The historic Belasco Theater was on fire for the latest installment of Golden Boy Promotions’ LA FIGHT CLUB on August 6. With a number of professional debuts from powerhouse fighters, it’s clear that the future of boxing is bright and that Golden Boy Promotions’ stable of fighters are the next generation of elite boxers. The sold-out crowd included former LA Laker Metta World Peace as well as former interim WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse who stuck around for the fights following his own press conference earlier in the day, ahead of his vacant WBC Super Lightweight World Championship bout against Viktor Postol, scheduled for October 3at the Stubhub Center and live on HBO Boxing After®. Tonight’s festivities were telecast live on FOX Deportes.
The main event featured Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (19-0-1, 14 KOs) who took on Jorge “King” Diaz (18-4-1, 10 KOs) in a power-packed 10-round featherweight bout. Lopez began to break Diaz down early, keeping Diaz consistently on the defense and at one point sending Diaz to his knees with a powerful jab early in round one. By round two Diaz was already showing signs of fatigue but showed determination to stay in the fight and rally back. Diaz however proved no match for Lopez’s accuracy and effective combos throughout the bout. In round nine, Lopez was clearly going for the knockout and defeated Diaz by technical knockout as Diaz’s corner terminated the match at the beginning of round ten.
“This was my headlining debut,” said Abraham Lopez. “It was very exciting. I felt very emotional that I was fighting in my backyard for all my friends and family. I want to thank FOX Deportes, Golden Boy Promotions, and my team for giving me this opportunity and to the fans for coming out to support me. I thought Diaz was a tough fighter. He took a lot of punishment from me and that was the plan from the beginning, to put on a lot of pressure. I was looking for the knockout but he was very resilient. But, overall, I am satisfied of the outcome of the fight, and I am looking forward to the future. I know there are great things coming my way, and to all the fans, stay tuned.”
“I went in there confident,” said Jorge Diaz. “In the first round, I tried to maintain my distance, focusing on jabbing. As the rounds evolved, his strength was a bit overwhelming. I tried to land punches but he caught them and was hurting me with his shots. That skinny guy is strong.”
In the co-main event crowd favorite, Roy “Pitbull” Tapia (11-0-2, 6 KOs) of East Los Angeles faced off against Juan “La Perla Negra” Hernandez (18-6-1, 9 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico in a scheduled eight-round super bantamweight bout. Tapia came on strong in round one with unrelenting shots to the body that clearly exhausted Hernandez and had him on his knees early in the match. By round two Hernandez seemed determined to stay in the fight despite fatigue but he was no match for Tapia who won the match in the third round by a knockout.
“I wasn’t expecting a knockout but I worked for it, for the win,” said Roy Tapia. “I did things this training camp that I had never done before and it showed. I did strength training and conditioning, and I worked with a nutritionist. I was physically and mentally ready for this fight.”
“I felt very prepared for this fight,” said Juan Hernandez. “I had sparred with Ali Gonzalez who had fought Roy and gave him a hard time but, Roy got a good shot at my chin on the third round and knocked me down. That stunned me, and I feel like I really need to work on my defending my chin. I’m going to move down a weight class. I normally fight at featherweight, and I feel stronger at that weight class.”
In the second televised bout of the night, making his professional debut, Hector “El Finito” Tanajara Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) of San Antonio, TX faced Thomas De Leon (0-3) of Grand Rapids, MI in a scheduled four-round super lightweight bout. The opponents sized each other up in the ring for the first minute but Tanajara went in for the kill dealing De Leon two fierce jabs that had him on his knees early in the first round forcing the referee to call off the match, giving him his first professional victory by knockout.
“I was excited to make my pro debut tonight, said Tanajara Jr.” “My strategy in the ring was to take my time and capitalize on my opponents mistakes. After I dropped him in the first round, my corner told me to remain calm and that is what I did. I came back and got him with a right hand.”
In the first televised bout of the night, Jonathan Navarro (1-0, 1 KO) of East Los Angeles made his professional debut against Andrew Gomez. (0-2) of Galveston, TX in a four-round super lightweight fight. Navarro came out strong and dominated in the ring immediately dealing Gomez two powerful blows that had him on the ground in the first minutes of the fight winning the bout by knockout.
“I wasn’t looking for the knockout, it just happened, said Jonathan Navarro.” “I could tell Gomez was scared. I could see it in his eyes. In the beginning I was trying to figure out whether he was a counter puncher or aggressor. I got a clean shot at him in the first round. Next I threw a jab. He went down and that was it.”
Going on before the scheduled televised fights, local fighter Francisco Ochoa (2-0, 1 KO) of Los Angeles, CA took on Marquis Pierce (1-7) of Newark, New Jersey in a scheduled four-round lightweight fight. Ochoa dominated the first round and a fierce attack in second ground drove Pierce to the mat. Pierce was stunned and decided not to continue the bout, giving Ochoa his first victory via technical knockout.
“I felt more relaxed this time around and took my time getting warmed up, said Ochoa.” “I am sparring with professional fighters and I feel more comfortable in the ring. I want to keep fighting, stay busy and keep facing better opponents. The better they are, the better I get.”
In a scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight Pablo Rubio (2-0, 2 KO) of East Los Angeles took on Martin Regalado of San Pedro, California in his professional debut (0-1). Rubio had Regalado on his knees early in round one, but Regalado was determined to stay in the fight, attempting to rally back but Rubio gave Regaldo little opportunity to land effective punches through the majority of the fight. Rubio won the match in the fourth round by technical knockout.
“I always look for the knockout in my fights, said Rubio, but this fighter had a strong chin and would not go down. I had to adjust my strategy to overwhelm him. I also felt more comfortable during this fight and feel like I can do two more four-rounders before I move up to six-rounds”
Opening up the night, Joshua Franco (1-0)of San Antonio, TX had an impressive professional debutas he took on Temoatzin Landeros (0-2) of Tijuana, Mexico in a scheduled four-round bantamweight fight. The two were evenly matched with Franco coming on strong in the first two rounds with Landeros fighting back hard in the remaining rounds. Ultimately Franco took home his first win in a split decision.
LA FIGHT CLUB: Abraham Lopez vs. Jorge Diaz was a 10-round featherweight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona Extra and Mexico – Live It To Believe It!. Doors opened at 5:00 p.m., and the first bout began at 5:30 p.m. The FOX Deportes broadcast aired live at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
LA FIGHT CLUB is a monthly boxing series that showcases the brightest stars in the sport and present these exciting matchups in a nightclub atmosphere with an original setup. The boxing ring will be set on the main floor of the Belasco Theater with on-camera standing room for fans in front of the ring similar to a concert pit, as well as reserved balcony and floor seats. Los Angeles’ own DJ Ray of Big Boy’s Neighborhood will spin music during the fights and fans will be able to dance and mingle with the fighters when the venue converts into a night club, in a VIP experience not matched by any promoter in the industry.