On Thursday evening, March 12, 2015, there was another packed house for the latest Tijuana boxing extravaganza. Twenty-six bouts were on the card, 13 Amateur bouts followed by 13 Pro bouts. Labeled “Trouble on the Border” the show was the fourth in a series presented by Velázquez Boxing Promotions under the able direction of CEO Chino Velázquez, brother of super featherweight legend Hector Velázquez. The event took place at El Rancho Grande Bar located on Avenida Revolucion between 5th and 6th streets in downtown Tijuana.
It’s important to note their undersized ring had a lot to do with the patrons being treated to one exciting bout after another. To quote Willie Kuhn, the head of officials for our local USA Amateur Boxing program who was sitting at ringside: “There’s no where to go. If the ring was any smaller, they’d be fighting in a telephone booth.”
Bout #1 featured Jesus Trujillo from the Anderson Silva Muay Thai College in Torrance, CA going up against Luis Javier Ruelas from Tijuana. Even though both boxers were making their pro debuts, you wouldn’t know it by their savvy performance.
As promoters usually do, they like to start their show off with a contest they know will get the spectators riled up. Well, that’s what happened on Thursday night after the introduction of Trujillo and Ruelas. Back and forth they went with neither dominating for long. The momentum swings came and went until possibly late in round three when Trujillo started landing several bombs and establishing his inside game.
Building on the excitement created by the Trujillo win over Ruelas, Bout #2 featured another of Tijuana’s favorite sons Abraham “Choko” Rodriguez (12-0, 6 KOs) earning an impressive victory with a second round TKO of Cristian Quezada (0-8 with 6 losses by TKO).
In the first round, both young men threw and landed some scary punches but that soon ended when Rodriguez settled in to land the punches of the unanswered variety, the ones that lead to punches in bunches.
Even though, Rodriguez looks so good in the ring, you have to wonder when his management is going to allow him to fight someone of note. After checking over the list of Rodriguez’s past opponents you soon learn their combined record was 8-48.
Bout #3 featured an upset of sorts as Carlos Martinez now (1-1) won his first super middleweight bout after landing this sudden barrage of punches on a surprised Angel “El Domeodor” Zamora. Deciding Zamora was in trouble, referee Fernando Renteria quickly stepped in to call a halt to the contest, a contest that Zamora, now (0-2) appeared to be winning.
In Bout #4, it was Gilberto Huidobro improving to (5-0, 4 KOs) after receiving a well deserved unanimous decision victory over Antonio “Chelas” Villa (1-13, 1 KO) in their non-competitive lightweight contest.
Bout #5 featured the Tijuana debut of cruiserweight 6’4” Daniel Arambula (2-0) from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico, who now trains at the Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside, CA. A large group of family and friends which included his father made the long trek from Tlaquepaque to see their pride and joy win a fourth round TKO victory over Juan Carlos Moreno (0-7).
The heavy blows, mostly to the midsection, kept raining down on Moreno until the referee finally decided he had taken far too much punishment.
In Bout #6, featuring two gentlemen making their pro-debuts, Axel Hernandez looked most impressive in his third round destruction of Adrian Diaz. On the way to victory, Hernandez scored a knockdown in round two.
In Bout #7, it was Carlos “Taquerito” Sanchez winning a heated battle with fellow debutant Manuel “Vaquero” Sandoval. Just before the final round began, several people at ringside were wondering if the bout might end in a draw. Then, just like a rainbow that suddenly appears after a summer rain, Sanchez landed these two hard shots to Sandoval’s head in the closing seconds to make the judges decision easier. Two judges had Sanchez winning every round. The other had Sanchez ahead three rounds to one.
Bout #8 was another heated, seesaw battle between debutants. This one featured super bantamweights Oscar “Bebito” Estrada and Elmer Perez. While darting in and out to do his scoring, Perez always seemed more elusive, ducking at the right time and avoiding payback from the slightly taller Estrada. As in the preceding bout, ringsiders thought the scoring would be close. Wrong again, judge Sergio Lechuga had it a shut out for Perez while Esteban Franco and Leo Ibarra saw it 39-37 for Perez.
Bout #9 was a quickie. Middleweight Jose Manuel Hernandez (2-1-1, 2 KOs) landed a body shot to Obert “Cachorro” Gastelum’s midsection at 2:27 of round one and the fight was over. The winless Gastelum (0-5) has yet to get passed the second round.
In Bout #10, it was lightweight Ricardo “Richie” Aguilar (2-1) who doubles as an MMA fighter, getting the best of Eduardo Rivera who was making his pro-debut. Aguilar put the fight on ice after sending Rivera to the canvas in round two with a straight right. The judges scores were unanimous. Leobardo Ibarra Bracamontes scored the bout 40-35 while Sergio Lechuga and Esteban Franco both had it 39-36, all for Aguilar.
In Bout #11, a super flyweight match, it was Erik “Lobito” Gonzales (2-0, 1 KO) from Tijuana’s Zapata gym getting the TKO victory over Rodrigo Ruiz who was making his pro-debut. After Ruiz took several unanswered, extremely hard blows to the head, the Hernandez Boxing Team simply felt it was time to throw in the towel. Visibly upset by the move, Ruiz had no recourse but accept his fate and return on another day.
In Bout #12 they had super featherweights Jose Fabian Naranjo (1-0-1) going toe to toe with Enrique “Cid” Guzman (1-4-1), both of whom are from Tijuana. For the first two rounds, this was a tight one with Naranjo doing a slightly better job, especially in the closing seconds to make certain his point total was greater. Come the third round, the boxers began a series of head butts (five in a row) which led to Guzman developing a raised bump on his left forehead (a hematoma). From that point on, Naranjo became even more confident and Guzman less. In the end, all three judges had Naranjo winning every round.
Bout #13, the six round Main Event of the evening, featured 22 year-old welterweight Miguel Martínez Jr. (4-0-1, 2 KOs), the son of legendary Miguel “Maikito” Martinez (41-28-1, 31 KOs), a Tijuana resident who just happened to be born in San Diego. His opponent, a late substitute, was Ivan “Pantera” Ojeda also from Tijuana who was sporting a 0-1 record.
From the opening bell it became evident that Martinez enjoyed a substantial advantage in skill level. As soon as Ojeda sampled some of Martinez’s offerings, this bout was over. After one barrage which included a punch to the stomach followed by an uppercut, Ojeda turn his back to both Martinez and referee Juan Morales Lee and went to rest his arms on the ropes. At that point he was likely asking himself, ‘What on earth am I doing here?’
At that point, 2:20 of the first round, the ref began to administer his eight count and when reaching eight, he waved his arms in the air to indicate a stoppage and for all intense purposes, the end of a very long day.
Also on Thursday night at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas, Super Featherweight Francisco Vargas (22-0-1, 16 KOs) now living in Mexico City but born in Tijuana won a TKO victory over Will Tomlinson (23-2-1, 13 KOs) from Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia to win the WBO International and NABF Super Featherweight titles. The end came at :32 of round eight. You might remember Tomlinson, back on December 4, 2014, he defeated Miguel Zamudio (31-5-1) on the Paco Presents fight card at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.