By David Robinett at ringside
World Fighting Championships (WFC), a promotional outfit based in Las Vegas, returned to Rancho Mirage, California, on Saturday night with its WFC 83 event featuring both professional and amateur boxing, before 1,600 fans at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort. In the main event, local featherweight Javier Padilla (5-0-1, 5 KOs) remained unbeaten with a second-round stoppage of Joseph Cole (1-5, 1 KO) in a scheduled four-round contest. Padilla, trained by renowned Southern California-based trainer Joel Diaz, conceded the first round to Cole, allowing the Louisiana invader to circle him in the center of the ring, biding his time while repeatedly eating Cole’s left jab. In round two though Padilla unleashed his right hand, clubbing Cole several times with it during the round before an overhand right dropped Cole to his knees. Cole was able to beat the count but the very next punch that landed was another overhand right by Padilla, which caused Cole to do a silly dance with only the ropes keeping him up. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth immediately jumped in to wave the fight over, with the official time of the stoppage at 2:53 of round two.
Another legendary local trainer, Coachella Valley Boxing Club boss Lee Espinoza, brought one of his prized youngsters, 18-year old junior featherweight Anthony Reyes, to WFC 83 for his pro debut. Reyes did not disappoint, needing just 108 seconds to stop winless Steve Lantry (0-4) in a scheduled four-round bout. It was a premature stoppage, as referee David Mendoza pulled a quick trigger for the second time on the evening’s card, jumping in after Lantry took a few hard punches but who wasn’t badly hurt. Nevertheless, there wasn’t anything in the first 1:48 of the fight that suggested Lantry was going to pull an upset, so Reyes gets his first win and moves on to the next opponent on a night where some other young fighters weren’t so fortunate.
The return of the WFC to Agua Caliente Casino Resort also meant the return of 5’1” junior featherweight fan favorite “Little Monster” Mefi Monterroso, this time matched up against undefeated young fighter, Jonah Flores. The result however was the same for the former MMA fighter as his previous WFC efforts, falling to 0-3 in a rather dull affair that featured more mugging and shadowboxing than actual fighting. Flores (3-0, 0 KOs) executed a smart game plan against his wee opponent, waiting for Monterroso to lunge in before catching him with a quick punch or two before tying Monterroso up or slipping out of range. All three judges scored the bout 40-36. Despite the unimpressive win, Flores couldn’t resist throwing a little shade at Monterroso afterwards, remarking in the post-fight interview, “Having an MMA background is a lot different than having a boxing background. He was very awkward, but I thought I completely outclassed him.”
In just his second fight since 2014, Luis Cervantes (9-9-3, 2 KOs) sprung a mild upset over Alec McGee (3-2, 0 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Cervantes, who previous to his last bout carried an eight-fight winless streak dating back to 2008, won his second in a row in convincing fashion, using his long jab and straight right hand to disrupt the slick McGee, who was trying to stick and move while staying out of range, but instead was repeatedly caught by Cervantes. In round four Cervantes managed to do some damage with the left hand as well, opening a cut over McGee’s right eye with a pair of stiff left hooks early, followed with more left hands later in the round that had McGee on the verge of going down. McGee made it to the final bell but it didn’t matter, as Cervantes cruised to a unanimous decision by scores of 39-37, 39-37, 40-36.
Another debuting fighter, Luis Lopez, benefitted from referee David Mendoza’s quick hook on the evening’s fight card, earning a second-round stoppage over former MMA fighter Josuhe Aispuro (1-1, 1 KO) at 2:47 of round two in a scheduled four-round junior middleweight bout. Aispuro fought in an unorthodox style, moving stiffly in an upright boxing stance before lurching forward to attack, catching Lopez early in round one with a pair of hard right hands. However Lopez, fighting in a more conventional style, patiently worked behind his jab and landed several good shots to the body in round two which visibly hurt Aispuro. Late in round two a left hook to the body followed by another punch sent Aispuro stumbling back into the ropes, and although Aispuro had not taken a lot of punishment yet, and landed a few hard shots of his own, Mendoza waved the fight off in an anticlimactic finish to what had been an otherwise entertaining contest.
Another former MMA fighter, debuting boxer Adam Rothweiler, earned a surprising third-round stoppage over Jacob Lerma (1-1, 1 KO) in a four-round featherweight bout. Lerma, whose pro debut last year was a violent, multiple knockdown slugfest, picked up where he left off, storming out of his corner and overwhelming Rothweiler with a flurry of punches that bounced Rothweiler from one end of the ring to the other over the course of several seconds, before eventually putting Rothweiler down but not out. In his attempt to close the show Lerma then got caught with a right hook that caused his knee to briefly touch the canvas. Both fighters continued winging punches with little regard to footwork or defense, resulting in several near knockdowns and head-snapping punches, to the delight of the crowd. However as the fight progressed Rothweiler tightened up his punches, and was able to land sharp left hands at will on Lerma while avoiding many of the wilder Lerma’s looping punches. As Rothweiler began to get the best of Lerma in rounds two and three with several big shots, Lerma’s corner decided their man was taking too many heavy shots and asked for the stoppage. Official time was 2:15 of round three.
Featherweight Adan Ochoa (4-1, 2 KOs) had a tougher than expected time with journeyman Juan Sandoval (7-20-1, 4 KOs), earning a four-round majority decision. Ochoa was the aggressor in the first two rounds, coming forward played defense with his jab, continually moving away and throwing the jab off his back foot to try and keep Ochoa from coming forward with impunity. Sandoval managed to occasionally land sneaky right hooks Ochoa coming in, and as the fight progressed it appeared that Sandoval’s confidence grew as Ochoa’s aggression did not seem to hurt Sandoval. By round three, it was Sandoval who was moving forward, walking through Ochoa’s jab and lead right hands, and continuing to land big right hands of his own on a tiring Ochoa. Sandoval had Ochoa tying up and holding early in round four, but was still able to land several right hands to Ochoa’s head and body, clearly getting stronger in each of the four rounds as Ochoa was visibly fading. The judges felt that Ochoa did enough in the early rounds though, awarding him a majority decision, though the scores were not read by the ring announcer.
The evening’s first professional bout was a cracker at bantamweight, with 19-year old Danny Andujo (5-3, 2 KOs) and 30-year old Antonio Rodriguez (12-20-1, 5 KOs) exchanging blows at a brisk pace for most of their six-round bout. In the end it was the old journeyman Rodriguez upsetting the youngster’s apple cart with a well-deserved split decision by scores of 56-57, 57-56, 59-54.