AT the conclusion of his match with Francisco De Vaca, WBO super-bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarette was pleasantly surprised when his promoter Bob Arum came into the ring and informed him he would be boxing again in four weeks. He will appear on the undercard of Otto Wallin’s shot at Tyson Fury (who was in attendance) in Las Vegas. Because the proximity of the date was so close, Arum wanted to be sure that Navarette came out of his contest unscathed before breaking the news to him. That he did, stopping the game challenger at 1-54 of the third round.
“September 14 is Mexican Independence Day. He is the best Mexican fighter in the world,” gushed Arum of the man he promotes, conveniently forgetting Canelo Alvarez who he doesn’t. However, Navarette’s style of fighting and ability to overwhelm an opponent does conjure up memories of another Mexican, the late, great, Salvador Sanchez.
Navarette, boxing in Los Angeles for the first time, said he was excited to be able to perform in a city with such a rich Mexican fighting heritage. However, the Banc of California Stadium had never hosted boxing before. The 4,000 or so in attendance at the outdoor facility did not make for an electric atmosphere, that was left up to Navarette – who delivered.
Navarette showed patience in respecting the offence De Vaca from Phoenix was trying to mount. The challenger landed cleanly now and then but was being picked apart by the champion. Late in the second a pair of right uppercuts dropped De Vaca. His nose was now bleeding profusely. Any fight plan he and trainer Manny Robles had was now out the window.
The only option left for De Vaca was to go for broke. Navarette, who loves a good slugfest, accepted the invitation for a scrap. He forced De Vaca to the ropes and overpowered him. When a flush left hook landed following other blows, referee Raul Caiz Snr stepped in.
Whoever Navarette’s next opponent is the fact that he is making two title defenses in a span of four months says a lot about his quest to achieve greatness.
On paper it was a good victory for Jessie Magdaleno, winning a technical decision over Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera in 2-55 of the ninth round of a scheduled 10. Rivera, a former world title challenger, threw an elbow that looked intentional, but was deemed accidental by the referee, Thomas Taylor. In any event it caused Magdaleno’s right eye to spurt blood necessitating the stoppage. As a result, they went to the scorecards where the former WBO super-bantamweight champion, from Las Vegas, was decisively in front (Zachary Young 88-82, Eddie Hernandez Sr and Fernando Villarreal both 89-81).
Rivera was dropped for a short count early in the ninth. At various points throughout southpaw Magdaleno shook him up with big blows. Yet something seems to be missing in Magdaleno, in that he does not look like the same fighter who dethroned Nonito Donaire back in 2016. Rivera who has faced top echelon opponents like Leo Santa Cruz, and never been stopped, is no slouch so let’s give Jessie his due. However, the manner in which he lost his title to Isaac Dogboe last year makes us question whether Magdaleno, only 27, can rise to top level again.
Those entrusted with looking out for Ricky Sismundo’s welfare did not do their job in the Japan-based Filipino’s fourth round stoppage defeat to Los Angeles’ Arnold Barboza. Sismundo, much smaller and weaker, was dropped in the third round. He was taking a beating which continued through the fourth yet everyone from referee Ray Corona, to his cornermen, to the ringside physicians allowed it to go on. Only when the bell rang to end the fourth and Sismundo collapsed along the ropes before making it to his corner was it stopped. It was scheduled for 10 rounds.
It was a bloody day at the office for South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden who prevailed by unanimous eight-round decision over Russian Aslanbek Kozaev. Two scores of 79-73 and one of 78-74 confirmed Van Heerden’s superiority. Van Heerden was cut over both eyes from an assortment of butts and was a bloody mess at the end. Kozaev was cut as well. Jack Reiss refereed.
The Verdict Impressive from Navarette, a new Mexican star.
Emanuel Navarette (122lbs), 28-1 (24), w rsf 3 Francisco De Vaca (122lbs), 20-1 (6); Jessie Magdaleno (125 1/2lbs), w pts 9 Rafael Rivera (125 1/2lbs), 27-4-2 (18); Arnold Barboza (141 1/2lbs), 22-0 (9), w rsf 4 Ricky Susmundo (141 1/2lbs), 35-15-3 (17); Chris Van Heerden (146 1/2lbs), 28-2-1 (12), w pts 8 Aslanbek Kozaev (147lbs), 33-3-1 (8); Janibek Alimkhanuly (159lbs), 7-0 (3), w rsf 5 Stuart McLellan (160lbs), 27-4-3 (11); Javier Molina (140lbs), 20-2 (8), w pts 8 Manuel Mendez (141lbs), 16-6-3 (11); Dmitry Yun (135 1/2lbs), 2-0 w pts 6 Javier Martinez (134 1/2lbs), 4-7 (3); Elvis Rodriguez (141lbs), 3-0-1 (3), w rsf 1 Jesus Gonzalez (141 1/2lbs), 6-3 (2); Brian Mendoza (148lbs), 18-0 (13), w rsf 1 Rosemberg Gomez (148lbs), 20-8-1 (16).