Cemeno, Soto score victories in Mexico
Bantamweight standout Nehomar Cermeno defended his interim 118-pound title with an 11th-round stoppage of gutsy Alejandro Valdez in the main event of a card in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico on Saturday.
Cermeno (19-0, 11 knockouts) outmaneuvered Valdez with constant but effective footwork and hard, accurate counter punching for most of the scheduled 12 rounder, but the lanky southpaw challenger made a fight of it despite suffering nasty cuts above and under his right eye.
Valdez (22-4-2, 16 KOs) was dropped twice in the second round (the second of which was more of a slip) but the Ciudad Obregon native gave the hometown fans something to cheer about by boxing his way back into the fight in the third round and initiating exchanges in the middle rounds of the bout.
However, Cermeno, who burst onto the world-class scene this year with back-to-back victories over former 115-pound titleholder Cristian Mijares, remained composed and economical with his harder punches.
Once the Panama-based Venezuelan boxer put his foot on the gas pedal in the late rounds his superior strength and savvy outclassed Valdez, who was hurt and floored by a big right hand near the end of the 11th, forcing referee Russell Mora to wave the bout off at 2:40 of the round.
In the co-featured bout, 130-pound titleholder Humberto Soto scored a one-sided but hard-fought unanimous decision over former two-division beltholder Jesus Chavez in a 10-round lightweight bout.
Soto (50-7-2, 32 knockouts), who was the faster, harder and more accurate puncher throughout the rough-and-tumble bout, won by unanimous scores of 100-87. Chavez (44-7, 30 KOs) was dropped by a right hand above his ear early in the first round and was docked a point for shoving Soto out of the ring in fifth round.
Despite the shutout on the scorecards, Soto was given a tough and sometimes-dirty fight by the 37-year-old veteran, who constantly pressured the younger, fresher fighter to the ropes where he unloaded with body shots.
However, although the taller, rangier Soto would have been better off boxing from the outside the Los Mochis, Mexico native fought effectively off the ropes and in close quarters, landing pin-point uppercuts and hooks throughout the fight.
Chavez took Soto's punches and never stopped trying. However, the Texas-based native of Chihuahua, Mexico couldn't hurt Soto. His best punch was a low blow that crumpled Soto to the canvas in the sixth round.