By Rocky Morales at ringside
Saturday night was the inaugural The Gardens Casino Fight Night at The Events Center at the Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, and it did not disappoint. A sold out 1042 Southern California fight fans filled the arena, many of them friends and family of the mostly local fighters.
In main event action, Jonathon Torres (9-6-1, 2KO) upset the previously undefeated Humberto “Filly” Rubalcava (9-1, 6KO) in a scheduled six round super bantamweight bout. After a competitive opening round, Torres dropped Rubalcava hard with a looping right cross that landed right on the button. Rubalcava struggled to get up to beat the count and when he did he was on very unsteady legs. The indecisiveness of the referee, who seemed to be considering stopping the fight, gave Rubalcava a couple very valuable seconds and then once action resumed, the bell sounded to end the second round.
Torres swarming and stalking style continued to give Rubalcava problems in the third round but then Rubalcava recovered enough to rally in the fourth and fifth rounds, using his height and reach advantage over the shorter Torres. In the final round, it was evident that Rubalcava likely needed a knockout but, instead, Torres was able to hurt Rubalcava again late in the round and ended the fight the certain victor.
By scores of 58-55, 59-54 and 58-55, Torres improves to 9-6-1 and is now 9-2 over his last 11 fights. Rubalcava suffers his first defeat and was fighting just his second opponent with a winning record in Torres.
In a scheduled six round super middleweight bout, Jonathan “Diamanté” Esquivel (9-0, 8KO) impressively stooped Even Torres (7-8, 5KO) with a brutal body shot. Esquivel appeared stronger from the onset and early in the second round dropped Torres with a body shot. Torres, no relation to the Torres in the main event, would get up only to be dropped again, this time for the ten count, by another body shot. At 1:49 of the second round, Esquivel lives up to his nickname,(which translates to dynamite) and is the winner by knockout.
Upset was the theme of the night as Sergio Lopez (4-5) easily beat the previously undefeated Anthony Casillas (7-1, 4KO). Lopez, the winner of just one of his last seven bouts, was in Casillas face the entire time in an all action bout. Boxing records can be deceiving as the combined record of Casillas past opponents was just 6-46-1 so Lopez, despite his losing record, was still a big jump up in class for Casillas. At the conclusion of the bout, in a tradition of this promoters fights, appreciative fans threw money into the ring for the fighters to share. Somehow, one judge scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Casillas but was correctly overruled by the other two judges who scored it 58-56 and 60-54 in favor of Lopez to make him the split decision winner in the six round super bantamweight bout.
In opening bout action, debuting Jose Negrete (1-0, 1KO) knocked out Anthony Ramírez (1-1, 1KO). Negrete hurt Ramirez midway through the opening round and the referee issued a rarely seen standing eight count. With two other major boxing cards in Southern California the same night, it seemed the more experienced boxing referees were missing and it showed in this fight and in the main event. When action resumed, Negrete went right after Ramirez and dropped him again, this time stopping him at 2:03 of the opening round.
Promoter for The Gardens Casino Fight Night was Roy Englebrecht Promotions, who also hosts the hugely popular Fight Club OC at The Hangar at OC Fair & Events Center. The Gardens Casino Fight Night returns on Saturday, May 18th, while Fight Club OC returns on Thursday, April 04th. For ticket information, visit socafights.com