Nicaragua’s Gonzalez unanimously wins boxing championship at Pechanga Arena

Veteran Roman Gonzalez (left) battles Julio Cesar Martinez. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Boxing fans on both sides of the border enjoyed a thrilling night of world-class competition on Saturday at Pechanga Arena, even though the local favorite couldn’t claim victory in the main event.

Super flyweight Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua delivered a masterclass, winning an impressive unanimous decision over world flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez of Mexico (18-2, 14 KOs). Gonzalez, 34, the only person to win championships in the four smallest boxing weight classes, was too skilled, too fast and too nimble for Martinez, 27.

Martinez took the fight on short notice when original opponent Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico pulled out due to falling ill with COVID-19. Crowd support, including boxing’s biggest star, fellow Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who lives and trains in San Diego, wasn’t enough to make up for Martinez’s inexperience compared to the veteran champion González.

” Salutations to all. Hope you had a good night,” Gonzalez told the crowd after the fight. “My corner told me not to give him any tricks. When I felt I had it, that’s when I needed to put pressure on him and that’s what I did.

“He took a lot of hits. I’m very surprised, it indicates he arrives in very good condition,” Gonzalez said of his opponent.

UK based promoter Eddie Hearn match boxing said he was pleased with the results of the organization’s first event in San Diego. “I want to thank everyone in San Diego for the incredible atmosphere.

It was just an amazing performance from a pound-for-pound legend,” Hearn said of Gonzalez. “He just seems to be getting better and better.”

Streamed worldwide via the DAZN streaming network, the event featured nine fights, many featuring Mexican and Mexican-American athletes.

Featherweight Mauricio Lara of Mexico City (24-2-1, 17 KOs) came out at the opening bell looking like he had been shot down by a cannon. He beat a tough Los Angeles Emilio Sanchez (19-2 12 KOs) with nine minutes of nonstop action, winning by knockout at 2:59 of round three.

Tijuana lightweight sensation Angel Fierro (19-1-2 15 KOs) has gained career building experience from veteran and fellow Tijuana resident Juan Carlos Burgos (34-6-3, 21 KOs) battling for a draw majority fate. It may not have been thrilling, but it will pay off for Fierro as his career progresses.

Super welterweight Souleymane Cissokho of France via Senegal dispatched Roberto Valenzuela Jr. of Mexico by lopsided scorecards of 100-90 X 2 and 99-91.

Undefeated super middleweight Diego Pacheco of Los Angeles made a strong impression with a second-round knockout victory over Maryland’s Genc Pilana. Pacheco, 20, is a handsome power puncher with 10 knockouts in 13 fights who now trains in San Diego.

Australian Olympian Skye Nicolson made a successful professional debut against previously undefeated San Diego’s Jessica Sanchez at super featherweight by unanimous decision. The scores were 60-54 X 2 and 59-53. Nicolson made his first ringwalk to “New Sensation” by Australian rock band INXS.

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