Boxing results and recaps, Oct. 19-20: AJ Banal upset, Johnny Garcia schooled, Ana Esteche unlucky again, Jorge Pazos overmatched

Pungluang Sor Singyu wins WBO bantamweight title - AFP, Jay Directo

This weekend recap is devoted to events that most casual American boxing fans haven’t seen or heard of. Fights from last Friday and Saturday are covered.

2012-10-19 Civic Center, Kissimmee, Florida, USA

Telemundo broadcasted the anticipated main event and chief male supporting undercard. The most relevant bout of the card wasn't televised where unified flyweight champion Melissa McMorrow successfully defended her WBO female flyweight title against Yahaira Martinez.

Orlando Cruz UD12 Jorge Pazos (118-110, 117-111, 118-110)

In the main event of the evening Cruz dominated much of his 12 rounder against Pazos and successfully defended his WBO Latino featherweight title. At times Cruz, a southpaw, simply couldn't miss with his jab (to the head and body) or his straight left hands (mostly to the head). Cruz was also very evasive and Pazos couldn't catch him cleanly very often until the championship rounds. Cruz, who recently came out as a proud homosexual, was flamboyant in ring attire, hair style, and fighting style. At times he reminded me of Hector Camacho Sr. Telemundo had the fight 11-1 Cruz while the official judges had it 10-2 and 7-3. 7-3 seemed most appropriate as Cruz ran more than fought in the late rounds. Cruz was interviewed with his mother after the fight...which was odd but whatever.

Video: Orlando Cruz featured in HBO Real Sports segment on reluctance of gay athletes to 'come out' while competing

Jonathan Gonzalez TKO6 Danny Flores

Gonzalez, the shorter man, lived up to his alias "La Bomba" and controlled the fight with his power and explosiveness. Gonzalez often used lateral movement to set traps and counter when Flores fell in after failing to land a punch. When Gonzalez wanted to fight on the inside he held a high, tight guard and picked his spots to throw inside of the slower and more open Flores. The big punches eventually took their toll on Flores who was pretty cut up going into round 6, leading the referee to halt the action and send him over to the ringside doctor. Although the doctor cleared Flores to continue it wasn't much longer before the referee stopped the fight on his own accord. The stoppage was very controversial as Flores didn't appear to be in any immediate danger and was in the midst of an exchange with Gonzalez, but overall it was just a mercy ruling in a one sided fight.

2012-10-19 Complex Esportiu Municipal Sagnier, El Prat de Llobregat, Cataluña, Spain

I watched this card on YouTube thanks to user rafakoverdunreal. I don't think it was televised but the recordings are likely done by or at least to the knowledge of the promoter.

Oliver Tchinda KO2 Guzman Castillo

In this super middleweight rematch journeyman Tchinda repeated history and took prospect Castillo out in the 2nd round. The fight was in large dull and uneventful. In fact the referee stepped in to pause round 2 and instructed each fighter to pick up the action. Castillo kept a comfortable range but wouldn't let his hands go while Tchinda bobbed his head but made little attempt to get and stay inside, usually just throwing a single shot to the body and getting right back out. But after the referee told them to get things going, the fight quickly changed. Castillo let his hands go and forced Tchinda to make an effort to get to him. This effort culminated in an overhand right that put Castillo down for the "count." The referee waved it off early but it didn't matter, Castillo had no chance of beating the count. It's definitely a knockout worth watching.

Isaac Real TKO2 Jose de Jesus Lopez

Real controlled the 1st round with his height, reach, and overall better athleticism. Hooks to the body and head put Lopez down for the first time in round 2. When Lopez got up he retreated but was pursued and dropped again by hooks, this time twisting his right ankle on the way down. Lopez got up but was limping about until Real jumped back on him and flurried until he fell again, prompting Lopez's corner to throw in the towel. Lopez continued to limp after the fight and it was clearly the cause of the stoppage but the outcome appeared obvious after the first knockdown, whether Lopez was later injured or not.

Kiko Amarillo UD4 Vitaly Shivanov

In a competitive 4 rounder featherweight prospect Amarillo overcame club fighter Shivanov, who was riding a 7 fight losing streak going in. Amarillo's work rate was the difference in the fight.

2012-10-20 Coliseo Roger L. Mendoza, Caguas, Puerto Rico

Telefutura aired this edition of Solo Boxeo Tecate as the Showtime quadrupleheader ended.

Janiel Rivera KO1 Omar Soto

After a tentative opening that didn't really favor either party, Rivera landed a sucker punch after the referee called break and put Soto on his butt with a left hook. Soto complained but the referee gave him an 8 count regardless. When action resumed Rivera stalked until he found an opportunity to sneak in a straight right hand that sent Soto into the ropes. When Rivera closed the gap Soto tried to hold on to survive the round (which was nearly over) but a left hook to the body put Soto down again and ended the fight. Rivera picked up the vacant WBC FECARBOX minimumweight title with the win.

Kevin Nieves KO3 Osvaldo Vazquez

The taller and longer Nieves used his physical advantages to keep Vazquez out of range and landed short counters on the inside when Vazquez closed the gap, even though he dangerously left his chin out to dry in the process. Nieves was lucky that Vazquez didn't bother throwing overhand rights. A 1-2 combination, which Nieves often threw during the fight, signaled the end for Vazquez in round 3 as he lost his legs and staggered backward. Nieves followed up with left hooks, right hands, and even an uppercut before the ref stepped in while Vazquez was helpless against the ropes.

Jose Castro KO1 Carlos Acevedo

Although only 1 round long I nominate this as the most fun fight of the card. Both fighters were dropped and Acevedo was finished off in highlight reel fashion. A thumping right hook followed by an even better left uppercut put Castro down first but he was soon up and nearly immediately dropped Acevedo with an overhand right. After Acevedo beat the count the two exchanged on fairly even terms until a wide left hook caught Acevedo above and outside of his right eye and took him out for good. Acevedo dropped like a sack of bricks and appeared cross eyed on the canvas. Fortunately he later recovered. I suggest watching this.

Jonathan Vidal TKO3 Josean Figuroa

This was the main event for the vacant WBC FECARBOX bantamweight title. Figuroa held his own early as Vidal tried to figure him out, but whenever Vidal let his hands go and punched in combination Figuroa got hit and was usually rocked. At the very end of round 2 a left uppercut and overhand right hook from Vidal buckled Figuroa's knees. A huge lead left hook buckled Figuroa's knees again midway through round 3, allowing Vidal enough time to follow up and finish Figuroa off. Figuroa stayed on his feet throughout the fight but might have been better served to take a knee at the end instead of taking a beating on jello-o-like legs.

Starling Cordero UD4 Eduardo Melendez

In the last televised bout of the card Starling Cordero picked up a unanimous decision based on forcing the fight and landing the more effective punches. The taller and longer Melendez thought he won after keeping his distance for most of the fight, but offered little substance back offensively. Melendez did let his hands go but Cordero was slick and often slipped or picked the shots off.

2012-10-20 Estadio Luna Park, Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina

This card was broadcasted by TyC Sports, headlined by Omar Andres Narvaez making yet another world title defense.

Noe Gonzalez Alcoba KO1 Miguel Angel Cobas

It didn't take long for Alcoba to walk Cobas down, buckle him with a right hand, and finish him off with a left hook that put him down for the count. Cobas sat up after going down but never made an attempt to get to his feet.

Brian Carlos Castano TKO5 Jose Carlos Paz

From the get-go it was apparent that Castano possessed superior hand speed but Paz boxed intelligently and held his own. Up to and including the last round this was anyone's fight, but then a short straight right hand followed by a monster left hook separated Paz from his senses. He tried to get up but the referee waved it off before finishing his count. Normally that bothers me but Paz had no chance of beating the count and remained on the canvas for a while under close supervision. Fortunately he was OK and got back to his feet.

Sergio Jose Sanders SD8 Billi Facundo Godoy

Ultimately Godoy was too upright and stiff for a man as tall, long, and slick and Sanders. Sanders put on a boxing clinic from the outside but Godoy did prove effective in short bursts. But Godoy did get better as the fight progressed, mainly a result of Sanders becoming more stationary. By the last round Sanders stood right in front of Godoy from beginning to end and took a beating. As the round was coming to a close Sanders finally went down after the 50th or so punch landed (I reserve a high margin of error for that estimate). Unfortunately for Godoy the knockdown was merely the difference in losing the fight by split decision instead of majority decision. Quite frankly I'm surprised Godoy didn't get the victory as he was 26-0 going into this fight while Sanders was 19-9-2 and had already been knocked out by Godoy in the past.

Omar Andres Narvaez KO11 Johnny Garcia

In the main event of the evening the 37 year old shorter Argentine Narvaez pretty much took the taller 23 year old Mexican Garcia to school. Garcia certainly tried and kept letting his hands go but walked into a lot of shots and missed most that he threw. When Garcia connected the shot was usually caught by Narvaez's gloves or arms. When Narvaez connected the punch was usually blocked as well, just by Garcia's face. Narvaez, not known for his power, even managed to put Gonzalez down 4 times before the referee finally waved it off in the 11th round. The first knockdown came in the 7th and the final 3 all came in the last round.

With the win Narvaez remains unbeaten in both the flyweight and super flyweight divisions. Narvaez was 16-0-1 in WBO flyweight title fights and is now 6-0 in WBO super flyweight title fights. Had the WBO bantamweight champion not been Nonito Donaire when Narvaez attempted to get his 3rd world title in as many weight divisions, we may be discussing his chances of getting into the hall of fame today. But given his weight divisions and consequently a lack of name recognition on his resume, I rather doubt his chances of making the hall. That said, considering whom the new WBO bantamweight champion is now, Narvaez taking him to school too wouldn't surprise me if he tried again. The latest WBO bantamweight title fight is discussed at the end of this recap.

Celeste Peralta UD4 Katia Alvarino

Both women matched up well physically and had similar fighting styles, staying tall and fighting long. But as Alvarino realized she lacked the technical skills of Peralta and was eating her jabs and right hands like candy, she got more aggressive and landed whatever she could on the inside, which usually was just shoe shining. Coming forward without head movement or a jab eventually got Alvarino dropped in the final round by yet another 1-2 combination from Peralta. Alvarino, red haired and tough, had no problem getting back up and finishing the fight but the decision was never in doubt. Peralta pitched a shutout and was impressive in her pro debut against a 4-0 prospect. The women's light welterweight division has been put on notice.

2012-10-20 Coliseo Elias Chewing, Barranquilla, Colombia

TyC Sports broadcasted the main event of this card.

Enis Pacheco D12 Ana Laura Esteche (96-94, 95-95, 93-97)

Pacheco narrowly escaped Esteche in this rematch and retained her WBO female lightweight title once again but had to settle for a draw this time around. Pacheco had trouble getting inside Esteche's range and struggled to land clean. The bigger shots did however appear to come from Pacheco, but they were pretty wild and were often slaps. Esteche landed the cleaner punches and her timing was better. After Pacheco ate a right hand at the start of round 4 she recklessly fell forward and clashed heads with Esteche, resulting in a cut outside of Pacheco's right eye. After getting cut Pacheco fought defensively, usually going backward and making it all too easy for the taller and longer Esteche to pick her apart. It should be noted that despite all of what I've written TyC has actually scored this bout 4-0 Pacheco through 4 rounds, so maybe you should just watch the fight yourself...

For those of you still here, round 5 was a back and forth slugfest where both fighters had their moments and could have gone either way. Round 6 was more technical and tactical and for the first time in the fight I was impressed with the skills Pacheco displayed and awarded her the round accordingly. Surprise surprise, round 6 was also the first round TyC awarded to Esteche. Honestly through the first 6 rounds I was wondering what fight TyC was looking at. But from round 7 onward, where Esteche continued to boss the fight, TyC correctly scored those rounds for her. They finally ended up with a draw at the end while I couldn't find more than 3 rounds to give to Pacheco and neither could judge Francisco Benzan who scored it 97-93 for Esteche. Too bad the other two judges saw a different fight, but at least the Colombian judge (Manuel Rodriguez) was kind enough to score it 95-95, ultimately ruling the fight a split draw as Horacio Bakemon Rodriguez had it 96-94 for Pacheco.

2012-10-20 SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

This was broadcasted in the Philippines and Thailand. I've only watched the main event so far, which is likely all you care about anyways...

Pungluang Sor Singyu TKO9 AJ Banal

Banal suffered his 2nd career loss and 2nd knockout defeat in his 2nd world title opportunity. Either Banal's opposition outside of his world title fights has been soft or he's just unlucky. The good news is he's still only 23 years old. Anyways, from the very first round two things were apparent. Banal was the more polished boxer while Singyu was the pressuring fighter. Banal, a southpaw, largely out boxed the orthodox Singyu by working behind his jab but was constantly forced backward off strong leads from Singyu who managed a fairly decent defense despite distributing most of his weight to the front foot. Although landing less frequently Singyu's punches clearly did more damage, particularly his straight right hand, and had Banal's face noticeably bleeding by the mid rounds.

Banal did his best work to the body but too often strayed below the belt and was deducted a point for it at the end of round 6. At the beginning of round 8 Banal received another strong warning for low blows but referee Tony Weeks opted not to take a point this time around. Singyu took some time to recover but got right back to work and began to land his jab with regularity. Singyu disrupted his momentum by throwing a right hook to the body that strayed low and forced Weeks to step in again, this time warning Singyu. Singyu threw another right hand to the body that landed on the belt line of Banal and appeared legal but AJ complained and was given some more time to recover. Nonetheless Singyu jumped right back on Banal and kept working the body and applying pressure.

Banal fought Singyu off admirably but you could tell he was really laboring to do it. Singyu picked up the pace in the 9th round and just relentlessly attacked Banal until he folded. Singyu pounded Banal into the ropes but made the mistake of stepping on his feet to knock him over, leading to Weeks correctly ruling it a slip as Banal fell through the ropes. Singyu knew he had Banal hurt regardless and ran over to finish him off as the action restarted. Banal was beaten to his knees and gave Weeks the impression he didn't want to continue after he got up (this time officially from a knockdown). There was no argument when the fight was stopped. Singyu was just too strong, and he's now the new WBO bantamweight champion.

If a bout is not mentioned which took place on one of the above cards it's most likely because I haven't got around to watching it yet. In the event that I do watch such a bout at a later time it's still unlikely I will update this recap. My recaps will be posted on Mondays and Wednesdays, devoted to cards that most casual American boxing fans haven't seen or heard of. For available footage of the previously reported bouts follow @sweetboxing on twitter. You may also email the author of this piece at rgbivins@gmail.com

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