By Rick Reeno
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California - IBF bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (22-0, 13KOs) made the first defense of his title in style, as he punished Victor Zaleta (20-3-1, 10KOs) for nine rounds, scoring three knockdowns along the way, and closed the show in the ninth for a TKO victory.
Santa Cruz started strong and really worked his hooks to the body. He finally broke the body down in the fourth with a big left hook to send Zaleta down in the final twenty seconds. Zaleta barely beat the count. Zaleta tried to fight back in the next few rounds, but he was outgunned by the bigger Santa Cruz, who dropped him once again in the seventh with another series of hard shots to the head and body. Zaleta was able to last through the eight, but a series of shots sent Zaleta down for a third time in the ninth - and the referee quickly waved it off.
Former WBO interim-junior middleweight champion Alfredo Angulo (21-2, 18KOs) crushed Raul Casarez (19-3, 9KOs) in the first round with a vicious counter left hook. Casarez went down and out from the shot. The fight was called at 56 seconds of round one. It was Angulo's first bout since last November's TKO defeat to James Kirkland.