By Francisco Salazar
(TEMECULA, California) - Antonio Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) stopped Johnathon Banks in the seventh round of a 10 round heavyweight bout.
Tarver and Banks were supposed to square off on September 29, but the bout was postponed when Tarver suffered an injury a few weeks before the fight date.
Both fighters pawed at each other from the opening bell, taking very little chances. As the crowd booed, Tarver would initiate exchanges at times, while Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs) stepped away or grabbed onto Tarver.
Sugar Hill, the nephew of the late Emanuel Steward, implored Banks to throw more punches in between rounds, but Banks would only throw a counter left hook or an occasional jab.
As the bout progressed, Tarver would open up and initiate the exchanges. It paid off in the seventh round, as he dropped Banks with a combination to the head. As Banks got up on wobbly legs, Tarver seized the opportunity by jumping on a hurt Banks. Tarver landed at will until referee Jack Reiss stepped in and stopped the bout at 2:25.
First it was Daniel Dawson. Then it was Luis Grajeda.
It could lead to bigger fights in 2015 for Austin Trout.
Trout dominated the action, scoring a knockdown, and eventually a technical knockout over Grajeda after the seventh round inside the Grand Ballroom at the Pechanga Resort and Casino.
The bout headlined a 13-bout "Night of Champions" card, presented by Goossen Promotions.
After suffering back to back losses in 2013 to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, Trout returned to the ring on August 22. In that bout, Trout defeated Dawson, but was dropped twice in the bout.
Trout was never in danger against Grajeda, dominating the action from the opening bell. The southpaw Trout beat Grajeda to the punch, landing the more telling blows.
As the bout progressed, Trout kept landing repeatedly with the left hand to the head of Grajeda. Looking frustrated at times, Grajeda was not able to land anything clean, hitting Trout's gloves or his arms.
Trout scored a knockdown towards the end of the fifth round. A left uppercut to the head dropped Grajeda, who complained he tripped over Trout's leg.
As the bout progressed, Trout landed more at will to the head of Grajeda. After the seventh round, Grajeda's corner told referee Thomas Taylor to stop the fight.
Trout, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, goes to 28-2, 15 KOs, while Grajeda drops to 18-4-2, 14 KOs.
Oscar Escandon won a 12 round split decision over Tyson Cave in a bout that was not fan-friendly.
Both boxers were fighting for the interim WBA junior featherweight title, as the WBA committee stripped Nehomar Cermeno earlier this week for not defending the title in a timely manner.
It was a compelling fight early on between the awkward, southpaw style Cave and the aggressive style of Escandon.
Both had their moments in the first half of the fight. Escandon pressed the fight, landing on the inside with rights to the head and body. Cave would side-step Escandon, countering to the head with hooks and uppercuts.
As the bout progressed, Escandon began to land with more frequency. He was able to land counter right crosses to the head of Cave, while Cave began to slow down by the eight round.
Cave also did not liken himself to the crowd with some bizarre antics in the ring. Cave would smack his gloves together, or his backside, and made facial expression as he backed away from exchanges.
Escandon did a better job cutting off the ring by the ninth round, but it was more Cave moving around the ring less. This was probably due to the punches Escandon was landing and the amount of energy Cave expended earlier in the fight.
One judge scored the bout 115-113 for Cave, while the other two judges scored the bout 117-111 and 115-113 for Escandon.
Junior middleweight and 2012 United States Olympian Terrell Gausha scored a spectacular eighth round technical knockout over Cesar Vila.
It was a competitive back and forth affair between the 2012 United States Olympian and Vila (7-2, 3 KOs).
From the opening bell, Vila found success on the inside, where he was able to land to the body and connected with right hands to the head of Gausha. Undaunted, Gausha (13-0, 7 KOs) would eventually land counter right hands to the head of Vila.
Both landed solid combinations in the fourth round, but Gausha began to swing momentum in his favor in the fifth round. Gausha initiated first, beating Vila with lead hooks and crosses to the head of Vila.
Gausha gave himself enough space to avoid Vila's punches, continuing to counter to the head of Vila, who began slowing down by the sixth round.
With less than a minute left in the eighth round, Gausha dropped Vila with a four-punch combination to the head. Vila laid flat on his back for a moment and attempted to get up, but referee Jack Reiss immediately waved the fight over at 2:30, despite protests from Vila's corner.
Former wold title holder Rico Ramos won a one-side eight round unanimous decision over Juan Ruiz. Ramos (24-4, 12 KOs) was just too quick for Ruiz, landing punches at will throughout the fight. Ruiz (24-16, 7 KOs) tried to load up on one punch, and was successful at times. But Ramos dominated the fight and won on all three judges scorecards, 80-72.
Heavyweight Gerald Washington knocked out Mike Sheppard in the first round. Washington (15-0, 11 KOs) dropped Sheppard face-first to the canvas with a right hand to the head. Sheppard (22-18-1, 9 KOs) got up and tried to fight back, but was dropped again with a right to the body by Washington. Sheppard barely got up to his feet at the count of 10, but referee Thomas Taylor waved the fight over at 1:26.
Super middleweight Malcolm McAllister had a successful professional debut, stopping Fernando Najera in the third round. McAllister landed at will in the first round, as Najera (1-6) was overwhelmed by the volume of punches and aggression from McAllister. In the second round, McAllister dropped Najera to one knee with an overhand right to the head. Najera tried to fight back, but was repeatedly getting hit, prompting his corner to throw in the towel, prompting the eventual stoppage at 1:42.
Light heavyweight prospect and 2012 United States Olympian Marcus Browne stopped George Blades in the first round of a scheduled eight round bout. Browne (13-0, 10 KOs) dropped Blades with a barrage of punches within the first 30 seconds. Blades got up, but had no answer for the aggressive Browne. Moments later, Browne landed a left hook to the head, dropping Blades again. Blades got up, but referee Thomas Taylor stopped the bout at 1:25.
In the opening bout of the 13-bout Goossen Promotions card, Vatche Martirosyan won a four round unanimous decision over Eddie Diaz. Martirosyan (4-0, 2 KOs) was the aggressor, landing at will while Diaz tried to land one big shot. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Martirosyan, 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar 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