By Francisco Salazar
In a battle of once-beaten welterweights, Ricky Duenas got off to a fast start against opponent Steve Claggett.
However, as the adage goes, it is not how you start, but how you finish.
Claggett recovered from a first round knockdown to eventually stop Duenas after the fourth round before an almost sellout crowd at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA.
The bout headlined a seven-bout "New Blood" card, presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions.
There was a lot at stake for both fighters on Friday night. A victory would allow one of these fighters to take a step forward in their young career.
Duenas had won his last 12 bouts in a row since losing his professional debut over four years ago. Claggett had won his last three bouts in a row.
Both fighters had their moments in the opening round before the southpaw Duenas hurt Claggett with a combination before dropping him with a left hand to the head.
Claggett was able to recover after the round, bouncing back by landing counter or lead right hands to the head. At the end of the second round, Claggett fainted slightly enough for Duenas to open up, countering with a right cross that dropped Duenas, who was fortunate to have the bell save from from further punishment.
After a competitive third round that saw both fighters land meaningful punches, Claggett did well in the first half of the fourth round. Once again, Claggett landed a lead right cross to the head of Duenas, dropping him to the canvas
Duenas stood up and tried to fight back, but ate more hard punches from Claggett. After the fourth round ended, Duenas wobbled back to his corner.
It was during the one-minute break that Duenas' corner, possibly trainer Ben Lira, told referee Ray Corona that their fighter was no in condition to continue.
Afterwards, Claggett described what worked for him in the fight, even during that difficult first round.
"He did catch me clean with a punch, but I wasn't hurt," Claggett told Boxingscene.com after the fight. "I got up saying to myself that I wasn't going to lose this fight."
"I'd never seen him before. I just stuck to my game-plan and fought as hard as I could. I knew he was tough and if he was going down, he was going to get back up. I just had to overpower him."
Claggett, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, improves to 15-1-1, 10 KOs. Duenas, from nearby El Monte, falls to 12-2, 6 KOs.
- Featherweight world title holder Daniel Ponce De Leon, former lightweight world title holder and welterweight Julio Diaz, welterweight Artemio Reyes, Jr. and Aaron Martinez, former lightweight contender Urbano Antillon, featherweight Charles Huerta, trainer Joel Diaz, former world title challenger Armando Muniz, and longtime promoter Benny Giorgino watches the action from ringside.
- The fight card will be broadcast on later dates on Fox Sports Deportes. Check local listings for air dates.
- Ring announcer was Michael Vale.
Junior lightweight Alejandro Luna remained unbeaten with a six round unanimous decision over veteran Adolfo Landeros. Luna (11-0, 8 KOs) looked much more polished than in previous fights, shorting up on left hooks that found their mark to the head or body of Landeros. As is customary in most of his fights, Landeros (21-29-2, 10 KOs) would sneak an occasional hook or cross to the head of Luna. However, Luna was clearly the busier and more effective fighter of the two throughout the fight. All three judges, including Boxingscene.com, scored the fight 60-54 in favor of Luna.
Super bantamweight Shawn Nichol pulled off a minor upset, winning a six round majority decision over previously-unbeaten Richard Contreras. The southpaw Nichol (7-12, 5 KOs) started off well, beating Contreras to the punch. Contreras would move in and miss wildly with a hook or cross, allowing Nichol to easily counter him to the head. As the bout progressed, Contreras (9-1-1, 8 KOs) attacked the body to slow Nichol down. Contreras momentarily stunned Nicholin the fifth round, but Nichol came back to rock Contreras later in the round. Contreras pressed the action in the final round, but a tiring Nichol was able to make it to the final bell. One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout 58-56. Boxingscene.com scored the bout 58-56 as well for Nichol.
Super bantamweight Juan Reyes won a hard-fought six round unanimous decision over Jose Angel Cota. Although all three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Reyes (8-1-1, 1 KO), Cota was able to survive the first round where he was stunned at times. Cota had a good third round where he countered Reyes effectively to the head. Both exchanged punches well in the final two rounds, but Reyes' punches had more power to them. Reyes was the busier and more effective fighter as his punch output far exceeded that of Cota's throughout the fight. Cota falls to 15-9-1, 11 KOs.
Heavyweight Javier Torres remained unbeaten with a first round knockout over Gary Cobia. Torres (4-0, 2 KOs) dropped Cobia within the first 15 seconds of the opening bell with a left hook to the head. Cobia (0-3) tried fighting back after getting up, but none of his punches had any impact on Torres. Later in the round, Torres dropped Cobia down to his knees with a left-right combination to the stomach. Referee Ray Corona counted Cobia out at 2:05.
Super featherweight Lissette Medel won a hard-fought six round unanimous decision over Cynthia Munoz. Medel (8-1-1) used lateral movement to slip her punches underneath Munoz's guard, especially with hooks to the body. Munoz (7-2, 4 KOs) had her moments in the middle rounds, landing counter right hands to the head of Medel. However, the last two rounds were controlled by Medel, as she constantly beat Munoz to the punch, repeatedly landing with left hooks to the head. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Medel, while Boxingscene.com scored the bout 58-56 for the winner.
Heavyweights Matt Kadian (6-1-1, 4 KOs) and Avery Gibson fought to a four round majority draw. The fight was mostly highlighted by both fighters clinching. When both fighters threw punches, it was an entertaining back and forth battle between the two. Gibson (0-2-1) slowed down in the middle rounds, but came on in the final round, landing counter left hooks or right crosses to Kadian's head. Both fighters exchanged punches in the final moments until the bell sounded. One judge scored the bout 39-37 for Kadian, but the other two judges, including Boxingscene.com, scored the bout 38-38.