By James Blears
At the Poliforum Zamna in Merida, Yucatán, Mexico, WBC featherweight champion Elio Rojas (22-1, 13 KOs) made the first defense of his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over former champion Guty Espadas Jr. (45-8, 28KOs).
The speedy Elio made the most of an eight-year age difference to pile up the points over the first four rounds, landed more often yet more lightly throughout. A clash of heads in round one raised the tempo quickly and both fighters wasted little time in opening up.
Guty, who pressed forward and used his left jab to some effect, was repeatedly tagged by right hooks during the first four rounds. But by round six Elio was slowing down just a little, and it was Guty's best round. He snapped Elio's head back with a left right combination and ended the round chasing him down.
The crowd was now roaring him on with the chant of "yes you can," but although he was trading on more equal terms, he was too frequently tagged with short well placed right hooks.
After eight rounds, Guty had narrowed the points gap, and was finding Elio's head more often, but a confident Elio draped his arms over the ropes at the bell to end the tenth, and smiled at Guty's friends and neighbors from Merida. Guty upped his tempo in round eleven and trapped Elio in the neutral corner just seconds before the bell went.
The twelfth and final round belonged to Guty. Moments after they touched gloves and then hugged, he finally wobbled Elio with a powerful right hook, momentarily staggering the champion. Moments later Elio dipped and squatted to be tagged again with a right as he rose up. Guty staged a grandstand finish that was roared on by his crowd. But he'd left it too late to overcome Elio's numerically superior punch output.
Rising star Carlos Cuadras won the vacant WBC Intercontenental Youth Championship, outclassing a brave but totally overmatched Oswaldo Rodriguez. Carlos who's phenonimal natural talent needs to be tempered with a tad more patience, battered Oswaldo from pillar to ring post for four torried rounds. After which referee Gerald Ritter, had a cautionary word with Oswaldo's corner. He wisely stopped in at 2:12 of round five as Oswaldo, who'd resisted tremendous punishment was getting overwhelmed....and severely battered.
The NABF Flyweight champion Wilbert "Hurican" Uicab's defense against Anthony Villareal ended prematurely in round two. After a clash of heads, the referee stopped the fight and it was declared a no contest.
Featherweight KO artist Sergio "Yeyo" Thompson seemed strangely lethagic for the first couple of rounds in the humid heat against Christian Arrazola. The impatience of the crowd convinced him to warm to his task, and he dropped Christian with a flurry early in the fourth round, and when he trapped Christian against the ropes and unloaded a barrage, the referee stepped in at 1:47. Paradoxically Christian had tagged Sergio with a crisp left hook just a second before.
Gilberto Keb Bass outclassed, outboxed and stopped Omar Soto. Keb picked off Soto with long jabs and powerful straight rights, then switching to the body to slow his opponent down. Soto weathered a blitz in round three. But Keb nearly beheaded him in the next round, connecting at will , until the referee called a halt to the walloping at two minutes forty seconds.
Fecarbox Lightweight Champion Jose Emilio Perea fought a barn-burner against Julio Camaño from Panama. Emilio won by a TKO in 2:50 seconds of the ninth after a slugfest which Julio had tried to turn into a all-out brawl. As early as the end of round two, Julio was deducted a point for hitting a couple of times after the bell. And another point in round three for headbutting. It caused a swelling and cut under Emilio's eye, which trainer Rudy Perez did well to hold at bay.
Emilio wobbled Julio with some superb long range shot, but the lithe Panamanian swarmed in round after round with clusters of wild punches, some of which connected. Emilio landed a peach of a left hook in round nine, and although Julio blithely shook his head, it had opened up a deep cut above his right eye, which the doctor deemed too bad for him to continue.