Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. (19-0, 11 KOs) retained his undefeated status with a stunning second round technical knockout of Mexico City, Mexico’s Hugo “Olimpico” Partida (20-7-2, 15 KOs) in front of nearly 1,500 fans at a jam-packed Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
“We came with a great game plan to land effective shots right away and to dig to the body and try to hurt him,” said Diaz Jr. “I dug into the body in the first round and had him hurt. And then I put some good powerful shots on top and got him out. He connected with a good shot, but I didn’t feel anything at all. I just acknowledge him for getting a good shot in. I didn’t let it affect me at all. I knew that I had to take care of business and get the win no matter what. I hope to get the top 10 guys in my division, fight on the bigger networks and get a title shot by the end of next year. I feel very strong at this weight, and I make the weight pretty good. I just feel like 126 is going to be my weight.”
Former two-time world heavyweight title challenger Earnie “The Black Destroyer” Shavers was in attendance at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for the fights after hosting a special meet and greet for ticketholders before the Boxeo Estelar broadcast began.
In the evening’s co-main event, Andrew “Chango” Cancio (16-3-2, 12 KOs) made a triumphant return to the ring after a year and a half lay off with an impressive technical knockout of Nicaragua’s Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (22-6, 15 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout. Both fighters fought aggressively, producing a slugfest that entertained the raucous crowd. Cancio rallied and unleashed with a flurry of punches in round five but Alvarado passed the test and fought back furiously. The slugging continued until the referee waved off the fight in the eighth round as Alvarado succumbed to the fast punches Cancio was throwing.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough fight,” said Andrew Cancio. “Rene Alvarado comes and gives it his all. I mean, he went toe-to-toe with Jo Jo Diaz Jr. earlier this year. We trained hard for this, but we felt we were stronger, harder, and faster. We trained our butts off for this. I felt some ring rust. I thought, ‘man this is a really hard fight,’ it was harder than I anticipated. I knew it was close; some rounds were mine and some rounds were his. Once my corner told me he was hurt, I started throwing combinations. I landed an uppercut and a right, and he just couldn’t get himself together so I got the TKO victory.”
Opening up the Estrella TV broadcast, Chinese heavyweight sensation Taishan (6-0, 3 KOs) retained his undefeated status with a win by unanimous decision over Guadalajara, Mexico’s Daniel Arambula (3-2, 1 KO) after a tough four-round heavyweight bout.
“I’m not very happy because I wanted the knockout,” said Taishan. “I had a lot of practice, but I think I still need to train more.
Topping the undercard fights for the evening, Oscar Torres (7-0, 4 KOs) battled Evincii Dixon (6-13-1, 2 KOs) to retain his undefeated status, winning their six-round welterweight bout by unanimous decision.
“We were prepared for this fight,” said Torres. “In the opening, he was very slick. He has a lot of experience, but I worked out in the gym and was ready for that. He didn’t surprise me. He was very strong. I punched him very hard, but he didn’t react, it was like nothing to him and he remained calm. I was ready to fight and I did. He is a good fighter, too.”
Los Angeles fan-favorite Rafael Gramajo (6-1-1, 2 KOs)made his third appearance at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a six-round super bantamweight war against Michael Gaxiola (4-5) of Modesto, Calif. Gramajo was named the winner by unanimous decision after a tough fight against Gaxiola that went the full six-rounds.
“We put in work, we did pressure, we fought a fight and that is what we came to do,” said Rafael Gramajo (6-1-1, 2 KOs). “We knew we would have to be aggressive. I started off slow to work the guy and check him out to see what he’s got, and we knew we had to start working. He was a tough opponent. Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions and my team at Westside Boxing Club for their support.”
The evening’s first heavyweight fight had Bostonian Donnie “Big Nasty” Palmer (7-0-1, 6 KOs) facing off against Lansing, Michigan’s Tommy Washington (6-8, 2 KOs) in a six-round bout. Washington suffered a knock down in round two but rallied to come back strong at the beginning of round three. Both fighters persevered round-by-round and went the full six scheduled rounds and it was Palmer that was named the winner by split decision.
“I think I had a late start,” said Palmer. “I was a little bit sluggish. I got a knock down, and I should have capitalized on that. He (Washington) gained more confidence as the fight went along, and then the fight became a little harder. He is a great fighter – he did awesome. Thank you to Golden Boy for the opportunity. It was a humbling experience. I need to hit the gym some more.”
In the second fight of the night, Indio native Marco Magdaleno (2-0, 1 KO) battled Portland, Oregon’s Derick Bartlemay (0-1), who made his professional debut, in a four-round super lightweight bout before a hometown crowd. Both fighters showed speed and stamina in the ring during the bout that went the full four-rounds. In the end, the judges crowed Magdaleno the victor by unanimous decision.
“I felt great tonight,” said Magdaleno. “He was a tough opponent. He came out to fight and that is exactly what he did; he gave me a really good fight. I think I landed the bigger, better punches. I didn’t work how I wanted to but every punch I threw I made sure it landed and was a clear shot.”
The Ring TV live stream opened with Jon Jon Dinong (1-0, 1 KO) making a stunning professional debut against Ft. Smith, Arkansas’ Deartie Tucker (2-4, 2 KOs) winning by knockout in the second of a four-round super welterweight bout.
“I was trying to stay pretty relaxed and keep calm. I noticed I wasn’t getting as many shots in the first round because I think I was too relaxed. I came back to the corner after the first round, and they told me to pick it up a bit so I came back and got him in the corner, threw punches and then got him,” said Dinong.
Results from Twin River
Another fight, another highlight-reel knockout for Khiary Gray. The unbeaten Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight ended a flawless 2015 in style Friday at Twin River Casino, stopping Mexican veteran Roberto Valenzuela at the 59-second mark of the opening round, improving his record to 11-0 with 9 knockouts in the main event of CES Boxing’s “Holiday Bash.”
Valenzuela showed some fight early, even taunting Gray after eating a right hand to the temple, but Gray ended it quickly with a double right hook to the body, dropping Valenzuela to one knee.
Gray has fought 11 times in 18 months since making his pro debut in June of 2014 and has now won his last eight fights by knockout, including seven in the opening round.
New Haven, Conn., junior middleweight Jimmy Williams (10-0-1), fighting in Rhode Island for the first time in his career, ended a 10-month layoff with a 58-56, 56-58, 59-55 win over Vero Beach, Fla., vet Chris Gray (13-22-1). Williams shook off some early ring rust and remained unbeaten with the narrow win, his first since knocking out Eddie Caminero in February, a win that landed on ESPN’s Top 10 highlights for the night.
Making his long-awaited return to Twin River after more than a year away from the ring, middleweight “Irish” Joey McCreedy (15-9-2) of Lowell, Mass., lost a bizarre split decision to Laredo, Tex., vet Emmanuel Sanchez (7-4), 57-56, 60-53, 58-56.
McCreedy actually knocked down Sanchez in the opening round and won each of the six rounds on one of the scorecards, but Sanchez hung tough and earned narrow decisions on the other two cards, spoiling McCreedy’s first fight since September of 2014. Sanchez, coincidentally, was on the wrong end of a split decision in his last fight, a four-round loss to Eric Asher in Ohio in July.
Fighting for the fourth time in 2015, unbeaten Worcester, Mass., junior welterweight Freddy Sanchez (7-0) closed out his season in style with a hard-earned unanimous decision win over Vero Beach, Fla., vet Chris Gray, 59-55, 59-55, 60-54. The fight featured plenty of back-and-forth action, easily the toughest test of Sanchez’s career, as Gray’s awkward style forced Sanchez to adjust throughout the fight. Sanchez improved to 4-0 in 2015, which included two knockout wins at Twin River.
Training under the guidance of Rhode Island’s Jose Santos, Providence featherweight Phil Dudley (1-0) debuted at Twin River in impressive fashion, winning a slugfest against Jacob Solis (1-2) of Lawrence, Mass., by unanimous decision, 39-37, 39-37, 40-36. Dudley landed early and often against Solis, who withstood the damage and lasted four hard rounds, dropping his second consecutive decision since winning his debut in 2012.
Also fighting under Santos’ tutelage, fellow Providence featherweight Cido Hoff (0-0-1) earned a 38-37, 38-38, 38-38, majority draw against previously unbeaten Framingham, Mass., native Timmy Ramos (2-0-1) in his pro debut. Hoff, who fought Ramos twice in the amateurs, dropped Ramos with a hard right in the second round, but Ramos fought back hard over the final two rounds to earn the draw on two of the three scorecards.
New Bedford, Mass., junior middleweight Ray Oliveira Jr. (4-0) returned to the ring for the first time since April with a 39-37, 39-37, 40-36 unanimous decision win over Brockton, Mass., vet Antonio Fernandes (7-24-3) and Framingham junior welterweight Julio Perez (3-0) remained unbeaten with a 40-36 win on all three scorecards against newcomer Josh Bourque (0-1) of Salem, N.H.
Albanian middleweight Fatlum Zhuta (2-0-1, 2 KOs) of Anchorage, Ala., CES’ newest addition, also made a major splash in his Twin River, stopping the overmatched Deivison Ribeiro (0-2) of Brazil at the 1:47 mark of the opening round. Zhuta sent Ribeiro to the canvas twice in the opening minute and then unloaded with another barrage seconds later until the referee stopped the bout.