By Francisco Salazar
Featherweight Erick Ituarte returned to the ring after being out for almost a year, defeating gatekeeper Jose Estrella by unanimous decision Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
With the victory, the 24-year-old Ituarte, who resides in nearby Santa Ana, improves to 21-1-1, 3 knockouts.
Ituarte had not fought since defeating former world bantamweight title challenger Carlos Carlson on May 11. Ituarte aggravated a back injury during the fight, forcing him to take take time away from the ring and recuperate.
From the opening bell, the taller Ituarte outboxed Estrella from the outside, connecting with several combinations, including right hands to the head.
Sensing he was down in the fight, Estrella closed the distance between the two fighters during the second half of the fight. Estrella connected more on the inside, but it was Ituarte who was the more-effective fighter during these exchanges.
Scores were 100-89, 100-89, and 98-92 for Ituarte, who was ranked as high as number five by the WBO before being removed from the rankings because of the inactivity.
“I knew he would try to come forward and attack me in a straight line,” said Ituarte after the fight. “I just waited for the openings and landed plenty of clean shots throughout. I felt strong heading into this match-up and I think it showed in my performance.”
Estrella, who resides in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, drops to 20-16-1, 14 KOs. He has now lost five of his last seven bouts.
Junior middleweight prospect Richard Brewart, Jr. outboxed Sergio Ramirez (6-6, 6 KOs) over four rounds to win by unanimous decision. Brewart (5-0, 2 KOs) either jabbed or connected with lead or counter right hands to the head of Ramirez on his way to the decision win. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Brewart.
Welterweight Luis Lopez defeated veteran Daniel Perales (10-17-2, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision over four rounds. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Lopez, who goes to 6-0, 3 KOs.
Heavyweight Oscar Torrez (5-0, 2 KOs) stopped late-sub Thomas Hawkins (4-4, 1 KO) at 1:20 of the fourth round.
In the opening bout of the Thompson Boxing card, and in the fight of the night, Christian Crowley and Davonte McCowen, both of whole were making their pro debuts, fought to a majority-decision draw. One judge scored the bout 39-37 for Crowley, while the other two judges scored the bout 38-38.
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 (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing