By Jake Donovan
Pedro Guevara picked up the first first defense of his 108 lb. title, while exorcising a few demons in the process.
The recently crowned champ thrilled the hometown crowd, scoring a body shot knockout of unbeaten Richard Claveras in their main event Saturday evening in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Guevara returned home a hero after stopping Akira Yaegashi in seven rounds last December in Japan. While home is where the heart is, winning hasn't been contagious in familiar surroundings for Guevara; the lone two blemishes of his career took place in Mazlatan, dropping a 12-round decision to John Riel Casimero in their Aug. '12 title fight and fighting to a 12-round draw with Mario Rodriguez in May '11.
The monkey was lifted off his back on Saturday, against an unbeaten challenger in Claveras. The action was brief but fierce, with neither fighter very interested in a feeling out process. Both boxers connected with right hands upstairs, but it was Guevara who came in with the heavier artillery.
An overhand right froze Claveras in place, leaving him wide open for a left hook to the body. The Filipino challenger immediately sank to a knee, remaining down for the full 10 count.
The win is Guevara's quickest in more than four years, improving to 25-1-1 (17KOs). Up next for the 25-year old is likely another entry in the steadily buidling rivalry between Mexico and Philippines. The mandatory challenger to his title is Jonathan Taconing, who boldly marched into Mexico one week ago to knockout Ramon Garcia in 10 rounds.
Taconing's success was motivating to Claveras, but hardly infectious. The loss is the first for Claveras, who falls to 12-1-2 (12KOs). It was also his first for a title and outside of his native Philippines.
With plenty of time to kill given the early ending, unbeaten featherweight Oscar Molina gained air time. The 25-year old prospect didn't stick around very long, tearing through Jorge Pimentel in two rounds.
A body shot floored Pimentel in round two, though he managed to beat the count. Valdez wasn't interested in letting his opponent sticking around, immediately going on the attack before forcing the referee to step in and intervene.
Molina improves to 12-0 (10KOs) with the win, his second in the past four weeks.
The card aired live on Televisa, as part of the network's Sabados de Box series.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox