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Ruben Villa outpoints Luis Alberto Lopez over 10 rounds in ShoBox main event

Ruben Villa spears Luis Alberto Lopez with his southpaw jab en route to a decision victory in his first 10-round bout. Photo by Dave Mandel-SHOWTIME
Fighters Network

CORONA, California – Featherweight prospect Ruben Villa outboxed Luis Alberto Lopez over 10 rounds to earn an unanimous decision in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation telecast on Friday night.

With the victory, Villa improves to 16-0, 5 knockouts and picks up a regional title belt.

The southpaw, who was an amateur standout with two victories over 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson, was effective in countering Lopez from the opening bell. Lopez charged forward, but Villa would side-step and easily connect with left hands or counter right hands to the head and body.

Lopez was able to connect enough to the face as evident by Villa’s face bruising with each passing round.

Ruben Villa. Photo by Dave Mandel-SHOWTIME

“I think it was a combination of me dropping my hands and him being awkward that allowed him to land,” Villa told a small pool of reporters after the fight. “We’ll have to go back and look at the fight and make adjustments.”

Villa, who resides in Salinas, California, did make an adjustment by creating distance between the two and boxing from the outside. Lopez’s punch output dropped during the second half of the fight as his energy level dropped.

Villa closed the distance between the two fighters during the final three rounds of the fight. Sensing he was hurting Lopez, Villa began to sit down on his punches, digging hooks to body and landing left hands to the head, especially in round 10. Lopez was stunned during the final minute of the round, but was able to make it to the final bell.

Scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94 in favor of Villa.

“(Lopez) was a big test for us, but we made him uncomfortable after making some adjustments,” said Villa, who is trained by the father-and-son team of Max and Sam Garcia. “He was a real awkward guy, but we took care of business. We made him miss and we made him pay. He came forward all 10 rounds and he pushed me. I take this as a learning experience.”

“When we hurt him, we tried to take him out. He was a real tough dude. I hurt him to the body. I heard the grunts, but he kept coming.”

Word is Villa could return to the ring in August or September, with the possibility of fighting in his hometown of Salinas. Friday night also marked the second time Villa fought on Showtime’s popular ‘ShoBox’ series, where more opportunities also await.

“I’m open to another fight in Salinas. I’m getting a lot of exposure with these two TV fights. Hopefully we can fight again in Salinas real soon.”

Lopez, who resides in Mexicali, Mexico, drops to 17-2, 8 KOs.

In the co-feature, lightweight prospect Michael Dutchover notched a one-punch knockout win over late-sub Rosekie Cristobal of the Philippines.

Dutchover made quick work of Cristobal. Photo by Dave Mandel-SHOWTIME

Dutchover, who is originally from Midland, Texas and now resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Fe Springs, dug a left hook to the body that dropped Cristobal (15-4, 11 KOs) to his knees. Cristobal remained on the canvas as referee Zachary Young counted him out at 1:46 of the opening round.

“I studied him a little bit with (trainer) Danny (Zamora),” said Dutchover after the fight. “We noticed he has a tight defense, but I love throwing that left hook. Once I landed it and he went down, I knew he wasn’t going to get up.”

The 21-year-old Dutchover improves to 13-0, 10 KOs and has now stopped six of his last seven opponents.

In the opening bout of the ’ShoBox’ telecast, bantamweight Saul Sanchez stopped Brandon Benitez in round eight of a back-and-forth slugfest.

Sanchez was the aggressor from the opening bell, but the taller and lankier Benitez held his ground, effectively countering to produce hard-hitting exchanges between the two fighters. Sanchez (12-0, 7 KOs), who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of North Hollywood, had to deal with a cut below his left eye, but managed to momentarily hurt Benitez at the end of the fourth round.

As the bout progressed, Sanchez’s punches began to take their toll as Benitez’s punch output dropped significantly. Benitez kept his distance and attempted to work from the outside as the pace slowed going into the second half of the fight.

A barrage of punches stunned Benitez in round seven. Sensing he was still hurt, Sanchez jumped on Benitez to open the eighth round. A barrage of punches onto Benitez prompted referee Raul Caiz, Jr. to step in and stop the bout at 18 seconds.

Benitez, who resides in Queretaro, Mexico, falls to 14-2, 6 KOs.

In preliminary action, lightweight contender Petr Petrov dropped veteran Ruben Tamayo three times en route to a second round knockout victory.

Petrov (40-6-2, 20 KOs) dropped Tamayo with a left hook to the body about a minute left in the second round. Tamayo beat the count, but a barrage of punches from Petrov dropped Petrov in a corner. Tamayo again beat the count, but was dropped by a left hook to the chin, prompting referee Thomas Taylor stopped the bout at 2:59.

Tamayo, who resides in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, falls to 27-13-4, 18 KOs.

In welterweight action, Angel Ruiz (15-0, 11 KOs) knocked out Luis Gerardo Ruiz (8-18-3, 5 KOs) at 26 seconds of the second round.

In a clash of unbeaten lightweights from the Los Angeles area, Ruben Torres defeated George Acosta (7-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 59-55 in favor of Torres, who improves to 9-0, 7 KOs.

Junior bantamweight Steven Acosta was successful in his pro debut, defeating Jose Emmanuel Lopez (0-4-1) of Mexico by unanimous decision over four rounds. All three judges scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Acosta.

Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions co-promoted the card.


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