In his third opportunity at a world title, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) stopped previously undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (37-1, 27 KOs) in the eighth round of a scheduled 12-round fight to win the WBA Welterweight World Championship on HBO Boxing After Dark in front of a roaring crowd of 6,143 boxing fans at Los Angeles’ “Fabulous” Forum.
After several rounds in which Matthysse pushed forward to cut the distance, the 35-year-old landed an overhand right that dropped him immediately. After Kiram got up, Matthysse landed a short left hand that ended matters at 1:21 of the eighth round. At the time of the stoppage, two judges had Matthysse winning with scores of 68-65 and 69-64, while one judge had it 68-65 for Kiram, who went straight to the hospital after the fight.
“I’m really happy,” said Lucas Matthysse. “He [Kiram] moved really well, and he was really big. That’s why it was hard to cut the distance. I didn’t feel his power, but he felt mine, so that’s why I was able to find him later and stop him. I’m here for the best and biggest names. I want the rematch with Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao. Those are the big fights I want, though of course that will be up to Mario Arano and Golden Boy Promotions to figure that out.”
Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) successfully defended his WBA and Ring Magazine World Lightweight Titles with a shutout 12-round unanimous decision win against lightweight contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-2-2, 17 KOs). Linares had trouble early as Gesta provided an awkward southpaw style. But eventually Linares found his rhythm, landing right hands, uppercuts and left hooks en route to a comfortable though competitive win. Linares won with scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.
“I didn’t really feel his [Gesta’s] power, though I hurt my hand in the fourth or fifth round,” said Jorge Linares. “I threw my right hand without really putting too much power into it. I was just touching him. There wasn’t a knockout because he was well prepared. Like I said to Oscar De La Hoya, I don’t want to mention names for my next opponent. You know what’s nice? That people mention my name [as a possible opponent]. That’s fine that they mention my name, but let’s get them in the ring. Let them get in the ring with me.”
“I fought against a world champion, and that was a great privilege,” said Mercito Gesta. “He [Linares] adjusted well to my style after the first couple of rounds. Overall, I am proud of myself for taking this tough fight, and I know me and coach Freddie Roach came in with the best game plan. We just fell a little short.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (34-2-1, 19 KOs) scored a spectacular win against veteran puncher Breidis Prescott (30-12, 22 KOs) of Valledupar, Colombia by way of knockout in the fifth round of a spectacular welterweight battle originally scheduled for eight rounds. After a few rounds of good toe-to-toe action, Lopez landed a two-punch combination that floored Prescott hard. Upon getting up from the canvas, Lopez landed another hard right hand that ended the fight at 2:59 of the fifth round.
“Boxing is a beautiful sport that is so exhilarating, but to get a knockout is the best part and what we train for,” said Marcelino Lopez. “It takes sacrifice to leave your home country and to be able to focus and get a win like this is so satisfying. I want to thank Joel Diaz, who has taken me in like his family and has helped me improve and refine my style.”
Power punching Filipino prospect Romero Duno (16-1, 14 KOs) scored a first-round knockout victory against Yardley Armento (21-10, 12 KOs) of Sacramento, Calif. in a lightweight battle that was initially scheduled for eight rounds. Duno dropped and stopped Armento with two consecutive right hands to the temple.
“I wasn’t expecting to knock him out in the first round,” said Romero Duno. “I can’t even remember if I actually hurt him. My coach told me to go in there and use my jab and to keep calm, but I just got really excited and the next thing I knew I won.”
In what was a spirited battle between two undefeated Mexican American prospects, Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (7-0-1, 3 KOs) stopped Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-1, 1 KO) in the sixth round of a scheduled eight-round featherweight fight.
“We were expecting a knock out by the eighth round, so we were glad that it happened earlier,” said Francisco Esparza. “I’m trained by former world champion Fernando Vargas. He is an important mentor and helped me execute a game plan where we broke Nava down. Hopefully, I’ll be fighting in my hometown of Las Vegas in May.”
Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. escaped a near upset loss in what was otherwise a dominant unanimous decision win against Compton, Calif.’s Lucius Johnson (4-2-1, 3 KOs). Kerobyan dominated the southpaw for five rounds completely, while Johnson was deducted a point in the fifth round for repeatedly spitting out his mouth guard. In the sixth and final round, Kerobyan was dropped and nearly stopped, though he survived the round and retained his undefeated record with three scores of 59-54.
“The energy was incredible tonight! I was glad to have the support of the fans and my Armenian community,” said Ferdinand Kerobyan. “I’m just ready to start stepping up the level of competition I am facing and I want to be able to start fighting for some regional titles soon.”
Daquan Pauldo (17-1, 9 KOs) of Orlando, Florida defeated Osbaldo Gonzalez (6-2, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision in a six-round middleweight clash. Pauldo’s aggressive, counterpunching style was too much for the Tulsa, Okla. native. Pauldo won with scores of 58-56, 58-56 and 59-55.
“I thought the judges were going to stop the fight after the third round because his nose was torn up,” said Daquan Pauldo. “I would give myself a 5.5 for my performance – it’s been two and a half years since I’ve been able to be consistent in the ring, and I think both me and my promoter would agree that what I need is to be more consistent with my training. I needed to move a lot more inside the ring and be more active inside.”
Javier Martinez (5-0, 3 KOs) opened the evening of combats with a tough victory against Mexico City, Mexico’s Danny Flores (11-10-1, 5 KOs). Martinez, a featherweight prospect of Dallas, Texas, won via six-round unanimous decision with scores of 58-55, 58-55 and 59-55.
“I am not proud of my performance. It was really hard to adjust and get into the rhythm of things,” said Javier Martinez. “This sport is all about taking steps forward, and I just have to take from all my mistakes and improve from this point.”
Matthysse vs. Kiram was a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship and was presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arano Box and Galaxy Promotions. Linares vs. Gesta, a 12-round fight for the WBA and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships, was presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle,” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event took place Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and was televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark. The non-televised was streamed live on RingTV.com.