By Francisco Salazar
Jose Roman's nickname is "El Gato," which means cat in Spanish.
Based on what happened to him early in his fight on Friday night, he might have needed one or two his "lives" to make a comeback and come out victorious.
Roman survived three first round knockdowns to win a 10 round come-from-behind victory over Luis Solis at the Doubletree Hotel Events Center in Ontario, CA. With the win, Roman wins a regional title belt.
Solis swung momentum in the opening round in his favor by dropping Roman with a right uppercut to the head. After getting up, Roman was knocked down again moments later from a barrage of punches.
Just before the bell sounded to end the opening round, Solis dropped Roman a third time, this time courtesy of a left-right combination to the head.
Solis continued to land to the head in the following rounds, but Roman took the punches well, even fighting through a bloody nose. It took Roman a round or two, but he was able to get his bearings back, finding a rhythm and beating Solis to the punch.
By the middle rounds, Solis' punch output dropped, allowing Roman to land an overwhelming amount of punches, especially right hands to the head of Solis.
Sensing he was down, Solis picked up the intensity and punch output in the final two rounds. He was able to connect with overhand right hands, the same punch that landed consistently for him in the opening rounds.
Unfortunately, it was too little, too late as Roman won the fight on all three judges' scorecards, 94-93, 94-93, and 95-92.
Roman, from Garden Grove, CA, goes to 17-1-1, 12 KOs. Solis, from Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico, falls to 12-3-4, 10 KOs.
Super bantamweights Juan Reyes and Isaac Zarate fought to an eight round majority decision draw.
After Zarate controlled the first round, Reyes looked as though he swept the next three rounds, landing the more telling blows to the head and body.
Zarate swung momentum in his favor by throwing and landing repeated left hands to the midsection of Reyes. The tactic seemed to work as Reyes' punch output dropped over the next round or two.
During an exchange, Reyes was cut over his left eye, likely from an accidental head-butt. Sensing Zarate could take initiative from that point, Reyes pressed the action, landing to the head and body of Zarate. His non-stop aggression won him the eighth and final round.
One judge scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Reyes, while the other two judges scored the bout 76-76.
Reyes, from nearby Riverside, goes to 10-1-3, 1 KO, while Zarate goes to 7-1-1.
Junior flyweight Sindy Amador won a 10 round split decision over Maria Suarez.
Amador pressed the action from the opening bell, walking Suarez down and trying to get on the inside. During a majority of the exchanges, Amador was able to beat Suarez to the punch with shots to the head and body.
Suarez began timing Amador by the third round, landing right uppercuts to the head. Both fighters had their moments in the middle rounds, where Suarez's right hands to the head and Amador's attack to the body stood out.
Amador's attack to the body began to pay dividends in the second half of the fight as Suarez's punch output dropped. Sensing she was down on the scorecards, Suarez rallied in the final two rounds, landing the more telling blows during exchanges.
One judge scored the bout 96-94 in favor of Suarez, but the other two judges scored the bout 97-93 and 96-94 in favor of Amador, who goes to 12-1, 1 KO. Suarez drops to 8-1-1.
Super featherweight Cesar Valenzuela won a six round majority decision over previously-unbeaten Mario Amador. After an even first round, Valenzuela (6-3, 3 KOs) dropped Amador with a right hand to the head in the second round. Amador (5-1, 3 KOs) had his moments in the middle rounds, landing right hands of his own. The action got sloppy in the final two rounds, which seemed to favor Valenzuela. One judge scored the bout 56-56, while the other two judges scored the bout 58-54 in favor of Valenzuela.
Lightweight Cesar Villarraga stopped Wilberth Lopez in the fourth and final round. After a competitive first round, Villarraga (3-0, 2 KOs) hurt Lopez with a barrage of punches in a corner. Lopez (3-3, 1 KO) looked as though he was going down, but the ropes held him up, prompting referee Jack Reiss to correctly rule it a knockdown. Lopez recovered well and tried to fight back, but was hit repeatedly by left hooks or straight right hands from Villarraga. Midway through the fourth round, Villarraga hurt Lopez with a right hand to the head. Lopez backed up against the ropes and was hit repeatedly by Villarraga until referee Jack Reiss saw enough and stopped the bout at 2:22.
Heavyweight LaRon Mitchell stopped Derrick Williams in the first round of a scheduled four round bout. Mitchell (4-0, 4 KOs) dropped Williams twice, prompting referee Raul Caiz, Jr. to step in after the second knockdown at 55 seconds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing