By: William Holmes
The Omega Products International Outdoor Arena in Corona, California was the host for tonight’s ESPN Friday Night Fights broadcast as former Boxcino lightweight tournament winner Petr Petrov looked to impress against Gamaliel Diaz in the main event of the night. The co-main event of the night was between rising welterweight prospect Taras Shelestyuk and Juan Rodriguez.
The first bout of the night was a six round bout between Wilberth Lopez (5-4) and Emanuel Robles (12-0-1) in the junior welterweight division.
Robles was a former Police Athletic League national champion and had a pretty record, but he only had three stoppages in his career and his lack of power showed early on. Lopez was about three inches taller than Robles, but was unable to avoid his counters in the first two rounds.
Robles started landing stiffer straight left hands in the third and fourth round, but neither boxer really took over the action to strongly win the middle rounds. Lopez’s best punch of the night connected in the fifth round when his straight left found its home. Robles also had a good-sized cut over his left eye as the round came to an end.
By the last round, it seemed Robles was ahead on the cards, but he was far from impressive and appeared to be the more exhausted boxer. Neither fighter scored a knockdown the entire bout.
The judges scored it 58-56, 59-55, and 59-55 for Emanuel Robles.
The next bout of the night was in the welterweight division between Taras Shelestyuk and Juan Rodrigez Jr. (12-1) in the welterweight division.
Shelestyuk had a very successful amateur career and his hand speed advantage was evident at the opening bell. He had quick accurate jabs and appeared to be very comfortable with his range and staying at a safe distance.
Shelestyuk was less active in the second round, dodging and blocking most of Rodriguez’s punches. Rodriguez opened up more in the fourth round, but his punches lacked any sting.
A clash of heads led to a bad cut over Shelestyuk’s right eye in the fourth round that bothered him throughout the remainder of the fight. However, Shelestyuk was able to fight through it, outbox Rodriguez and keep his opponent at bay with accurate long range shots.
Shelestyuk opened up more with effective combinations in the sixth round and pummeled the body of Rodriguez in the seventh. Rodriguez needed a knockout in the final round to win, but he was unable to hurt his opponent.
The final scores were 78-74, 79-73, and 79-73 for Taras Shelestyuk.
The main event of the night was between Petr Petrov (35-4-2 ) and Gamaliel Diaz (39-11-3 ) in the lightweight division.
Diaz had been knocked out seven times in his career, and two of his past four fights resulted in a stoppage loss.
Both boxers spent the first half of the first round feeling each other out, but a glancing left hook by Diaz off the shoulder of an off balance Petrov resulted in an iffy knockdown. Petrov dominated the remainder of the first round with hard straight right hands and stunning right uppercuts.
Petrov was loading up on his shots in the second round and had Diaz on the defensive. Diaz began to resort to dirty tactics, such as low blows and head butts, in the second round to avoid getting knocked down. It was a tactic he had to resort to repeatedly throughout the night.
Petrov’s domination continued in the third round and he started to land effective body shots. Diaz landed a low blow in the fourth round but was getting pummeled in his body by the always advancing, menacing Petrov.
Both boxers looked tired, but Diaz was the more visibly tired of the two by the sixth round. Petrov finally scored a knockdown in the seventh with a lunging lead left hook and the only thing Diaz could do was fight dirty and whine about a small cut near his left eye.
Diaz lost a point in the seventh and was scolded by the referee in the ninth round for fighting dirty and whining about legal blows.
Diaz showed heart by staying on his feet in a bout that many expected him to get stopped, but Petrov was in clear, masterful control throughout the entire bout.
The judges scored the bout 98-89, 97-90 and 97-90 for Petr Petrov.