Ja’Rico O’Quinn shook off ring rust and a relentless opponent to prevail in his hometown.

The 28-year-old Detroit native claimed a ten-round, unanimous decision victory over Carlos Mujica in a spirited junior featherweight battle. Judge Katealia Chambers (100-90) scored in laughable shutout for O’Quinn, who was rewarded a much closer and well-earned verdict on the cards of David DeJonge (97-93) and Gerard White (96-94) in their DAZN opener Saturday evening from Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.

The crowd was behind the locally based O’Quinn, who fought for the first time in 15 months. Mujica—a Venezuelan based out of Las Vegas—didn’t show any concern fighting on the road. O’Quinn enjoyed early success with his right hook when opting to box out of a southpaw stance but the power wasn’t at all respected by Mujica who rocked the Detroit native with a left hook late in the round.

Mujica continued to come forward in round two but his best punch in the frame was not a legal blow. A hard warning was issued to Mujica for landing a shot to the chin well after the bell. 

O’Quinn was urged by his corner to box more and not admire his work. He listened to his handlers and found room for his long jab which was followed by hooks.  Mujica was cut over his left eye, which the referee ruled was the cause of a punch.

Despite the shift in momentum, O’Quinn’s team was still displeased with his decision to trade on the inside rather than boxing from a distance. Their concern was that Mujica found opportunities to land during the clinches and potentially steal close rounds.

O’Quinn connected with an uppercut in round six to catch Mjuica’s attention. O’Quinn still insisted on fighting at close quarters but did a better job of defending against Mujica’s pressure and chopping shots. Both boxers landed to the body early in round seven but O’Quinn remembered to work behind the jab and found his desired distance to slow down Mujica’s attack.

Both corners expressed concern heading into the final two rounds. The feeling among O’Quinn’s team was that Mujica’s activity would sway the judges, while the opposite side was understandably worried about winning a close fight on the road.

Mujica was warned midway through round nine for hitting on the break. O’Quinn was unbothered by the sequence and worked his combinations in the final minute. Mujica was beaten to the punch but drove O’Quinn to the ropes and landed a left hook to the body in the closing seconds.

Body shots by O’Quinn drove back Mujica early in the final round. Mujica regrouped and drove to the ropes. Time was called with 1:12 after O’Quinn lost his mouthpiece during an exchange. Mujica applied pressure in the final minute but O’Quinn was able to score with left hooks and right hands at close range down the stretch.

O’Quinn advanced to 16-1-1 (8KOs) with the win, his second in a row since a stunning first-round knockout loss to Saul Sanchez in September 2021. Mujica fell to 8-3 (2KOs) in ending a two-fight win streak.

Headlining the show, undisputed junior lightweight champion Alycia Baumgardner (14-1, 7KOs) meets former two-time WBO 140-pound titlist Christina Linardatou. Their bout is a rematch to their July 2018 meeting, won by Linardatou via split decision.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox