The L.A. Matadors, Los Angeles’ representative in the global World Series of Boxing, won all five of their matches in their home-opener on Sunday at Nokia Theatre with a clean sweep over the Mexico City Guerreros. Two-time Olympian & 2010 National Golden Gloves champ Rau’Shee Warren, of Cincinnati, Ohio, won his WSB debut with a hard-fought, unanimous decision victory over the Guerreros’ Elias Emigdio, of Mexico, scored 49-46 (twice), 48-47.
“I came here to fight and give the fans what they wanted,” Warren said. “It was a close fight and he was tough, but I’m happy to kick off my season with a win at home. It feels good to win one for the team.”
In one of the most exciting fights of the evening, Matadors heavyweight Javier Torres, of Pico Rivera, Calif., scored a brutal TKO at :55 of the fourth round over Alex Rivera, of Palm Springs, Calif.
Torres was deducted a point for a low blow in the third, but the Matador came out swinging in the fourth. The 2009 National Championships Silver Medalist got Rivera against the ropes with a series of combos and ended the bout with a solid right hook that sent Rivera reeling forward into the referee.
“We broke him down little by little, and it was just a matter of time before we got the KO,” Torres said. “My right, it’s deadly. That’s why he stopped the fight. This win does a lot for me. It advanced me and my team. We’re all trying to win this tournament and get to the Olympics.”
In the light heavyweight bout, Matador Vyacheslav Shabranskij, of Ukraine, won a technical decision over Chicago’s Lamar Fenner after an accidental head butt opened a deep gash above Fenner’s left eye that the referee and ringside doctor deemed was too severe to continue. .
WSB rules dictate that any incidental injury that occurs after the first round must go to the judges’ scorecards. Shabranskij was leading on the scorecards (20-18, three times) at the time of the stoppage and was rewarded the technical decision.
In a bloody, all-action bout, Matador middleweight Russell Lamour, of Portland, Maine, won a unanimous decision over Armando Espinosa, of Victorville, Calif., 50-45 (three times). An overhand right by Lamour opened up a gushing cut behind Espinosa’s left ear, but the game and determined Espinosa continued with a solid, yet losing effort.
“I knew that he wasn’t going to give up so I kept trying to outbox him,” Lamour said. “I kept trying to stick and move and knew I could get the decision.”
In an exciting slugfest that featured very little defense, Matador lightweight Everton Lopes, of Brazil, scored a fourth round TKO over Mexico’s Angel Gutierrez in the opening bout of the evening. After an even, action-packed third round, Lopes stepped on the gas with a relentless onslaught of punches to open the fourth. The referee stopped the bout at 1:16 with Gutierrez seemingly defenseless and taking too many damaging punches.
The World Series of Boxing is a groundbreaking, international sports league with teams from three continents competing for five spots – bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight, in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Matadors will compete against three other North American teams, Miami, Mexico City and Memphis, for the next four months with the winner from the North American division advancing to the semifinals to compete against teams from other continents.
The Matadors will host the Memphis Force on Sunday, Dec. 12 at Club Nokia in their next home match.