By Mike Sloan. Inside the Mirage Hotel & Casino in the main event of a special Thursday edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Ray Beltran survived an early knockdown and out-slugged Ji-Hoon Kim to win a well-deserved unanimous decision. Beltran was by far the more accurate puncher and his underrated power offset most of what the Korean brought to the table over ten rounds.
Beltran ate a perfect counter left hook midway through the opening frame of the battle and when he arose on shaky legs, it seemed as though Kim was going to have an early night and possibly a highlight reel knockout to close out his year. What he didn’t realize is that the knockdown kindled a fire in Beltran’s belly, one that would carry him through a murderous onslaught of punches and eventually victory.
the end of the first round Beltran was back in the fight, his head
cleared of cobwebs. Kim was backing toward the ropes when Beltran
unloaded a leaping left hook that felled his opponent just before the
bell. Kim was badly rocked by the punch but survived the round.
Beltran continued to break Kim down with thudding hooks to the body
and powerful shots upstairs. At several times throughout the early
goings of the fight, Kim was rattled and nearly taken off his feet.
However, as dominant as Beltran was as the rounds wore on, Kim became
tougher and more resilient. The two traded bombs throughout the contest,
but Beltran’s much better head movement and ability to slip and roll
with the punches were the key.
Beltran inevitably coasted the last few rounds because Kim was
exhausted, his punches lacking any sort of real firepower. Kim has had
come-from-behind knockout wins in his career, but Beltran was too savvy
in the ring to allow that to happen and wound up winning a lopsided
decision. The judges favored the Californian fighter via tallies of
98-92 (twice) and 97-94. SecondsOut.com also favored Beltran (27-6, 17
KOs) 98-92, who continues to climb the lightweight ladder. Kim dropped
to 24-8 with 18 KOs.
Local favorite Jessie Magdaleno was thoroughly dominant against the
tough, durable Jonathan Arellano in the night’s co-feature, but he
didn’t blow him out like many had expected. Though Magdaleno scored two
knockdowns and controlled virtually every minute of the junior
featherweight contest, Arellano hung in there and forced Magdaleno to
work much harder than usual and truly earn his victory.
By the end of the fight, Arellano’s face was a swollen mess, the
result of eight rounds of torment. Magdaleno dropped his opponent midway
through the second with a swift right cross during an exchange and
again late in the sixth with a flurry of punches, but the Vegas kid
couldn’t close out the show.
There were several times throughout the encounter where Magdaleno was
tagged by clean punches, most notably the left hook. Still a blossoming
prospect, Magdaleno’s relative crudeness was exposed often, but luckily
for him Arellano lacked the sort of raw power to change the tide.
Still, Magdaleno was relentless as usual and tore into his foe every
chance he had. In the end, the effective pressure and high punch volume
paved the way toward victory and Magdaleno pitched a shutout. The
official judges favored him 80-70 (twice) and 80-69, allowing Magdaleno
to improve to 13-0 with 9 KOs. SecondsOut.com also saw it 80-70 for
Magdaleno. For his efforts, Arellano, from Ontario, California, fell to
13-2-1 with 3 KOs.
Junior lightweight Felix Verdejo made his professional debut a good
one by winning a one-sided unanimous decision over Leonardo Chavez.
Verdejo moved well throughout the contest and landed the cleaner, much
more effective shots. Chavez fought well, but he was a step behind
Verdejo from the start. Neither man was ever in any serious peril and
there were no knockdowns, but Verdejo was the superior man; he won via
tallies of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. Chavez dipped to 1-1.
Also on the card:
Robert Osiobe (14-5-4, 6 KOs) won a unanimous eight round decision
over Jesse Roman (14-1-1, 11 KOs) and Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs)
scored a seventh round TKO (2:03) over William Villaueva (10-5-1, 2
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