Fans sold out the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angles for tonight’s inaugural “LA Fight Club” card from Golden Boy Promotions. Many of the prospects featured in this series will be LA based fighters and they bring their friends and family with them. It all makes for a great “club” type atmosphere at the venue, with passionate fans cheering for the representatives of their neighborhoods. Although there were eight total bouts on tonight’s card, three were nationally televised on Fox Sports 1, with a swing bout just missing the broadcast.
Joseph Diaz Jr vs Juan Luis Hernandez, 10 rounds
Undefeated “JoJo” Diaz, a southpaw, looked cool and comfortable from the opening bell of the super bantamweight main event. Working behind his jab, he dug to the body and used distance and timing well to avoid return fire. Toward the end of the second round Diaz dropped Hernandez with a hellacious hook to the body. Hernandez, or Culiacan Mexico, made it to his feet luckily just seconds before the bell. There would be no escape in the third. It was target practice for Diaz, a native of nearby South El Monte, as he seemingly couldn’t miss. He dropped Hernandez twice in the third with body shots and then just as the bell sounded connected with a monstrous shot to the gut that had him sprawled out on the canvas for minutes. Referee Jack Reiss reached the count of 10 before the start of the fourth round, giving Diaz an impressive win. Indeed “JoJo” Diaz looked very refined tonight, improving to 15-0 (10KO) and appearing to be a fighter on the verge of title contention. He executed his game plan to perfection. “I wanted to dictate the pace of the fight with body shots and that’s what I did”, said Diaz. “It feels great to keep my undefeated status.” As for Hernandez, who drops to 17-5-1 (9KO), he was still in bit of denial after the loss. “I was trying him (Diaz) out for the first three rounds and see what he was made of”, he said. “But he delivered a lucky blow that was too hard for me.”
Christian Gonzales vs Julio Cesar Sarinana, 6 rounds
In this lightweight belt, LA native Gonzales put his undefeated record on the line against Sarinana, of Phoenix. Gonzales, nicknamed “Chimpa”, looked solid in the opening round, but was dropped in the second off a flush right hand. He hung tough in front of his hometown fans but there was definitely tension in the air. Sarinana may have been brought in as “the opponent”, but the kid definitely came to fight. He landed another big shot in the beginning of the third, but this time Chimpa took it well and began to work his way back into the fight. By the fourth round Gonzales had a nasty cut over his left eye and Sarinana’s right eye was badly swollen. This was turning into a terrific TV-friendly type of bout. Chimpa began to find a home for the uppercut on the inside, and wisely targeted Sarinana’s eye, which was closing up fast. In the fifth round the referee docked a point from Sarinana for leading with his head; it was a legitimate call as the head butts seemed to cause most of the damage to both fighters’ faces. In the sixth and final round, Sarinana was in complete survival mode and had a full hematoma above that right eye. With about a minute to go, the ring doctor took a look and decided to stop the fight, giving Gonzales the TKO victory. Chimpa improved to 9-0 (9KO), but critical of his performance. “I got the win but it was a hard fight for me and a learning experience”, said Gonzalez. “I need to go back to the gym and work on some things. Making sure I keep knees bent, keeping my hands up when I back up and focusing on my jab.” Sarinana falls to 3-3-1 (0KO), having now lost his last three bouts.
Santiago Guevara vs Carlos Morales, 6 rounds
This action packed super featherweight bout opened the Fox Sports 1 TV broadcast. The undefeated Guevara and Morales, two Los Angeles natives, looked to put on a show in front of their hometown fans. They wasted no time getting to work in the first round, and a clash of heads in the second caused a cut over Morales’ right eye. The blood didn’t seem to bother Morales, as he continued to attack Guevara and land the harder shots. It was a back and forth type of fight, with each man having their moments, but Morales appeared to do the more consistent work. Guevara did excel in the body punching category though, landing crisp body shots throughout. After six entertaining rounds it went to the scorecards. The judges scored it 59-55 and 58-56 for Morales, with one judge seeing it a draw, 57-57. So Morales improves to 7-1-3 (2KO), while Guevara falls to 8-1 (3KO), tasting defeat for the first time as a pro.
Jason Quigley vs Lanny Dardar, 4 rounds
In the swing bout, which unfortunately was untelevised, Ireland’s Quigley made short work of Dardar. In the opening round, the Irishman immediately went to work and hurt his opponent numerous times. After Dardar, of Louisiana, was dropped twice in the opening minute or so, the referee was taking a close look at him. Finally toward the end of the round Quigley landed a hard right hand that made Dardar’s knees buckle and the ref immediately jumped in to call off the onslaught. Quigley scored the first round TKO and improved to 4-0, with all wins coming by knockout. Dardar drops to 2-3-2 (1KO).
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