By Jeff Zimmerman at ringside
Isaac Cruz vs Yuriorkis Gamboa
Lightweight world title contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KOs) out of Mexico City, Mexico, was exactly that, a Pitbull as he dropped former featherweight champ Yuiorkis Gamboa from Cuba (30-5, 18 KOs) four times enroute to a fifth-round knockout of the scheduled ten. Time was 1:32.
Cruz went right after the Cuban Gamboa from the opening bell and looked to end the fight early, but Gamboa showed his veteran savviness and held Cruz to survive the round. Gamboa came out the aggressor in round two and hoped he could catch the young bull off guard. But instead, Cruz quickly turned the tide and finally put Gamboa on the canvas for the first time right before the round ended. The knockdown started with a right to the body, followed by two big blows to the head. Round three was much of the same as Cruz was going for the kill as a left hook to the jaw put Gamboa down again.
In the fourth round, Cruz almost put Gamboa down early, but instead had to wait a little longer to score his third knockdown of the fight by left hook. And finally in the fifth and final round of this back-and-forth scrap, Cruz landed a left, quickly followed by a devastating overhand right that sent Gamboa to the ropes and referee Mark Calo-oy grabbed Gamboa right away and waived it off with Gamboa shaking his head.
Jose Valenzuela vs. Francisco Vargas
In the first round of the scheduled ten, rising lightweight star Jose Valenzuela (12-0, 8 KOs) from Los Mochis, MX, landed a looping left hook to the jaw of former world champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (27-4-2, 19 KOs) out of Mexico City, MX and ended the fight with one power shot. The time of the knockout was 1:25. Lopez feinted with a right jab, before landing the final blow as referee Mark Calo-oy took a quick look at the fallen Vargas and quickly waived it off. Valenzuela captured the WBC Continental Americas lightweight belt with the devastating KO.
Valenzuela is trained by Jose Benavidez Sr. and was joined in the ring by former 2X world champ David Benavidez after the fight.
Valenzuela told Jim Gray the following in the ring after the fight: “I feel great, worked very hard for this and saw the opening. I was expecting him to come forward and be aggressive and I took advantage. I have learned working alongside David Benavidez, he’s a champion himself inside and outside the ring. I have learned to be patient; he has showed me.”
Cody Crowley vs Josesito Lopez
WBO #6 ranked welterweight Cody “The Crippler” Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) from Peterborough, Canada took on the “Riverside Rocky” Josesito Lopez (38-9, 21 KOs) fighting out of Riverside, CA, in a ten rounder and won a convincing unanimous decision. The scores read 98-91 twice and 99-90 as Crowley remained undefeated.
The southpaw Crowley mixed up his punches all night with right hooks and straight lefts to the body. In the third round, Lopez’ best round, put Crowley against the ropes and landed a barrage of punches to the head and body. Crowley though was comfortable there and countered on occasion. Crowley continued his diverse attack in the middle rounds and scored a knockdown in the seventh. Crowley closed the fight strong as he continued to beat Lopez to the punch over the last three rounds.
At 37, Lopez may finally be at the end of a remarkable career that has seen him win 8 out of 10 fights, only losing to Thurman and Berto in that span. Crowley, 29, was sharper, quicker and a step faster all night. And although you would never count the “Riverside Rocky” out, after all, he has shared the ring with a who’s who in boxing including Maidana, Thurman, Berto, Ortiz, Vargas and of course pound-for-pound king Canelo, tonight was not his night.
Crowley had this to say to Jim Gray in the ring after the fight:
“I believe I am the real-life Rocky Story trying to beat the real-life “Riverside Rocky.” I believe I am one of the best in the world. Al Haymon I am here for a world title. I want to bring a world title to Canada. Canada just needs a horse to rally behind and I’m that horse.”
Brandun Lee vs. Zachary Ochoa
Super lightweight and rising star Brandun Lee (25-0, 22 KOs) out of La Quinta, CA chased Zachary Ochoa (21-3, 7 KOs) from Brooklyn, NY around the ring for the most of ten rounds to win a lopsided unanimous decision. After a slow start, Lee caught up to Ochoa in round three and landed his big right hand. In the fourth round, Lee got even closer to Ochoa and dropped multiple right hands and this time Ochoa exchanged, landing a couple of his own. By the seventh and eighth round, Lee was on the hunt once again and connected to the head and back down to the body. In round nine and ten, Ochoa decided to exchange with Lee in the center of the ring and try to make it a fight. Although he had some success, it was a little too late and Lee was still more active and more accurate. The official scores read 100-92 and 99-91 twice as Lee kept his perfect record intact and earned his 25th win as a pro.
Vito Mielnicki, Jr. vs. Dan Karpency
Super welterweight Vito “White Magic” Mielnicki Jr. (11-1, 7 KOs) out of Roseland, NJ beat Dan Karpency (9-5-1, 4 KOs) from Adah, PA, by unanimous decision in a fight that saw little action. Mielnicki was the aggressor most of the fight behind a snappy jab and unleashed combos from time to time. Karpency was game but generated very little in return against Mielnicki. Mielnicki had a stellar amateur career where he was a 4X junior National Golden Glove and was undefeated as a pro until he suffered is first pro defeat against James Martin in April 2021. He has bounced back since the loss and has now won three in a row. The official scores read 80-72, 79-73 twice.
Angel Barrientes vs Fernando Garcia
In a physical back and forth battle, super bantamweight Angel Barrientes (9-1, 6 KOs) out of Las Vegas escaped Texas against Dallas’ Fernando Garcia (13-5, 8 KOs) with a majority decision. The fight started on the outside and quickly became an inside clash as both tried their best to take control. Every round was close, but Barrientes appeared to have just a little more pop on his punches in some rounds, especially from the outside. Garcia, though, showed his toughness and continued to take the fight to Barrientes. In the end, the judges also saw a close fight, as it read 57-57 and 58-56 twice for Barrientes.
Samuel “S3” Arnold vs. Darryl Jones
Former amateur sensation, middleweight Samuel “S3” Arnold (5-0, 3 KOs) out of Dallas by way of Saint Louis, used multiple flurries to stop Darryl Jones (4-4-1, (2 KOs) from North Port, Florida in the first round of the scheduled four. The time was 2:53 by TKO as Referee Laurence Cole saw enough as Arnold unleased big shots as the round was coming to an end. Arnold, who was showcased on the local Dallas news this week and has high hopes to become a world champion, remains undefeated with the victory.
Darius Fulghum vs. Nosa Nehikhare
In the opening bout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on the Spence-Ugas mega welterweight unification showdown, cruiserweight Darius Fulghum (2-0, 2 KOs) out of El Paso, Texas, stopped Nosa Nehikhare 5-2 (0 KOs) from Nigeria at 10 seconds of the fourth round of the scheduled six.