LAS VEGAS, Nevada, September 15, 2017 – Boxing fans in Las Vegas for the biggest bout of the year on Saturday enjoyed bonus boxing on Friday at the MGM Grand’s Marquis Ballroom courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions and its new partnership with ESPN.
In the main event, Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico won the WBA Interim Featherweight title with a seventh-round knockout victory over Claudio Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. The fight took fans on a roller coaster ride as both men had their moments in a close fight, with Marrero trash talking Rojas in the ring as the fight progressed.
Perhaps Marrero should have done a little less talking. Rojas spoke loud and clear as he delivered a combination series of punches including a trio of hooks capped by the final left hook, dropping Marrero to end the fight at 2:59 of the seventh round. An emotional Rojas dropped to his knees, celebrating his achievement.
“I’m super happy and super emotional,” said Rojas. “I want to thank Roberto Diaz and the entire Golden Boy team, my family and my kids. This is the joy of many years of sacrifice and many fights that have been taken from me.
“I promised my father that I would get a title one day, and even though he is no longer with, my promise to him is complete. We knew that he [Marrero] was going to be aggressive and we purposely worked on our counterpunching, and that was what did the trick.”
Ryan “Kingry” Garcia (11-0, 10 KOs) of Victorville, California, continued his streak of impressive victories. This one only took him 30 seconds. Garcia threw just four punches in the fight. The third one was a rock hard right hook dropping Miguel Carrizoza (10-3, 2 KOs) within seconds of the opening bell. Carrizoza beat the count on shaky feet. Referee Russell Mora let him continue, only to have Garcia throw a mirror image left hook to end the scheduled eight-round bout at the 30 second mark to capture the Junior NABF Super Featherweight title.
Garcia crossed the ring after his win to greet former world champion Bernard Hopkins, providing color commentary for ESPN, reminding him he’d promised a quick win. Boxing fans, keep your eyes on this powerhouse teenager with the winning smile.
A happy Garcia said, “I felt good, I thought it was going to be a longer fight. I’d seen that he went the distance with a friend who ws a good fighter. I expected to go some rounds, but I saw the opportunity and I took it.
“This is the first one of many. i hope Golden Boy gives me another opportunity to capture another belt. if I could choose, I would fight the world champ tomorrow, (Miguel) Berchelt. I’m only 19, I’ve barely turned 19. I have to trust my team they know what they’re doing.” Berchelt can breathe a sigh of relief – for now.
Alexis Salazar (12-3, 3 KOs) of Tlaquepaque, Mexico scored a six-round unanimous decision against Even Torres (6-5, 5 KOs) of El Paso, Texas in the televised swing bout. Salazar ground out the win using his boxing skills. Judges’ scores were 59-55, 58-56, and 60-54.
“My performance was okay tonight – I wasn’t as explosive as I wanted to be,” said Salazar. “I wish I would have paid more attention to my corner, I could have gotten the knockout. My opponent was able to put a lot of pressure, and he never got tired.” Salazar had the opportunity to train with Canelo Alvarez, and said it had been a privilege.
Super lightweight Damon “No Smilin'” Allen Jr (13-0-1, 5 KOs) of Philadelphia opened the ESPN show with a unanimous decision victory against Jayro Duran (10-3, 9 KOs) of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
“This is just another win to add to my record,” said Allen. “I brought the most ring savviness, power, and control into the fight. I felt like the referee kept interrupting my rhythm, and kept calling my body shots low blows and I still lost a point for it. This is my third fight this year, so I hope I get to fight again in December for a title.”
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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