3 More Rounds

Joseph Diaz outpoints Jose Angel Beranza

FIGHT4-2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz took a significant step towards contendership by putting in 10 solid rouds against rugged Mexican veteran Jose Angel Beranza (36-32-2, 28 KOs) in front of a packed Cowboys Dancehall crowd in San Antonio, Texas. The bout was part of a free card put on by San Antonio maintays Leija-Battah promotions, which has been a driving force behind the San Antonio boxing resurgence. Diaz took advantage of this crowd to showcase his skills and earn a unanimous decision victory.

The bout began with Diaz playing counter to Beranza’s aggression, but Diaz’s brutal left hooks to the body quickly changed that equation and after that it was off to the races for Diaz who put in rounds against his opponent and never looked back. Diaz now appears set onto bigger things as he possesses excellent hand speed and a blistering body attack.

The pro-Mexican crowd in San Antonio began the night’s co-feature by saluting the great Hall of Famer Erik Morales, who was there to accompany his younger brother, bantamweight prospect Ivan Morales (27-0, 15 KOs) into the ring. They continued the cheers as Morales overcame a slow start to earn a unanimous decision victory over Timur Shailezov (17-8-1, 4 KOs). However, through five it was hardly easy as Morales ate a large number of overhand lefts from Shailezov, who was game and was able to neutralize Morales reach. Morales failed to establish the jab early in the fight and he paid for it. However, as the fight dragged on, Shailezov lost endurance and Morales capitalized by establishing distance and firing off more complete combinations which Shailezov could not find an answer for. It was not a starmaking performance by Morales, but it’s obvious that he has support within the Mexican community and has the potential to be an attraction, albeit one who has some work to do to improve on using his long body and reach to establish the tempo.

Junior welterweight Jose Hernandez (14-9-1, 6 KOs) is certainly tough, but that may have cost him against Justo Vallecillo (7-17, 3 KOs) as Hernandez was disqualified after cursing at the referee following a point deduction in the third round. Prior to that, the two were waging a spirited contest filled with vicious body shots and big hooks. It was a back-and-forth affair but ultimately one which was cut short when Hernandez unleashed a big left hook to Vallecillo’s thigh which sparked the squabble that led to Hernandez’s disqualification.

Joseph Rodriguez (8-0, 2 KOs) is a favorite within the San Antonian boxing community and he brought a large contingent of fans into the Cowboys Dance Hall. He did not disappoint by notching a unanimous decision victory against Jesus Sandoval (3-5-3) in junior featherweight action. Sandoval managed to briefly rock Rodriguez in the first round with some sharp right counters, but Rodriguez quickly took control of the fight and pressed Sandoval over the course of six rounds. Sandoval made a strong account of himself, but his power was not enough to keep Rodriguez away from him en route to a loss.

Christian Santbanez (1-2) and Daniel Arriaga (0-2-1) did not possess the prettiest records, but they put on an excellent fight which earned the plaudits of the crowd at the Cowboys Dancehall. Santbanez dropped Arriaga in the first round, but Arriaga continued to come forward, albeit eating right hands along the way. Both men landed some big shots in the fourth round and earned acclaim as the final bell toll. Ultimately, Santbanez got the decisison nod in this lightweight encounter.

Jairo Castaneda (7-0, 2 KOs) has been a local prospect who has received a significant amount of attention as a junior welterweight prospect worth watching. However, he was forced to grind out a unanimous decision victory over Albert Espinoza (2-5) in junior welterweight action. Castaneda used his longer reach to compile points, but Espinoza began to increase the tempo in the fourth round and created an interesting affair, albeit one which Castaneda weathered.

Cresencio Ramos (2-0, 1 KOs) notched a unanimous decision victory over Jaime Hernandez (1-3) in junior lightweight action. Ramos, a native of San Antonio, showed excellent hand speed and poise for a young fighter and appeared to have a large local following. Could be a prospect to keep an eye on and is likely to be featured in the future by Battah-Leija promotions.

Junior featherweight Juan Tapia improved to 3-0 (1 KO) with a unanimous decision victory over local product Robert Ledesma (0-4). Tapia controlled the pace throughout the fight and dug a number of body shots into Ledesma to blunt any major offence from his challenger.

Adam Franklin (1-0) managed to overcome a first round knockdown to notch his first career victory via majority decision after weathering the early storm of Kevin Conrad (0-3). Franklin turned the fight by punishing Conrad over the third and fourth rounds, punctuating his comeback with a knockdown in the fourth and final round in this lightweight contest.

In a battle of two fighters seeking their first win, Texans David Ruiz and Cesar Martinez put on a spirited affair to open the show, which was light on technique but heavy on slugging. Ultimately, Ruiz (0-2-1) and Martinez (0-3-4) fought to a draw, which did not earn much ire from the local audience.

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