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Beltran defeats Kim

By Mike Sloan


Inside the Mirage Hotel & Casino in the main event of a special Thursday edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Ray Beltran survived an early knockdown and out-slugged Ji-Hoon Kim to win a well-deserved unanimous decision. Beltran was by far the more accurate puncher and his underrated power offset most of what the Korean brought to the table over ten rounds.

Beltran ate a perfect counter left hook midway through the opening frame of the battle and when he arose on shaky legs, it seemed as though Kim was going to have an early night and possibly a highlight reel knockout to close out his year. What he didn’t realize is that the knockdown kindled a fire in Beltran’s belly, one that would carry him through a murderous onslaught of punches and eventually victory.


By the end of the first round Beltran was back in the fight, his head cleared of cobwebs. Kim was backing toward the ropes when Beltran unloaded a leaping left hook that felled his opponent just before the bell. Kim was badly rocked by the punch but survived the round.

  Beltran continued to break Kim down with thudding hooks to the body and powerful shots upstairs. At several times throughout the early goings of the fight, Kim was rattled and nearly taken off his feet. However, as dominant as Beltran was as the rounds wore on, Kim became tougher and more resilient. The two traded bombs throughout the contest, but Beltran’s much better head movement and ability to slip and roll with the punches were the key.

Beltran inevitably coasted the last few rounds because Kim was exhausted, his punches lacking any sort of real firepower. Kim has had come-from-behind knockout wins in his career, but Beltran was too savvy in the ring to allow that to happen and wound up winning a lopsided decision. The judges favored the Californian fighter via tallies of 98-92 (twice) and 97-94. SecondsOut.com also favored Beltran (27-6, 17 KOs) 98-92, who continues to climb the lightweight ladder. Kim dropped to 24-8 with 18 KOs.  

  Local favorite Jessie Magdaleno was thoroughly dominant against the tough, durable Jonathan Arellano in the night’s co-feature, but he didn’t blow him out like many had expected. Though Magdaleno scored two knockdowns and controlled virtually every minute of the junior featherweight contest, Arellano hung in there and forced Magdaleno to work much harder than usual and truly earn his victory.  

By the end of the fight, Arellano’s face was a swollen mess, the result of eight rounds of torment. Magdaleno dropped his opponent midway through the second with a swift right cross during an exchange and again late in the sixth with a flurry of punches, but the Vegas kid couldn’t close out the show.  

There were several times throughout the encounter where Magdaleno was tagged by clean punches, most notably the left hook. Still a blossoming prospect, Magdaleno’s relative crudeness was exposed often, but luckily for him Arellano lacked the sort of raw power to change the tide.

  Still, Magdaleno was relentless as usual and tore into his foe every chance he had. In the end, the effective pressure and high punch volume paved the way toward victory and Magdaleno pitched a shutout. The official judges favored him 80-70 (twice) and 80-69, allowing Magdaleno to improve to 13-0 with 9 KOs. SecondsOut.com also saw it 80-70 for Magdaleno. For his efforts, Arellano, from Ontario, California, fell to 13-2-1 with 3 KOs.    

Junior lightweight Felix Verdejo made his professional debut a good one by winning a one-sided unanimous decision over Leonardo Chavez. Verdejo moved well throughout the contest and landed the cleaner, much more effective shots. Chavez fought well, but he was a step behind Verdejo from the start. Neither man was ever in any serious peril and there were no knockdowns, but Verdejo was the superior man; he won via tallies of 40-36 (twice) and 39-37. Chavez dipped to 1-1.

  Also on the card:

Robert Osiobe (14-5-4, 6 KOs) won a unanimous eight round decision over Jesse Roman (14-1-1, 11 KOs) and Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) scored a seventh round TKO (2:03) over William Villaueva (10-5-1, 2 KOs).  

    You can also follow Mike Sloan at www.twitter.com/@mikesloan19 or www.facebook.com/mikesloan19. Check out his new blog www.theprizewriter.com



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