Saturday, March 25, 2023  |


Rey Vargas gets off the canvas, retains title by decision over wild Franklin Manzanilla


INDIO – It was not easy, but Rey Vargas was able to notch victory number 33 and successfully defend his WBC junior featherweight title.

Vargas (33-0, 22 knockouts) survived a knockdown in round two to win by unanimous decision over Franklin Manzanilla of Venezuela.

The win marked Vargas’ fourth successful title defense of the WBC title.

Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs) scored a shocking knockout victory win over contender Julio Ceja in his last bout on May 26. The hard-hitting fighter was hoping to catch Vargas flat-footed just like he did against Ceja.

He did with about a minute left in round two, dropping Vargas with a left hook to the head. Vargas was not visibly hurt by the punch, getting back on his feet to finish the round.

The knockdown seemed to get Vargas going as he dominated the action throughout most of the fight. A left hook to the head shook Manzanilla in round four, but Vargas was not able to follow up.

Manzanilla became more reckless as the bout continued, charging Vargas before the two clinched. Manzanilla was deducted a point from referee Raul Caiz, Sr. for pushing Vargas’ head down.

It got more complicated for Manzanilla in round eight when he was again deducted a point, this time for throwing and landing a punch as Caiz attempted to separate the two fighters.

Manzanilla continued to charge Vargas, but looked tired going into the championship rounds. Vargas was content to work behind a jab, followed by straight right hands to the head.

All three judges scored the bout 117-108 for Vargas. RingTV has Vargas ranked No.2 at 122 pounds.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for 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,, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @FSalazarBoxing