Rafael Espinoza Defeats Ramirez; Zayas & Carrington Victorious
Unheralded Mexican Rafael Espinoza (24-0, 20 KOs) used his determination and will to score an upset majority decision (113-113, 114-112, 115-111) victory over Robeisy Ramirez (13-2, 8 KOs) to capture the WBO featherweight title.
The 6’1” challenger was in attack mode from the opening bell. He carried the action, swarming the defending champion with an allotment of punches, winning the early rounds.
But Ramirez used his power to get back into the fight. Late in the fifth, the champion put Espinoza down on the seat of his pants with a heavy right hook. Ramirez hurt the challenger in rounds six, seven, and eight.
Ramirez made the mistake of thinking the fight was in his hands, and let his foot off the gas. Espinoza poured on the punches during the championship rounds. Halfway through the twelfth and final round, the champion was visibly tired. Sensing that Ramirez was fatigued, Espinoza went on an all-out assault until he put Ramirez down with thirty seconds to go in the round. Ramirez was lucky to make it to the final bell.
After the fight, both fighters said they wanted to fight each other again. In what turned out to be a candidate for Fight of the Year, do not be surprised if there’s an immediate rematch.
XANDER ZAYAS OVERPOWERS JORGE FORTEA
Fighting in his backyard at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Hines, Florida Xander Zayas (18-0, 12 KOs) scored an impressive fifth-round knockout over Jorge Fortea (24-4-1, 9 KOs).
It was all Zayas from the opening bell. With less than ten seconds remaining in the opening round, he put down Fortea with a picture-perfect left hook to the body. From there, Zayas would continue to dominate.
Rounds two, three, and four saw Zayas press the action behind the left jab and punish his overmatch opponent with pinpoint combinations to the head and body. At the halfway mark of the fifth, Fortea went down again from yet another left hook to the liver. With the look of a hurt fight who did not want to continue, the referee wisely waved the fight over.
It was work for Zayas. Currently ranked fifth by the WBO at 154 pounds, some in the boxing community have called for the 21-year to step up the level of competition. That will happen in his next outing, as he will fight former WBO Interim junior middleweight champion Patrick Texeira on February 16, 2024, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
BRUCE CARRINGTON DESTROYS JASON SANCHEZ IN TWO
Barely breaking a sweat, Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (10-0, 6 KOs) destroyed former world title challenger Jason Sanchez (16-5, 9 KOs) by second-round stoppage at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Hines, Florida in a scheduled ten-round featherweight contest.
Carrington used the opening round to find the range behind the left jab. What followed were fast and crisp combinations up and downstairs. Sharp as a needle, you could tell Shu Shu was focused on his game.
It was much of the same for Carrington in round two, as Sanchez looked like a fighter outside his league. With forty seconds left in that round, a counter left hook had Sanchez on wobbly legs. A following combination from Carrington put Sanchez down. Sensing a wounded fighter, Shu Shu poured it on, unloading a barrage of shots that put his opponent down again with ten seconds to go in the round. At this moment, the referee had seen enough and waved off the contest.
To date, this is the most impressive performance of Carrington’s career. With a desire to win a world featherweight title in 2024, look for him to enter the world rankings sooner rather than later.