Photo Lina Baker
Light Heavyweight Sullivan Barrera 18-1 (13KO’s) left his loss to Andre Ward in the past and moved forward with a big victory over heralded prospect Vyacheslav Shabranskyy 17-1 (14KO’s). Fast and Furious was how the night started as Barrera came out and landed an overhand right that rocked the jaw of Shabranskyy to drop him down to a knee.
In the following round Shabranskyy decided it was his turn to land with the right and put Barrera down early in the round. The pace rarely dipped but Barrera edged most of the rounds countering Shabranskyy’s straight right with his own overhand. In the seventh Barrera landed another over hand right that smashed Shabranskyy to the canvas prompting trainer Manny Robles to throw in the towel and call a halt to the fight.
“I knew I could counter his straight right hand with my over hand right and it worked all night” Barrera told a pool of reporters after the fight. “When I fought Ward, after the knockdown I was hurt but this was just a flash and I was good after it.” Promoter Kathy Duva said “To lose the way we did with Sergey (Kovalev) this feels great, it’s a good night for Sullivan.”
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis 17-0 (11KO’s) blitzed Eddie Gomez 19-2 (12KO’s) in the first round to keep his unbeaten streak alive as he steps up in competition. Ellis who had been dropped in his last appearance at the Fantasy Springs Casino came back hard to erase any memory of his previous performance.
After about a minute into the first Ellis landed a laser right hand to the chin of Gomez dropping him like flat basketball. Gomez would beat the count only to be blasted out of the ring seconds later from another arrowlike right hand from Ellis. Referee Eddie Hernandez didn’t even bother to count and waved the fight to give Ellis the victory. “We practiced the right hand, I wanted the chance to showcase my talent.” Said Ellis after the fight.
Opening the televised portion of the HBO Latino broadcast Ronny Rios 26-1 (11KO’s) dominated and stopped Roy Tapia 12-1-2(6KO’s) in the sixth round. Rios started fast throwing sharp left hooks to the body, slowing down Tapia and taking him out of his game plan. As the fight wore on it became less competitive with Rios landing big shots and combinations with no response from Tapia. “It was a body shot in the first round that really affected me,” said Roy Tapia. “After the fight, Ronny came up to me and told me to keep my head up, and to keep fighting. I’m going to listen to him.”
“I was just in there having fun,” said Ronny Rios. “I’m more aware of my surroundings – I could hear my coach, and relax my arms so much more. I was in the same position Roy is in now at one point in my career, and all I can say is that you learn so much more with a loss than you ever could with a win.” Rios said after the fight.
Local product Javier Padilla 2-0 (2KO’s) checked the box with an impressive stoppage win over Jose Mora 0-2 to the cheers of his hometown crowd. Padilla dropped Mora in the first round with a right hook to set the tone and signal the impending doom of Mora’s night. Another right hand sent Mora down again in the second for the last time to give Padilla the win.
Virgil Ortiz Jr. 3-0(3KO’s) blasted Nestor Garcia 0-2 in the first round with a right left combination that put Garcia down like a sack of bricks. Referee Eddie Hernandez had seen enough and called a halt to the action giving the young man from Dallas Texas his third win in a row by knockout.
Alexis Rocha 6-0 (4KO’s) notched a unanimous decision on scores of 40-34 on all three cards as he thrashed Abraham Calderon 1-4 of Los Angeles. Rocha, the younger brother of the telecast opener’s Ronny Rios pounded Calderon to the body with thudding left hooks dropping him in the second and third rounds. Calderon made it to the final bell to give the young Golden Boy prospect a full nights work but never put up a significant challenge to thwart Rocha’s attack.
In the night’s opener Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin 18-0 (10KO’s) dispatched Yardley Suarez 19-6(10KO’s) of Sacramento, CA with a left hook at 48 seconds in the fourth round. Martin has good speed and the look of a blue-chip prospect but now with 18 wins he has yet to be tested. Previously a free agent, fighting on undercards of virtually every promotional outfit; Martin has started working with K2 promotions and training in Big Bear with Abel Sanchez. “I’ve been working on my power and sitting on my punches better” said Martin after the fight.