The CBZ Newswire

Adrian Granados and Frankie Gomez Thrill Fans in Main Event of Solo Boxeo Tecate: Windy City Fight Night 18 at UIC Pavilion on August 26

by on Aug.27, 2011, under Boxing News, Guest Columnists

Explosive Undercard Gives Local Prospects a Chance to Shine

Adrian Granados (L) and Frankie Gomez battle over eight rounds

Adrian Granados (L) and Frankie Gomez battle over eight rounds

By Kerstin Broockmann
Photos by Scott Dray

CHICAGO, IL, August 26, 2011 – Golden Boy Promotions teamed with Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions and Solo Boxeo Tecate to bring a rousing five bout card to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago (with portions broadcast live on Telefutura), showcasing some of Chicago’s most promising prospects against other young fighters looking to dash their hopes. Both Adrian Granados and Frankie Gomez found themselves facing perhaps the sternest tests of their young careers when they went to war over eight rounds. Granados, who recently impressed local fans by replacing an injured David Estrada on short notice and looking impressive in earning a draw against the far more experienced Lanardo Tyner took unbeaten 19-year-old East LA native Gomez into deep waters, never backing down from the knockout artist who could not get the finish he was looking for, though he got the judges’ nod. On the undercard, Daniel Sotelo scored an impressive knockout in his debut, Omar Figueroa continued his winning streak with a second round stoppage, Luis Santiago won a decisive victory over the limited but durable Clifford McPherson, and Juan Bustamente, though he put together some impressive combinations, deserved a better opponent.

Daniel Sotelo (L) stops Ronnie Fuentez

Daniel Sotelo (L) stops Ronnie Fuentez

In the first bout of the evening, Chicago welterweight Daniel Sotelo (143 lbs.) made his professional debut against Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Ronnie Fuentez (now 0-2, 144 lbs.).  The Wisconsin native looked tense but determined, and came out swinging. Sotelo took a few shots to the body and head but kept his composure as he started timing his opponent’s wide, looping punches. Tightening his guard, Sotelo covered well and countered with straight shots to the head and body. A hard cross at the top of the second minute drove Fuentez back towards the corner where he took a volley of straight punches to the head and body. As Fuentez tried to cover, Sotelo raked his body with a hook behind the elbow. A clearly frustrated Fuentez crumpled to his knees and could not recover enough beat the count, forcing the referee to stop the bout at 1:20 of the first round, and giving Sotelo his first professional win and knockout.

Omar Figueroa (R) lands a hook behind Marcos Herrera's guard out of his southpaw stance

Omar Figueroa (R) lands a hook behind Marcos Herrera's guard out of his southpaw stance

Moving into the first televised portion of the evening, Omar Figueroa (138 lbs., 13-0-1, 10 KO’s) of Weslaco, TX, successfully held onto his “0” in the loss column against  Denver, Colorado’s Marcos Herrera (135 lbs., 6-7-1, 2 KO’s), looking to score an upset in a scheduled eight-round Jr. Welterweight bout. At the opening bell, Figueroa initially relied on his jab, finding his range while the busier Herrera seemed tentative, keeping his hands close and not straightening his punches. Having settled in, Figueroa drove Herrera back with a few sharp jabs and followed up with a flurry of straight punches and hooks. Throughout the round, Figueroa kept Herrera backing up, switching leads easily and launching sharp straight punches and punishing hooks from both hands. This did not keep Herrera from getting in some painful counters whenever Figueroa let down his guard. Herrera seemed more comfortable as the round progressed, despite the fact that he kept finding himself at the receiving end of Figueroa’s combinations.

Figueroa (L) drops Herrera for the second and final time

Figueroa (L) drops Herrera for the second and final time

In round two, Herrera looked more confident, despite the beating he had taken in opening round. Figueroa bided his time until just before the end of the first minute before unleashing a full assault, driving Herrera into the ropes with hooks to the body and head, and finally dropping him onto the ropes with a sharp left hook. Herrera rose quickly, waiting out the count. Referee Celestino Ruiz called a time out for Herrera to recover his mouth guard, but the extra time did him little good.  Herrera tried to re-engage, but Figueroa once again pulled out his arsenal. A short flurry ending in another left hook sent Herrera to the canvas. Ruiz did not finish the count as Herrera was clearly out at 1:19 of round of two, earning Figueroa his 10th KO.

Luis Santiago (L) avoids and overhand from Adrian Granados

Frankie Gomez (L) avoids and overhand from Adrian Granados

The much-anticipated main event between Chicagoan Adrian Granados (136 lbs., announced as 6-0-1, 3 KO’s, though the bout sheet gave him another KO, and BoxRec gave him a record of 8-1-1, 5 KO’s going in) and unbeaten Californian Frankie Gomez (also 136 lbs., coming in with a record of 10-0, 8 KO’s) was up next, and it more than lived up to the hype, with both young boxers leaving everything in the ring, and Adrian Granados once again proving that he is an opponent to be feared.  Though not boasting long professional records, both boxers were able to draw on the experience they gained in long amateur careers. The crowd booed Gomez before the opening bell but this did not shake his focus.  Using good head movement and footwork to avoid Granados’ punches, and coming in with hooks, Gomez demonstrated his greater ring experience and was the first to make an impression, launching body attacks that repeatedly drove Granados into the ropes, where he would mix up punches to get around Granados’ guard as Granados looked for ways to counter. Granados had trouble staying at his range throughout the round, reaching for punches or lunging in. Gomez continued to look for and find openings, though near the end of the round Granados took advantage when Gomez briefly lost his balance to backed the Californian into the ropes, though he regained the center before the bell.

Gomez (L) covers as Granados charges

Gomez (L) covers as Granados charges

Round two started with Granados stalking, trying to move in and out. The composed Gomez repeatedly glided just out of reach or bobbed under Granados’ punches before coming in to attack. Granados was definitely finding his mark more at the opening of the round, but Gomez adjusted and again began to dominate midway through, once again driving Granados back. Granados would not be thrown off, however, relentlessly charging back at Gomez, who often answered more effectively. Granados kept coming, though, setting a furious pace until a counter sent him to the canvas just before the bell.

Gomez (R) adds a forearm to his offensive arsenal as he drives Granados back

Gomez (R) adds a forearm to his offensive arsenal as he drives Granados back

In round three Gomez took the initiate beginning with a hard cross, and not letting Granado go back on the offensive.  Again he drove Granados into the ropes, using combinations of punches to body and head, including a dangerous uppercut… along with an occasional forearm. Granados could not protect himself from the constant onslaught, finding himself with his back against the ropes time and time again, and taking some severe punishment though he kept fighting until the end of the round and did not go down again.

Gomez (L) on the attack but still under fire from Granados

Gomez (L) on the attack but still under fire from Granados

Granados showed his durability at the top of the fourth round, as Gomez once again hit him square with a cross to begin another assault. While Granados was not as fast or slick as his foe, and was now definitely looking the worse for wear, he not only continued to stay in the fight but began finding ways of getting in some impressive combinations of his own as Gomez seemed surprised that Granados was still so active.

Granados (L) keeps the pressure on

Granados (L) keeps the pressure on

Granados came out strong in the fifth, with Gomez once again looking to outbox and counter him. Seeing an opening, Gomez once again tried to drive Granados back, but this time he would have none of it, refusing to be moved and then stepping away from the onslaught. Most of the round was a back and forth strategic game. Gomez once again got the better of Granados, but Granados showed his ability to make adjustments and box his way out of danger.

Granados (R) launches a successful assault

Granados (R) launches a successful assault

The pace picked up again in the sixth round as Granados went on the offense, keeping his hands high as he stalked Gomez. Gomez held back, looking for an opportunity to counter-attack, but having to pick occasional shots until a short right found its mark on Granados chin. It looked like it might be the end for Granados, who found himself pinned to the ropes unable to effectively counter, but he spun out and gained a little respite as his mouth guard, which has come dislodged under fire, was returned to him. Gomez went back to work when a revived Granados came back, but was unable to make headway until the end of the round when he got Granados against the ropes with body punches. Granados saw his opening and went high to Gomez’s face, ending the round with a flurry of answered shots of his own.

Gomez (R) fires a cross

Gomez (R) fires a cross

Granados looked to pick up where he left off in the seventh and drove Gomez back until his assault was stopped by another hard  counter-cross from Gomez. A back and forth battle center ring saw Granados land a punishing cross of his own. The round turned into a slug fest with both boxers throwing hard punches center ring, Granados connecting with some hard hooks while Gomez relied on sharp straight punches to make his mark. By this time, both boxers showed the bruises and cuts of the furious war in which they were engaged. The final stanza of the round went decisively to Granados , who somehow continued to have the energy to outwork Gomez.

Granados (L) and Gomez slug it out in the eighth round

Granados (L) and Gomez slug it out in the eighth round

Gomez tried to make up for lost ground in the final round, pulling out the stops in an apparent attempt to get another knockout. Having made it this far, Granados was not about to let that happen and launched an assault of his own. Neither boxer was showing off the defensive skills they had demonstrated earlier in the bout. The round seesawed as both boxers took turns landing bombs, their faces bruised and bloodied, though once again, Granados appeared to outwork Gomez.

It was a remarkable battle, with the scrappier but more limited Granados forcing the still-unseasoned pro Gomez to fight his fight. Gomez’s more sophisticated defense gave him the edge in the opening rounds, but Granados’ stamina won out in the latter rounds. Both fighters demonstrated good power and, as was painfully clear, chins to match. The crowd, clearly behind the hometown favorite, vocally expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision. Judge John McCarthy scored the bout a draw at 76-76, while the other judges, probably taking into account the second round knockdown and Gomez’s slightly more accurate punching which had Granados bruised and bleeding through much of the bout, gave Gomez the majority decision, awarding him scores of 78-73 and 77-74, and moving his record to 11-0, 8 KO’s. Granados suffered possibly his first recorded loss as a professional, falling to 6-1-1 (or 8-2-1, according to BoxRec) but showing once again that he is worthy of being considered a contender.

Frankie Gomez is declared the winner by referee Gerald Scott

Frankie Gomez is declared the winner by referee Gerald Scott

The fourth bout featured Cleveland, Ohio’s Clifford McPherson (147 lbs.) against Chicago’s Luis Santiago (148 lbs.). Santiago was the aggressor at the bell, while McPherson threw occasional straight punches between backing away from Santiago’s attack. When Santiago started putting his punches together he had more success, but frequently closed in too far, allowing McPherson to clinch and get in some body shots. Santiago started finding openings for his right cross as the bout went on, figuring out ways to stay at an effective range, and earning McPherson’s respect.

Clifford McPherson (R) responds to Luis Santiago's attack

Clifford McPherson (R) responds to Luis Santiago's attack

In the second round, both boxers picked up the pace, landing some solid punches, though McPherson soon began backing away or crowding Santiago. Santiago deployed his overhand right with some success. A combination from Santiago had McPherson against the ropes but he did not keep him there, and had to pursue again. This time Santiago began really establishing his dominance.  Though McPherson weathered the storm, he had no answer for Santiago’s greater power.

Santiago (R) gets the better of an exchange

Santiago (R) gets the better of an exchange

Santiago picked up where he had left off in the third, mixing his punches well as he had McPherson fighting on the run, though to his credit, McPherson still found some good straight counters. Santiago began working off his uppercut in the latter half of the round, throwing solid but not devastating combinations to McPherson’s head and body, pinning him briefly against the ropes but unable to finish.

Santiago (L) overpowers McPherson

Santiago (L) overpowers McPherson

The final round saw more of the same, as Santiago showed more power and pop but McPherson took his shots and managed to land an occasional sharp counterpunch.  McPherson’s corner kept advising him to let his hands go, advice which Santiago seemed to following his stead, ending the round with an effective flurry. Judges’ scores were unanimous in giving the shutout to Santiago, reading 40-36 across the board. Santiago improves to 3-0-0, while McPherson’s record now stands at 2-5-1.

Andrew Kato (L) crumples after a shot to the ribs from Juan Bustamante

Andrew Kato (L) crumples after a shot to the ribs from Juan Bustamante

In the final bout of the evening, Chicago’s Juan Bustamante (135 lbs.) looked to win his second professional bout and keep his record intact against Milwaukee’s Andrew Kato (134 lbs.), trying to get into the win column with his third fight. Bustamante came on fast at the opening bell, with Kato clinching as much as punching to escape the onslaught. Just one and half minutes into the round Bustamante backed the hapless Kato into the corner where referee Gerald Scott rescued him, giving him an eight count and allowing him to continue for the remaining seconds of the bout, when Bustamante again fired off a volley of shots, ending with a left hook to Kato’s rib cage that dropped him to his knees. Rather than letting him take more punishment, Scott called a halt to the action at 1:40, giving Bustamante his second victory and his first knockout.  Bustamante showed off some good offensive skills and balance, mixing his punches effectively while he had the chance, though he deserves a better opponent than the hapless Kato, who needs to get in some more time in the gym or look into another career.

While the winning fighters on the undercard of the event demonstrated skills that might someday take them from prospects to contenders, for the most part their competition did not give them enough of a showcase for their skills, though Sotelo’s composure bodes well for his future and Figueroa was impressive in stopping the durable Herrera early in a bout that many thought would prove more of a challenge. The main event was a classic war, showcasing two young fighters who clearly have the chops to stay in the game for a while, though one hopes that Granados will add some defensive tricks to his arsenal in order to avoid taking quite so much punishment as he makes his own mark. While Gomez clearly was more skilled (having an amateur record of 120-8 before turning pro, including winning the U.S. National Championship at age 17 in 2009, followed by a silver medal performance at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships couldn’t hurt), Granados is evolving with every fight and has shown himself to have the skills and durability to earn a spot among the contenders.

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