ESPN2 results: Vergil Ortiz Jr. knocks out Juan Carlos Salgado in three


Billed in his first main event, junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. executed a vicious third round knockout of Juan Carlos Salgado, to remain unbeaten and raise the stock of his profile. The contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card, televised live on ESPN2, Saturday night, at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California.


Ortiz, 10-0 (10), came out of the gate looking explosive and ready to show the knockout power he possesses. Everything came off the jab but the follow-up overhand rights and left hooks to the body did the damage. Fighting out of Mexico City, Salgado, 27-9-1 (16), took a round to feel out Ortiz before trying to counter with his own offense. By the end of the second, it was clear that the veteran came to fight, judging from his willingness to engage. The action continued into the third round before Ortiz exploited something he had seen from Salgado before.


“I actually saw the opening in his previous fights,” Ortiz told about Salgado. “He’s very open when he throws anything, especially when he throws the left. I knew that’s how I was going to stop him. I didn’t know when but I knew how that was going to end.”


A left hook to the gut quickly sent Salgado to the mat, and in the fetal position, writhing in pain. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. disregarded his count immediately once evaluating the situation at the 1:52 mark of round three, and Ortiz rightfully celebrated after the highlight.


“This is my best fight by far,” Ortiz said proudly after the proverbial step-up fight. In the past, after other dominant wins, Ortiz has given himself Fs but he was happy with his performance, under his new cornerman Robert Garcia. Ortiz, 20, went on to explain, “Because I did everything I trained to do. I knew what he was coming with and he was gonna try to use his experience against my own. I wanted to use my head more and I knew that, when I hurt him, I couldn’t get all crazy like I did in my past fights. I learned from that.”


Junior lightweight prospect Hector Tanajara Jr. had a well-earned unanimous decision win over Roger Gutierrez to remain undefeated in the ESPN2 co-feature.


Tanajara, 14-0 (5), San Antonio, Texas, had to deal with a pesky Venezuelan, who tried to intimidate him at Friday’s weigh-in and make it an ugly fight between the ropes. The 21-year-old was deliberately hit in the back of the head, in the opening rounds, but that was mere frustration from Gutierrez, who couldn’t get out of the way the jab. Tanajara maintained a comfortable distance with the jab, and peppered in some right uppercuts and lead left hooks for the power shots. By the fight’s midway point, Tanajara was in full control, thanks to his boxing, but Gutierrez wasn’t going to make it that easy.


Gutierrez, 19-2-1 (16), started to find success in the sixth round by making it a physical affair. The constant clinching got Tanajara out of his rhythm, and, throughout the rest of the fight, scattered moments of Gutierrez getting the better of exchanges were winning him close rounds. Lunging in with his right hand was Gutierrez’s best weapon, and, although Tanajara ate a good one in the final round, the prospect wasn’t rattled whatsoever. After fully digesting his words, in the build-up, Gutierrez’s better ending compelled him to hug Tanajara after a rugged affair but all Tanajara wanted to do was celebrate for the first time, on national TV.


In the opening bout of the ESPN2 card, Ferdinand Kerobyan forced a second round stoppage of Edgar Garcia in his television debut. The junior middleweight contest was scheduled for six.


Kerboyan, 9-0 (5), an Armenian out of North Hollywood, California, didn’t have much to worry about against a tightly shelled opponent reluctant to open up. Garcia, 7-17-1 (2), moved around looking for a safe place from the flurries Kerobyan would let off, and had very few ideas otherwise. Kerobyan’s body work was perhaps his most effective attack on the smaller opponent, and, late in the second, they started to add up. Garcia fell to his knees, while trapped in a corner, and referee Raul Caiz Sr. proceeded to immediately wave off the mismatch. Kerobyan, 20, showed he can be a strong force against the man in front of him tonight but, in reference to a test, last January against Lucius Johnson, he can be in fun fights going up against better opposition.


“I wanted to show that not only am I powerful but I’m also very fast,” said Kerobyan after the win. “I never consider any opponent easy, especially since anyone in the ring can hurt you if you’re not careful. I want a world title in the future, and I’m ready to do what’s necessary to get that.”


In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, middleweight Meiirim Nursultanov forced a sixth round knockout of Josue Obando, to remain undefeated.


Promoted by Main Events and from Merki, Kazakhstan, Nursultanov, 7-0 (6), reddened Obando’s face, by the second round, once implementing an uppercut to his offensive attack. The middleweight prospect showed a strong jab and a right hand that varied its presence up and downstairs. In the second, Nursultanov seemingly dropped Obando with an uppercut but referee Wayne Hedgpeth ruled it a slip. Obando, 16-21-1 (12), looked inspired in the fourth round, coming off his best right hand of the fight, at the end of the third, but Nursultanov paid it back after a big fifth round that had the Mexican battered around. Midway through the sixth, with Obando still on his feet, Hedgpeth stopped it at the 1:37 mark after a Nursultanov flurry. Obando complained that he could’ve made it 90 seconds further but there were no moral victories handed out on this night.


“I wasn’t able to finalize matters until the very end of the fight. (Obando) has a very awkward style, which made me take long to really find him. I’ll be back on in August,” Nursultanov said afterward.




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