Jose “Gato” Roman dominated Hector Velazquez, one of the most experienced boxers in the lightweight division, in the 8-round “Path to Glory” main event promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions. The unanimous decision scores read: 79-73, 80-72, 79-73.
Roman (18-1-1, 12 KOs), who fights out of Garden Grove, Calif. and had a strong contingent of fans at the sold-out Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, used his speed, agility, and intelligence to thoroughly frustrate the 39-year-old Velazquez. To his credit, Velazquez (56-23-3, 38 KOs) tried to tie up Roman at every opportunity, but Roman maneuvered out of the traps and managed to score points on the outside.
With about thirty seconds left in the fourth round, Roman fired a relentless barrage of punches, which caught Velazquez off guard. On the way back to his corner, one could tell Velazquez was visibly shaken by the onslaught. From this point forward, Roman carefully boxed his way to a one-sided victory.
“I just implemented what we worked on during our training camp,” Roman said. “We didn’t want to give him any opportunities to gain momentum. I knew I was going to be too fast and technical for him.”
In the co-main event, Danny Roman (12-2-1, 5 KOs) of Los Angeles put on a boxing clinic through eight rounds against Jonathan Alcantara (7-12-2, 1 KO) of Sonsonate, El Salvador. Roman swept the scoring 80-72 on all three scorecards.
Roman dished out a heavy beating, routinely connecting with left hooks to the head and body. Alcantara deserves credit for remaining aggressive throughout, however, it was clear from the start that he was over matched. Roman used a quick jab to set up power shots and worked the body well in close quarters.
In a contentious fight that featured numerous holds, low blows, blood, and a torn glove, through all that, it was Ukrainian welterweight Taras Shelestyuk (9-0, 6 KOs) squeezing out an 8-round split decision (76-75, 75-76, 76-75) victory over Patrick Boozer (6-3, 2 KOs) of Ann Arbor, Mich.
The boxers, both southpaws, had their moments as the tight scores suggest, but Shelestyuk benefited greatly by Boozer’s inability to keep the punches above the belt line. Referee Ray Corona warned the Michigan native early in the fight, and in the eighth, Corona deducted a point for what appeared to be a blatant low blow. Boozer’s infraction undoubtedly had a profound impact on the scoring.
In the fourth round, Boozer’s right glove tore and had to be replaced, causing a five-minute delay. When the round resumed, Boozer opened up a nasty cut over Shelestyuk’s right eye, which gushed blood for the remainder of the fight. The Ukrainian battled through and was able to stay in the fight and land quality shots. Boozer accorded himself well, often landing hard rights, but it was Shelestyuk who took home the hard fought win. Shelestyuk is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions.
Cesar Villarraga (5-0, 3 KOs) of Colombia showed why he is considered one of the best young lightweights by dominating and knocking out Oscar Santana (4-2-1, 2 KOs) of Pomona, Calif. Santana proved effective in the first two rounds, but after that, it was all Villarraga. In the third, the former Olympian was landing his left hook and straight right whenever he wanted.
Santana tried to keep his distance, but Villarraga closed the gap with an accurate jab and solid combinations. In the sixth and final round, Villarraga gave the crowd what it wanted, a pinpoint left hook to the body that dropped Santana for good at the :35 mark. Villarraga is promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions.
Super featherweight Erick Ituarte (8-1-1, 1 KO) of Santa Ana, Calif. proved the more polished prospect in his 4-round fight against Jesus Aguinaga (1-3) of Phoenix. Ituarte won a unanimous decision (39-37×3) behind an active jab and consistent power punching.
Heavyweight LaRon Mitchell (5-0, 5 KOs) of San Francisco extended his win and knockout streak with a second round KO of Eduardo Ramirez (1-1) of Yuma, Ariz. In the middle of the first round, both fighters connected flush with power shots resulting in a double knockdown. Mitchell quickly shook off the drop and managed to land shots through the rest of the round.
In the second, Mitchell attacked early and bloodied Ramirez’ nose with a heavy straight right that clearly wobbled the shorter and lighter Ramirez. Mitchell sensed a knockout and poured it on. He landed a four-punch combination that sucked the life out of Ramirez. The referee put a stop to the beat down at the 1:21 mark.
Opening the seven-bout card were lightweights Andres Figueroa (5-0, 3 KOs) of Bogota, Colombia and Carlos Zatarin (3-2-1, 1 KO) of Phoenix. Figueroa, who at 5’5″ is a bit undersized for the division, boxed his way to a 4-round unanimous decision win (39-37, 40-36, 39-37). Zatarin had a habit of opening his guard when throwing a right upper cut, which Figueroa timed nicely with a counter left. In addition to that, Figueroa landed the stronger punches and established a better defense.