By Cliff Rold
Washington, DC - In a bout competitive only briefly, 31-year old featherweight Oscar Escandon (25-2, 17 KO), 126, of Tolima, Colombia, came off the floor in the second to break down and knock out 33-year old veteran Robinson Castellanos (23-12, 11 KO), 124 ½, of Celaya, Mexico. With the win, Escandon wins the interim WBC featherweight belt. The current WBC champion at featherweight is Gary Russell Jr. who was sidelined with an injury prior to a scheduled bout with Escandon in 2015. The referee was Frank Garza.
After a measured first where Escandon stalked the much taller Castellanos, Castellanos opened up in the second. Rocking Escandon back on his heels, Castellanos came forward with thudding long rights. A right over the top put Escandon on the deck at mid-ring. Escandon made it to his feet quickly and resumed his pressing attack.
The relentless pressure of Escandon wore on Castellanos in the third, both men landing hard body blows. Escandon continued to get the better of it in the fourth and had Castellanos badly hurt with a body shot in the fifth. The referee called a break for the ring doctor to take a look at a cut over the left eye. Deemed fit to continue, Castellanos marched back firing but still taking more than he could dish out.
A desperate Castellanos turned southpaw briefly in the sixth. It didn’t work any better than anything else he’d tried since a flicker of early success. After another brutal assault in the seventh, Escandon put the finishing touch on his effort. A vicious right uppercut near the ropes sent Castellanos down barely connected to his senses. The bell rang as Garza tolled the count, Castellanos unable to be saved by the bell. There was no effort to rise, the official time of the finish coming in at 2:59 of round seven.
Escandon was excited after the biggest victory of his career. “I feel very happy about this victory. It's been a long time coming and I'm very proud to take the title back to my country.” Escandon didn’t think much of the early knockdown. “When I was dropped the first time it was just a sting. I didn't get hurt and I realize that I needed to fight with more intelligence to make sure I secured this victory.” He did just that.
Escandon wins his first bout since April 2015, a split decision loss to Moises Flores. Castellanos was making his first start since a January 2015 victory over Rocky Juarez.