Matchroom shows up in Fresno and boxing fans see upsets and prospects shine

Michael Rueda
boxing Mikey Garcia

An event that came together in what seems like a month’s time delivered some big upsets and some surprising moments. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing and Rick Mirigian put on a card from Fresno, California which featured a hometown return, a title switching hands and a former pound for pound staple being upset. A nice gate of 8,000 viewed the night’s fights. Let’s take a look at the great boxing action from Friday.

Boxing legend Mikey Garcia stunned

Mikey Garcia (40-2, 30 KOs) had been a pound-for-pound staple before his career stalled. He was a four-division world champion, but this night he took a tough loss as he tried to reassert himself. He took on Spain’s Sandor Martin (39-2, 13 KOs) in a catchweight bout and sprang an upset over Garcia.

It was a boxing match that was competitive with Martin counter and throwing off the back foot as Garcia never seemed to get his timing back. Garcia had been inactive for over a year and a half and against Martin the rust showed. Garcia appeared sluggish and slow, while Martin seemed content taking away his play and landing counter shots. As the scores were read (95-95 and 97-93×2) and Martin was announced the winner the crowd was stunned and booed, but Martin celebrated with his corner as he picked up the biggest win of his career.

Soto loses WBO belt

In an earlier fight, Mexico’s Elwin Soto (19-2, 13 KOs) took on Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez (25-31, 14 KOs) as he defended his WBO 108-pound title. Soto was the aggressor, but the aggression was ineffective as he chased Gonzalez around and never landed anything meaningful. Gonzalez moved around and fought well off the back foot, and he was able to land just enough to be awarded the decision by scores of (116-112×2 in Gonzalez’s favor and 116-112 for Soto). Gonzalez sprung the upset and celebrated as he said he would become the next champion from Puerto Rico. It was Gonzalez’s second opportunity at a title and this time he cashed in. All week Gonzalez showed confidence in saying he would win, as he said his plan was ready and he proved to be right. Where does Soto go from here as he was upset and didn’t look good throughout the fight?

Bam Rodriguez gets his shine

Highly touted prospect Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (14-0 10Kos) who had his original opponent drop out took on Jose Burgos (18-5-1 15Kos) and made a statement. Rodriguez came out and was putting in work at a steady pace. He moved and made sure to break down Burgos and once he had Burgos hurt, he ended the night. Rodriguez knocked Burgos down midway through the fourth round and as Burgos got up, he was in no position to continue. Rodriguez attacked with poise and dropped Burgos again which caused referee Raul Caiz Sr. to put a halt to the action. With this victory Rodriguez continues to lay claim as one of boxing’s next big things and who knows a possible opponent for new champion Jonathan Gonzalez.

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez celebrates his stoppage over Jose Burgos Photo by Tracie Martinez Twenty 6 Photography

Marc Castro shows out for his hometown

Fresno native Marc Castro (4-0, 4 KOs) delivered a quick beating of overmatched Angel Luna (14-8-1, 7 KOs) that sent the hometown boxing crowd into a frenzy. Castro fighting at home for the first time since turning pro came out aggressive and hurt Luna early. Once he began to unload on Luna and put him down you knew it wouldn’t go much longer. Luna did beat the count but was only around for a little longer as Castro played to the crowd and forced the referee to step in and call the fight in round one. Castro is early in his career but showed some spirit and had the backing of his hometown fans which can go a long way.

Marc Castro celebrating his Victory in his hometown Photo by Tracie Martinez Twenty 6 Photography

Other fighters victorious on the card Oscar Perez, Charlie Sheehy, Nikita Ababiy, Diego Pacheco all picked up wins. Highly touted Brock Jarvis after looking out on his feet in round two ended picking up a stoppage victory in round five. Jarvis was being battered in round two but managed to recover and be awarded a questionable stoppage. A typical boxing ending in some people’s view.

At the end of the card, lightweight champions Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney engaged in heated verbal sparring that eventually led to security asking people to leave. In a match that may happen down the line, the confrontation had the crowd and media invested in every word.

It was another great night of boxing filled great athletes, lots of drama and big punches.

Diego Pacheco en route to a stoppage of Lucas De Abreu Photo By Tracie Martinez Twenty 6 Photography