By Francisco Salazar
Former world title challenger and gatekeeper Victor Ruiz scored a shocking and highlight-reel knockout victory over Christian Carto Friday night at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The fight was supposed to be another showcase for Carto, who was fighting before a large continent of family and friends amongst the standing-room only crowd.
Ruiz, who entered the bout having lost five of his previous six bouts, was the best fighter Carto had fought on paper thus far in his career.
Carto was busier during the opening round, throwing combinations behind a snapping jab. Ruiz attempted to counter from the center of the ring.
Just when it looked like Carto would settle into a rhythm during the second round, Ruiz landed the devastating blow that Carto never saw. Carto stepped forward to throw a punch, but Ruiz instinctively countered a left hook to the head, dropping the 22-year-old Carto flat onto his back.
Referee Eric Dali immediately stopped the fight at 1:56.
Carto (17-1, 11 knockouts) remained motionless on the canvas for several minutes while Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) attended to him. He was alert while he was assisted onto a gurney outside the ring before being put into an ambulance to be driven to a local hospital.
Ruiz, who resides in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, goes to 23-10, 16 KOs.
In the co-feature, Marcel Rivers defeated Derrick Whitley by unanimous decision.
It was a clash of unbeaten welterweights. Rivers was fighting in his hometown and was the busier and more-effective fighter during the second half of the fight.
All three judges scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Rivers, who improves to 7-0, 4 KOs. Whitley, from Springfield, Massaschusetts, drops to 4-1-1.
In the most competitive fight of the Raging Babe Promotions card, Alejandro Jimenez and Edgar Cortes of nearby Vineland, New Jersey fought to a split-decision draw.
Both fighters had their moments during the six-round bout. Jimenez was the aggressor throughout most of the fight, while Cortes (6-4-1) was busier during the second half of the fight.
Each fighter won 58-56 on a judge’s scorecard, while the third judge scored the bout 57-57.
Jimenez, who is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico and now resides in the Philadelphia area, goes to 4-0-1, 1 KO.
Heavyweight prospect Darmani Rock of Philadelphia broke down Steven Lyons before knocking him out in the fourth round.
The bigger Rock (14-0, 9 KOs) momentarily hurt Lyons during the third round. A series of body punches, followed by a barrage of punches to the head dropped Lyons to one knee in a corner. Referee Eric Dali counted Lyons out at 1:20.
Lyons, who resides in Larose, Louisiana, drops to 5-4, 2 KOs.
Heavyweight Sonny Conto, who signed a promotional deal with Top Rank, made his professional debut a successful one, knocking out Jimmie Levins at 2:14 of the opening round.
In junior welterweight action, Gerardo Martinez won a four round unanimous decision over Osnel Charles (12-19-1, 2 KOs). All three judges scored the bout for Martinez (4-1, 1 KO), who is originally from Mexico City and now resides in the Philadelphia area.
Bantamweight Jonathan Torres (2-0) won a one-sided four round decision over Dallas Holden (1-4). All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Torres.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since October of 2013 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 protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing