Thursday, September 21, 2023  |



Jesus Saracho and Tarik Zaina battle to a majority draw in Thompson Boxing main event

Jesus Saracho and Tarik Zaina. Photo by Carlos Baeza / Thompson Boxing Promotions
Fighters Network

ONTARIO, Calif. – Jesus Saracho of Guanajuato, Mexico and Tarik Zaina will have to wait another day to settle the score and to see who can move their careers forward.

Saracho and Zaina fought to a majority decision draw Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel. One judge scored the bout 96-94 for Saracho, while the other two judges scored the bout 95-95.

The Ring scored the bout 97-93 for Saracho. [Editor’s Note: The Ring E.I.C Doug Fischer, who worked the Thompson Boxing live stream, scored the bout 97-93 for Zaina, so it was one of those types of style matchups.]

Both fighters found success from the opening round, though it was the southpaw Saracho (13-1-1, 11 knockouts) who implemented his plan of attack more effectively. Saracho attempted to walk down Zaina, throwing and landing left-right or right-left combinations.

Not to be outdone, the taller Zaina (12-0-1, 8 KOs), who currently resides in Tijuana, Mexico, would attempt to counter with right uppercuts to the head. Zaina would occasionally catch Saracho with an uppercut to the head but would get countered most times when he missed.

Saracho began focusing his attack on the body of Zaina in the fourth round. Saracho would initiate right hooks or left crosses or would feint going to the head in an attempt for Zaina to move his arms up to then connect to the body.

Zaina did find success in round 5. He began walking down Saracho, landing right uppercuts, and also straight right hands to the head. The amount of punches Zaina landed in both rounds 5 and 6 began to produce blood from the nose of Saracho.

Saracho rallied in round 7, utilizing angles to get within punching range to land lead and counter left crosses to the head of Zaina. During the following round, Saracho was back to walking down Zaina the same way he did early in the fight.

Saracho had a big ninth round, where he dominated most of the action, even stunning Zaina with a counter punch to the head. To his credit, Zaina fought back, standing in the pocket to trade. A straight right to the head in round 10 seemed to stun Saracho, but Saracho battled back, swinging momentum his way by being the aggressor and putting Zaina on the defensive.

In his previous fight on January 25, Saracho defeated Cesar Francis by unanimous decision. Francis entered the bout unbeaten. Over four months prior to the win over Francis, Saracho stopped Nick Jefferson in the fifth round. Jefferson also entered the Saracho fight unbeaten.

The 21-year-old had won his last three fights since losing to Deonte Brown by knockout in the ninth round on March 12 of last year in a clash of unbeaten junior welterweight prospects.

Zaina last fought on November 26, defeating Arley Carabali by unanimous decision. Friday night marked his United States debut after fighting in Mexico and Colombia.

In the co-feature bout, hard-hitting middleweight Nelson Oliva of Los Angeles dropped Miguel Angel Barajas three times en route to a first round knockout.

Oliva, who is trained by Henry Ramirez, improved to 7-0, 6 KOs.

The southpaw Oliva landed at will from the opening bell. About a minute into the round, a left hook to the body dropped Barajas, who beat the count, but went down again moments later from another punch to the body. Oliva stalked Barajas, landing a left to the body, dropping Barajas to one knee, prompting referee Gerard White to stop the fight at 2:25.

The 27-year-old Oliva defeated Wayne Boudreaux in a close bout by unanimous decision in his last bout on February 10.

Barajas, who resides in Guadalajara, Mexico, falls to 3-4, 2 KOs. The 34-year-old has now lost three of his last four bouts.

In a special attraction, welterweight prospect Angel Beltran (17-1, 10 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico stopped Ghana’s Abraham Afful after the end of the opening round.

Afful went on the attack and fought in the pocket early on, but Beltran’s more accurate and effective punches began to weaken Afful. Beltran began walking down Afful about midway through the round, forcing him to fight defensively.

After the end of the round, Afful’s corner told referee Gerard White their fighter was not able to continue.

The 27-year-old, who resides in Mexicali, last fought on March 10, defeating Luis Lopez in a clash of once-beaten fighters.

Afful falls to 12-5-1, 12 KOs.


Junior welterweight Emiliano Moreno of Long Beach, California dropped Cristian Dominguez twice in the opening round to win a unanimous decision.

Scores were 80-70, 80-70, and 79-71 for the 18-year-old Moreno, who goes to 6-0 1 NC, 4 KOs.

The scorecards did not reflect the competitiveness of the fight. The taller Moreno dominated the action during the first half of the fight, but Dominguez was able to land significantly with left and right hands to the body.

Dominguez, who resides in Las Vegas, falls to 11-6 1 NC, 6 KOs.

In junior middleweight action, Levy Garcia of Guadalajara, Mexico improved to 3-0-1, 2 KOs, defeating Jesus Gonzalez by unanimous decision.

Scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56 for Garcia, who was the more-accurate and assertive fighter throughout most of the fight.

Gonzalez, who resides in nearby Santa Ana, drops to 6-1-1, 2 KOs.

Lightweight Tayden Beltran (6-0-1, 4 KOs) of Huntington Beach, California dropped Mexico’s Gerardo Fuentes (2-8-1, 2 KOs) twice with punches to the body, ending matters in round 2. Referee Gerard White stopped the fight at 1:29.


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]