Referee Tony Weeks could have stopped the fight in the closing seconds, but he allowed the veteran Beltran to finish on his feet.
“We followed the game plan. I knew how tough Ray Beltran was going to be,” said Pedraza. “I followed the game plan, I didn’t deviate, and we were successful.” He thanked Beltran for the opportunity, calling him a great warrior. CompuBox numbers reflect Pedraza’s success. He landed 160 total punches to Beltran’s 137, with 62 of those punches being jabs, compared to just 16 jabs for Beltran.
Vasyl Lomachenko ahead for Pedraza?
A dejected Beltran gave Pedroza due credit after the bout. “Pedroza fought a good fight. Because of the knockdown, I give him the decision. He did a good job.” Beltran thanked his hometown fans for their support, apologizing for the loss. He declined to say anything about his future.
Pedraza’s future seems clear. “It’s no secret and I can speak about it,” he said. “First I had to take care of this challenge in front of me. I accomplished my mission tonight, and now I want all the great champions. Be it (Vasyl) Lomachenko, be it (Mikey) Garcia.”
The makeable fight is with Lomachenko, a payday Beltran hoped to get to close out his career. Lomachenko has a scheduled fight date on December 1 at The Forum in Los Angeles and this unification fight is a natural fit with both men represented by Top Rank Boxing. It’s a difficult challenge for Pedraza, but he seems willing to step up and take it on.
Isaac Dogboe deals beatdown to Hidenori Otake
WBO super bantamweight sensation Isaac “Brave Son” Dogboe of Great Britain (20-0, 14 KOs), scored his sixth consecutive knockout, needing barely a round to stop Japanese veteran Hidenori Otake of Japan (31-3-3, 14 KOs) for the first time in his career. Dogboe showed what a force of nature he is, setting off fireworks as promised from the opening bell. He landed a flush left hook to Otake not quite halfway through the round, and then turned up the heat to score a TKO win at 2:18 of the round.
Dogboe, who is as engaging out of the ring as he is vicious in the ring, thanked his father who trains him “for everything he has done for me, and everything he is doing for me.”
Dogboe said he knew Otake was strong, and the game plan was to come forward at the opening bell. “We knew we were coming in hot and that we were coming with the heat,” Dogboe said. “I tried to take him out as quickly as possible. That was the plan – to take him out … When I hit him with that powerful hook and dropped him the first time I felt the holy spirit.”
Dogboe thanked Otake for taking the fight. “All these other so-called champions are out there. My team spoke with them, and they all failed to sign the contract.” Dogboe then called out the other champions fighting in his division. “The new kid is on the block. All these guys, in my division, all you wprld champions out there, come on, let’s get it on! Ray Vargas, Daniel Roman, wherever you are, let’s do this!”
If you wondered what Dogboe and his team were saying in the ring, the word is “Neho,” which Dogboe explained as “taking something out of the ground by the roots.”
Mikaela Mayer stops Edina Kiss in three
American women’s super featherweight and 2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) continues to impress, having little trouble with veteran Edina Kiss of Hungary (14-8, 8 KOs). Mayer knocked Kiss down with a right hook in the first round, and the writing was on the wall. Kiss survived three rounds of pummeling. Referee Tony Zaino decided he’d seen enough and stopped the fight after the third round.
Mayer, who said prior to the fight she wanted to score a knockout in her first nationally televised fight, said she could have closed the show in another round or two. But she said as long as her trainers were satisfied, they were the only people she needed to please.
Mayer says she feels ready for a title fight thanks to her extensive amateur experience and solid professional record to date. She is willing to face “anyone with a belt” at 130 pounds. Mayer’s fundamentals are rock solid. She stalks her opponents with the focus of a prime Gennady Golovkin, and mixed up her punches like a maestro. We hope to see Meyer in a title fight before the close of 2018. She is currently scheduled to fight on the undercard of Terence Crawford’s next fight on October 13 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. She is owner of the Falcon Valley Group based in San Diego, California. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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