By Larry Tornambe
Iron Boy Promotions and Top Rank teamed up for a nice nine-fight card at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix on Saturday night.
Jose Benavidez, Jr. fought the main event against Henry Aurad.
The 6 foot-tall Benavidez used his reach and power to drop Aurad very early in the opening round. Benavidez stayed on the gas and another flurry dropped Aurad for a 2nd time. Aurad was badly wobbled during the mandatory 8 count and referee Wes Milford had no choice but to halt the bout.
The official time was 1:50 of round one.
Benavidez put a stamp on the letter to send his career to contender status. He is now 21-0 (15KOs).
Featherweight Oscar Valdez earned a rugged unanimous decision victory over veteran Juan Ruiz in their eight-round featherweight battle.
Valdez used a very good mix of punches ring generalship in his bout with Ruiz, a durable veteran who crowded his young, unbeaten opponent to make it a rough night at the office.
The smothering tactic impacted Valdez’ ability to close the show, having won by knockout in each of his first 11 pro bouts heading into Saturday’s contest. Still, the rising prospect landed enough to prevent Ruiz from gaining any kind of edge in the bout.
Ruiz was penalized a point in the final round, but it didn’t matter on the final count. Valdez earned the win with scores of 80-71 from all three judges.
Valdez is still undefeated at 12-0 (11KOs) while Ruiz drops to 23-14 (7KOs).
Joey Ruelas told BoxingScene two weeks ago that he knew his opponent, Izaak Cardona is 8-0 with eight knockouts, but he was going to see what the guy had in the first round and go with the flow.
Cardona figured out the southpaw right away and didn’t allow him to answer back more than once. Ruelas had one nice aggressive flurry but Cardona slid just enough to the left and shot a left hook to the jaw. Ruelas tried to answer back quickly but again Cardona thumped him with a left hook followed by a straight right perfectly placed on his opponent’s chin.
Ruelas was out before he hit the canvas, landing mostly on his shoulder and head, ending the fight at 2:41 of the 1st round. Ruelas is now 8-4 while Cardona improves to 9-0 (9-0, 9KOs).
The most exciting fight of the night came from debuting Manny Nieves and 1-0 Alex Holguin in a Super Featherweight battle.
Holguin used his jab effectively in the opening heat but Nieves learned how to circumvent that. Nieves worked and weaved his way inside and had very effective right hands, snapping back Holguin’s head several times. All three judges agreed with 39-37 scores, concurring with BoxingScene’s card, for Nieves.
The punch of the night came from Keenan Carbajal. A single sharp left hook put Edgar Pinedo on his back looking at the lights. Carbajal gets the KO victory in Round one and improves to 4-1-1.
Alexis Zazueta showed precise body punching in the short time he was in the ring with Luis Josue Almendarez. The Flyweight bout ended at 1:39 of the 1st round after Zazueta (3-0, 3KOs) scored a 2nd knockdown from a right to the body.
Brian Mendoza opened the night with a 1st round KO win over Jesus Lopez in a Welterweight match.
Trevor McCumby had plenty of opportunities to show his talents and power against Michael Gbenga, who came from Baltimore with a 15-15 record with all his wins by KO. His record proved deceptive; the visiting challenger landed one clean right hand early that showed no power at all. McCumby stunned Gbenga with flurries several times but never stayed on the attack and slowly rowed his way to a 6 round unanimous decision. McCumby improves to 16-0 but he didn’t dazzle the quiet crowd.
Francisco de Vaca improved to 7-0 with a dull unanimous decision over Ernesto Guerrero.
de Vaca wasn’t very active, which made for a horrible clash of styles as Guerrero played the role of counter puncher. Much of the night consisted of one-at-a-time jabs and sliding backwards from De Vaca, who would also switch to southpaw but did not do anything with it while Guerrero stepped slowly to his right, in the direction that he shouldn’t while boxing a southpaw.
Iron Boy Promotions is planning August and September cards in Phoenix.