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Fast Results From Fresno: Ramirez MD 12; Beltran KO 9

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  • Fast Results From Fresno: Ramirez MD 12; Beltran KO 9

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    By Arne K. Lang

    In an era when so many big fights start after midnight for bleary-eyed viewers in the Eastern Time Zone, today’s show in Fresno, a Top Rank production, was an anomaly. The two featured bouts were boxed into the 7-9 pm ET time slot on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (meaning the telecast commenced at four in the afternoon for us folks out west). The undercard bouts, live-streamed on the ESPN+ app, kicked off three hours earlier.

    In the main go, Jose Carlos Ramirez (pictured on the right) made the second defense of his 140-pound world title. In the opposite corner stood a fellow Californian, Jose Zepeda, whose lone defeat had come in a previous bid for a world title when he faced WBC lightweight title-holder Terry Flanagan in Liverpool. (Zepeda retired on his stool after two rounds with a dislocated shoulder.)

    A former U.S. Olympian, Ramirez hails from the dusty little town of Avenal but will always be identified with nearby Fresno where he is one of the city’s most honored citizens. This was his eighth appearance in the city that serves as the economic hub of the fertile San Joaquin Valley.

    Zepeda is an excellent counterpuncher with an awkward southpaw style, but his style was all wrong for stealing the decision on Ramirez’s turf. In a bout marred by numerous accidental head clashes, Ramirez successfully defended his title, winning a majority decision (116-112, 115-113, 114-114). There were no knockdowns, but both fighters were cut and Zepeda looked much the worse for wear at the final bell. Ramirez improved to 24-0 but was extended the distance for the third straight time. Zepeda declined to 30-2.


    In the semi-main, former WBO lightweight champion Raymundo Beltran, 19-year pro, moved up in weight and looked strong while taking out Hiroki Okada in the ninth frame. This was a good action fight studded with a furious second stanza in which Okada rallied and had Beltran hurt after tasting the canvas. Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KOs) was cut over both eyes. The previously undefeated Okada, now 19-1, was cut over his left eye and ended the fight with a bad welt high on his left cheek.

    Tokyo’s Okada was doing well when Beltran caught him with a left-right combination, sending him to the mat for the second time. When Okada rose, Beltran bullied him into a corner and flailed away until Okada’s second tossed in the towel. California’s foremost referee Jack Reiss was slow on the trigger. With boxing bursting out all over in California this weekend, Reiss was a busy beaver and may have left his “A” game in SoCal.

    Other Bouts

    In an upset, Cristian Coria, a 36-year-old Argentine, stopped Joel Diaz Jr. in the third round of their junior welterweight match. Diaz was on the canvas twice before the bout was halted. Although Coria (29-7-2, 13 KOs) gave notice that he was no generic “opponent” when he battled Hiroki Okada tooth-and-nail at this venue in September, losing a razor-thin decision, he still wasn’t expected to beat Diaz (24-2) who is a member of a prominent boxing family and suffered his lone previous defeat at the hands of fearsome Regis Prograis.

    Phoenix featherweight Carlos Castro (22-0, 9 KOs) stepped up in class and passed the test, winning a lopsided 10-round decision over well-traveled Filipino Genesis Servania (32-2), a former world title challenger. The scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92.

    In a super featherweight contest, San Jose’s Andy Vences (22-0-1) cruised to an 8-round decision over LA-based Albanian Dardan Zenunaj (14-6). Vences won every round on all three scorecards.

    Gabriel Flores Jr., an 18-year-old prospect currently competing as a junior welterweight, advanced to 12-0 (5) with a 6-round unanimous decision over Calgary-based Alex Torres Wynn (6-3). The scores were 59-55 and 60-54 twice.

    In a featherweight match, Fresno southpaw Isidro Ochoa improved to 7-0 (3) with a fourth round stoppage of Tijuana’s Jesus Arturo Guzman (7-3).

    One of Top Rank’s newest signees, 6’6” Guido Vianello, overwhelmed Andrew Satterfield who failed to survive the opening round. Vianello, who represented Italy in the 2016 Olympics, is 2-0 as a pro with both wins by stoppage. Satterfield (4-2) launched his pro career in January of last year at the West Virginia State Penitentiary.

    Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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