LOS ANGELES, California, August 16, 2019 –The Banc of California Stadium joined the slate of Southern California boxing venues as a welcome new addition with its debut card on Saturday. In the main event, WBO Junior Featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete of Mexico (28-1, 24 KOs) delivered a win speaking loud and clear over undefeated countryman Francisco De Vaca (20-1, 6 KOs), now a resident of Phoenix, Arizona.
The message? Navarrete’s two wins over Isaac Dogboe were for real and he’s ready for the rest of the division’s title holders.
Give Navarrete credit for getting back in the ring just three months later, even if his opponent didn’t end up being much of a challenge. Navarrete could have boxed at distance all night against the smaller fighter, snapping off wicked jabs followed by jaw rattling hooks and upper cuts. Navarrete is on the tall side for a junior featherweight at 5-foot-7, with a 72-inch reach. De Vaca is three inches shorter and was made to order.
But to his credit, Navarrete knows it’s also important to deliver an entertaining fight to keep fans happy and get bigger opportunities. When the tough De Vaca showed he was willing to mix it up with Navarrete, the champion stepped on the gas. De Vaca has plenty of will, but couldn’t dodge or withstand Navarrete’s assault.
Near the end of the second round, Navarrete scored a knockdown from a combination starting with an upper cut, a left hook, and a right hook. De Vaca survived the round, but the excited crowd knew what was ahead.
In the third round, De Vaca knew he was in trouble and decided to go for broke. Navarrete returned the favor, and the fans cheered the wild action for as long as it lasted. Navarrete’s impressive left hook stunned De Vaca. It seemed referee Raul Caiz Sr. might stop the bout, but with De Vaca still making and effort he let it continue for 20 more seconds until Navarrete landed another hard left hook, and he waived the fight off at 1:54 of the third round.
“I want to thank all my supporters,” said the happy Navarrete. “Second, I want to continue the tradition of Mexican boxing in LA. I want to fill up arenas and do the same thing the Mexican legends did.”
Navarrete said he’s like the opportunity to appear on the September 14 card in Las Vegas headlined by Tyson Fury. When asked about it, Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum said. “He is Mexican, he is proud to be Mexican, September 14th is Mexican Independence Day. And the best fighter in Mexico will be there defending his title!”
While it’s a little early for Arum to proclaim Navarrete sits at the top of the Mexican boxing talent pool, he’s building a serious reputation as a championship level, fan friendly performer. Unlike some of his peers, give Navarrete credit for wanting to defend his title for the third time since winning it nine months ago.
Featherweight fireworks: Magdaleno takes out Rivera
In the co-feature, former junior featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno of Las Vegas (27-12, 18 KOs) demonstrated his readiness for another title shot with a definitive win over former world title challenger Rafael Rivera of Tijuana (27-4-2, 18 KOs). The fight was cut short just shy of the ninth round bell when Magdaleno suffered a wicked cut over the bridge of his nose due to an accidental elbow to the face from Rivera. The judges had the fight scored 89-81 X 2 and 88-82 at the time of the stoppage.
Magdaleno came out confidently, boxing well against Rivera. Rivera did his best to pressure Magdaleno, and when he was able to get Magdaleno against the ropes he did his best work. But for most of the bout, Magdaleno was able to land solid head shots and stay clear of Rivera.
In the sixth round, Magdaleno hit Rivera hard enough to force a knockdown due to a glove touching the canvas. It was the first knockdown of Rivera’s career. Magdaleno was steadily getting the better of Rivera when the bout was stopped three rounds later.
“It’s just part of the sport,” said Magdaleno. “He’s an aggressive fighter. This is boxing, this is what we signed up for.” Magdaleno was happy with his performance. “I felt great, I felt strong, better than ever. I shook off the ring rust. We fought smart, we boxed, that’s why we put our shoes on.”
As expected, it was a crowd pleasing, all-action fight. Magdaleno promised to bring it and knows his entertainment value will only help him step up to the next level. But you need a willing dance partner to make a fight like this happen, and Magdaleno had one in Rivera. Magdaleno said he’s ready based on his performance and would be happy to face anyone at 126 pounds with a title. It gives him plenty of options the like of Carl Frampton and Gary Russell Jr.
Undercard results: Barboza Jr. blasts Sismundo in four rounds
Welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (22-0, 9 KOs) had plenty of his hometown South El Monte fans in the seats cheering him on, and he rewarded their support with a solid knockout win over durable Filipino veteran Ricky Sismundo (35-15-3, 17 KOs) at 2:51 of the fourth round. Barboza Jr. came out hot from the opening bell, and dropped Sismundo for the first time at the end of the second round. Sismundo survived on wobbly feet to the bell.
“I want a world title shot now,” Barboza said. “I want to challenge all the champions. It doesn’t matter who it is, or where it takes place. All I want is to face (Jose) Ramirez, (Regis) Prograis, or (Josh) Taylor, and I want it now!”
Barboza Jr. continued scoring with power punches, and dropped Sismundo again with a minute left in the fourth round. The fight should have been stopped there, but Sismundo won a final chance from referee Ray Corona. But within a few more seconds, Corona stopped the fight just as Sismundo’s corner was ready to throw in the towel.
Kazak (or Qazaq) Style: Alimkhanuly wins in five rounds
Janibek Alimkhanuly showed off his “Kazak Style” (or “Qazaq Style” if you go with the new spelling scheme, (7-0, 3 KOs) remaining undefeated against Stuart McLellan of British Columbia (27-4-3, 11 KOs). Alimkhanuly scored a knockdown near the end of the second round after a series of solid right and left hooks to the head.
McLellan soldiered on for three more rounds, suffering another knockdown from a brutal left hook near the end of the fifth round. He got to his feet, and the fight should have been stopped there, but McLellan carried on. Alimkhanuly dished out more punishment before the referee stopped the bout just as the corner was about to toss in the towel at 2:51 of the fifth round. Alimkhanuly retains his regional WBC Continental Americas and WBO Global middleweight titles.
Van Heerden vanquishes Kozaev
Recently relocated South African Chris van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs) showed he’s right at home in Southern California. Now living in Santa Monica, Van Heerden’s work rate and aggression were too much for veteran Aslanbek Kozaev of Russia (33-3-1, 8 KOs), winning by unanimous decision. Scores were 79-73 X 2 and 78-74.
Javier Molina gets decision over Manuel Mendez
Norwalk native Javier Molina (20-2, 8 KOs) made his many fans in the stands happy with a decision win over Manuel Mendez of Ontario, Oregon now relocated to Riverside County (16-6-3, 11 KOs).
Dmitry Yun wins second pro bout
Lightweight Dmitry Yun of Uzbekistan (2-0) went six rounds in his second pro bout, scoring a knockdown en route to a unanimous decision over Javier Martinez of Austin, Texas (4-7, 3 KOs). Scores were 57-55 X 2 and 57-54.
Promising prospect Elvis Rodriguez wins third fight in one round
It took Elvis “The Dominican Kid” Rodriguez only 1:42 of the first round to send Jesus Gonzales of Houston (6-3, 2 KOs) home early. The sharp super lightweight has fast hands and serious power. Trainer Freddie Roach has high hopes for his flashy young charge.
Welterweight Brian Mendoza of Las Vegas (18-0, 13 KOs) added another first round knockout to his growing list, having no trouble with Rosemberg Gomez of Nicaragua (20-9-1, 16 KOs).
Former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury made the rounds taking selfies with fans, signing autographs and doing interviews, and even joining Jessie Magdaleno’s corner. Bring back Fury and his American foe Deontay Wilder for a fight in front of 25,000 plus fans at BancStadium. It would be an unforgettable event.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities from San Diego, California. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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