Petrov dominates Diaz; Shelestyuk and Robles win
The middle of an industrial park at Omega Products International in Corona, Calif. wasn’t a normal setting for a televised boxing event but ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” was there for us as they televised the Banner Promotions card.
The winner of last year’s “Boxcino” lightweight tournament on ESPN2, Petr Petrov was much too strong for veteran Gamaliel Diaz as the Russian standout earned himself the unanimous decision victory (98-89, 97-90 twice) in the main event.
Petrov had a bit of a hiccup to start off the contest. While off-balanced, Diaz threw a punch that looked more like a push and it forced the Russian’s glove to touch the canvas to prevent him from going to the floor. Nonetheless, referee Jack Reiss ruled it a knockdown. Despite the misstep, Petrov went back into the fight dominating the final minute of the opening round.
Petrov continued to throw his power shots from then on and didn’t even bother to throw a jab as he was looking to knock Diaz out. Petrov even flashed a bolo uppercut punch that Diaz could not see coming and because of his relentlessness, Diaz began to use tactics to impede Petrov’s aggression. By holding and landing the occasional low blow, Diaz was able to get Petrov frustrated by the multiple pauses in action.
As the middle rounds went on, both fighters’ punches were getting increasingly harder but Petrov’s left hook landed consistently. In the seventh, that punch landed flush on Diaz’s face and dropped him immediately. After Diaz withstood Reiss’ 10-count, Petrov started to lunge at him with his punches, looking to end it early. Diaz’s only counter was a big low blow that forced Reiss to deduct a point after warning him multiple times.
Diaz kept complaining to Reiss afterward especially when an accidental headbutt forced a small cut above his left eye. He was most vocal in the ninth round and that’s when Reiss had enough. Reiss called time in order to send Diaz to his corner and scolded him, encouraging him to fight instead of yap while also threatening a disqualification. Diaz calmed down a bit but Petrov didn’t, as he finished off the fight as aggressive as he started it.
Petrov, 36-4-2 (17), looked good after an 11-month layoff. He was originally slated to fight on Friday Night Fights in January against Hank Lundy, which would have been a much more competitive contest, but when Lundy came in overweight, Petrov and his team elected not to take the fight at a disadvantage. Diaz, 38-12-3 (17), a former 130-pound titlist, has now lost three of his last five fights.
Former Ukrainian bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics Taras Shelestyuk, 12-0 (8), outboxed Juan Rodriguez Jr., 12-2 (5), to earn a unanimous decision (79-73, 78-74 twice) victory in an eight-round, junior welterweight match-up.
It was a battle of two southpaws and the touted prospect coming out of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif. was surprisingly slow to start. Shelestyuk didn’t have his normal trainer, Freddie Roach in his corner but it was likely that his stumble out of the gate was Rodriguez’s defense. Although when he wasn’t defensively minded, Rodriguez’s offense wasn’t much of a threat. Shelestyuk started to figure out that his opponent’s punches weren’t dangerous but prior to that realization, an accidental headbutt in the fourth round opened a cut on his forehead. The blood seemed to have awakened Shelestyuk as he started to set up his jab in order to unleash his right hook. In the last half of the fight, it was all Shelestyuk and he broke Rodriguez down by landing shots to the body that were preceded by that jab. By the end of the fight, Rodriguez’s left eye was bruised and battered in defeat.
Junior welterweight prospect Emmanuel Robles, 13-0-1 (3), stayed undefeated as he received a wide unanimous decision against Wilberth Lopez, 5-5 (1), in a six-round contest (58-56, 59-55 twice).
Fighting from the southpaw stance, Robles warded off his aggressive opponent by countering beautifully with his left hand to the head and body. This was consistent throughout the fight but in the fifth round, the tables were turned when Lopez started to gain momentum after Robles started missing his counter-attack. Not only did Lopez land solid punches on Robles but his assertiveness also resulted in an accidental headbutt that cut Robles above the left eye. The cut didn’t hinder him and in the final round, Robles took matters into his own hands by becoming the one to snap off the first punch and sealed himself the victory by ending the bout with a good impression.