Too Smooth: Jose Zepeda Rolls Past Kendo Castandea, Luis Alberto Lopez Upsets Andy Vences
In Action-Packed Co-Feature!
(July 7th) The boogeyman of the junior welterweight division kept on rolling Tuesday night. Two-time world title challenger Jose "Chon" Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) outboxed Kendo "Tremendo" Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs), rolling to a unanimous decision victory (98-92 2x and 97-93) at the MGM Grand Conference Center — Grand Ballroom.
Zepeda, from La Puente, California, is 2-0 with a no contest since his controversial majority decision loss to world champion Jose Ramirez. He is currently ranked in the top 5 by the WBC and WBO.
“He was a late replacement, but he was tough in there. I didn’t take Kendo lightly because I knew what he was capable of. He had only one loss by decision coming into tonight," Zepeda said. “Anybody with a belt at 140 pounds is who I want to fight. A championship fight is my goal, and that is what I am working towards.”
Lopez Upsets Vences
Luis Alberto Lopez (21-2, 11 KOs) authored the most significant win of his carer, edging longtime junior lightweight contender Andy Vences (23-2-1, 12 KOs) via 10-round split decision. A Lopez uppercut early in the sixth round stunned Vences, but he was able to weather the onslaught and survive the stanza.
Vences appeared to rally in the bout's latter stages, but it was too little, too late.
“I felt I won the fight with my pressure. It was a close fight, but I was confident I did enough after the final bell sounded," Lopez said. "Credit to Vences. I thought he was knocked out earlier in the fight, but he came back like a warrior.”
Said Vences, “I thought I won a close fight, but I am not going to complain about the decision. It was a good, close fight. No excuses. I prepared well for 10 hard rounds.”
—Lightweight prospect Andres Cortes (13-0, 7 KOs) survived a fourth-round knockdown to top Alejandro Salinas (10-4, 9 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision. The scores were as follows: 79-73, 77-74 and 76-75. Cortes swept the last three round on all of the judges' cards.
— Gabriel Muratalla (4-0, 3 KOs), the fighting preschool teacher from Fontana, California, bested Las Vegas native Sergio Lopez (4-6-3, 0 KOs) by unanimous decision (40-36 2x and 39-37) in a four-round bantamweight bout. Muratalla was making his second "Bubble" outing following his first-round stoppage over Fernando Robles on June 11.
— Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KOs) rebounded from his first career defeat with a first-round knockout over Reymond Yanong (11-6-1, 9 KOs) in a welterweight contest.
— Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (3-0) edged Diego Elizondo (2-2-2) via majority decision by scores of 38-38 and 39-37 2x.
Whats Up Next!
July 9th, Main Event
Carlos Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs) vs. Jerry Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs)
10 Rounds, Heavyweight
Takam has been at, or near, the top of the heavyweight hierarchy for the past decade. He is a former world title challenger who has won three fights in a row and is seeking another championship opportunity at the age of 39. A 2004 Olympian for his native Cameroon, Takam, who is co-promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, has wins over former world title challengers Michael Grant and Tony Thompson. Forrest has suffered only one defeat since 2014, a controversial split decision against Jermaine Franklin last July. The winner of this main event will take a seismic step forward in the heavyweight landscape.
“For the past two weeks, I didn’t think I was fighting since my fight with Oscar Rivas fell through, but I stayed ready,” Takam said. “I want to give a great fight to everyone watching on ESPN.”
DeGuardia stated, “I am thrilled the ESPN audience will be able to see Carlos Takam on July 9. Takam-Forrest is a significant fight in a hot heavyweight division. Carlos is a true pro, and he didn’t let the Oscar Rivas pull-out affect him. He stayed ready and now can jump in on less than two weeks’ notice to capitalize on this opportunity. This will be his third fight in less than a year, and kudos to him as he is a fighter who wants to stay active.”
“I respect Carlos Takam as a man, but I will have to hurt him and do what I have to do to win,” Forrest said. “This is an amazing opportunity for me to fight on ESPN. I feel I’ve earned it, and I’m more than ready. The change in opponent was of no huge concern. Though Takam has been more active and is in better shape, he and Jarrell Miller have a similar style, so I didn’t have to change much in training camp.”
Carlos Castro (25-0, 10 KOs) vs. Cesar Juarez (25-8, 19 KOs)
10 Rounds, Junior Featherweight
Castro, from Phoenix, Arizona, is 5-0 since signing a co-promotional deal with Top Rank, rising the rankings with a classic boxer-puncher style. He dominated former world title challenger Genesis Servania over 10 rounds in February 2019 and is coming off a tight majority decision verdict over longtime contender Jesus Ruiz.
Juarez is synonymous with toe-to-toe battles and is perhaps best known for his 2015 Fight of the Year contender against Nonito Donaire, which he lost by unanimous decision. Juarez is 8-4 since the Donaire fight, including a knockout win over Albert Pagara (26-0 at the time).
Heavyweight sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs), who notched a KO win inside “The Bubble” on June 9, will return in a six-rounder against an opponent to be named.
Philadelphia middleweight Fred Wilson Jr. (6-0-2, 2 KOs), who is coming off a pair of draws, will fight Ashton Sykes (5-3, 1 KO) in a six-rounder.
In an eight-round cruiserweight tilt, the unbeaten Robin Sirwan Safar (10-0, 7 KOs) will fight DeShon Webster (12-3-2, 6 KOs). Safar has won his last three by first-round knockout.
In a four-rounder at welterweight, Peter Cortez (2-1, 1 KO) will take on an opponent to be named.
Puerto Rico-born junior lightweight prospect Joshafat Ortiz (7-0, 4 KOs) will collide with fellow unbeaten Joshua Orta (6-0, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder.
About Top Rank
Innovation has been the standard at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company, Top Rank has shaped, developed, and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Top Rank has promoted some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s history, including 26 Ali events, Leonard vs. Hearns, Pryor vs. Arguello, Duran vs. Leonard, Hagler vs. Hearns, Leonard vs. Hagler, Foreman vs. Holyfield, Morales vs. Barrera, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, and the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights.
Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors, and television networks, Top Rank has been an architect of boxing’s global growth by staging high-profile events in landmark settings around the world, including Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Staples Center, Wembley Arena, Araneta Coliseum, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, The “Fabulous” Forum, and AT&T Stadium. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans and embracing 21st century technological advancements to distribute world-class fights and shoulder programming across a variety of platforms.
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