Oscar Duarte halts Humberto de Santiago in three rounds in homecoming bout
Lightweight Oscar Duarte battered late-sub Humberto de Santiago before stopping him in round three late Saturday night at the Gimnasio Rodrigo M. Quevedo in Chihuahua, Mexico.
With the win, Duarte improves to 18-1, 13 knockouts.
The fight headlined a ‘Golden Boy Fight Night’ card and was streamed live on Facebook Watch. It was also a homecoming for Duarte, who was born and raised in nearby Parral.
“It was a great honor to have fought here before family and friends,” said Duarte after the fight. “It was even more special because of all the people from the state of Chihuahua who came to see me. They are the ones who motivate me. Fighting at home is a big commitment. You don’t just want to win. You have to win convincingly. There was some pressure, but that’s why I trained even harder.”
Duarte, who is trained by Joel Diaz in Indio, California, was the aggressor from the opening bell. He walked down de Santiago, who took the fight on two days’ notice when Richard Solano backed out of the fight, forcing him to fight of the ropes.
The 23-year-old mixed his attack, but found a lot of success connecting to the head of de Santiago. A left hook to the head dropped de Santiago in round three. De Santiago beat the count, but was overwhelmed by the barrage of punches from Duarte, promoting referee Ricardo Manjarraz to step in and stop the fight at 2:28.
De Santiago (18-7-3, 13 KOs), who resides in Santa Catarina, Mexico, has lost four of his last eight bouts.
In the co-feature, former world junior lightweight titleholder Francisco Vargas won a technical split-decision over Ezequiel Aviles.
One judge scored the bout 97-96 for Aviles, while the other two judges scored the bout 98-94 for Vargas, who improves to 26-2-2, 18 KOs.
Vargas was making his lightweight debut on Saturday and was fighting for the first time since losing by knockout to WBC junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt on May 11.
The 34-year-old Vargas landed the more-effective punches throughout the fight, but Aviles did his best work when both stood in the pocket to exchange. During an exchange in round four, a cut opened over the right eye of Vargas that was caused by an accidental clash of heads.
The fight was stopped in round 10 as the ringside physician deemed the cut, which was worsening, too severe to continue.
“The fight was difficult because he would lead with his head when he was on the attack,” said Vargas, who is managed by Ralph Heredia. “He never hurt me, but I think I hurt him because he would grab onto to me a few times after I landed punches. I might need surgery to deal with this latest cut from the fight.”
Aviles (16-5-3, 6 KOs), who resides in Ensenada, Mexico, has now lost his last four bouts.
Junior welterweight Luis Alberto Hernandez (20-0, 18 KOs), who also resides in Chihuahua, remained unbeaten by knocking out Victor Zuniga (20-4, 9 KOs) of Ciudad Acuna, Mexico.
Hernandez, who recently signed a promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions, dropped Zuniga in round three, twice in round five and once in round seven before the fight was stopped by 2:22.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring 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