The premiere edition of Ring City USA on NBC Sports Network saw three stoppages in three fights, with O’Shaquie Foster putting away veteran Miguel Roman in the ninth round of their junior lightweight main event.
Foster (18-2, 11 KO) dropped Roman on a right hand in the opening round, and put him down again in the ninth with a left hook. Both were legit, hard knockdowns, and Roman was genuinely hurt on each. He got up both times, though, finishing the first round and staying scrappy in the fight through an attempt to break Foster down to the body, but in the ninth, referee Jack Reiss stepped in for a stoppage shortly after action resumed.
Official time of the stoppage was 58 seconds of round nine. You could argue Reiss could have let it go a bit longer, given Roman (62-14, 47 KO) more of a chance, but the 35-year-old Mexican battler was surely well behind on the cards (BLH had it 78-73 Foster at the time of stoppage, which is probably as close as it could have been), and taking some punishment.
Foster feels he’s hit his stride after those earlier setbacks.
“I feel great and like I showed everybody I can box,” Foster told ringside reporter Curran Bhatia. “I showed the world that I’m talented and hope everyone will want to see me fight again.”
“It feels unbelievable to be on this stage and show my talent to the world,” Foster added. “I would love to face the winner of Berchelt vs Valdez next, or even Carl Frampton. Any of the top guys, I’m ready to get in the ring with.”
It has to be noted, though the broadcast only barely noted it at all, that there was a glove controversy earlier ahead of the fight, when Roman’s Reyes gloves were found to have “no padding” in the center. At that time, it was reported that Roman’s gloves and his second pair would be thrown out, and that he would be wearing an approved Everlast pair of gloves in the fight. He did fight in Reyes gloves, though, and again, the broadcast made only a brief mention of it at all.
As an overall show, I thought this was a good premiere. Good action, very well-paced broadcast, and the commentary team of Bob Papa, Shawn Porter, and Brian Campbell were already solid, and should continue to build chemistry as they go along. The atmosphere in the Wild Card parking lot is a little questionable, as you hear traffic all throughout, but maybe that sort of ambience is best compared to another empty gym. It’s definitely different.
The series will return on Thursday, Dec. 3, and again on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Rocky Hernandez KO-3 Eduardo Garza
This one got in as the swing fight for the show. Hernandez is a 22-year-old Golden Boy prospect at 130 pounds, he was a notable signing when they inked him in Mar. 2019, but then four months later he got smashed in the first round by Roger Gutierrez.
That stuff happens, though, and at 22 there’s still a lot to like about Hernandez and his future. He dominated here, though you can still see some defensive lapses in his game, and Garza (15-3-1, 8 KO) did get a few shots in when he was able to exchange. Hernandez (30-1, 27 KO) really does have it on offense, though. He’s a sharp, accurate puncher, he puts shots together nicely, he finds his range well — chiefly doing so here with a right uppercut from distance — and he has power. He ended this one on a body shot, as the 32-year-old Garza was dropped and took the 10 count in the final minute of round three.
William Zepeda TKO-5 Roberto Ramirez
Zepeda, a 24-year-old Golden Boy lightweight from Mexico, put on a nice showing in the co-feature, breaking down the 27-year-old Ramirez, also from Mexico, and scoring a stoppage late in the fifth round.
Zepeda (22-0, 20 KO) has a big puncher’s record and KO rate but doesn’t seem like a one-shot sort of guy, he’s not a Teofimo Lopez with the sharp, fast, vicious power shots. But he’s clearly got some fairly heavy hands at the least. Ramirez (23-3-1, 16 KO) was something of a step up for Zepeda, but not a huge one; they had somewhat similar records coming in, a lot of wins over mediocre at best opposition, but Ramirez had been stopped by Abel Ramos in 2015 and also lost to Carlos Ocampo in 2013.
Ramirez seems like a decent lower mid-tier type of fighter, and Zepeda, if he hopes to have a future as a contender, did what he should have done with that sort of opponent, he broke him down until referee Ray Corona called it off. Ramirez had a little success in the first two rounds, but it seemed obvious that Zepeda was starting to wear him out by the third, and he just kept plugging away. By the end he was putting a pretty clear beating on Ramirez, and Corona’s stoppage was the correct decision.