By Miguel Maravilla at ringside
In a super lightweight clash elevated to main event status after the sudden implosion of the Zurdo-Rosado headliner, Filipino veteran Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (34-3-3, 17 KOs) from San Diego was victorious Saturday night in taking a ten round split decision over former world champion and 2012 U.S Olympian Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (32-4-1, 15 KOs) of South El Monte, California at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California.
Gesta worked from the start, letting his hands go. He was busier than Diaz but Diaz connected with the right hand towards the end of the opening round. Staying busy and jabbing in the second, Gesta outworked Diaz. Things began to pick up in the third as Diaz and Gesta exchanged inside with the Filipino fighting off the ropes and the 2012 Olympian on the attack. In the fourth, Diaz stood close and applied pressure with Gesta mixing it up using the jab from a distance and trading.
In round five, Gesta continued to stick to his plan to box and mix it up as Diaz appeared to be looking for the big punch. Sticking and moving in the sixth round, Gesta switched southpaw and appeared to find some rhythm as Diaz could not get off. Halfway through in the seventh Diaz began to dig down to the body with Gesta continuing to box and working off the jab. The Filipino kept his poise boxing in the eight as Diaz didn’t seem to get off. Diaz kept pressing and in the ninth stood close as Gesta was relentless mixing it up, letting his hands go. Late in the tenth round, Diaz seemed to be coming on and landed effectively as Gesta appeared to be slowing his pace, but the Filipino displayed an energy burst to close the fight.
After completing ten rounds, 99-91 Gesta, 98-92 Gesta, and 97-93 Diaz.
The fight was originally slated to be a twelve-rounder and serve as the co-main event. That abruptly changed on Friday afternoon as the original main event between super middleweights Zurdo Ramirez and Gabriel Rosado was scratched due to Ramirez failing to make weight.
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Chihuahua, Mexico’s lightweight Oscar Duarte (25-1-1, 20 KOs) had to put in the work against slick Alex “Chi-Town Heat” Martin (18-5, 6 KOs) of Chicago, Illinois in scoring a late eighth round knockout. The southpaw Martin pumped the jab from the start as Duarte rushed in with combinations, later in the round Martin landed a low blow. In round two, Martin began to let his hands go and connected throughout the round but moments later, Duarte connected with a series of right hands backing Martin to the ropes to end the round. A short crisp right hand by the Mexican in round three connected as Martin stood away most of the round and tied up. The short right hands continued to land well for Duarte as he tagged Martin in the fourth. Stalking and staying close in the fifth, Duarte was cut on the right eye as Martin stood in the pocket dipping causing a clash of heads. Duarte pressured, Martin boxed and kept his distance.
In the sixth, Duarte cornered Martin and attacked profusely throughout the round. Shooting and leading with the right hand, Duarte was consistent connecting as Martin kept his distance and was limited. A crushing right by Duarte knocked down Martin. He was up on shaky legs, but was quickly down again from a short right as referee Jerry Cantu waved it off at 1:14
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Fort Lauderdale super welterweight prospect Eric Tudor (8-0, 6 KOs) despite getting cut early on, won a unanimous decision Damoni Cato-Cain (7-0-1, 6 KOs) of Oakland. Tudor and Cain fought off the jab in the opening round and picked up the pace in the second round. It was fast paced in round three as Tudor and Cain showed flash. There was a clash of heads to begin the fourth, drawing a cut on Tudor’s forehead, the action picked up shortly after as each ripped away, blood flowed down Tudor’s face as he solidly tagged Cain.
Cain’s left eye was swollen and beginning to shut in round five as Tudor peppered him with the jab. Showing flash to start the sixth, Tudor went right at Cain and piled up points. Snapping his punches in the seventh, Tudor connected as Cain’s head snapped back from the jab and right hand. Going into the eighth, Tudor boxed from a distance working off one-two’s in route to a decision. After eight rounds, the judges scores were 80-72, 78-74, and 78-74.
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Lightweight prospect Dalis Kaleioupu (4-0, 3 KOs) of Waianae, Hawaii won a unanimous decision over Jonathan Perez (40-35, 32 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia. It was a slow-paced opening round as Kaleioupu popped the jab. Continuing to work off the jab, Kaleioupu showed poise as Perez was aggressor coming straight in. Perez kept stalking in round three but was deducted a point for headbutt and urged Kaleioupu to trade, drawing cheers from the crowd. It was the bull vs. matador in the fourth, with Perez continuing to go forward and Kaleioupo boxing. Tied up inside in the fifth, Perez was using some rough tactics and was once again deducted a point. In the sixth and final round, Kaleioupu mixed it up with Perez on the inside trading and ripped away as he finished strong. After six rounds the judges scored the bout 60-52 3x.
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San Diego featherweight Jorge Chavez (5-0, 4 KOs) immediately and quickly disposed of Nicaragua’s Bryan Perez (12-17-1, 11 KOs) in one round. A combination by Chavez knocked Perez down and referee Jerry Cantu immediately waved off the bout.
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Opening things up from the Pyramid in Long Beach, California, super featherweight Patricio “Cacahuate” Manuel (2-0) of Los Angeles won a fourth round technical decision over Hien Huynh (1-2) of St. Louis, Missouri. A looping right hand by Manuel in the opening round sat Huynh down. He rose up and finished the round. With a cut on on the left, Manuel worked in round two as he attacked a cut Huynh. Manuel scored another knockdown in the third, Huynh was quickly up and continued to fight on. Going into the fourth and final round Manuel appeared well ahead after scoring two knockdowns in the fight but Huynh could not continue due to the cut and the referee stopped the fight upon the doctor’s advice. Going to the cards all three judges scored the bout 40-34.
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