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Prospects Jose Zepeda,
Saul Rodriguez notch KOs on
‘Solo Boxeo’ show

By Francisco Salazar
Photo Peter Politanoff

PORT HUENEME, California – Junior welterweight Jose Zepeda is beginning to transition from prospect to contender in his last couple of fights.

He also hits hard, as was evident on Saturday night.

Zepeda dropped Orlando Vazquez a total of four times before the fight was eventually stopped in the second round before a sold-out crowd at the Oceanview Pavilion.

The bout headlined a Top Rank/Bash Boxing card.

The southpaw Zepeda was coming off a first-round knockout over former world title challenger Victor Cayo on Nov. 8. He continued that trend from the opening bell against Vazquez.

Both landed counter punches in the first half of the first round, but Zepeda eventually swung momentum in his direction afterwards. Towards the end of the first round, a combination by Zepeda dropped Vazquez to one knee. Vazquez was able to make it out of the round.

A minute into the second round, a left to the body dropped Vazquez to a knee. After Vazquez got up, Zepeda walked Vazquez down aggressively, scoring another knockdown with a left to the head of Vazquez.

Even though Vazquez got up, it was only a matter of time before the end would come. Sure enough, Zepeda landed a three-punch combination, culminating with a left uppercut that dropped Vazquez to one knee. Referee Jack Reiss waved the fight over at 2:03.

Zepeda, from La Puente, California, improves to 23-0, 20 knockouts. Vazquez, from Puerto Rico, drops to 15-6-1, 9 KOs.


Saul KOs Carlos in 2

In the co-featured bout, Saul Rodriguez stopped Carlos Rodriguez in the second round.

Saul Rodriguez splits his time training in his hometown of Riverside and in Oxnard with trainer Robert Garcia. Eduardo Garcia worked the corner of Rodriguez on Saturday night.

From the opening round, Carlos Rodriguez pressed the fight, throwing and mostly missing with looping hooks and crosses. Saul Rodriguez kept his distance between himself and the shorter Rodriguez, looking to counter with straight right hands.

Saul Rodriguez got more into punching range in the second round. He would land three-four punch combinations to the head and body of Carlos Rodriguez. After landing a combination, Carlos Rodriguez landed a left hook to the head. Carlos Rodriguez took a few steps back into a corner, eventually dropping to one knee. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. counted him out at 1:02.

Saul Rodriguez improves to 16-0-1, 13 KOs, while Carlos Rodriguez falls to 9-2, 4 KOs.


Lopez-Mahasin fight to a draw

In the walkout bout, and the best fight on the card, welterweights Abraham Lopez and Bilal Mahasin fought to a six round majority draw.

Both fighters mostly stayed in the pocket from the opening round until the final bell. Lopez seemed to land more punches, but there were some rounds where Mahasin landed the more telling blows, especially the counter overhand right to the head of Lopez.

Fighting near his hometown of Oxnard, Lopez attacked the body more between the two, but had to deal with a bruise underneath his left eye, which made it difficult to see the right hands thrown by Mahasin.

One judge scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Lopez, while the other two judges scored the bout 57-57.

Lopez goes to 5-1-2, 2 KOs, while Mahasin goes to 5-1-1.


In other bouts:

- Featherweight Daniel Franco stopped Sergio Najera (8-17-2, 2 KOs) in the first round. Franco (10-0-3, 7 KOs) hurt Najera with a right hand, eventually dropping him to the canvas with an accumulation of punches. Referee Wayne Hedgpeth waved the fight over at 1:23.

- Welterweight Arnold Barbosa Jr. (5-0, 1 KO) stopped Taif Harris (1-3) at 1:45 of the first round. Both fighters reside in Los Angeles.

- Junior lightweight Luis Sedano (4-0, 1 KO) won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Ali Gonzalez (6-5, 1 KO). All three judges scored the bout in favor of Sedano, 39-37, 39-37, and 40-36.

   
   
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