Leo Santa Cruz stops Chris Avalos, sets up Abner Mares rematch

Leo Santa Cruz had far too much in his locker for challenger Chris Avalos as the WBA ‘super’ world featherweight belt holder retained his crown at the StubHub Center.

Santa Cruz was the aggressor throughout, almost taking a game Avalos out in the fourth, although referee Thomas Taylor allowed the fight to go on.

Four rounds later and Taylor finally stepped in, but in this instance, Avalos was livid at the timing of the stoppage.

The win means Santa Cruz moves on to a rematch with Abner Mares in the spring of 2018, whilst Avalos contemplates yet another early defeat.

In the co-feature, three-weight world title-holder Mares once again displayed dazzling skills to bamboozle and systematically beat down Andres Gutierrez.

From the opening couple of rounds, the lighting combinations of Mares troubled Gutierrez who tried in vain to smile through the pain.

A horrible cut over the 24 year-old’s left eye, which worsened round by round, eventually gave ringside doctors the opportunity to stop the contest after ten sickening sessions.

Due to California rules on the cut, Mares was forced to go to the scorecards but won wide across the board for a 31st career victory.

Earlier, Antonio DeMarco rolled back the years as the ex-WBC lightweight ruler, 31, took out previously unbeaten Eddie Ramirez in just one round.

The Mexican was stunned early in the session but came back fighting with a huge uppercut and then piled on the pressure to force a stoppage despite protests from Ramirez.

DeMarco has now won two fights in a row since going through the worst phase of his career with three defeats in a year between 2014 and 2015.