It’s highly unlikely that Nonito Donaire will still be at 122 lb by the time Jhonaton Romero is ready to fight for a title. Fans can take solace in the consolation prize of the division being in good hands if and when Donaire moves upward and onward.
Romero banged early and boxed late in taking a lopsided points win over Efrain Esquivias in the main event Friday evening at Chumash Casnio in Santa Ynez, California.
Scores were 119-108 (twice) and 120-108 in the Showtime-televised headliner, in which Romero earned a #2 ranking for one of the belts currently in Donaire’s possession.
Romero pled his case from the opening bell. The power-punching Colombian immediately brought the fight to Esquivias, who was game early but ultimately outgunned. Both fighters were hurt in the opening round, but Romero shook off the blows and took over the fight once the second round began.
Esquivias looked nothing like the fighter who caused fits for former 122 lb. titlist Rico Ramos earlier this year on Telefutura. A lot of that had to do with Romero, who utilized a jab and heavy right hand to control the distance for much of the evening.
A rare moment of drama in an otherwise landslide affair came late in the seventh round. Esquivias managed to close the gap and finish the round strong. The problem was following instructions once the round ended. Instead, the Mexican contender kept throwing after the bell, ignoring referee Lou Moret’s instructions of “break” as he landed a left hook to Romero’s ribs.
The blow forced the Colombian to drop to his side, withering in pain on the canvas. Moret allowed for a five-minute recovery period, after which he deducted a point from Esquivias’ card for the after-the-bell foul.
The point deduction proved moot, as Romero won with miles of room to spare. The unbeaten prospect didn’t leave anything to chance, continuing to fight on and pile up points on the scorecards until the very end.
Romero improves to 22-0 (12KO) with the win, which puts him one fight away from a mandatory crack at a major title.
Esquivias drops his second straight in falling to 16-2 (9KO).
MORALES RISES TO DOMINATE ARELLANO