Victor Ortiz stops Saul Corral after 15-month layoff
BAKERSFIELD – Victor Ortiz lived up to his reputation for making fun fights on Sunday, knocking off 15 months of ring rust en route to stopping veteran Saul Corral in the fourth round at the Rabobank Theatre.
With the FS1-televised win, Ortiz improved to 32-6-2, with 25 knockouts. Corral dropped to 25-10, with 16 KOs.
Ortiz had not fought since April 30 of last year, when he was stopped by Andre Berto in the fourth round. The fight was a rematch of their thrilling 2011 clash, which Ortiz won.
The former WBC welterweight titleholder has received criticism for dividing his time between acting and training. At age 30, Ortiz stated before the fight that he was dedicating himself 100 percent to the fight game.
Corral, who hails from Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, entered the bout having won six of his previous eight bouts.
Ortiz, of Ventura, California, found himself in the pocket for most of the fight, ripping hooks and crosses that connected to the head of Corral. To his credit, Corral landed an occasional hook and cross.
As the bout progressed, Ortiz began to find his timing, forcing Corral to hold or back up against the ropes. After several warnings, referee Jack Reiss deducted a point from Corral in round four for holding.
About a minute into the fourth round, a straight left hand dropped Corral, who was able to beat the count and fight back. Ortiz followed up, landing a barrage of punches until Reiss saw enough and stopped the bout at 1:26.
“There’s nothing easy about going up against a guy like Saul Corral,” said Ortiz after the fight. “He fires hard, but we were better tonight. We worked hard and I’m thankful to my team for getting ready.”
While a fight with rival Brandon Rios may be a logical choice as his next opponent, Ortiz is focusing on the top fighters at 147 pounds.
“There’s a lot of names out there in the welterweight division. I’ll let Al Haymon and Sam Watson decide what’s next for me. I’m going to let my team guide me, because I’ll always be ready for anybody.”
In the co-feature, junior middleweight Nathaniel Gallimore dominated Justin DeLoach, forcing him to remain on his stool after the fifth round.
Gallimore improves to 19-1-1, with 16 KOs, while DeLoach drops to 17-2, with 9 KOs.
The fight was compelling on paper, and it was more so after both combatants reportedly almost got into a fight in a parking out at Saturday’s weigh-in. Both fighters had to be separated by their respective teams.
Gallimore entered Sunday’s bout having won his previous five bouts, all by knockout. DeLoach had won his previous seven bouts.
Gallimore, who is originally from Jamaica and now resides in the Chicago area, dropped DeLoach with a left hook to the head near the end of the first round. DeLoach found himself in deeper water in the second as he was dropped again in round two, this time by a right-left combination.
DeLoach attempted to rally in the fourth round, but his punches had little impact on them. Gallimore would mock DeLoach by making facial expressions anytime he would get hit.
Gallimore hurt DeLoach late in the fifth round, forcing the fighter from Augusta, Georgia to hold on. DeLoach was in bad shape, almost falling off his stool when he attempted to sit down after the fifth round ended.
After consulting with the ringside physician in between the fifth and sixth rounds, DeLoach’s corner advised referee Zac Young to stop the fight.
Lightweight prospect Carlos Balderas (2-0, with 2 KOs) overwhelmed Eder Amaro Fajardo, knocking him out in the opening round.
The 2016 U.S. Olympian dropped Fajardo with a left hook to the body. Fajardo (3-4, with 2 KOs) winced in pain as referee Marcos Rosales counted him out at 1:36 of the first round.
In a clash of unbeaten featherweights, Adam Lopez won a hard-fought six round majority decision over Paul Romero (7-1-1, with 1 KO).
One judge scored the bout 57-57, while the other two judges scored the bout 58-56 in favor of Lopez, who improves to 8-0, with 3 KOs.
Two amateur standouts from Nigeria who recently signed promotional contracts with Ringstar Promotions made their professional debuts.
Heavyweight Efe Ajagba dropped Tyrell Herndon (6-2, with 2 KOs) twice in the opening round, stopping him at 1:29. Cruiserweight Efetobor Apochi knocked out Daniel Mejia Hernandez at 2:05 of the second round.
Highly-touted welterweight prospect Eimantas Stanionis (2-0, with 2 KOs) stopped Isaac Freeman (3-6-1, 3 KOs) at 50 seconds of the third round.
Welterweight Money Powell IV notched a one-sided decision win over Carlos Lozano. All three judges scored the bout 40-35 in favor of Powell, who improves to 3-0, with 2 KOs. Lozano was deducted a point in round two for hitting Powell on a break.
In a clash of unbeaten middleweight prospects, Oluwafemi Oyeleye (3-0, with 1 KO) knocked out Uriel Gonzalez (1-1-1, 1 KO) at 1:52 of the opening round.
Welterweight Emmanuel Medina won a four round unanimous decision over Edgar Garcia (5-14-1, 1 KO). Scores were 40-36, 40-36, and 40-35 in favor of Medina, who improves to to 13-0, with 9 KOs.
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 (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing