Simon Ruvalcaba (Ringside)
While most of the American media was in Brooklyn, New York Saturday for Shawn Porter vs Danny Garcia, much of the international press descended upon The ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, California to cover the evening’s Super Flyweights (115 pounds), which is a division that gets alot of press in countries outside of the United States. In a text earlier in the day, long time ‘Forum Boxing’ ring commentator Rich Marotta referred to the historic arena as the “graveyard of champions,” in reference to the many upsets that have taken place at the former longtime home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Saturday night’s SuperFly 3 HBO card featured close bouts with some potential future stars off television, while a Japanese legend and current 115 pound stars performed on air.
On the eve of week 1 of the 2018 NFL season, The night’s Main Event featured a low key first half with an offensive Juggernaut second half as Juan Francisco Estrada of Sonora, Mexico squared off against Nicolas Romero, Mexico’s Felipe Orucuta in a WBC title eliminator. It was a competitive shut out the first half of the fight With Orucuta doing well using his reach but Estrada would throw thunderous counters that could not be ignored when scoring the rounds. A slug-fest broke out in round 7 as both fighters threw caution to the wind and started trading fistic insults at each other. The much welcomed change of pace seemed to get Orucuta into the contest and he appeared to edge out round 8? Estrada siezed back command of the bout down the stretch, that coupled with the early rounds he put in the bank appeared to be enough. Punchline scored the bout 117-111 for Estrada. Two of the official cards agreed while one judge had it 118-110 but all in agreement for the fighter that deserved the decision. Estrada improved to 37-3 (25) in defending his WBC belt, Orucuta fell to 36-5 (30).
In the co-main event Donnie Nietes seemed to do enough to earn his third division world title against Aston Palicte but the judges thought otherwise as the bout was declared a split decision draw much to press row and the crowd’s disbelief. Well actually the crowd was calling for more action so I don’t think they really worried about who won? Punchline scored 117-11 for Nietes in the battle for the vacant WBO belt. Official cards where 116-112 Palicte, 118-110 Nietes and 114-114. Ringside press for the most part thought Nietes won, but as a collective group the online blog opinions where being shared and it was a more split verdict from the viewers? Nietes, no stranger to those damn draws, is now 41-1-5 (23) while Palicte is now 24-2-1 (20).
The HBO action kicked off with Osaka, Japan’s 3 time world champion Kazuto “The Samurai” Ioka faced 2 time world title challenger McWilliams Arroyo of Fajardo, Puerto Rico for Arroyo’s WBC Silver 115 pound title. Ioka got off to a fast start but round 3 would prove to be a pivotal point in the fight as Arroyo seemed to win the round before getting dropped in the last 30 seconds of the round. Arroyo rebounded and earned some of the middle rounds before an Ioka Rally the last few rounds secured the belt winning effort. Ioka is now 23-1 (13) while Arroyo is now 17-4 (14) in falling once again in a big fight, although it was a game effort. Scores where 99-90 and 97-92 twice. Punchline had it a little closer but still for Ioka 96-93.
In a Super Flyweight bout between Iasi, Romania’s Alexandru Marin and Cebu, Phillippines’s Bruno Escalante it was a display of the subjective nature of the sport as Marin was the aggressive harder puncher, but Escalante picked his spots to throw quIck combos. Escalante was looking for his range in the first two rounds as Marin pushed the attack. Escalante found his range in the 3rd and 4th rounds before Marin adjusted and picked up the pace of his attack for rounds 5 through 9. Escalante finished strong in the 10th round and thought he scored a knockdown as the bell rang but it was ruled a slip. In the end it was Marin who got the split decision to remain undefeated and win the IBF Intercontinental title. The decision was received unfavorably by the crowd due to Escalante’s strong finish. Punchline scored it 97-93 for Marin. Official scores where 96-94 and 98-92 for Marin with one judge ruling 97-93 in favor of Bruno. Marin is now 17-0 (11) while Escalante falls to 17-4-1 (7).
As is often the case at boxing events, females stolE the show as Tijuana, Mexico’s Brenda Flores squeaked out a split decision victory over Perth, Australia’s Louisa Hawton in a good back and forth scrap for the interim WBC Atomweight (105 pounds) Championship. It was give and take as Flores bloodied the nose of Hawton early, but Hawton put together nice rallies. Punchline scored the bout a draw (95-95). Official scores where 97-93 and 96-94 for the new champ Flores who is now 13-4-1 (2). One judge did score it 97-93 for Hawton. The visually disappointed Ausie falls to 8-2 (4).
18 year old Mario Ramos of San Diego, CA scored a one-sided TKO victory at 2:17 of the third round over game Alex Solorio also of San Diego, CA. Ramos improves to 6-0 (6) while Solorio is now 4-4 with back to back losses against highly touted prospects in Ramos and Gabriel Flores Jr. in his previous bout.
Middleweight prospect Jonathan Esquivel of Anaheim, CA demolished Tijuana, Mexico’s Joan Jose Valenzuela for a TKO victory at 1:51 of the opening round. Esquivel now 7-0 (7) while Valenzuela drops to 5-10-1 (5). It is not the norm to be excited from a prospect that takes care of a lower level fighter on an undercard on his way up. However, I remember seeing Adrien Broner for the first time in these kinds of preliminary bouts and thought he just may turn out to be special? Esquivel definitely gives the same kind of vibes as he seems confident and is a strong fighter with seemingly equal speed? Keep an eye on this young Californian, I certainly will!
In the opening bout of the evening Oaxaca, Mexico’s Joselito Velasquez improved to 6-0 (5) with a 6 round unanimous decision (60-54 all three cards) over Tijuana, Mexico’s Jose Alfredo Flores Chanez in a flyweight contest. Velasquez outworked Chanez but could not put him away and went the distance for the first time. Chanez falls to 6-7 (3).
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and was UFC star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Son Gabriel! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!