By Mark Giardini
Ontario, California- On Friday night, the Doubletree Hotel hosted Thompson Boxing’s fight card billed “Path to Glory.” The main event featured a Super Bantamweight NABA Champion bout between the defending champ, Danny “The Baby Faced Assassin” Roman of Los Angeles (16-2-1, 5 KOs) and Erik Ruiz of Oxnard (13-4, 6KOs). Roman was ranked #15 by the WBA.
The Crowd erupted as Roman made his way to the ring. Round one was a feel-out round for both men. Roman and Ruiz displayed hand speed early on. In the second round, Ruiz started to bleed from the nose. After a close opening two rounds, Roman landed flashy combinations and beat Ruiz with volume in the third.
As the fight continued, Roman was able to rack up rounds with his high punch output. Roman managed to open up several cuts on Ruiz by the fight’s end. Ruiz had success in spots and even appeared to make Roman gun shy at times. Though neither fighter is a huge puncher, they both managed to keep one another honest. When the final bell rang, the judges scored the fight 99-91, 98-92 98-92 in favor of Danny “The Baby Face Assasin” Roman, the unanimous decision victor and still NABA Champion.
Friday’s co-main event, was an exciting one between welterweights Giovani “Gallo de Oro” Santillan of San Diego, CA (17-0, 9KOs) and Ernesto Ortiz of Morelos, Mexico (10-3, 7KOs). Santillan is a crafty southpaw whose talents were recognized by Floyd Mayweather. Santillan was one of Mayweather’s chief sparring partners for the infamous Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight.
Santillan won the early rounds with crisp body shots and sharp jabs upstairs. In the third round, things changed. After Santillan battered Ortiz against the ropes, Ortiz let his hands go and pushed Santillan back for the first time of the fight. Ortiz was landing the right hand almost at will in rounds three and four and managed to temporarily stun Santillan. Santillan started to bleed from his nose in round four. The fight was just about even through six rounds.
Both men stood and traded in spots with shared success. Eventually, Santillan was able to wear Ortiz down with his body punches. There were ebbs and flows during this fight and the exchanges incited cheers from the crowd. At the end of round 8, the judge’s scorecards read 76-76, 78-74, 80-72. Giovanni Santillan won a hard earned majority decision.
Super Featherweights Jose “Pepito” Haro (11-1-1, 6KOs) of Salt Lake City and Juan Reyes of Riverside, CA (12-3-3, 2KOs) squared off in a scheduled eight rounder. Trading, fighting inside in spots. 79-73 winner by unanimous decision Jose “Pepito” Haro. Reyes walked down Haro at times and had success in spots, but Reyes was often forced to fight at Haro’s pace. Haro went on to win unanimous decision.
The third fight was a Super Featherweight scrap between Erik Ituarte of Santa Ana, CA (11-1-1, 2KOs) and Angel “El Canas” Martinez (6-1-1, 2KOs). Both fighters threw good combinations. This was another fight with ebbs and flows. The difference maker occurred when Ituarte knocked Martinez down in the fifth round off of a left hook. Ituarte won via unanimous decision. This decision was fair, but the 60-53 scorecard was questionable as it was a competitive fight.
The second fight was a phone booth fight. Indio’s own Miguel “La Tormenta” Mendez (6-1-1,3KOs) faced undefeated (at the time) prospect Cesar Villarga (8-1 4Kos) of Columbia in a scheduled six round lightweight bout. Mendez entered the bout as the underdog. The first two rounds were action packed with both men exchanging hard punches. Villarga successfully flashed some solid combinations. Mendez maintained his poise and managed to score a KO at 2:25 seconds of round three off a thudding right hand.
Heavyweight Dakota “The Chosen 1” Walker of Los Angeles made his pro debut in the opening bout against Edgar “Porki” Najera (0-5) of Tijuana, CA. It’s a good thing that Walker wasn’t fooled by Najera’s Butterbean’esque physique. Najera flashed some quickness and was a tough customer with a good chin. Walker looked good in his debut, but could not get the stoppage. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Walker.