Josesito Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) earned a decisive unanimous decision (100-89, 100-89, 100-89) over Saul Corral (21-9, 12 KOs) in the Ringstar Sports promoted main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 & FOX Deportes from The Novo at L.A. Live.
Although Corral was able to finish the fight, Lopez controlled the action throughout, dropping Corral to the canvas in the 10th round to cement the victory.
The co-main event saw Alejandro Luna (22-0, 15 KOs) defeat Andrey Klimov (19-4, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 98-92) in a thrilling ten-round lightweight bout. Luna stunned Klimov on a couple of occasions, but the resilient Klimov would not be knocked out, instead going the distance in a fan-friendly battle.
The televised opener featured 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (1-0, 1 KO) getting a powerful stoppage in his professional debut over Thomas Smith (3-5-1, 2 KOs). Balderas stalked Smith with precision and forced Smith’s corner to throw in the towel following the first round.
The non-televised fights featured a slew of talented fighters making their highly anticipated professional debuts. 2016 Mexican Olympian and Bronze medalist Misael Rodriguez (1-0) secured a unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36) over Brian True (1-7-1, 1 KO) in four-round slugfest.
2016 Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis (1-0, 1 KO) landed punches in bunches against Rasheed Lawal (1-5-1). Stanionis applied pressure with two swarms of punches in the first round, the second barrage proving too much for Lawal and forced the referee to stop the fight in round one (2:35).
Lindolfo Delgado (1-0, 1 KO) stopped Luis Silva (3-10, 2 KOs) in round three (:33). Delgado knocked Silva down with a vicious uppercut in the second round and Silva never fully regained himself before his corner stopped the fight in the third frame.
Money Powell IV (1-0, 1 KO) used his height and reach advantage to dominate Todd Templeton (0-1), knocking Templeton down twice and then stunning him a third time before the referee stopped the action in the first round (2:55).
Here is what the fighters had to say following their bouts:
“Tonight was a result of all the work I put in over the last few months with Robert Garcia.
“I dropped him with a left hook, but he’s a gritty guy. He took some punishment. I was a little careful in there, though. It’s been a while since I fought some good rounds like that. There were a few times that I tried to go for the kill, but he’s tough guy and stayed alive.
“It felt good going the distance. My body felt good. More than anything, I was alert and my instincts were quick. I had good reflexes and I was sharp. I got hit with very few punches, so I think I did OK tonight.
“I’m coming along. This is my second fight coming back in two years. It’s a little process. I feel like for my next fight I’ll be that much better. I’m just focused on continuing to get better. I want to step it up for the next fight.
“We have a plan. Robert and I have only been training together for a short while, but the improvement is there and there’s more to come.
“I’m the Riverside Rocky and I want to be in exciting fights that friends and family members will remember for years. I definitely have the grit and the (guts) to get in there with the best of them. I’m a lot smarter inside the ring now.”
“I felt like my distance was off tonight. I think I need to spend more time sparring. I didn’t have a lot of sparring partners for this fight and I think that affected me.
“I thought when Lopez landed punches I came back strong, but I didn’t continue with the attacks because he was able to stop me.
“I just need to change some things up in training camp, and then I think I can get back to another big fight.”
“Klimov is a very tough guy. We’ve seen him go the distance with Terrence Crawford. He’s fought the cream of the crop, so it’s an honor to get a win over him. He’s a top-level fighter, so this victory goes to show that we’re ready for any top-five lightweight.
“Our plan tonight was to work the body. We noticed he has a pretty high guard, so I wanted to go to the body to break him down little by little.
“I know that I hurt him with a couple body shots, but he recovered fast. Later on, I hit him with an overhand right that got to him, but he’s such a tough guy.
“My thing is always to please the crowd. I think this sport is as much about entertainment as it is skill and the fans want to see a show. That’s why I bring the action and do whatever I can to make it exciting for them.
“The last round wasn’t my best. He was outworking me a little, so as soon as the 10-second bell rang I wanted to close the fight out strong. Unfortunately, I opened up and we clashed heads, which caused the cut over my left eye.”
“I got staggered a little bit, but it wasn’t anything that I thought was going to turn my lights out.
“Luna is a very herky jerky fighter. The cut over my left eye came near the end of the fight when we clashed heads.
“I’m 35 years old. We’re going to go home and take some time to think about what’s next. I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of things in this sport. Now it’s time to talk with my family and decide my future.”
“We spent a lot of time sparring with great fighters to get ready for this fight. I think all the practice paid off and my speed was my biggest asset tonight.
“I think their corner stopped the fight because he was taking so many shots, but I’m not sure.
“I’m happy and excited to be a pro. I have so many people here tonight supporting me coming in from Oklahoma and Texas, so it’s an honor. I felt like a win wasn’t enough. I needed to make a statement.
“I’m going to try to stay busy. I’d like to fight every two months, so I hope to be back in June fighting again.”
“I really had a bad headache. After the first two punches, I thought I could take it. I know he has a good body shot, but it didn’t really affect me. But after the fourth and fifth good one, I knew it was too much. I didn’t want to go out there in the second round just to get hurt.”
“I honestly thought it was going to be an easier opponent. I haven’t been active since the Olympics eight months ago, but I trained very hard for this fight and got the win tonight.
“I don’t think he brought anything to the table that was that different than what I’ve seen before, but it was my first pro fight and maybe there were some first fight jitters.
“I’ve never had a bloody nose before, so tonight was definitely something different for me, but I rolled with the punches.
“It means a lot to me to be a professional fighter now. I know the expectations are higher, and there are a lot of differences between the pros and amateurs, but it felt great in there.”
“I had a great camp, I have fantastic coaches and I work hard every day in the gym. Tonight, it all paid off.
“I saw that I was able to land some good shots, and I could tell I was getting to him a little bit, so I started throwing more and more to try and stop him.
“This has been a dream of mine forever. I grew up watching legends like Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao, and now I’m a professional fighter just like them.
“I’m ready to continue proving myself. I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me.”
“My team and I had a game plan and I followed it to the letter.
“The punch that I dropped (Silva) with was a left uppercut. Thankfully I was able to land it and I knew I had him hurt.
“Competing in Rio de Janeiro in the Olympics was an incredible experience and a good learning lesson for me, but now I’ve officially made my transition into the pros. It felt different in the ring tonight, but I was very prepared.
“I’m just going to continue training hard to build on this performance and little by little we’re going to reach our goals.”
MONEY POWELL IV
“I did what I wanted to do tonight. I dominated early. (Templeton) is a tough, old dude, and I want to thank him for taking this fight and allowing me to showcase my skills.
“I was just trying to start the fight out by controlling my distance and using my jab, but I could see he didn’t have much to offer, so I stopped using my jab so much. Once I realized I could land shots on him I went with my power punches because anything I threw was going to get him.
“Becoming a professional fighter is a dream come true for me. I always wanted to be a fighter ever since I was a little kid. Thankfully Richard Schaefer signed me and gave me a chance to realize my dream.
“This is only the beginning for me. I’m trying to be the best fighter that’s ever lived.”