Photos: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
One of the most exciting fighters in boxing, former world champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (26-2-2, 18 KOs) moved up to the lightweight division and won by ninth round split technical decision over Ezequiel “Sheke” Aviles (16-5-3, 6 KOs) on Saturday night at the Gimnasio Rodrigo M. Quevedo in Chihuahua, Mexico. This bout wasn’t an epic war like many of Bandido’s previous fights, but it was a tough grueling encounter with neither fighter willing to take a backward step. Vargas was hampered by a cut over his right eye in round one caused by an unintentional head clash. The fight ended near the end of round nine due to Vargas’ worsening cut.
“It was difficult because my opponent would come in headfirst,” said Vargas afterward. “He never hurt me, and I believe that I hurt him, and that’s why he would clinch me and come in headfirst.”
Scores were announced as 98-94, 98-94 Vargas, 97-96 Aviles. How they arrived at those totals in a nine round fight is anyone’s guess. The actual scores were likely 88-84, 88-84, 87-86.
“I’m going to take some time off to go to the doctor and get surgery in order to prevent anyone from taking advantage of this cut in the future,” commented the much loved former champion.
Exciting local lightweight Oscar Duarte (18-1-1, 13 KOs) scored a third round TKO over game late sub Humberto De Santiago (18-7-1, 13 KOs) in the main event. Duarte dropped Santiago in round three and got the stoppage with a barrage later in the round. Time was 2:38.
Unbeaten super lightweight Luis “Matador” Hernandez (20-0, 18 KOs) scored a seventh round KO over Victor Zuniga (20-4, 9 KOs) to retain the WBC Youth title. Hernandez dropped Zuniga once in in round three and twice in round five. The end came when Hernandez dropped Zuniga for the fourth time in round seven. Time was 2:22.