Lightweight standout Petr Petrov (36-4-2, 16 KOs) made a strong case for a future world title shot with his one-sided, unanimous decision win against former world champion Gamaliel Diaz (39-12-3, 18 KOs) in the main event of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” from the Omega Products Outdoor Arena in Corona, Calif. Scores were 98-89, 97-90 twice.
“Diaz was a good opponent,” said the 32-year-old Petrov. “He was experienced and knew how to get out of danger. He knows how to hold and slow down a fight, but after a ten-month lay off, I can say that we’re back. I’m ready for a world title shot. That’s my goal.”
The event was promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions.
Throughout the ten round fight, Petrov used superior hand speed to tag the slower Diaz. He scored a knockdown in the seventh round, and from that point forward, Petrov controlled the fight with his accurate jab and stingy defense.
In the co-main event, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (12-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated against Juan Rodriguez (12-2, 5 KOs). Shelestyuk battled through a nasty cut over his right eye caused by an accidental clash of heads in the fourth round.
“Rodriguez is a tough southpaw,” said Shelestyuk, who is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. “It was the second time in my career that I’ve been cut. It was tough to see with all the blood, but the cut made me focus more because I thought the doctor might stop the fight, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to show my ability and I did by winning by a wide margin.”
In other bouts, welterweight Darius Ervin (1-0) of Indio, Calif. notched his first professional win against Isaac Freeman (1-1, 1 KO) of Los Angeles. The majority decision scores read: 39-37, 40-36, and 38-38.
Junior lightweight Michael Norato (1-0, 1 KO) started his professional career in electrifying fashion by knocking out Sopuan Rin (1-2-1) at the 2:14 mark of the second round. Norato put Rin on his back three times in the second round, which stirred the crowd into a frenzy.
“It’s a great way to start my career,” Norato said. “I can’t wait for my next fight.”
Super bantamweight Humberto Rubalcava (1-0, 1 KO) of nearby Riverside, had a memorable pro debut by knocking out Christian Lorenzo (2-3, 1 KO) of Los Angeles in the second round with a powerful right hook that nearly sent Lorenzo through the ropes.
“This is what boxing is all about,” Rubalcava said. “I gave the fans what they wanted to see.”
The opening bout between junior welterweights Emanuel Robles (13-0-1, 3 KOs) of San Diego and Wilberth Lopez (5-5, 1 KO) of Tucson, Ariz. was an entertaining, back-and-forth affair. Robles jumped out to an early lead, but Lopez came on strong toward the end. Robles scored a unanimous decision win with scores 58-56, 59-55, twice.
“It was a great fight,” Robles said. “He came ready to fight. I’m glad I was able to put on a good show. I got tired toward the end, but I’ll get back in the gym and get better.”