By Francisco Salazar
Junior lightweight Thomas Valdez won an eight-round split decision over prospect Luis Coria before a crowd over 4,000 at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Coria, who is trained by Robert Garcia, took the fight on less than two weeks' notice after Jensen Ramirez pulled out of the fight.
The 20-year-old Coria was effective during the first half of the fight, closing the distance and beating Valdez to the punch.
Valdez, who is a cousin of WBO featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez, swung momentum his way by round five. Fighting before a hometown crowd, Valdez countered effectively, connecting at least once from two or three-punch combinations he would throw.
Both fighters had their moments during the final two rounds, but Valdez was the busier fighter while Coria's punch output dropped.
Each fighter won 78-74 on a judge's scorecard, while the third judge scored the bout 77-75 for Valdez, who improves to 18-3-2, 7 knockouts.
Valdez is now unbeaten in his last 11 bouts. Coria, who resides in Moreno Valley, California, drops to 9-2, 4 KOs.
Another fighter from the Tucson area also notched a victory before family and friends.
Junior welterweight Alfonso Olvera outboxed game Virgil Green (11-6, 4 KOs) of Longview, Washington to win by unanimous decision. Olvera (11-5-1, 4 KOs) won by scores of 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55.
Junior middleweight Sebastian Fundora, a 6'6" southpaw, knocked out Jeremiah Wiggins (10-7-1, 5 KOs) in the opening round.
Fundora, who is managed by Sampson Lewkowicz, has stopped his last three opponents and improves to 11-0, 7 KOs.
Seven more fights rounded out the Raging Babe/ Peltz Boxing Promotions cards.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing