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Unbeaten Ruben Villa to Face Jose Durantes on Showtime


By: Ken Hissner

Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions will put on a fight card from the La Hacienda Event Center in Midland Texas. The main event will be between two unbeaten featherweights, WBO International Champion Ruben “RV4” Villa (16-0, 5kos) against JOse Enrique “El Ejecutor” Durantes Vivas (17-0, 9 kos) of Montebello, Mexico. Villa was a 2015 Olympic Alternate and is from Salinas, California. Friday will be his first title defense.

In his last bout in May, Villa defeated Luis “El Venado” Lopez Vargas, 17-1. Vivas biggest win was over Edixon “El Cabezon” Perez, 17-2.

“I am excited to be back on ShoBox. I know I must be winning and doing my job for me to keep getting on ShoBox and getting this great exposure,” said Villa.

In addition the “A” side has eight unbeaten fighters putting their perfect records on the line. In the co-feature Lightweight Michael “West Texas Warrior” Dutchover, 13-0 (10), of Sante Fe Springs, CA, takes on Thomas “Gunna Man” Mattice, 14-1 (10), of Cleveland, OH), over 10 rounds.

“I know my fights are getting tougher and my opponents getting better. Thomas Mattice is going to bring out the best in me. A lot of my fights have been quick knockouts, and hopefully with this fight, people will see I bring a high skill level,” said Dutchover.

In the Super Lightweight division Brandun Lee, 16-0 (14), of La Quinta, CA, has scored seven knockouts in his last seven fights and takes on Milton Arauz, 10-1-1 (5), of Jinotega, Nicaragua, over 8 rounds.
In 6 round bouts featuring Lightweight Abel Navarrete, Jr., 6-0 (4), of Amarillo, TX, and Super Featherweight Aaron “Angel Baby” Perez, 8-0 (5), of Albuquerque, NM.

In 4 round bouts featuring Brazilian Lightweight Matheus Avrella Lamarque, 1-0 (1), of Laurel Hill, Long Island, NY, Light Heavyweight Desmond “Dez” Hill, 5-0 (4), of Odessa, Texas, Super Middleweight James Land 1-0 (1), of Midland, Texas and Welterweight Vito “White Majic” Mielnicki, Jr., 1-0 (1), of Roseland, NJ.

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ShoBox Results: Ruben Villa Get Unanimous Decision Nod over Luis Lopez


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

For a bill built around California’s best and brightest prospects, the gray sky and heavy clouds lingered over the outdoor venue holding the latest edition of Showtime’s ShoBox series. But while the rain subsided, thunderclaps came from the ring.

Ruben Villa (16-0, 5 KO) def. Luis Alberto Lopez (17-2, 8 KO) by unanimous decision

Featherweight upstart Ruben Villa had a puzzling brawler in front of him Friday night. But solving puzzles is what this technician is best at, picking Lopez apart en route to a unanimous-decision victory at the Omega Products International in Corona, California.

The scorecards surprised the ShoBox commentary team, who could only find one round (the tenth) to give to the visiting Mexican. Lopez came out swinging—awkwardly—and refused to back down. But Villa, armed with a sharp jab and supremely accurate punches, got the job done, winning 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 to set himself up for another step up in competition.

A converted southpaw, Villa popped Lopez in the face consistently with a pretty jab. Lopez did him a favor and provided a big target, walking in with interchanging rights and lefts, sticking his chin directly in the air—an odd sight to behold, with strange quirks like when Lopez threw a right hand, his back right leg would fly out.

Lopez’s awkward charges upset Villa’s rhythm in the second round. The house fighter was forced to mix up his punches, opting to change levels and throw body hooks.

The visiting Mexican banger chased Villa around over the next three rounds. His footwork resembled an amateur but his punch resistance was as professional as it gets as Villa’s sharpshooting and counters raked up round after round. At least so it seemed.

Frustration set in for Lopez by Round 5, throwing a punch after the bell. And he was grappling in the eighth stanza.

A consistent stream of punches continued from Villa, who didn’t throw the same punch two times in a row: sticking out a picture-perfect jab, slapping a right hook off the top of his opponent’s head, circling out and away from Lopez after ripping a left hook to the body.

Lopez’s wild charges grew more and more irregular. In Round 9, Villa took advantage of his sputtering opponent and split his guard with a volley of straight left hands.

Lopez dug deep for the final three minutes. Reckless punches careened into Villa who returned fire at a lower rate, and a sharp contrast emerged between a beautiful boxer and a hideous one. But in this sport, it doesn’t matter how those punches look traveling to their destination just if they get there—and how hard.

The ringside panel seemed to value Lopez’s singular strikes more than anybody else in the building or at home. Of course not enough to take away the night from Villa. And rightly so. This one belonged to him.

The ShoStats painted a clear picture. Villa landed 220 of 591 total punches (37 percent) and 95 of 207 power punches (46 percent) while Lopez connected on 142 of 799 total punches and just 80 of 472 power shots (17 percent).

Michael Dutchover (13-0. 10 KO) def. Rosekie Cristobal (15-3, 11 KO) by first-round knockout

Considering his opponent took the fight on three-days notice, Dutchover didn’t have much time to prepare for Cristobal. But it didn’t take very long to end his man’s night either, finishing the visiting Filipino inside of one round. So quickly in fact the ShoBox telecast literally replayed the entire fight as the commentary team provided analysis.

Cristobal, 24, opened the contest with an almost cartoonish, winging right hand—it never came close. He never stood a chance. Soon after a right-left combination from Dutchover, ending in a left hook to the liver, put him on his knees where referee Zachary Young counted him out.

The finish extended Dutchover’s knockout streak to five.

Saul Sanchez (12-0, 7 KO) def. Brandon Benitez (14-2, 6 KO) by eighth-round knockout

War paint flowing from his nose, and likely down on the cards, Sanchez waded into his opponent with punches toward the end of the fourth round. Both hands oscillating, a right hand found its mark and buckled the knees of Benitez. The fight was belonged to Sanchez from there.

Sanchez, 21, commanded the center of the ring throughout the bantamweight contest. Benitez, 21, was there to meet him, quickly clubbing at the three-to-one betting favorite with both hands. A left hook to the midsection of Benitez induced a grimace from the Mexican fighter. And another counter left hand secured the opening period for Sanchez.

The rest of the way, however, began to fall in Benitez’s favor. He showered his opponent with punches in the second round. And continued to beat the blue-chip prospect to the punch to also steal Round 3.

Sanchez ignored the advice from his trainer Joel Diaz to open the fourth period and chased Benitez around while. Hurling big, winding blows, headhunting, Sanchez racked up more points pots hotting. But the agressopn paid dividends with 15 seconds to go and a right hand whizzed across Benitez’s chin. The Mexican’s knees instantly buckled and Sanchez smelled blood..

Still circling away from Sanchez, Benitez slowed down in the fifth-period. And by Round 7, his legs were gone. Stuck in the pocket with Sanchez, the California-born slugger abused his man’s midsection audible blows to the ribcage finally got the crowd into the action.

A short exchange opened the eighth period but soon after another right from Sanchez crashed into Benitez’s chin and Raul Caiz Jr stepped between the two. It was over. And Sanchez was awarded the victory and the WBO Latino title.

According to ShoStats, Sanchez landed 145 of 403 total punches (36 percent) and 123 of 296 power shots (42 percent) while Benitez connected on 94 of 380 total punches (25 percent) and 78 of 270 power punches (29 percent).

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Villa vs. Lopez: Previewing ShoBox’s Tripleheader


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

On Friday, May 10, ShoBox has a tripleheader on tap from the Omega Products International in Corona, California where a trio of the state’s most promising upstarts headline the show as they each face some of their stiffest competition to date.

At the top of the bill, Ruben Villa returns to the ring to face Luis Albert Lopez, a world-rated contender by the WBO. Michael Dutchover and Saul Sanchez, two adopted sons of Los Angeles, will be fighting in support on the Showtime broadcast, beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood will be on the call for the network with Raul Marquez providing color commentary.

The early prelims, including former title challenger Petr Petrov, can be viewed at ThompsonBoxing.com.

Here’s a look at the three matchups bolstering the card.

Ruben Villa (15-0, 5 KO) vs. Luis Albert Lopez (17-1, 8 KO)

Somehow opening as an underdog (+110), Villa could be boxing’s biggest secret—at least one that’s been hiding in plain sight. The oddsmakers ignored the southpaw’s undefeated ledger and two National Golden Gloves.

Lopez, from Mexico, opened at favorable odds but has since plummeted to a four-to-one underdog (making Villa the -400 favorite heading into the weekend). Lopez, 21, is riding a five-fight win streak since the lone loss of his career to Abraham Montoya in 2018. Last time out, Lopez upended the previously-unbeaten Ray Ximenez on UFC Fight Pass. The action was tight, but after a cut stopped the bout in the eighth period, the judges agreed Lopez’s accurate potshotting was enough to defeat the Texas-born standout.

Fighting out of Northern California, Thompson Boxing Promotions recognized Villa’s aptitude early on. The promotional outfit has brought Villa along the professional ranks since he turned professional in 2016. Now they have set up Villa, 22, for his first Showtime main event and second start on national television. He’s prepared for the 10-round contest at Robert Garcia’s gym under the tutelage of father-son training duo Max and Sam Garcia.

Friday marks the second bout of the year for Villa. In January, he boxed the ears off Ruben Cervera, orchestrating the first loss of the Columbian puncher’s career, winning over an easy eight rounds. The California-bred stylist also went the distance with Miguel Carrizoza, winning by unanimous decision. Carrizoza, interestingly, was sparked out by another prospect in Ryan Garcia. Villa lacks the cracking punch of his hotshot counterparts but that’s no secret. He doesn’t rely on barnstorming ways, but a fluid, agile attack.

Before Villa’s ShoBox debut four months, he decisioned Jose Santos Gonzalez, who in his next fight bloodied Manny Robles III en route to a split-decision loss. And then in March, Gonzalez extended Manuel Avila to a draw. Villa, on the other hand, showed no trouble with the Mexican banger.

If Villa’s impressive pro record leaves anything to be desired, his time as an amateur doesn’t. Making up 166 ammy wins, he triumphed over Shakur Stevenson and Devin Haney in headgear.

Another impressive outing over Lopez would help Villa continue to stand out from the cohort of talented Californians making their names around the 126- and 130-pound divisions.

Michael Dutchover (12-0, 9 KO) vs. Ramon Mascarena (10-0, 5 KO)

Dutchover is set to face the first undefeated opponent of his career since crushing a 1-0 novice in his pro debut. Mascarena, 25, travels from Chile to meet the California transplant.

Dutchover is a hard-hitting lightweight training out of Southern California with Danny Zamora. He’s originally from Midland, Texas where he earned the nickname “West Texas Warrior.” And in his last outing, Dutchover was all over Ruben Tamayo from the word go, in three rounds stopping Tamayo, which has become a rite of passage for Mexican-American boxers following the veteran’s tussles over the years with Joseph Diaz, Oscar Valdez and Miguel Flores.

The 21-year-old puncher planted his feet and pitched right hands to Tamayo’s body, relentlessly. The powerful blows eventually forced not only the hardened man to hit the deck twice but the referee to call a halt to the action just two minutes into the third stanza. It was Dutchover’s fourth consecutive knockout.

Never tasted defeat, Dutchover stands an inch taller than his man this weekend. But Mascarena is still a career junior welterweight and so prove more difficult to crack open like he’s done to so many others.

Saul Sanchez (11-0, 6 KO) vs. Brandon Benitez (14-1, 6 KO)

Sanchez was pushed to his limit last time out but hopes to outdo himself in his first fight of 2019 against Benitez. Nicknamed the “Beast,” Sanchez is the odds-on favorite (-300) to get the job done Friday night.

Last October, the 21-year-old bantamweight fought the unheralded Luis Saavedra. The two battled for a complete eight rounds. Sanchez settled for a majority-decision. His past opponents haven’t been so lucky. Before that surprisingly competitive tilt, Sanchez punched out Mexico’s Ernest Guerrero in four rounds—quicker than champions like Francisco “Chihuas” Rodriguez took to ditch Guerrero.

Benitez represents another Mexican combatant to deal with. One younger, fresher and sharper. Equal in age, “Leoncito” Benitez makes his way from Queretaro, Mexico having rattled off five straight victories. More importantly, included in his winning streak is a three-fight stint in Venezuela. There Benitez defeated three middling homegrown fighters in enemy territory.

Of course he’s never faced anyone highly-touted as Sanchez. But Benitez won’t be the least bit shy on the road.

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