Bektemirov Explosive, Leija-Delgadillo Ends in Draw
By Peter Lim
In a an scintillating affair, Juan Leija (8-1-1, 3 KOs) defended his Texas flyweight title with a six-round draw against southpaw Ernesto Delgadillo (1-0-1) at the Bayou City Events Center in Houston. The bout was fought with more finesse, intensity and ring generalship than the fighters' records would suggest as both had extensive and decorated amateur careers.
Leija, 24, was the busier puncher while Degadillo, 20, was slicker and more accurate. After six action-packed rounds, one judge had Leija winning 59-55, another had Degadillo ahead by the same score and the third had it dead even at 57-57. Boxingscene.com scored the fight 59-56 for Leija on account of better body punching.
The card was staged by Savarese Boxing Promotions.
Russian powerhouse Medzhid Bektemirov (14-0, 11 KOs) dropped Shannon Miller (25-51-8, 18 KOs) five times en route to a sixth-round TKO in a light heavyweight bout. After Bektemirov, 26, decked Miller with a wrecking ball right to the head in the opening round, Miller opted to fight the rest of the bout on survival mode. Miller frustrated the Russian by twisting and turning away from the incoming head shots in the second and third rounds, but Bektemirov adjusted and began zeroing in on the torso. Chopping away with reckless abandon, Bektemirov felled Miller four times with body shots prompting referee Gary Simon to end the massacre at the 1:20 mark of the sixth round.
Body punches also paid huge dividends for featherweight Pablo Cruz (8-0, 3 KOs) who dropped Jermichael Neal (1-3-1, 1 KO) twice with debilitating shots from both sides to the ribcage in the fourth round for a TKO. Cruz, 25, prepared for the bout by sparring with Rocky Juarez who resurrected his career with an upset over Rene Alvarado for the WBC silver featherweight belt five days ago.
In a showdown between undefeated female junior welterweights, Lucia Osegueda (3-0) outpointed Latravia Pierce (2-1, 1 KO) over four rounds.
Jeremy Hall (2-2) pulled off an upset by outhustling previously undefeated Paul Gutierrez (5-1-1, 3 KOs) over four rounds in a middleweight bout.
And cruiserweight Josh Garza (1-0, 1 KO) stopped a frail Anthony Walker (0-3) with a clumsy barrage of punches in the first round.