CARSON, California – Junior featherweight contender Brandon Figueroa won by technical knockout after Yonfrez Parejo did not answer the bell to start the ninth round.
Figueroa, who has now stopped his last six opponents, won an interim world title belt with the victory over Parejo.
The 22-year-old Figueroa was coming off an impressive third round knockout victory over Moises Flores in his last bout on Jan. 13 in Los Angeles. The Weslaco, Texas resident is the younger brother of unbeaten Omar Figueroa.
In our opening opening bout#FigueroaParejo are holding back no punches with the interim WBA World Super Bantamweight title on the line. #PBConFOX pic.twitter.com/A2CgkYpWgd
— PBC (@premierboxing) April 21, 2019
Parejo challenged for the WBA title on Mar. 31 of last year, losing to Ryan Burnett by unanimous decision.
The 32-year-old Parejo, who resides in Barcelona, Venezuela, was the aggressor from the opening bell, fighting in the pocket against the taller Figueroa.
As the bout progressed, Figueroa’s harder and accurate punches began to take their toll. The pace of the fight slowed by the middle rounds, but Figueroa consistently landed hooks and crosses to the head of Parejo.
By round seven, Parejo’s punch output dropped considerably, choosing to fight from distance as opposed to closing the distance as he did earlier in the fight. Figueroa instinctively threw and landed more punches to the body, breaking Parejo down during the eighth round.
Before the start of the ninth round, Parejo told referee Jerry Cantu that he was not able to continue, prompting Cantu to stop the fight.
Figueroa improves to 19-0 (14 knockouts).
“It’s a dream come true,” said Figueroa. “He had lasted pretty well and I thought I was going to finish him in next round. I felt stronger as the rounds went on.”
Parejo was diplomatic in defeat.
“He hits hard,” said Parejo, who falls to 22-4-1 (11 KOs). “He was stronger than I expected. I felt my legs going after he landed two uppercuts. He’s very strong.”
Muratalla stops Torres
Lightweight Raymond Muratalla could be a prospect to keep an eye on.
Muratalla remained unbeaten by dropping veteran Jose Cen Torres three times en route to a knockout victory.
The 22-year-old Moratalla, from nearby Fontana, used his athleticism and strength to overwhelm Torres from the opening bell. Torres hung in with Muratalla, but the amount of punishment he was receiving began to take their toll.
A right uppercut from Muratalla midway through round three dropped Torres to one knee. Torres remained on the canvas until the count of eight, but would get dropped again to the canvas from a right hand to the body moments later.
It looked like Torres was going to make it out of the round, but he was pinned against a corner, where Muratalla unleashed a right cross that dropped him to the canvas. Referee Ray Corona immediately stopped the bout at 2:58.
Muratalla, who is trained by Marcos Contreras, improves to 7-0 (5 KOs). Torres (13-12, 1 KO), who resides in Merida, Mexico, has now lost his last seven bouts.
In junior featherweight action, Ricky Lopez and Joe Perez fought to a split-decision draw.
Lopez (20-4-1, 6 knockouts), who resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was the quicker of the two fighters, but the physically-bigger Perez landed the more-telling punches. A right hand sent Lopez reeling against the ropes near the end of the second round.
Perez (14-3-2, 10 KOs) later initiated exchanges during the second half of the fight. The number of rights hands Perez landed began to take their toll as Lopez’s face began to bruise.
Both fighters had their moments in round 10, but another right hand from Perez, who resides in Tyler, Texas, momentarily stunned Lopez. Perez was not able to up as Lopez was able to move away and recover from the punch.
Each fighter won 97-93 on a judge’s scorecard, while the third judge scored the bout 95-95.
Former amateur standout and current junior featherweight prospect Shon Mondragon stopped Mexico’s Hugo Rodriguez in the third round.
The taller and stronger Mondragon, who is trained by Danny Garcia and resides in Denver, broke Rodriguez (0-4) down with each round. A barrage of punches forced referee Eddie Hernandez to step in and stop the bout at 1:55.
Lightweight Nelson Hampton of McAllen, Texas won by unanimous decision over Cincinnati’s Naseem Asad (0-3). All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Hampton.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing
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