Keeping true to its promise of an all-out crossroads war as the main event on Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Mexican welterweight warriors Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-7, 7 KOs) of Riverside, Calif. and Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass (28-12-4, 18 KOs) of Los Mochis, Mexico sacrificed their souls in a fight where the closing tenth-round will make for a strong “Round of the Year” contender.
Herrera, taking control of the fight early on while utilizing his jab and was able to go toe-to-toe with Soto Karass in the later rounds. Ultimately, it was Herrera who was awarded the majority decision win, with judges’ scores of 96-94, 96-94, and 95-95.
“Give me two months, and I’ll be back,” said Mauricio Herrera. “I felt like I started out strong, landing my jab, and was controlling the fight smart. By the end of the fight, I was standing a bit more and landing more of the obvious open shots.”
Herrera continued, “I will give him the later rounds, because I do feel that he came in strong; however I feel like overall my team played a strong clean, fight. I knew he was coming off a long lay-off, so I knew he was going to come in at 110 percent and just as good as he was before he took a year off. I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
“I feel like an injustice was just committed,” said Jesus Soto Karass. “So much hard work that went into this. I had to drop 40 pounds to be able to take this fight, and my team and I feel like all the runs up Mt. Baldy, diet restrictions, and the work that we displayed in the ring tonight should have merited the win.”
Soto Karass continued, “At the end of the day, as I have said before, the people who won today was the public who enjoyed and supported us. At this height of my career, I have to go back to my family, and we are going to have to make some tough decisions. Above all though I am content and am happy that I took this fight.”
Special guests of the night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card included former three-time WBC World Super Bantamweight Champion Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez, Golden Boy Promotions Partner and Future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, Brazilian UFC World Champion Jose Aldo Junior, and fighters Oscar Duarte, NABF bantamweight champion Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete, Randy “El Matador” Caballero, and Roberto “Massa” Ortiz.
Opening up the ESPN and ESPN Deportes telecast, the newly crowned again WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion Vyacheslav “Lionheart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) of Los Angeles took back his belt in a seventh round knockout of Philadelphia’s Todd “2 Gunz” Unthank-May (10-1-1, 4 KOs). “Chingonskyy” solidified his comeback performance, clearing the water with Unthank-May, landing 45 percent of his power punches and 14 jabs per round. “2Gunz” received a cut over his left eye in the brunt of their exchanges during the second round, and was almost knocked down during the seventh round. Before the eighth round could commence, Unthank-May’s corner waved the towel, awarding the seventh round knockout victory and light heavyweight title to Shabranskyy.
“I’m happy to have my belt back,” said Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. “I learned a lot from my fight against Barrera, and I’ve been working on moving my head and body a lot more. He was a tough guy. I have 20 fights in my career, and I am ready to start taking on bigger fights again.”
Also making time for the televised card on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, Niko “Baby Face” Valdes (6-0, 5 KOs) maintained his undefeated status against Jaime “Zarco” Solorio (7-4-2, 5 KOs) of San Quintin, Mexico in a six-round super middleweight bout that went the distance. The judges scored the fight unanimously in favor of Valdes as 60-54, 59-55, and 59-55.
“At the end of the day, I have to do what I have to do to win and sometimes that won’t look very pretty or impress the crowd,” said Niko Valdes. “His face looks a lot worse than mine, the only reason he looked like he was winning was because he was applying more pressure than me. I still won.”
Bringing the crowd to their feet in an action-packed six-round super flyweight affair, Riverside, Calif.’s Ricardo “El Niño” Sandoval (8-1, 7 KOs) conquered Durango, Mexico’s Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez (8-18-1, 5 KOs). The flyweights did not hit pause in the six-rounds, with “El Niño” demonstrating his ability to connect his punches and easily switch between conventional and southpaw stances, as well as initiating most of the heavy exchanges. The judges scored the bout unanimously in favor of Sandoval, with scores of 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55.
“I’m in the middle of developing my own unique fighting style,” said Ricardo Sandoval. “This was my first fight on a Golden Boy card, and I hope that with this performance I get invited to fight on their card again. There was a point that I did feel I could have knocked him out. I got him with a body punch and he bent over in pain, but he held on.”
Kicking off the ESPN 3 coverage, East LA’s Jonathan “Thunder” Navarro (11-0, 6 KOs) participated in his first full eight-round super lightweight fight against Durango, Mexico’s Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3 KOs). Navarro set the pace of the bout, scoring a knockdown in the first round. The bout featured heavy exchanges between the lightweights, with “Thunder” showing off his developing power and ability to box from the outside. Navarro scored the unanimous decision victory with judges’ scores of 80-71, 79-72, and 79-72.
“This was my first, eight-rounder, so I feel accomplished in being able to not gas out and be able to perform throughout the rounds,” said Jonathon Navarro. “I was careful with my distance, and I was a lot more thoughtful when I was throwing punches. Upping the rounds was definitely a career achievement, and I hope that I can go up to ten rounds soon.”
Opening the fight night activities with a six-round super welterweight bout, LA’s Marvin Cabrera (5-0, 4 KOs) participated in a competitive combat against Esau Herrera (19-9-1, 10 KOs) of Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Cabrera was able to prove he was the more polished fighter, effectively countering Herrera’s attempts to push forward. The judges scored the unanimous decision win with scores of 60-54, 59-55, and 59-55 in favor of Cabrera.
“I went up against a guy with a lot of experience, and the key to winning was fighting from a distance and using a lot of counter punches,” said Marvin Cabrera. “I had never faced an opponent like him before, and I was able to see what areas I need to improve to take on even bigger challenges. Overall, I am satisfied with this win.”
Herrera vs. Soto Karass was a 10-round welterweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event was sponsored by Tecate, Born BOLD and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.”