Joe Joyce Makes Impression Against Iago Kiladze in U.S. Debut; Both Joey Spencer and Efe Ajagba Knock Out Opponents in First Rounds of Respective Fights; Stephen Fulton Dominates German Meraz in TV Opener
Ontario, Calif. (Sept. 30) – In a marathon night of fights, Southern California fans were treated to performances in a variety of weight classes headlined by Brandon Figueroa (17-0-0, 12 KOs) of Weslaco, TX against Columbian Oscar Escandon (25-5-0, 17 KOs) in an action-packed 10-round super bantamweight bout that ended with a knockout by the young prospect Figueroa in the final round live on FS1 and FOX Deportes from Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Both Figueroa and Escandon picked up the pace early as they went toe-to-toe battling in an entertaining fight from the first bell. Figueroa, who typically fights at a distance, wanted to make a statement that he isn’t afraid to fight on the inside. An accidental head butt caused a large cut over the left eye of Figueroa, as blood poured the remainder of the fight. The combatants continued to throw high volumes of punches throughout the bout, but Figueroa remained more accurate and active as Escandon did his best to stay strong. In the tenth and final round, Figueroa sealed the win with a powerful combination that ended in a right upper cut to Escandon’s chin, sending him to the canvas rendering him unable to stand at minute 1:42.
“Escandon is tough. He is short and it was hard to get to the body,” said Figueroa. “I can fight both inside and outside, but his size did matter. I had to get in there and he wasn’t backing up. I was ready for this fight. Opportunities like this don’t come often so I had to take it and run with it. I have been training all summer and I am ready to take a few days off and get right back to it.”
“I knew Figueroa was good, but I was surprised at how tough he was,” said Escandon. “Everyone can get caught with a punch. I wasn’t tired. I just got caught. I am okay. I am going to keep going.”
The co-main event saw British Silver Medalist Joe Joyce (6-0, 6 KOs) make his U.S. debut in a heavyweight fight domnation against Iago Kiladze (26-4-0, 18 KOs) of Georgia. Thirty seconds into the second round, Joyce sent Kiladze through the ropes with a flurry of right hands. Kiladze recovered and fought back, surviving the remainder of the round. He entered the third throwing everything he could, but Joyce hit him with a hard hook to the body forcing him to the canvas again. The fight ended in the with 41 seconds to go in the fifth round as Joyce landed a hard left hook to Kiladze’s body knocking him out.
“It is great to be here,” said Joyce. “I started training in the United States because it was the best way to start my career here,” said Joyce. “It is great to have my sixth win here and I look forward to getting in the ring again soon. I think I made a great impression here tonight and I just want to continue that streak.”
Also featured on the card was fast-rising star Joey Spencer (5-0, 5 KOs) of Union City, Calif. Against Cory Macon (0-3-0) of Durham, NC in a four-round middleweight bout. The 18-year-old Spencer, with dreams to become the youngest American with a world title, went to work immediately, going to the body of Macon. He continued to attack the body, but with a hard left hook, he sent Macon to the canvas, ending the fight just inside round number one at minute 2:36.
“I stay active and stay in the gym. It keeps me focused and ready,” said Spencer. “My goal is to become a world champion by age 20. Fans need to keep an eye on me and my career because I am here to stay.”
Efe Ajagba (7-0-0, 6 KOs) faced Nick Jones (7-1-0, 5 KOs) of Okmulgee, OK in a six-round heavyweight fight that didn’t even last one round. With a hard right hand, Ajagba sent Jones to the canvas with a devastating knockout in 2:25 of the first.
“Now we know why my last opponent walked out of the ring. He was afraid that was going to happen to him,” said Ajagba. “I watched tape of Jones and I knew he was slow. I was ready to attack the minute I got into the ring. I want anyone that my management will put in front of me. I am ready. I prepared for six rounds and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
In a televised swing bout, young prospect Jose Balderas (5-0-0) of Santa Maria, Calif. was tested by Mexican Ivan Martino (3-3-0, 3 KOs) in a bantamweight, but was able to get his shots off, connected with several left hooks to Martino’s body.
“He is a strong guy and he kept coming, but we were ready for it,” said Balderas. “I think I got the rounds he needed. I have been improving since my first fight. I am going to keep learning and keep growing.”
Stephen Fulton (14-0-0, 6 KOs) of the fighting city of Philadelphia faced German Meraz (61-50-2, 38 KOs) of Mexico opened the telecast in a scheduled eight-round featherweight fight. Fulton, who took this fight with 72 hours’ notice, used his jab throughout the and dominated every round. In the first minute of the eighth and final round, Fulton knocked Meraz down, setting up the win. In the end, the judges ruled the bout a unanimous decision.
“I wasn’t worried about taking the fight on such short notice,” said Fulton. “I knew I was going to dominate. I might have prepared for someone else, but that didn’t matter. I have the experience to be able to adjust. He could have had 100 fights or five fights and I would have bene ready. I want Brandon Figueroa next.”
To kick off the night, FS1 and FOX Deportes broadcasted a slate of preliminary fights. Below please find the results of those exciting match-up:
Jesse Rodriguez of Los Angeles (7-0-0, 4 KOs) won via unanimous decision against Edwin Reyes of Las Vegas (8-4-3, 5 KOs) in an eight-round light flyweight bout.
British light heavyweight Kody Davies (7-0-0, 6 KOs) defeated Jerhed Fenderson (4-7-0, 2 KOs) of Las Vegas via unanimous decision.
In his professional debut, Oscar Juarez of Brownsville TX, defeated Matt Gaver (0-2-0) of Bakersfield, Calif. via unanimous decision in a six-round super lightweight bout.
Arnold Alejandro of Dallas (8-0-0, 7 KOs) defeated Francisco Camacho (7-9-1, 3 KOs) of Matamoros, Mexico via fifth round knockout in a featherweight fight scheduled for six rounds.
To open the night of fights at Citizens Business Bank Arena, former world champion James DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) defeated Fidel Moterrosa (39-19-1, 31 KOs) via third round KO.
Fans can live stream the fights on the FOX Sports app, available in English or Spanish through the FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. The fights are available on desktop at FOXSportsGO.com and through the app store, or connected devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku. In addition, all programs are also available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.
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