By Francisco Salazar
(ONTARIO, Calif.) - With a nickname like 'Baby-Face Assassin,' Daniel Roman figured to be in over his head fighting an experienced fighter like Christopher Martin.
After eight solid rounds, Roman lived up to his nickname and figures to be a tough out for anyone in the junior featherweight division.
Roman won an eight round unanimous decision over the veteran Martin before an energetic crowd inside the Doubletree Hotel Events Center.
Despite losing three of his last four bouts, Martin figured to be a stern test for Roman. The 25 year old Roman entered the bout against Martin having won six fights in a row against modest opposition.
Roman started well during the first two rounds, initiating exchanges between the two, landing more punches to the head and body of Martin.
Undaunted, Martin came on in the third round, attempting to walk Roman down while throwing one or two-punch combinations to Roman's head.
Roman swung momentum back in his favor during the middle rounds, moving in and out of Martin's range and landing an array of uppercuts and hooks that scored to the head. Roman was accurate to the body, placing hooks and rights to the stomach of Martin.
Sensing he was down during the last two rounds, Martin pressed the action. While there were times he was able to land, Roman would take control, again landing repeatedly to the head.
Midway through the final round, Martin looked as though he stunned Roman with a left hook to the head. Martin went in for the kill, but was dropped moments later with a two-punch combination to the head. Martin got up and fought back, but the knockdown sealed the win for Roman.
All three judges scored the bout 80-71 in favor of Roman. The scorecards did not reflect the competitiveness of the fight.
Roman improves to 14-2-1, 5 KOs, while Martin falls to 28-6-3, 9 KOs.
Featherweight Roberto Castaneda extended his career for at least one more fight, winning a six round majority decision over Juan Reyes. Castaneda (22-9-1, 15 KOs), who has fought a who's who of featherweight contenders and prospects, had lost eight of his last nine fights. Reyes (12-2-3, 2 KOs) was unbeaten in his previous 10 bouts and looked as though he would get the better of Castaneda with his volume punching. However, Castaneda was cagey enough to counter Reyes with left hooks to the head, doing well from distance and keeping Reyes at the end of his punches. One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Castaneda.
In an upset, Jose Haro won a one-sided eight round decision over former contender Efrain Esquivias. Fighting for the first time in over 13 months, Esquivias (17-4-1, 10 KOs) looked rusty from the opening bell. Esquivias came in seven pounds over the contracted weight limit and looked to walk Haro down during the fight. Despite fighting off his back foot, Haro (9-1-1, 6 KOs) was able to counter and out-hustle Esquivias throughout the bout. Haro sealed the win in the final round, stunning Esquivias with a right hand to the head. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Haro, 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73.
Lightweight Cesar Villarraga remained unbeaten, decisioning Erick Aguirre by unanimous over six rounds. Aguirre (6-7-2, 4 KOs) had a successful opening stanza, but it was all Villarraga (7-0, 4 KOs) after that. Villarraga was able to easily counter Aguirre with lefts and rights to the head, stunning him at times. Anytime Aguirre mounted a rally, Villarraga would shift momentum back his way by landing a combination to the head. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Villarraga, 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55.
Opening the Thompson Boxing Promotions card, welterweight Rigoberto Flores won a four round unanimous decision over Luis Hernandez. Flores (7-1, 2 KOs) threw and landed more punches, but Hernandez (3-10, 3 KOs) did land a number of telling blows. Flores seemed to have more left in the tank until the final bell, where he received the nod on the judges' scorecards, 40-37, 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. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing