Omega Products Event Center, Corona, California - Undefeated 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Taras "Real Deal" Shelestyuk (15-0, 9 KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Ukraine won a ten round unanimous decision over Chicago's Jaime Herrera to retain the NABO welterweight title. The scores were 96-93, 96-93, 95-94.
Taras started strong in the first two rounds, but then Herrera started really testing him and was landing good punches. Taras started holding a lot and lost a point for that in the fifth.
Taras started coming back into the fight around the eight, by landing accurate punches and using good footwork to maneuver around the ring. Herrera's left eye was very swollen as they entered the ninth, with both of them having their spots. Herrera seemed to take his foot off the gas in the final two rounds and allowed Taras to outwork him.
“It was a tough fight,’’ Shelestyuk. “He is a tough fighter, he is slow but he worked well. In the first round, I did well but my legs went on me. I think it was because I did not sleep well.
“After five rounds I started to find my rhythm. I started boxing him. I made some mistakes in there like pulling straight back. This fight will make me better. Like I said, he was tough but nothing special. When my legs went, I started to work inside. I beat him good in the last round and if there was 30 seconds more, I could have stopped him.
“I am looking forward to being more active in 2017. I will take two or three weeks off and be right back in the gym.’’
“The Truth” hurts and Herrera had more than his fair share of moments in a tight fight. Herrera, a pro since December 2009, figured to be a legitimate test for Shelestyuk and he was. But Taras was more active (landing 169 of 689 punches, compared to Herrera’s 130 of 460). Each connected 28 percent of the time.
Herrera, who had defeated undefeated prospects in four of previous nine fights, was not happy with the verdict. “It was a good fight. There is not much that I can say. I thought it was closer than the scores indicated. I had fun in there and I give him credit. He was everything I expected. He is a smart fighter.’’
“I would live to be a test dummy for all these young prospects. I thought it could have been a draw, but the people who saw it on TV can have their opinion.’’
In the co-feature, undefeated cruiserweights collided as Constantin Bejenaru (12-0, 4 KOs) got off the floor in the fifth round to win a ten round unanimous decision over Stivens "Superman" Bujaj (16-1-1, 11 KOs) to capture the vacant WBC International and WBC Continental Americas titles. All three judges had it 97-91.
Bejenaru dominated most of the action with his boxing and activity. He went down in the fifth from a counter left, but was never in serious trouble. Bujaj lost a point in the ninth for hitting on the break. There were a lot of dirty tactics by both - with head clashes, hitting on the break and Bejenaru swears he was bitten on the neck by Bujaj when they were wrestling on the inside.
In the opening bout of the telecast, local fan favorite Manuel Mendez (13-1-2, 9 KOs) - who is trained by Joel Diaz - demolished undefeated lightweight Vitor Jones Freitas (12-1, 1 ND, 6 KOs), who is the nephew of former world champion Acelino Freitas, in the first round.
Mendez landed a crippling hook to the body that sent Freitas down in severe pain for the full count.