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Andrew Cancio Rips WBA Title From Machado by KO and Other Results

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  • Andrew Cancio Rips WBA Title From Machado by KO and Other Results

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    By David A. Avila

    INDIO, Calif.-Underdog Andrew Cancio ripped away the WBA super featherweight world title from Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado with a murderous body attack and became the first and only world champion from the small desert town of Blythe, California on Saturday.

    More than 100 loud screaming fans from Blythe were present to witness the event.

    Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KOs) survived a first round knockdown against Machado (21-1, 17 KOs) then showed why fans follow him whenever he fights with a furious rally in front of a near sold-out crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino. Pure delirium followed the change of world title ownership.

    As soon as the two combatants stepped in the boxing ring Machado looked much larger against the smaller frame of Cancio. And when the Puerto Rican southpaw slugger connected with a left uppercut in the first round, he seemed too powerful even for Cancio.

    “I had been there before. I know what to do when I get knocked down,” said Cancio, who now lives in Ventura but has family still in Blythe. “I was even able to score some punches. I didn’t cover up or hold.”

    Cancio had shown a penchant for surviving slugfests against Rocky Juarez, Dardan (Zenunaj) and Rene Alvarado and for digging deep. Once again he displayed that same determination.

    The father of two, who works for a utility company, stepped on the gas in the second round and never took his foot off the pedal with a grinding attack to the head and body of Machado. The Puerto Rican fighter had no idea how to defend the blistering blows coming his way.

    Machado tried to stymie Cancio’s momentum but just when it looked like the storm was over, the California desert fighter would batter the body relentless from one side to the other. The screams from the crowd seemed to add more fuel to Cancio’s fire in the third round.

    The loud cheers penetrated the arena. It seemed like all 19,000 residents of the desert town near the Colorado River were present.

    “They really motivate me,” Cancio said who was fighting for the 10th time at the Indio casino.

    Cancio moved in for another attack somewhat cautiously in the fourth round. Then the murderous machine-like attack to the body began penetrating through Machado’s defense and the Puerto Rican dropped to a single knee and took an eight-count. The fight continued and Cancio was like a hungry wolf chasing injured prey. Machado tried to fend off the attack but again blows to the body sent him down again. He beat the count and rose with Cancio charging in again with arms pumping and connected again. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. waved the fight over at 2:16 of the fourth round. The desert town of Blythe had its first world champion.

    “This was the fight of my life. I feel extremely great winning this world title by knockout,” said Cancio. “It’s been a long road and it felt like we thought it would: unbelievable. For me to execute a plan like we did feels great.”

    Machado said the weight loss may have contributed to his poor showing.

    “I felt weak in there,” Machado said. “I think I have to move up from 130 pounds.”

    Still, it was a great moment for Cancio who almost retired more than a year ago.

    “I’m extremely happy,” he said. “I wasn’t going to fail.”

    WBC Super Bantam Title Fight

    WBC super bantamweight world titlist Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs) hung on to the title literally with an unpopular hit and hold formula against Venezuela’s rugged Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), especially after tasting the canvas.

    Manzanilla caught Vargas with a left hook to the chin in the second round after a brief exchange and after that, the tall skinny Mexican fighter grabbed hold of the Venezuelan whenever he got within grasping distance.

    Vargas was never penalized for the excessive holding but Manzanilla was not so lucky with his tactics of trying to break the constrictor like grip of the champion. Manzanilla was deducted points in the seventh round for supposedly hitting on the break and again in the eighth. Meanwhile Vargas continued to hold throughout the fight with impunity. After 12 rounds all three judges saw it 117-108 for Vargas who retains the world title. The crowd was not pleased with the decision or the champion’s tactics.

    South El Monte’s Jojo Diaz (28-1, 14 KOs) moved up in weight to the super featherweight division and found it advantageous in defeating local rival Charles Huerta (20-6, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

    “This will be my weight unless some of the bigger names like Leo Santa Cruz or Oscar Valdez want to fight me,” said Diaz a former two-time challenger for the featherweight world title. “Then I’ll fight at 126.”

    Huerta couldn’t match Diaz’s speed but hung in against the speedy southpaw for all 10 rounds.

    “I had him hurt a few times, but I couldn’t finish him because he’s such a great warrior,” Diaz said.

    Other Bouts

    A battle between Mexican lightweights saw Nuevo Leon’s Adrian Estrella (29-3, 24 KOs) use a lot of movement to befuddle Parral’s Oscar Duarte (15-1-1, 10 KOs) and win the vacant WBC Continental America’s title by a disputed split decision.

    Duarte must have been surprised to see Estrella box and move despite sporting an impressive knockout record. It took Duarte, who trains in Indio with Joel Diaz, several rounds to move within punching distance. He never figured out how to cut off the ring against Estrella who benefited from the lapse. After 10 rounds one judge saw Duarte the winner by 97-93, but two others saw it 98-92 and 96-94 for Estrella. The crowd was not pleased.

    Former contender Tureano Johnson (20-2-1, 14 KOs) found a difficult opponent in Mexico’s Fernando Castaneda (26-13-1, 17 KOs) who despite a so-so record was coming to win. Both found success throughout the super middleweight fight. Johnson was dominant with right uppercuts and Castaneda found success early with overhand rights and left hooks. Neither was seriously hurt but after eight rounds the fight was ruled a split draw 77-75, 75-77, 76-76 when the scores were read.

    “My opponent did an awesome job,” said Johnson after the entertaining back and forth fight.

    Castaneda felt he had won but was more than happy that the crowd appreciated his effort.

    “I’m very happy to have the crowd support me,” said Castaneda of Aguascalientes, Mexico. “I want a rematch.”

    Azat Hovhannisyan (16-3, 13 KOs) utilized body shots to stop Lolito Sonsona (22-3-4, 9 KOs) in the fifth round of their super bantamweight match. Early in the fight, Hovhannisyan dropped the Filipino fighter with a left to the body but was deducted a point for an alleged low blow. It was a borderline punch but signified to the Armenian fighter to continue targeting the abdomen.

    Hovhannisyan continued the pressure and though he battered Sonsona to the head repeatedly, nothing seemed to faze the Filipino fighter. But when he drifted to the body that’s where the fierce Armenian fighter found a weakness, Rights to the left side of Sonsona’s body floored the Filipino twice in the fifth round. At 2:23 Sonsona did not beat the count of 10 after the second body shot put him down on the ground. Referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight.

    Local fighter Rommel Caballero (5-0, 4 KOs) knocked out Javier Rojas (1-3) in the first round of their super featherweight fight.

    The fights can be seen on DAZN.

    Photo credit: Alonzo Coston

  • #2
    Cancio put on quite a performance. I wasn't sure that he'd be able to recover from that first round knockdown. But he did and just kept coming forward showing no fear. His pressure started to pay big time dividends in round three and then he finished the job the following round. Quite a back story too, very happy for him.

    I thought Duarte beat Estrella. Duarte lost the first two rounds but came on starting in round three. He clearly has some things to work on (like adding some head movement) but in my opinion should have had his hand raised here.

    And Tureano Johnson looked terrible. Slow and sluggish. Obviously, he was quite disappointed from losing an opportunity in December but he just did not look right here. For the record, I had it a draw 76-76.