Thursday, September 21, 2023  |


Oscar Duarte stops D’Angelo Keyes after seventh round

Oscar Duarte. Photo credit by Tom Hogan/ HoganPhotos/ Golden Boy Promotions
Fighters Network

INDIO, Calif. – Lightweight Oscar Duarte is making a case to be mentioned amongst the best fighters at 135 pounds.

Duarte dropped D’Angelo Keyes twice en route to a knockout win after the seventh round Saturday night before a near sellout crowd at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

The 27-year-old Duarte, who resides in Parral, Mexico, improved to 26-1-1, 21 knockouts. 

From the opening bell, Duarte, the much-bigger fighter, imposed his power and punch accuracy onto Keyes, who was game throughout much of the fight, but none of his punches had any real effect on Duarte.

Midway through the third round, a straight right hand to the head dropped Keyes to the canvas. Keyes was not visibly hurt from the punch, but fought with his back to the ropes for the rest of the round.

Keyes did well when he initiated exchanges and tried to fight back in the pocket, but Duarte continued to land the more-thudding punches. Duarte again scored a knockdown near the end of the seventh round, dropping Keyes with a left hook to the head. 

After the end of the round, a ringside physician recommended to referee Jerry Cantu to stop the fight, saving Keyes from receiving further punishment. 

Duarte last fought on March 18, stopping Alex Martin in the eighth round. He has won his last 11 fights since a split-decision loss to Adrian Estrella in February 2019. 

Keyes, who resides in Houston, Texas, falls to 17-3, 11 KOs. The 26-year-old has now split his last four bouts. 

In the opening bout of the DAZN stream, junior bantamweight John Ramirez of Los Angeles remained unbeaten, winning a split-decision over Fernando Diaz.

One judge scored the bout 96-94 for Diaz, while the other two judges scored the bout 96-94 for Ramirez, who goes to 12-0, 8 KOs. 

Diaz was able to score with lead and counter right during the first half of the fight, at times, putting Ramirez on the defensive. Ramirez began finding a home for lead and counter left hooks to the head of Diaz during the second half of the fight.

There were solid exchanges between the two during the seventh round, as both stood in the pocket and traded in the center of the ring. Diaz had his best round in the ninth, twice landing a barrage of punches as he had Ramirez pinned up against the ropes. 

Both again had their moments during the last round, exchanging combinations until the final bell.

Diaz, who resides in nearby Riverside, falls to 12-4-1, 4 KOs. 

Preliminary action

Middleweight Eric Priest of Los Angeles defeated Argentina’s Ricardo Villalba (20-9-1, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision. Scores were 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73 for Priest, who goes to 10-0, 7 KOs. 

In junior welterweight action, Johnny Canas of Santa Ana was successful in his pro debut, defeating Mexico’s Jose Alvarado (1-8) by unanimous decision. Scores were 39-37, 39-37, and 40-36 for Canas.

Priest and Canas recently signed promotional deals with Golden Boy.

In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, junior lightweight Leonard Sanchez of nearby Cathedral City dropped Omaha’s Uhlices Reyes (1-1, 1 KO) three times en route to a second round knockout win at 1:01. Sanchez goes to 5-0, 4 KOs. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]