The sold-out debut of LA FIGHT CLUB made an explosive impression at The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles on March 6, and had no shortage of drama and action in the ring. The event drew celebrities and fans, filling The Belasco Theater to capacity. An electric crowd chanted and screamed for their favorite fighters all throughout the night, creating a true “fight club” feel in the venue. The excitement in the ring carried from bout to bout as fighters delivered exciting fights to please the crowd. Special guest host, long-time boxing fan and EXTRA host Mario Lopez joined the announce team alongside play by play announcer Brian Custer, color commentator Paulie Malignaggi and ringside reporter Jessica Rosales for the fights that were broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports Deportes.
In the headlining event of the night, 2012 Olympian and Los Angeles native Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. dominated over Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico’s Juan “La Perla Negra” Hernandez in a one-sided 10-round featherweight fight. Diaz came down hard on Hernandez, knocking him down four times in the second round and wining by technical knockout with a devastating blow to the abdomen as the bell rang to keep his undefeated status.
“My plan was to cut the guy off and break him down,” said Joseph “Jojo” Diaz Jr. “I wanted to dictate the pace of the fight with body shots and that’s what I did. It feels great to keep my undefeated status.”
“I wanted to try him out for the first three rounds and see what he was made of,” said Juan Luis Hernandez. “Unfortunately, he delivered a lucky blow that was too hard for me.”
In the co-main event of the night, Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Sarinana engaged in a brutal showdown for a six-round lightweight match. Both fighters cornered each other on the ropes delivering damaging blows to the head that resulted with Gonzalez down on the second round and Sarinana with a severe swollen right eye. After six brutal rounds, Gonzales was declared the victor by technical knockout.
“I’m glad I got the win but it was a hard fight for me and a learning experience,” said Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. “I need to go back to gym and work on some things; making sure I keep my knees bent, keep my hands up when I step back and focus on using my jab.”
Starting off the televised portion of the night, Santiago “El Lobito” Guevara faced the seasoned fighter Carlos “The Solution” Morales in a six-round super featherweight match. Both fighters were relentless and battled it out on the ring evading each other with great defensive footwork and delivering devastating punches. Morales received a cut on the right eye in the second round and ultimately won by majority decision with a score of 57-57, 59-55, 58-56.
“I train to fight 365 days, and I came ready to fight,” said Carlos Morales. “Santiago is a tough, solid fighter, and I respect him. The fight was very close and if he wants a re-match, I will give it to him.”
“I thought the fight had a good pace, and Morales was elusive, harder to catch than I thought,” said Santiago Guevara. “The fight was close. I don’t feel like it was a bad loss. All I can do is learn from this. I am still young. I have time to come back.”
In a four-round middleweight TV swing bout, Jason Quigley (4-0, 4 KOs) put a quick end to Lanny Dardar (2-3-2, 1 KOs) knocking him down three times in the first round to win by knock out.
“My strategy was to really take my time. That didn’t really happen because I landed a few shots and as soon as I landed them I saw they hurt him so I had to take him out as soon as I could,” said Jason Quigley.
Roy “The Pitbull” Tapia took the offensive from the first round attacking Ali Gonzalez around the ring. Gonzalez fought back hard keeping busy throughout the six-round super bantamweight bout,. Tapia continued his attack cornering Gonzalez on the ropes and delivering hard punches to his opponent’s body. Ultimately, the bout was too tough to call and called a draw.
Fernando Vargas’ new prospect Cesar “The Great” Quinonez impressed crowds in the first round as he delivered devastating blows to Oscar Rojas in the second lightweight bout of the night. Quinonez dominated all four-rounds winning by unanimous decision in a spectacular showing of his second professional fight since debuting on the undercard for Stiverne vs. Wilder at the MGM Grand in January.
In the first lightweight match of the evening, the undefeated Jesus Delgado dominated all four-rounds releasing powerful punches to Rocco Espinoza’s body. Delagdo used the ring to his advantage cornering Espinoza on the ropes to win the bout via unanimous decision.
In the night’s opening featherweight bout, Emilio Sanchez came out like a roaring bull as he knocked down Luis Cosme three times in the first round winning the fight within two minutes.
LA FIGHT CLUB: Diaz vs. Hernandez was a 10-round super bantamweight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona Extra, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Mexico – Live It To Believe It
The LA FIGHT CLUB is a monthly boxingseries that premiered on March 6 and will take place on the first Thursday of each month on April 2, May 7 and June 4. It will showcase the brightest stars in the sport and present these exciting matchups in a nightclub atmosphere with an original setup. The boxing ring will be set on the main floor of the Belasco Theater with on-camera standing room for fans in front of the ring similar to a concert pit, as well as reserved balcony and floor seats. Los Angeles’ own DJ Ray of Big Boy’s Neighborhood will spin music during the fights and fans will be able to dance and mingle with the fighters when the venue converts into a night club, in a VIP experience not matched by any promoter in the industry.