Sunday, August 26, 2018

Top Rank Boxing Presents Ray Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza Recap

Top Rank Boxing emanated this evening from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. The card boasted ten bouts, including two title fights, and was headlined by a WBO Lightweight Title showdown between Ray Beltran (35-8-1, 21 KOs) and Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs).

Sagadat Rakhmankulov (3-0, 1 KO) vs. Christian Aguirre (7-3, 3 KOs)
Six Rounds, Super Welterweights
Decision: Sagadat Rakhmankulov via UD

Aguirre controlled the tempo of this fight and was the clear aggressor for all six rounds. Rakhmankulov, however, was the more patient and polished fighter in this bout and did not fall into Aguirre’s attempts to rattle him with his antics. Based on the outcome of this fight, the judges agreed as they awarded him a unanimous decision victory.

Breenan Macias (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Philip Adyaka (7-12, 4 KOs)
Four Rounds, Bantamweights
Decision: Breenan Macias via KO

The few fans in attendance for the second fight of the afternoon were treated to a boxing clinic put on by Goodyear, Arizona’s Breenan Macias. Macias displayed outstanding ring presence for this short-lived affair before he sealed the deal with a devastating right hook for the KO in round two.

Trevor McCumby (24-0, 19 KOs) vs. Jessie Nicklow (27-9-3, 9 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Light Heavyweights
Decision: McCumby via TKO in round 3

After a slow start in round one, Nicklow started to pick up momentum in rounds two and three. Unfortunately, it appeared Nicklow injured his right shoulder in round three as his arm laid lifeless. Nicklow displayed unparalleled fortitude as he stood in and tried to fight with one arm until the referee called a stop to the action.

Antonio Lozada Jr. (40-2-1, 34 KOs) vs. Hector Ambriz (12-7-2, 6 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Lightweights
Decision: Draw

Not much to speak of in regards to this bout. Aside from a short-lived flurry of action from Ambriz in round one, Lozada controlled the ring for the remainder of the contest as he continued to walk down his opponent for the duration of the fight. At first glance, one would have expected Lozada to make quick work of Ambriz based on his record, but Hector proved to be a tough opponent and could not be dropped to the canvas. Apparently the judges at ringside viewed the fight a bit differently as one ruled in favor of Ambriz, another in favor of Lozada, and the third scored it a draw.

Francisco De Vaca (19-0, 6 KOs) vs. Jesus Serrano (17-6-2, 12 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Featherweights
Decision: Francisco De Vaca via UD (79-72; 78-73; 78-73)

De Vaca and Serrano came prepared for a war. One of the highlights of the fight came in round two as these pugilists served those in attendance with a rousing exchange that brought the crowd to their feet as neither man gave an inch and exchanged punishing blows until the bell. De Vaca continued to punish Serrano for the remaining six rounds as he worked the body unmercifully. Serrano continued to display a resounding will as he made several attempts to answer De Vaca’s offense but in the end, De Vaca was the busier fighter and the judges sided with him on a unanimous decision.

Carlos Castro (21-0, 9 KOs) vs. Diuhl Olguin (12-12-2, 9 KOs)
Eight Rounds, Super Bantamweights
Decision: Carlos Castro via UD (80-72; 79-73; 77-75)

Plain and simple…Castro was the busier and more accurate fighter throughout this eight round encounter while he still looked very fresh in the final round. Don’t get me wrong, Olguin came to fight but was clearly not as polished at his craft as Phoenix’s own Carlos Castro.

Robson Conceicao (9-0, 5 KOs) vs. Edgar Cantu (7-5-2, 1 KO)
Eight Rounds, Super Featherweights
Decision: Robson Conceicao via UD (80-71; 80-71; 80-71)

The obvious height and reach advantage in this contest belonged to Conceicao as he imposed his will landing brutal power punches and body shots throughout the fight-including one that dropped Cantu in round four. Cantu proved throughout the fight, however, that a fighter’s will can overpower his physical abilities-even when the match-up is reminiscent of Little Mac taking on formidable foe after formidable foe in the classic “Punch Out” game. All joking aside, Cantu fought with the heart of a champion, but Conceicao proved to be more than he could handle as the judges were in accordance on a unanimous decision.

WBO Junior Featherweight Championship
Isaac Dogboe (20-0, 14 KOs) vs. Hidenori Otake (31-3-3, 14 KOs)
Twelve Rounds, Junior Featherweights
Decision: Isaac Dogboe via TKO Round One

Undefeated 23-year-old Isaac Dogboe waged war with Hidenori Otake with Dogboe’s WBO Super Bantamweight Title on the line. Dogboe stunned Jessie Magdaleno with an 11th round KO to win the title this past April. Otake entered this contest boasting a nine fight win streak including a tenth round TKO victory over Brian Lobetania this past March. Otake last tasted defeat when he dropped the WBA Super Bantamweight Title to Scott Quigg in 2014.

Dogboe was unrelenting from the opening bell. Otake was overmatched and barely landed a shot as Dogboe quickly scored two knockdowns. After the second knockdown, it was clear that Otake needed to make it to the bell or this fight would quickly see it’s end and sure enough, the referee called a stop to the action shortly thereafter. Your winner in dominant fashion and still WBO Junior Featherweight Champion, Isaac Dogboe!

Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) vs. Edina Kiss (15-8, 9 KOs)
Six Rounds, Super Featherweights
Decision: Mikaela Mayer via TKO (Kiss retired after round three)

Mayer, a 2016 Olympian, used her height and reach advantage from the opening bell as she quickly established her powerful jab to set-up a barrage of punishing combos. Despite this only being Mayer’s seventh professional fight, she showed the composure and technical soundness of a grizzled veteran. Kiss and her corner elected between rounds three and four that they would not continue to be subjected to any additional abuse and retired from the fight.

WBO Lightweight Championship
Ray Beltran (35-8-1, 21 KOs) vs. Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs)
Twelve Rounds, Lightweights
Decision: Jose Pedraza via UD (115-112; 117-110; 117-110)

This bout pitted Phoenix resident Ray Beltran, a veteran of 43 fights, against Jose Pedraza with Beltran’s WBO Lightweight Title on the line. Beltran earned the title by a unanimous decision victory when he defeated Paulus Moses back in February of this year, and has not lost a contest since he dropped the same title to Terence Crawford back in 2014. Pedraza, who is eight years younger than Beltran, entered this bout riding the heels of a two fight win streak with his last contest coming only TWO months ago as he won a unanimous decision over Antonio Moran. Pedraza has more recently tasted defeat as he suffered a setback against Mayweather Promotions own Gervonta Davis, via TKO, in January 2017.

Pedraza came out like a fighter who belonged in this fight all along, not one who was a replacement coming off a two month layoff. Pedraza was game for the first three rounds and was able to land a shot that opened Beltran up over his left eye. Beltran’s tactful use of head movements and feigning allowed him to buzz Pedraza in round four and continued to move forward through round six. At this point, Pedraza appeared to resort to a defensive approach as he became more of a counterpuncher despite Beltran favoring his eye.

Rounds seven through ten saw Beltran display a superior inside game every time Pedraza attempted to mount an offense, however, this came to an end in round 11. As Beltran attempted to close the gap between Pedraza and himself he was caught with a solid left uppercut that put him on his back changing the complexion of the fight as we headed into the 12th and final round. The 12th round saw Pedraza take control of the tempo and finished the round by driving Beltran into the corner and punishing him with an endless onslaught of combos until he was saved by the bell. The decision went to the judge’s scorecards and all three decided in favor of your new WBO Lightweight Champion Jose Pedraza! I personally felt that 117-110 was a bit lopsided but it was not a stretch of the imagination to see Pedraza coming out of this one as the victor, for even when he took a counterpunching approach, he landed his shots with conviction. With this victory, Pedraza will now move on to square off with Vasyl Lomachenko in December.

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