Sunday, September 24, 2023  |


Jayson Velez defeats Daniel Ramirez by a unanimous decision

Fighters Network

LOS ANGELES – If Jayson Velez made a statement on Thursday night, it wasn’t particularly loud.

Velez was coming off a disappointing split draw against then-IBF featherweight champ Evgeny Gradovich in November, Velez’s first title fight. The Puerto Rican hoped to bounce back with a dominating performance against Daniel Ramirez in the LA Fight Club main event at the Belasco Theater.

Ramirez wouldn’t fully cooperate, though. Velez won a unanimous decision – putting Ramirez down once in the process – but it was more workmanlike than spectacular in spite of the scores: 99-90, 98-91 and 98-91 in the 10-round junior lightweight bout.

Velez (23-0-1, 16 knockouts) stunned Ramirez (11-3, 5 KOs) with right and then put him down with a left hook in the second round, which seemed as if it might be the beginning of the end. However, the lanky Mexican fighter recovered quickly and fought back effectively and with purpose from that point on in what became – perhaps surprisingly – a reasonably competitive fight.

Velez continued to pursue his prey and get in his licks but never hurt Ramirez again, at least not significantly, and a busy Ramirez connected with his share of blows. In the end, though, Velez landed more and harder shots to claim the victory.

Velez said beforehand that he expected to take Ramirez out in the second half of the fight but seemed satisfied with a one-sided victory. After all, he’s back in the win column and a step closer to his next title shot in the deep 126-pound division.

“I thought Daniel was a good fighter,” Velez said. “He came prepared tonight and gave the audience a war. After the first knockdown, I thought I had him. I felt I hurt him several times but he came back and didn’t give up.

“I’m ready for the next fight, ready for the next championship opportunity. I’ll fight anyone.”

Ramirez gave Velez credit but was disappointed with the scoring.

“Velez has pretty good power but I think I got some good shots in too. I definitely thought it was closer than the judges had it,” he said.

Also on the card, Carlos Morales (9-1-3, 3 KOs) of Los Angeles outpointed Emanuel Gonzalez (14-2, 7 KOs) of the Bronx in an eight-round junior lightweight bout.

The fight was competitive throughout but the more energetic Morales was the busier of the two. Neither fighter went down or was seriously hurt, although Morales seemed to stun Gonzalez once in the third round.

The judges scored it 80-72, 78-74 and 77-75, all for Morales.

Lightweight prospect Christian Gonzalez (10-0, 9 KOs) of L.A. easily outpointed overmatched Darryl Hayes (3-5, 1 KO) of Houston in a six-round bout but saw his string of knockouts come to an end.

Hayes was more interested in hugging Gonzalez than fighting for much of the bout – which cost him two points – but he also was an awkward opponent and evidently has a pretty good chin.

Gonzalez landed a lot of hard punches but failed to land the big one or put enough together to keep his streak going. The judges scored it 60-52, 60-52 and 59-53, meaning Hayes won one round on one card.

And Pablo Rubio of Whittier, California, had a nice pro debut, stopping Julio Iwami Rodriguez at 2:16 of the first round of a scheduled four-round junior featherweight fight.

Rubio overwhelmed Rodriguez, batttering the Mexican around the ring and putting him down twice before the referee saved him from further punishment by stopping the fight. Rodriguez also was making his pro debut.