By Scott Kraus
In the main event of Top Rank live from the Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana, Mexico, Tomas Rojas successfully moved up to bantamweight after a long run at junior bantamweight with a dominant second-round TKO against Feliciano Dario Azuaga.
Rojas, who boasted a massive size advantage despite the move up in weight, controlled the action in the 1st round with his jab and straight left hand.
In the second round, Rojas staggered Azuaga with a big right hook to the chin. Rojas pounced and attacked Azuaga against the ropes with hard combinations. In the midst of the onslaught, a straight left hand to the body dropped Azuaga and left him crumpled on the mat in obvious pain.
To Azuaga’s credit, he rose and looked willing to continue despite the crippling body shot, but the bout was waved off at 2:59 of the 2nd round.
Rojas bounced back from his loss to Suryan Sor Rungvisai in August to improve his record to 37-13-1 with 24 KOs. Rojas looked good at the weight and would be an interesting matchup with any top bantamweight due to his size and toughness.
Azuaga dropped to 82-22-2 with 67 KOs, and continued his trend of losing by knockout to top opponents at junior bantamweight and bantamweight. Azuaga lost by knockout previously to Steve Molitor, Sebastian Gauthier, Simphiwe Nongqayi, and Omar Narvaez, among others.
In the televised co-feature, bantamweights Raul Hirales, Jr. and Enrique Bernache fought in a phone booth over 10 vicious rounds. In the end, Hirales toughed out a close ten round majority decision to preserve his undefeated record.
The scorecards read 95-95 and 96-94 twice.
The fight started slowly, with Hirales holding the edge in the early going. In rounds two and three, he began to take advantage of Bernache’s low guard, landing a number of short, clubbing hooks on the inside to establish an early lead on the scorecards.
Hirales seemed to be running away with the fight after the 5th round. Bernache was game but was hit with two punches for every one he landed, as Hirales displayed superior technique and activity.
In the 6th round, the tenor of the fight changed. Although the fighters continued to fight in close quarters, Bernache increased his workload and began landing hard hooks to Hirales’ body. The fighters continued to exchange heavy punches but Bernache slowly took control of these exchanges.
In the 8th round, a small cut opened over Hirales’ left eye, further spurring the Bernache rally. A big right hand by Bernache late in the round rocked Hirales onto his heels.
The pressure from Bernache continued in the final two stanzas, as the fighters continued to exchange hard blows. A big right hand from Hirales that stunned Bernache right before the bell to end the fight may have given him the final edge on the scorecards, as Bernache’s furious comeback ultimately fell short.
BoxingScene.com score the fight 95-95.
In the opening bout of Top Rank Live on Fox Deportes from Tijuana, Mexico, Mexican flyweight Sergio “Finito” Frias used his superior size and reach to hand compatriot Francisco Rodriguez his first professional loss with a six-round unanimous decision victory.
The scorecards read 58-56, 59-55, and 58-56, all in favor of Frias, who improved to 11-1 with 6 KOs.
In the early rounds, Frias repeatedly clubbed the shorter Rodriguez with uppercuts, keeping the fight on the outside and timing his opponent well. Frias mixed a jab and left hook in with his uppercut to keep Rodriguez at bay.
In the middle rounds, Rodriguez began to counter and use his movement to draw closer on the scorecards, as he got the upper hand in several exchanges, landing hard looping shots on the inside.
Frias never stopped pursuing, however, and earned his victory in the final two frames with his superior activity and hard straight right hand, which became more of a weapon as the fight progressed.
By the end of the fight, Rodriguez was in full retreat mode as Frias stalked and landed power shots.
With the loss, Rodriguez’ record fell to 4-1 with 4 KOs.