Ricardo Espinoza stops former title challenger Ricardo Nunez in ten rounds
Bantamweight contender Ricardo Espinoza stopped Ricardo Nunez in round ten late Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, California.
With the win, Espinoza has now won his last 13 bouts in a span of less than two years.
The 21-year-old Espinoza, who is the mandatory challenger to face WBO titleholder Zolani Tete, stood in the pocket and traded with Nunez during the first two rounds of the fight. Espinoza connected with the more-effective punches, forcing Nunez to keep his distance throughout the first half the fight.
Nunez, a former two time world flyweight title challenger, connected with a series of right hands to the head of Espinoza early in round six. Espinoza continued to accumulate points in each round, as Nunez fought in spurts during the second half of the fight, connecting punches that produced blood from Espinoza’s nose in round eight.
Nunez rallied in round nine, but it was short-lived as a right hand by Espinoza in round ten hurt Nunez. Espinoza followed up with a barrage of punches against a defenseless Nunez along the ropes, prompting referee Frank Gentile to stop the bout at 1:23.
The fight may have been a stay-busy bout, but it was anything but for Espinoza, who improves to 23-2 (20 knockouts).
“My opponent was someone with a lot of experience,” said Espinoza, who resides in Tijuana, Mexico. “He weighed four pounds more than I did at the weigh-in. He took a lot of my punches, more so than my other opponents in previous fights. It was a great result.”
Nunez weighed 122 pounds at Thursday’s weigh-in while Espinoza was 118.
Friday night marked the first time Espinoza fought past the eighth round. For Espinoza, it was a good indicator that he can fight 10 or 12 rounds and he is ready to face the best in the bantamweight division.
“I’m waiting to fight the world champions. I hope that they’re prepared to face someone like me.”
Nunez, who resides in La Chorrera, Panama, drops to 29-9 (23 KOs).
Featherweight Hairon Socarras won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Carlos Ruiz of Mexico City over eight rounds.
Ruiz had his moments throughout the fight, but Socarras landing the more-telling punches throughout the fight. Scores were 77-75, 77-75, and 79-73 for Socarras, who improves to 21-0-3, 13 KOs.
Ruiz, a former fringe contender at 130 pounds, drops to 16-6-2 (6 KOs).
Welterweight Derrick Cuevas of Puerto Rico improved to 20-0-1 (14 KOs), defeating former contender Ed Paredes (38-8-1, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision over 10 rounds.
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 FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @FSalazarBoxing