L.A. Fight Club results: Manzanarez sparks Diaz in Golden Boy debut



Making his debut under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, Robert Manzanarez delivered a body shot knockout of Gamaliel Diaz in the fourth round on Friday night. The junior welterweight bout was the main event of an “L.A. Fight Club” card hosted at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California.


The first punch Manzanarez landed set the tone of the fight. It was a left hook from the tall fighter out of Phoenix, Arizona and it left a stunned look on the face of Diaz, who was dwarfed by Manzanarez’s hunched fighting pose. A veteran out of Michoacan, Mexico, Diaz, 40-16-3 (19), was flabbergasted from his opponent’s size and reach for the entire fight, even shrugging his shoulders in the middle of action in the second round.


Manzanarez, 34-1 (28), who cultivated his record south of the border, seemingly to wanted to get into a fight with Diaz but his opponent just couldn’t give in. The 22-year-old actually fought more like a shorter fighter as he often found himself on the inside but everything ended once the fateful shot landed in the fourth round. It was the last of many left hands to the body but this one caught Diaz right under the armpit and on the rib cage. Diaz took the entire count from referee Raul Caiz Sr. while on a knee.


“I am very happy with this win and I’m glad I stopped him early,” said Manzanarez. “I know I have to go back into the gym to work on everything and I need to be in better form physically and mentally. There’s a big difference between fighting in the U.S. and in Mexico and fighting here was a dream come true of mine, and I hope I get more opportunities to do so.”


Junior welterweight prospect Genaro “El Conde” Gamez, received a wide unanimous decision win over Alejandro Ochoa in the co-feature.


Missing in those scores was the competitive fight Ochoa brought to Gamez. Things really started to heat up in the second round after Gamez, 4-0 (3), connected with a low blow that had Ochoa writhing in pain. He took his time as action continued and even motioned with his glove to Gamez to signify his displeasure with the shot. By the end of the second, Ochoa landed a clean overhand right.


Fighting out of Bell Gardens, California, Ochoa, 7-13-2 (1), landed that overhand right on Gamez often. Each time it connected on Gamez’s chin, the shot was a clear indication that, for the first time, the young prospect was getting tested. Gamez was never hurt in the fight but he was certainly in one. Gamez, San Diego, California, showed some quick combinations to the body and head. In the fourth round, Gamez was trapped with his back against the ropes but an uppercut turned Ochoa around and Gamez paid back the earlier work given to him. From that point on, especially in the final round, it was all Gamez but it wasn’t a performance to brag about from the prospect.


“This was the first time going all six rounds, which was a great experience for me,” said Gamez. “He took a lot of hard punches from me and I took a lot from him. I wanted another knockout but, considering that this is my first fight in a couple of months, I’ll take this win. I am ready for another fight soon, so you will certainly see me back in action.”


In the opening bout of the Estrella TV telecast, junior welterweight Luis Feliciano won his professional debut with a unanimous decision (60-54 twice, 59-55) over a rugged veteran in Angel Rodriguez.


Feliciano, a Puerto Rican-American from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was put in there with an above-average opponent, for someone fighting professionally for the very first time. Not only was the fight a six-rounder but Rodriguez, Houston, Texas, had enough experience to beat any other fresh-faced youngster. That said, Feliciano was an exception. He was poised and patient to start and his left jab, pumped from his broad frame, gauged his distance. Most, if not all, of Feliciano’s power shots were preceded by his jab but, in the second half of the fight, his power slowly started to show.


Thanks to an accidental headbutt in the second round, Rodriguez, 5-8-3 (4), was bloodied from a cut on the bridge of his nose for the whole fight and it added to the effect of Feliciano’s power shots late in the bout. Feliciano showed a sharp left hook and connected with a few straight rights that made Rodriguez’s power attack lethargic but the Mexican was never seriously hurt. Not only that, Feliciano showed great defensive awareness. There was good action in the fight’s final minute and, there, Feliciano stepped up the intensity of his activity as Rodriguez let his hands go, making it more evident that he’s more ready than most at this point of his very young career.


“It was a great first fight – I was excited to get back into the ring after not fighting competitively for more than a year-and-a-half,” said Feliciano, 1-0, who trained at The Summit in Big Bear, California, for this camp. “It’s a transition you have to go through, when you switch from amateur to pro, and there are always a pair of nerves when you make the switch and you make the stylistic adjustments. The win was what we planned for and bigger things are coming from me, just watch as I represent Puerto Rico.”


Tenochtiltan Nava got himself a wide unanimous decision (40-36 twice, 39-37) win over Thomas “The Nike Man” Smith but the junior lightweight contest was a struggle for the Los Angeles prospect.


Nava, 5-0 (1), seemed a bit too patient for a four-round fight and, with that, Smith’s confidence grew as the fight progressed. Fighting out of Dallas, Texas, Smith, 3-4-1 (2), was conservative with his offense, as well, and, for much of the fight, he had his hands down and chin way out for the taking. However, Nava couldn’t find his range all throughout the fight as his opponent also used his legs often. Smith managed to counter Nava with straight right hands up the middle in the third round and he arguably landed the cleanest shots between the two in the entire fight. Nava was the aggressor in this one but, given his opponent was remarkably flawed, technically, it wasn’t his best outing by any means.


“I started out slow in this fight. I felt the need to be cautious with (Smith) but he definitely woke me up,” remembered Nava. “I knew he was going to move around and he would block my blows with his counter. I want to thank all the Marching Skulls from Westside Boxing who came to support me and this win.”


Not only was it successful but Francisco Javier Martinez Jr. had a memorable pro debut in a thrilling action fight with Miguel Angel Barajas Moreno. Martinez got the victory after referee Zac Young stopped the fight in the fourth.


Moreno, 2-2 (1), Guadalajara, Mexico, came out of the gate swinging and, after catching a few of those punches with his arms, Martinez waited for the right time to pounce. Once he did, the firefight commenced. Standing toe-to-toe, Martinez found himself in a heated battle within the first three minutes of his professional career but he who landed the shorter, crisper shots.


Martinez, 1-0 (1), Dallas, Texas, commanded the war but, in the final seconds of the second round, a right hand stumbled him to the canvas. It was a flash knockdown but it seemed like the 20-year-old was anticipating the bell after the 10-second clap. Moreno rallied off that moment, going into the third, but a left hook from Martinez had him hurt midway through the round. Martinez, a right-hander, proceeded to land body and head shots at will but his Mexican counterpart was still able to fight back, once recovered.


Back-and-forth action continued in the fourth but a straight right and left hook combination hurt Moreno in the final minute. He staggered a bit with his back along the ropes and, while Martinez did a good job of following-up, the stoppage by Young was questionable.


“It was a defining debut fight and I wasn’t going to let anyone take away what I had worked so hard for,” said Martinez after his debut. “I saw the bruise I left under (Moreno’s) eye during the first round and that’s when I knew he was a tough fighter, and was going to brawl with me. I learned a lot and I am looking forward to maturing as a fighter, becoming smarter and using my talent more.”


In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card. Jousce Gonzalez wiped-out Emmanuel Valadez in the opening round, dropping him twice to force an immediate stoppage. The junior lightweight bout was scheduled for four rounds.


Fighting out of Glendora, California, Gonzalez, 4-0 (4), quickly put together some fluid combinations that drowned his opponent. An accumulation of shots backed Valadez against the ropes in the opening minute but a body shot had him rolling on the canvas in pain. Valadez, 3-3 (3), got up but found himself back on the floor again moments later, after a few clean shots to the head. Some of those shots were so precise, they landed while Valadez’s body was slowly falling to the ground. Referee Krysti Rosario immediately waved off the fight after that second knockdown and it was warranted.


“This is my fourth straight, first round knockout win and that means a lot to me,” said Gonzalez afterward. “This win is a thank you to my team, that has sacrificed so much to get me to this level. I train for 15 rounds, so that I am ready for anything and anyone.”



You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2.





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