By Francisco Salazar

While there are many fights amateur matchmakers or boxing scribes could make between fighters at 115 and 118 pounds, maybe through in Luis Nery's in the process.

The fighter from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico had a breakthrough year in 2016, winning five times against solid opposition. During those fights, he has demonstrated over the last year he can box and finish off his opposition.

This past Saturday, the bantamweight contender also displayed he could rebound from a knockdown.

Nery survived a first round knockdown to stop Raymond Tabugon in round four at El Foro Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

Nery (22-0, 16 KOs) has become a hot commodity for Zanfer Promotions. The promotional company, headed by Fernando Beltran, has put Nery on Box Azteca telecasts in Mexico, where boxing fans across the country have watched the southpaw fighter perform.

Saturday night was no different. Nery did well against Tabugon (18-7-1, 8 KOs), who lost by decision in his previous fight to Juan Francisco Estrada on October 8.

In his previous fight on October 22, Nery scored an impressive second round knockout win over former world title challenger Richie Mepranum.

It looked as though Nery was going to have a short night as he stunned Tabugon early in round one. Nery battered Tabugon against the ropes, but was dropped by a counter right hand from the Filipino fighter.

It was the only blemish for Nery Saturday night. Nery asserted himself well the rest of the fight, dominating the action and backing Tabugon against the ropes. Nery finished Tabugon off in round four, battered Tabugon in a corner before referee Celestino Castro stopped the bout at 2:40.

"I feel like I have progressed in 2016," said Nery. "My focus is to challenge for the WBC title. I am number three in the world. I feel I am ready to fight anytime for the title."

The southpaw Nery is also ranked number five by the WBA.

He has a TV-friendly style, coming forward and throwing multiple combinations in the hopes of breaking down his opponent. Look for Zanfer to push Nery to fight in the United States or fight another top-10 bantamweight.

"Luis is a all-around complete fighter," Zanfer Promotions liaison and matchmaker Sean Gibbons told Thursday afternoon. "His relentless style and combination punching make him a fan favorite. Luis is a very well-known fighter in Mexico, but in 2017, it's time to show the rest of the world the best 118-pound fighter (Nery) to come out of Mexico in a long time."

"I have done fights for the great Erik Morales, Rafael Marquez, and Israel Marquez. Luis Nery will be right up there one day with them."

Also on Saturday, in the main event, junior middleweight Ramon Alvarez stopped Matthew Strode in round four.

Alvarez (24-5-2 1 NC, 16 KOs), the older brother of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, stunned Strode twice in round four before the fight was stopped at 1:41. Strode (24-4, 9 KOs) was upset with the stoppage.

Junior bantamweight Sulem Urbina (3-0) won a four round unanimous decision over Jacqueline Coutino (0-2). Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 for Urbina.

Also on the Zanfer Promotions card, lightweight Emanuel Lopez (22-6-1, 9 KOs) pulled off the minor upset, defeating Antonio Moran (20-2, 13 KOs) by split decision over eight rounds. One judge scored the bout 78-74 for Moran, while the other two judges scored the bout 79-73 and 77-75 for Lopez.

Abraham Rodriguez knocked out Giovanni Andrade (5-3-1, 3 KOs) in the third round. Rodriguez (19-0, 9 KOs) is ranked number eight by the WBC, but has fought as a junior flyweight in his last four bouts.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for 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, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing