Tuesday, June 25, 2024  |



Hernandez goes 4-0 balancing boxing and college

Josh Hernandez misses with a jab during his pro debut. Photo by Lucas Noonan / Premier Boxing Champions
Fighters Network

On Monday through Thursday, Chicago native Josh Hernandez goes to classes in the morning at DePaul University. Then he spends his afternoons and nights training.

Hernandez, 20, is balancing getting his college degree in exercise science and life as a professional boxer.

He picked up his fourth victory on Saturday.

Hernandez, a super featherweight, earned a third round knockout over Juan Saldana (2-4) in the co-main event at the UIC Pavilion Friday as part of Warriors Boxing’s “Windy City Fight Night.” Hernandez (4-0, 4 knockouts) is the son of journeyman Miguel Hernandez, who is best known for his appearance on season 3 of “The Contender.”

“Balancing boxing with the classes gets kind of difficult, but I feel good, man,” Hernandez said.

For the most part, Hernandez had an easy outing in front of more than 200 fans who came to cheer him on. He started slow and upped the pressure in each round. To start the third, Hernandez rushed out and blitzed Saldana with a flurry of punches.

It was the left hook to Saldana’s liver, though, that forced his opponent to take a knee. As referee Celestino Ruiz counted, Saldana stayed on the canvas. Hernandez had his fourth knockout in just 27 seconds in the third round.

“I grade myself a B- or a C+,” Hernandez said. “I’ve got to use my speed more. I know I have a lot of power, but I’ve got to be more accurate with my shots.”

Hernandez is trained by his father Miguel, who went 20-12 as a pro. As for Hernandez’s aspirations, he said he hopes to one day become a world champion.

“I have things to work on, but I’m not afraid of hard work,” Hernandez said. “As you can tell, I balance a lot of stuff in my life. Boxing is no different.”

While Hernandez is aiming to kick-start his career, super welterweight Achour Esho (12-0, 7 KOs) is looking to revive his. Five and a half years ago, Esho called it quits from boxing because he was managing a gym and two other businesses. He had a family.

But the urge to fight never fully went away. In 2016, the 36-year-old knew he had to get back in the ring.

In the main event, Esho had his second fight in just two months and prevailed over Eduardo Flores (24-23-3, 15 KOs) by scores of 59-55 twice and 58-56.

“I don’t have anything to prove, I just like to (fight),” Esho said. “I just gave up a little bit too early. So I came back out and have won two fights in a row, I feel good.”

Esho relied on body shots to slow Flores. In Round 5, Flores started to slow considerably and appeared hurt At that point, Esho was in firm control of the fight and comfortably won the sixth.

“This year, I said forget it,” Esho said. “I don’t care what (I had going on). I said I’m going to make it happen and I did it.”

Saturday’s card was a rare club show in Chicago, which has typically hosted larger-sized cards with light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara. Even Friday’s fight with Mike Lee in Chicago was televised by CBS Sports.

There was no TV and the crowd was mostly made up of those who knew the fighters personally, not that it mattered.

“I love the feeling of fighting,” Esho said. “I love the challenge and getting hit, I don’t mind it. No offense to (Flores), but I allowed him to hit me because I missed getting hit.”


Chicago super featherweight Yousif Saleh won his pro debut with a unanimous decision over Hector Fernandez (2-5, 1 KO). The judges had the fight 40-36 and 39-37 twice.

Knockdowns proved to be the difference as bantamweight Joshua Greer (10-1-1,  3KOs) earned a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Juan Gabriel Medina, winning 60-52 and 57-55 twice.

Greer, also from Chicago, sent Medina down in Round 1 after a flurry of right hands. His right hand proved to be the most effective punch throughout the fight, also knocking Medina down in Round 2.

It was a classic clash of styles between junior lightweights Giovanny Cabrera Mioletti and Gavino Guaman and Mioletti prevailed with a unanimous decision.

Mioletti (3-0, 1 KO) boxed from a distance against Guaman’s plodding style. Guaman (4-1) occasionally landed a thudding punch, but he was too slow to keep up with Mioletti’s speed. The judges had the fight 40-36 and 39-37 twice for the Chicago native.

In the first fight of the evening, Jessica McCaskill (2-1, 2 KOs) dominated and stopped Alexandria Williams in three rounds. McCaskill dropped Williams at the end of round 1 and controlled the fight until the referee Tommy Gonzalez stopped it 32 seconds into the third round.