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Azad Championship Report: Gesta Shows 'No Mercy' - Magdaleno Sensational

By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas.
(Photos © German Villasenor)

Mercito Gesta lands punch on Ty Barnett
Mercito Gesta lands punch on Ty Barnett
Mercito Gesta knocks down Ty Barnett
Jesse Magdaleno (R) lands on Aldimir Santos (L)
Jesse Magdaleno

Though it was boiling outside in the Las Vegas summer heat, the action inside the ring during the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights card inside the Texas Station Hotel & Casino was moderate. Filipino-American Mercito Gesta kept his unbeaten professional record intact with a systematic and effective gameplan against Washington, DC’s Ty Barnett. The two lightweights fought hard in spurts and though there were sporadic moments of drama, the headlining battle was overshadowed by a stellar undercard, particularly the co-main event.  

Gesta stalked his much lankier foe throughout their encounter and landed dozens of stinging straight left hands and short right hooks. Barnett was very competitive early on, even after he was rocked in the first and fifth rounds, but after he appeared to sense that he couldn’t hurt Gesta, his offense dwindled.  

Gesta never relented, though his offense came in scattered bursts when he wasn’t throwing only one punch at a time. And considering that Barnett was in retreat mode for the entire second half of the fight, the action left a little to be desired. Oftentimes Barnett ducked and shuffled out of harm’s way, but when he’d make Gesta miss, he rarely made him pay. Still, Gesta was effective and busy enough to rock Barnett on occasion, but the bearded lightweight was never in any real danger of being taken out during the contest.  

That is, until there was about 20 seconds left in the ninth round.

  Gesta seemed to have stung Barnett with a left cross during an exchange. Barnett stumbled into the ropes and even though he appeared to be more off-balance than anything, Gesta charged in and gunned for the kill. He unloaded a furious barrage of punches, capped off by an awesome left/right that floored Barnett.

  Barnett struggled to gather his footing and when referee Jay Nady allowed the fight to continue, Gesta was relentless. Just as the bell was about to sound to end the round, another left hand dropped Barnett. His corner seemed to be trying to throw in the towel, but the bell had sounded, causing some chaos in the ring. Finally, after Barnett stumbled across the ring to his corner, Nady stopped the bout without any protest from Barnett’s camp. The official time of the TKO came at 2:59 of the ninth, allowing Gesta to soar to 26-0-1 with 13 KOs. For his efforts, Barnett fell to 19-3-1 with 12 KOs.

Jesse Magdaleno (pictured in the last 2 photos from the bottom) , a local prospect who has been electrifying the city for well over a year, was sensational yet again with a second round dismantling of Brazilian Aldimar Santos. The Vegas super bantamweight was relentless against his opponent as he walked through everything Santos threw at him en route to a scorching finish.  

Magdaleno dropped Santos late in the first with a flurry that was punctuated by a straight right hand and finished the job the following round. Santos was brave and stood his ground, but his firepower was nowhere that of his adversary and couldn’t keep up. A huge left hook felled Santos with about a minute left in the second, and when the fight resumed, Magdaleno charged in for the kill.  

A massive flurry of punches found their mark and by the time a perfect right/left detonated on the Sao Paulo native’s jaw, referee Robert Byrd was already rushing in to stop the onslaught. Santos crumbled in a heap when the last punch landed, signaling the end of a thrilling fight, for as long as it lasted.  

The official time of the TKO was 2:54 of the second frame, allowing the always exciting Magdaleno to improve to 11-0 with his eighth career knockout. Santos dipped to 16-3 with 9 KOs.

Local lightweight prospect Jesus Gutierrez was a bit too much for James Burns to handle in their four-round affair. Gutierrez used his superior handspeed and a better overall gameplan to stifle the Fort Worth, TX fighter’s attacks to nab the unanimous decision via margins of 39-37 and 40-36 (twice) to rise to 5-0-1 with 2 KOs. Burns dropped to 1-2 with 1 KO.

Chicago’s Trevor McCumby remained unbeaten by stopping overmatched Michael Glenn in the third. McCumby dominated from the start and ended things with two perfect body shots. The official time of the knockout came at 1:23 of the frame, allowing the light heavyweight to improve to 6-0 with 6 KOs. Glenn, from Hutchinson, KS, dropped to 2-4-1 with 1 KO.

In what was a tougher fight than expected, super bantamweight prospect Gabino Saenz had to really work hard to earn a decision against the durable and frustrating Dwayne Wisdom in the opening bout of the evening. Saenz utilized his vastly superior handspeed throughout the contest and landed several clean shots along the way, but he was never able to put away his foe. In the end, though, Saenz was simply the better fighter and won the majority decision via tallies of 57-57 and 59-55 (twice). Some of the rounds were close and extremely competitive, but SecondsOut also saw it favor of the Indio, CA fighter 59-55. With the win, Saenz improved to 7-0-1 with 5 KOs. Wisdom, who hails from Indianapolis, IN, fell to 2-5 with 1 KO.

In related news, the lightweight duel between Cleveland, OH’s Mickey Bey (18-0-1, 9 KOs) and Rob Frankel, from Denver, CO (30-12-1, 6 KOs) was scrapped after Bey and his team reportedly realized they weren’t going to be fighting on ESPN.  

  You can also contact Mike Sloan at or follow him on Twitter at .

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