Cuban standout Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) pulled an upset over Vyacheslav “Lionheart Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) in a slugfest for the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight title at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. before a nearly sold-out crowd and televised on HBO Latino. The fight lasted until the seventh round, where Shabranskyy’s team waved the white towel at the 2:05 mark.
“Of course we would never expect this,” said Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. “We will decide next steps after we get over this.”
“With this win, I proved all the people who bad mouthed me wrong,” said Sullivan Barrera. “This win is for all the boxing fans outs there. I want to specifically thank my trainer, Derik Santos. He sat me down, we watched the tapes, and he said to me, ‘Sullivan, this is what you have to do to get the win.’ This proves that my career in boxing is alive. I want a rematch with Andre Ward.”
In the evening’s co-main event also televised on HBO Latino, Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (17-0, 12 KOs) maintained his undefeated status and was crowned the new IBF North American Welterweight Champion after stopping Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (19-2, 11 KOs) in the first round at 1:19.
“I am at a loss of words,” said Eddie Gomez. “I just don’t know how this happened.”
“It’s been a long time since I was able to get a knock out in the first round,” said Rashidi Ellis. “I told my team I was going to win, and I entered the ring with confidence. When I landed that first jab, I felt an urgency. I could see it in his eyes that he knew I was going to win. Now with this belt, I feel like I can take anyone.”
Opening up the HBO Latino telecast, Ronny Rios (27-1, 12 KOs) faced East LA’s Roy Tapia (12-2-2, 6 KOs) in a 10 round featherweight bout. Tapia entered the ring hungry; however, the relaxed Rios was able to obtain the stoppage, with the referee calling the fight before the start of the seventh round.
“It was a body shot in the first round that really affected me,” said Roy Tapia. “After the fight, Ronny came up to me and told me to keep my head up and to keep fighting. I’m going to listen to him.”
“I was just in there having fun,” said Ronny Rios. “I’m more aware of my surroundings. I could hear my coach, and I could relax my arms so much more. I was in the same position Roy is in now at one point in my career, and all I can say is that you learn so much more with a loss than you ever could with a win.”
Representing his hometown of Indio, Javier Padilla (2-0, 2 KO) stopped Tijuana, Mexico’s Jose Mora (0-2) in the second round of his scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight. Padilla sent Mora to the mat in the first round with a powerful left hook at the end of the first round, finishing him off at 44 seconds into the second round with a straight right hand.
“I wanted to take my time in the ring,” said Javier Padilla. “I didn’t think he would get back up in the first round when he first hit the mat, but into the first couple of seconds of the second round, I was ready to finish what I came to do in my territory.”
One of Golden Boy’s hottest prospects, Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) faced Nestor Garcia(0-2) in a scheduled four-round super lightweight bout that only made it to the first three minutes of the first round.
“I’m so happy with this knock out, because I feel that it was well deserved,” Vergil Ortiz said after the fight. “He was quick to try to block my punches, so I knew I had to stop him early. As soon as I saw the open opportunity, I launched my straight right hand punch, and that did the trick.”
Younger brother to the HBO Latino television opener Ronny Rios, the equally talented Alexis Rocha (6-0, 4 KOs) faced the tough Abraham Calderon (1-4) in a four round super welterweight battle that went the distance. Rocha was able to gain the unanimous decision with all the judges scoring the bout 40-34.
“He was a tough fighter, and even though his record wasn’t spotless, he was never stopped before,” said Alexis Rocha. “I was expecting a rough road, and I am happy with the two times I made him hit the floor. I’m a tough welterweight, and I’m only 19 so I have a lot to learn.”
Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Ryan Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) defeated Sacramento’s Yardley Suarez (19-6, 10 KOs) in round four of the scheduled eight-round lightweight bout. Suarez was able to keep up with Martin up until midway of the fourth round, when he hit the mat after Martin’s flurry of punches. Suarez was able to get back up, only to be overtaken again by Martin’s punches causing the referee to stop the fight, awarding the TKO to Martin.
“The moment I saw him go down, I knew that it was my time to go hard on him,” said Ryan Martin of his win. “It’s always an exciting moment to remain undefeated, and I’m looking forward to more things to come.”
Also in attendance at tonight’s fight was WBC Super Featherweight Champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) as the VIP guest for the stacked card. His appearance came just six weeks before he defends his title against Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs) in a 12-round surefire high-action fight on January 28, from the same venue live on HBO Boxing After Dark.