Isaac Zarate decisions Carlos Carlson on Friday night
ONTARIO – Featherweight Isaac Zarate was winless in three fights entering his featherweight clash Friday night against Carlos Carlson.
In a do-or-die fight, Zarate did enough to grind out a victory.
Zarate dropped the former bantamweight title challenger en route to a hard-fought, eight-round unanimous decision, in the main event of a Thompson Boxing Promotions card hosted at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
With the win, Zarate goes to 13-3-2 (with 2 KOs). Carlson drops to 22-3 (with 13 KOs).
After fighting to a draw in October of 2015 against Heriberto Delgado, Zarate would lose following two bouts by split decision.
In his most recent bout on March 2, Carlson was dropped three times before being stopped by WBC bantamweight titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka.
From the opening bell, the ebb and flow of the fight produced competitive exchanges between the two fighters. A short right hook from the southpaw Zarate dropped Carlson near the end of the second round.
Not to be outdone, Carlson roared back midway through the third round, stunning Zarate with a right cross to the head.
Both fighters had their moments during the middle rounds but Zarate was the more-effective fighter, beating Carlson with hooks and counters to the head. Zarate effectively countered Carlson anytime the Tijuana fighter charged forward to throw punches.
All three official ringside judges scored the bout 78-73, in favor of Zarate.
The fight was fought at a catchweight of 124 pounds.
Bantamweight prospect Christian Ayala won a workmanlike eight-round unanimous decision over veteran Pedro Melo.
Ayala improves to 11-1 (with 4 KOs), while Melo drops to 17-16-2 (with 8 KOs).
From the opening bell, Ayala was the aggressor, forcing Melo to fight off his back foot. Ayala consistently landed right hands to Melo’s head and body, more so during the middle rounds.
Referee Raul Caiz Sr. deducted a point from Ayala in round seven for landing a low blow to Melo.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 in favor of Melo, who resides in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
In other action:
– Featherweight Roberto Meza (8-0, 4 KOs) won a four-round split decision over veteran Juan Sandoval. One judge scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Sandoval (7-18-1, 4 KOs), while the other two judges scored the bout 39-37, for Meza.
– Junior featherweight Mario Hernandez dropped Larry Kloak, who was making his pro debut, in round three, en route to a unanimous decision victory. All three judges scored the bout 39-36 in favor of Hernandez, who improves to 3-0.
– Bantamweight Daniel Guzman (1-1) won a four-round unanimous decision over Giovanni Noriega, who was making his pro debut. All three judges scored the bout 40-36, in favor of Guzman.
– Debuting junior welterweight Wesley Diana, who is trained by Fernando Vargas, knocked out Carlos Apodaca (0-5) at 1:04 of the first round.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.