By Francisco Salazar
Junior featherweight Isaac Zarate won a hard-fought eight round unanimous decision over Christian Ayala Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
After a feeling-out opening round, both fighters began to let their hands go. The southpaw Zarate worked from the outside as Ayala (11-2, 4 KOs) pressed the action.
Zarate (14-3-3, 2 KOs) had to deal with blood coming out of a cut over his left eye from an accidental clash of heads in round four. Ayala had his moments, but Zarate was the more effective fighter throughout the fight.
Scores were 77-75, 77-75, and 78-74 for Zarate.
The Zarate-Ayala fight was elevated to main event status when the clash between Erick Ituarte (19-1-1, 3 KOs) and Jose Ramirez (27-6-2, 16 KOs) was abruptly canceled.
Unbeaten featherweight prospect Ruben Villa (10-0, 4 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision over veteran Juan Sandoval (7-21-1, 4 KOs). Scores were 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55 for Villa, who has two victories in the amateur ranks over U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson.
Bantamweight Saul Sanchez won a one-sided decision over veteran Pedro Melo (17-19-2, 8 KOs) of Mexico. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Sanchez.
Lightweight Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) of Armenia dropped Mexico's Sergio Ramirez (2-1, 2 KOs) in the second round en route to a four round unanimous decision victory. Scores were 39-36, 39-36, and 40-35 for Hamazaryan.
Lightweight prospect Ruben Torres (4-0, 4 KOs) dropped Anthony de Jesus Ruiz (2-5, 2 KOs) of Mexico three times en route to a second round knockout victory. Torres was deducted a point for hitting de Jesus Ruiz while he was down on the canvas.
Bantamweight Mario Hernandez (5-0, 2 KOs) knocked out Jorge Careaga (1-1) at 52 seconds of the opening round.
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, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing