Rudy Ochoa hopes to follow in the same footsteps as famous fighters who grew in the boxing hotbed of Oxnard, California.
Who knows whether Ochoa could pan out to be another Robert Garcia, Fernando Vargas, or Mikey Garcia, but the unbeaten lightweight is moving in the right direction.
Ochoa was able to grind out a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Matt Doherty Saturday afternoon at Southpaw Boxing and Fitness in Windham, New Hampshire.
All three judges scored the bout 77-75 in favor of Ochoa, who improves to 10-0, 5 knockouts.
The 26-year-old Ochoa was fighting for the first time since defeating Mexico’s Braulio Avila by unanimous decision on January 10 at the Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, California. Ochoa had fights lined up but were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a fight last month in Windham, but his opponent withdrew from the fight days before due to a reported rib injury.
The southpaw Ochoa was also facing a fighter in Doherty with a winning record for the first time in his career.
From the opening bell, Doherty was the more-effective fighter, taking advantage of Ochoa’s slow start. By round three, Ochoa began to connect the more-telling punches, mixing his attack to the head and body of Doherty.
“My opponent was tough, but exactly what we were expecting,” Ochoa told BoxingScene over the phone Monday afternoon. “It was a non-stop battle. I had to adjust and fall into his game due to some discomfort, but I knew I had to win no matter what. I knew I couldn’t get tired and that all the work and sweat I put into this fight would pay off, as it did.”
Doherty would lead with his head during exchanging exchanges. During one particular exchange, an accidental head-butt opened a cut above above the left eye of Ochoa, who needed five stitches to close the wound after the fight.
Ochoa was in control until round eight, when Doherty mounted a rally, even connecting with a vicious right cross midway through the round that Ochoa took well. Despite the adversity he faced, Ochoa was glad he got the win over a seasoned foe in Doherty.
“I loved it,” said Ochoa, who is a delivery driver for Toppers Pizza and claims to be the first athlete to be sponsored by the popular pizzeria in Ventura County, where Oxnard is located. “Eight rounds gave me time to think. I know I lost a couple early rounds, but my drive gave me a sweep of the later rounds. I just stayed motivated during the fight with the help of Coach ‘Hoss’ (Joseph Janik) and we pulled off a huge win.
“This whole camp and preparation was just amazing. I put everything into it. My attention and time, I backed off social media, distance from family and friends because I knew I was in for a battle.”
The Oxnard resident was hoping to line up another fight before the end of 2020, but the cut has forced to alter plans. Ochoa plans on resting for a week or so and will return back to the gym and continue with his delivery job at Toppers.
Ochoa is eager to line up a fight early in 2021 and hopes to sign with a major promoter.
“Unfortunately, I did get cut by a head-butt, needing stitches. Coach Hoss wants to make sure it heals good for (our) best interest. There’s no doubt we will be returning some phone calls in the near future.”
Doherty, who resides in Danvers, Massachusetts, falls to 8-8-1, 4 KOs.
Also on the Boxing Boxing Promotions card, featherweight Daniel Robles knocked out Antonio Lucaine of Mount Vernon, New York at 13 seconds of the opening round.
A sweeping right cross dropped Lucaine (0-5) to the canvas. As he struggled to get up, referee Leo Gerstel stopped the bout. The knockout win was the fastest recorded knockout win in boxing history in the state of New Hampshire.
Robles, who also resides in Oxnard, improves to 3-0-1, 3 KOs.
In a clash of heavyweight gatekeepers, Daniel Martz (20-9-1, 17 KOs) of Clarksburg, West Virginia, stopped Michael Marrone at 2:26 of the opening round. Marrone (21-12, 15 KOs), who resides in Vero Beach, Florida, has now lost nine of his last 10 bouts.
Welterweight Brandon Berry of nearby West Forks, Maine stopped Missouri’s Bryan Timmons (6-13-1, 5 KOs) at 2:20 of the fourth round. The 33-year-old Berry (18-5-2, 12 KOs) has now won his last five bouts.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene 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. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing