Carson CA – From The Stub Hub Center aka The Battleground, WBO Featherweight Champion defended his title against his toughest test to date against Miguel Marriaga. From the onset it was clear that the hard charging challenger from Colombia was in the fight and Marriaga had his moments. He was very confident all fight week long leading up to the fight and I actually witnessed first hand how confident he was, when he proceeded to eat a full plate of food at the final press conference on Tuesday. When I asked him about that he said he had been on weight for weeks and was ready to destroy Valdez, he wanted to show everyone how in shape he was so ate at the presser. That was a first for me, in my years covering the sport I never seen a fighter go to the media brunch and help himself.
The younger Valdez was rocked a few times during the fight but his aggressive style was just too much. In the early rounds the fight was close but down the stretch Valdez began to take over an even dropped Marriaga who was able to survive the round. Valdez went for the knockout in the 12th but Marriage stood his ground and what we got was toe to toe action. As the final bell rang the Stub Hub was rocking and the fans gave the fighters a standing ovation. Valdez was the clear winner and the knockdown in the 11th only cemented his win. The fight went to the scorecards and despite the wide scorecards (119-108, 118-109, 116-111) the right guy won, I had it 117-111 for Valdez. After the fight we talked to the champion who says he is ready to take on whoever and did not dismiss the notion of a possible showdown against either Abner Mares or Leo Santa Cruz.
In the co-main event Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez got the UD win over Max Bursak in his return following a year off due to a hand injury. It was Zurdo Ramirez first title defense of his Super Middleweight WBO in which he made Mexican boxing history when he became the first Mexican to win a title at 168 lbs when he beat the veteran Arthur Abraham who actually won on Saturday as well in Germany setting up a possible rematch. The win by Abraham over Robin Krasniqi makes him the mandatory for the WBO title. Zurdo Ramirez won every round of the fight but did not win the crowd over as some began to boo during the 12 round affair, the score cards read 120-106 3X.
In the other title fight of the night Jessie Magdaleno defended his WBO Jr Featherweight title with the 2nd round TKO over Adeilson Dos Santos of Brazil. The Challenger Dos Santos had the size advantage over the champ but Magdaleno speed and power was too much as he dropped Dos Santos twice before Ref Lou Moret stopped the fight at the 2:51 mark of the 2nd. It was a bit premature stoppage to me but nonetheless it was a huge win over Magdaleno who called out all the champs at 122 lbs and even name dropped Guillermo Rigondeaux.
In other action Shakur Stevenson got the Tech UD win over Edgar Brito in his professional debut, the 2016 Olympian Silver medalist from Newark showcased his skills and showed why many think he will be a future star in the sport. Brito was game and came to win but Stevenson who at the tender age of 19 just showed he has too much skill plus like the saying goes “speed kills”. Stevenson will return May 20th on the Terence Crawford vs Felix Diaz undercard. Fazliddin Gaibnazarov another 2016 Olympian from Uzbekistan in which he won the gold medal got the KO over Victor Vasquez in the 2nd round. Also undefeated Maxim Dadashev got the KO over Bilal Mahasin to remain unbeaten and improve to 7-0.
Photo By Mikey Williams