LA Fight Club results: Javier Molina decisions Jessie Roman
Javier Molina beat Jessie Roman via unanimous decision (79-73 on all three official scorecards) Friday night in a fight that had a promotional contract hanging in the balance. The junior welterweight contest was the main event of an “LA Fight Club” card hosted by Golden Boy Promotions and televised live on Estrella TV from the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California.
After a tactical opening round, Molina, 18-2 (8), began to separate himself from his foe by landing the crisper shots, which began the frustration for Roman, who couldn’t match any of them in return. There were more than a few accidental headbutts landed on both men throughout the fight, which, of course, hurt their timing but Molina took it upon himself to dictate the pace and get himself a wide lead, thanks to out-working Roman. In the sixth, Molina had perhaps his best round of the fight. His right hand sniped off the jab beautifully, snapping Roman’s head back multiple times, and a lead left hook afterward was easier to land. Just when it looked like Roman had run out of ideas in that sixth, Molina walked right into a right hand at the very end of the round, inspiring Roman to come out firing in the seventh. For the first time in the fight, Roman, 22-4 (11), seemed to get a nice rhythm going up until the final bell. All he had to do was be first and commit to his combination punching and put Molina on the defensive. He kept it up in the final round as well but, by then, it was too late to catch up to Molina’s banked rounds.
A late knockdown helped Rafael Gramajo earn a unanimous decision (78-73, 76-75 twice) win over Victor Ruiz, after eight rounds of competitive action in the co-feature.
The junior featherweight contest started off with both men slinging the leather and setting the pace for ultimately a great action fight. Fighting out of Los Angeles, by way of Garden City, Kansas, Gramajo 10-1-2 (2), had the crowd in his back pocket and on their feet, as he was the first to land a big shot in the middle of a back-and-forth skirmish in the opening round but once his counterpart settled in with his jab, the fans grew silent by the third round. Fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Ruiz, 22-9 (15) was a late replacement for Golden Boy prospect Pablo Rubio Jr., and couldn’t have done a better job under the circumstances of taking the fight on short notice. The southpaw only had the effective jab in this one, and it helped create the distance and range that had Gramajo either coming up short or even smothering his shots. The combinations from Ruiz had Gramajo bleeding from his nose by the end of the fourth round, and, in the fifth, the Mexican taunted him with his tongue after the crowd thought he was about to slow down. After things really slowed down in the sixth, Ruiz had perhaps his best round in the seventh, when he got into an offensive rally that couldn’t be stopped. Gramajo couldn’t make him miss off the back foot but, toward the end of the round, somehow landed a right hand that dropped Ruiz for the fight’s only knockdown. The moment came abruptly, and even looked like a slip at first glance, but Ruiz wasn’t hurt by the flash kockdown and there was no doubt he didn’t lose the round either. Both men fought out a final round, in which they seemed to know they needed it to win but, as the scores revealed, that moment in the seventh round was crucial.
“There are a few things I could have done better in this fight,” said Gramajo. “We need to go back to the gym to work on some things. I’m happy I got the victory tonight but I have to stay busier in the ring. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Opening the Estrella TV telecast, Joshua “The Professor” Franco earned a fifth round technical knockout over Isao Carranza. The bantamweight contest was scheduled for six rounds.
Franco, 14-1 (7), put on a very good offensive display in the comeback fight from his only defeat. The San Antonio, Texas, native started off with a jab that touched Carranza’s head and body but the fluid combinations started to come by the end of the opening round. Franco’s combos were both creative and effective but an uppercut he used with both hands ultimately unraveled his foe. Fighting out of Mexico City, Carranza, 15-12-1 (9), couldn’t establish a jab to keep the smaller man from coming forward but, for the first few rounds, showed his durablity by taking the shots well. In the fourth, Franco was in a groove, and peppered Carranza around enough to maybe warrant a 10-8 round without a knockdown. For the remainder of the bout, Carranza was in no man’s land, and referee Jack Reiss watched closely, as Carranza was stuck on the ropes. Before the fifth could even start, Reiss had the ringside doctor check Carranza, and before Franco continued his onslaught, the Mexican’s corner threw in the towel.
“This victory means everything after my last setback,” said Franco. “I came better prepared than ever before, and my loss showed me that I have to keep coming back stronger and stronger. I want the rematch (with Lucas Leone, to whom Franco lost, last March).”
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, middleweight Joey Alday Jr. earned a shut-out unanimous decision win over Nam Phan with three identical scores of 40-36.
Alday, 8-0 (7), wasted no time implementing his power shots and they warded off an awkward fighter, with a desire to fight on the inside. Phan’s jab was there but he had to eat left hooks and straight rights in order to make it work. Phan could only clinch in the few times he did get inside, however, and Alday managed to get through the roughness without getting a clean punch landed on him. In the third, Alday, Odessa, Texas, landed a tremendous uppercut for his best punch of the fight. It roused the crowd but got little reaction from the former MMA fighter. Phan, 3-7-1 (2), showed a good chin but little to no offensive skill or technique that served as a threat to the tall 23-year-old prospect. Alday worked in some good body shots in the fourth, to keep Phan from trying to force himself inside and ultimately ride out the shut-out loss without getting hurt.
“The fight went as planned,” said Alday. “I knew that he was a UFC fighter, so that meant I had to be very busy. I also knew he’d have a good chin because of his record. The win felt great and I’ll have to talk to my team about what’s next.”