Flyweight contender Ricardo Nunez moved one step closer towards a title shot with a seventh round stoppage of Oscar Blanquet in their 12-round main event Saturday evening in Cozumel, Mexico.
The bout was fought at a furious pace and not always within the rules, but Nunez – traveling from Panama to Blanquet’s home country in their sanctioned title eliminator – overcame a rocky start to outslug his considerably favored foe to score the biggest win of his young career.
Blanquet jumped out to an early lead, eager to extend the 12-fight knockout streak he enjoyed entering the contest. Nunez was rocked and roughed up in the opening round, but managed to avoid an official knockdown despite being sent to the canvas by an overly aggressive Blanquet.
The sequence was a telling moment in the fight, as Nunez refused to be intimidated by the Mexican. Blanquet resorted to every trick in the book to get inside the head of his 23-year old challenger, but eventually found himself behind the eight ball.
Nunez permanently turned the tide in his favor with a flurry of punches early in the seventh. The sequence was disrupted by the last of the many fouls that occurred in the bout, but Nunez would have the final say on the night. A series of power shots left Blanquet battered and bloodied, with a cut opened up just outside of his left eyelid. His faded state was enough to prompt the referee to jump in and halt the contest with less than a minute to go in the seventh round.
With the win, Nunez extends his win streak to seven straight as he improves to 22-2 (18KO).
A 17-fight win streak comes to an end for Blanquet, who suffers his first loss in more than three years as he falls to 29-4-1 (20KO)
TAMARA BEATS JIMENEZ, FORCED TO SETTLE FOR DRAW
Former junior flyweight titlist Carlos Tamara most likely won’t have fond memories of his first ever fight in Mexico. The traveling Colombian offered a terrific performance in a spirited 12-round bout with Jesus Jimenez, only to be left with a controversial split decision draw for his troubles in their Televisa-televised co-feature.
Scores were 116-112 Tamara, 115-113 Jimenez and 114-114 even.
Jimenez jumped out to a strong start, but momentum swayed back and forth throughout the briskly paced affair. Tamara overcame a rough opening round to land several telling blows over the course of the contest and appeared to dominate the Mexican down the stretch.
However, dominating a fighter in his home country and knocking him out are two different matters altogether, a lesson learned by Tamara once the scorecards were read.
Tamara is now 22-6-1 (16KO), with his just one official win in his four fights following his major upset of Brian Viloria last January. Jimenez is now 33-7-1 (24KO).
The bout was part of a four-man flyweight elimination series and was deliberately paired with the evening’s main event to build momentum for a head-on collision between winners. The last man standing in the series will face Moruti Mthalane, although a do-over of the co-feature is apparently necessary in order to advance the tournament beyond the ground level.
Both bouts aired live on Televisa and also via AT&T U-Verse stream.
OFF-TV RESULTS (by Miguel Rivera)
Former world champion Daiki Kameda had a successful debut in Mexico when he knocked out Raul Hidalgo in the first round. With the victory, Kameda captures the vacant WBA international super flyweight title.
Kameda (22-2, 14 KOs) and Mexico's Hidalgo (13-4, 10 KOs) were trading punches early on, and it was a big mistake for the Mexican boxer. Two big shots to the liver made Hidalgo take a knee in pain. Referee Manolo Alcocer counted him out at 2:20 of round one.
Kameda plans to fight again on a December date in his native Japan.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected] .
Tags: Daiki Kameda