By Francisco Salazar
Nico Hernandez could not have scripted his pro debut any better on Saturday night.
Hernandez was fighting near his hometown, with a large contingent of fans cheering his name. The knockout win over a game fighter was icing on the cake.
Hernandez battered Patrick Gutierrez before the fight was stopped in round four at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.
Gutierrez, who hails from Las Vegas, drops to 0-3.
Hernandez won the bronze medal as a light flyweight at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 21-year-old signed on with Knockout Night Boxing, which promoted Saturday’s card.
Saturday’s fight was fought at the junior bantamweight limit but Hernandez had a significant size and strength advantage, which played into his hands as the bout progressed.
Gutierrez was able to stay in the pocket but Hernandez’s thudding punches to the head and body began to take their toll. Gutierrez’s punch output dropped significantly and, by the third round, it looked like he was in survival mode.
The end came in round four when Gutierrez winced in pain after throwing a punch that landed on Hernandez’s shoulder. Gutierrez spent the rest of the round backing away from Hernandez, who landed at will. Gutierrez’s corner saw enough and threw in the towel, prompting referee Tom Anderson to stop the fight at 2:35.
“(The atmosphere) felt like I was at the Olympics,” said Hernandez after the fight. “I want to bring boxing back to Wichita (Hernandez’s hometown).”
In the co-feature, featherweight Tramaine Williams returned to the ring for the first time in almost two years, dropping Eduardo Garza twice en route to a one-sided victory.
Williams improves to 10-0 (with 3 knockouts), while Garza falls to 6-2 (with 2 KOs).
The southpaw Williams dropped Garza midway through the opening round, courtesy of a straight left to the neck. Williams scored another knockdown, this time in round four, dropping Garza with a counter left to the head.
Sensing he was down in the fight, Garza pressed the action in the last couple of rounds, finding some success on the inside. But Williams had built an early lead Garza was unable to overcome.
Scores were 79-71 twice and 78-72 in favor of Williams, who is promoted by Roc Nation Sports.
“My performance was OK,” said Williams after the fight. “I got a little winded in the last two rounds, since I haven’t been in the ring in two years. (Garza) kept coming, especially in the last two rounds. He didn’t come to lose.”
Asked about what lies ahead, Williams is eager to measure himself against other prospects.
“I want the best. Put your unbeaten record on the line and I’ll put mine.”
In the opening bout of the CBS Sports Network telecast, junior middleweight Neeco Macias won an eight-round unanimous decision over Cesar Soriano.
Macias improves to 15-0 (with 8 KOs), while Soriano drops to 26-35-1 (with 16 KOs).
From the opening bell, Macias threw and landed his trademark abundance of punches. Macias mixed his attack to the body and head, scoring often after initiating exchanges with the veteran fighter from Mexico City.
Soriano landed an occasional hook or cross flush to Macias’ head but he was unable to consistently keep up with the younger Macias. Soriano was deducted a point in round three from referee Tom Anderson for landing below Macias’ belt.
Scores were 80-71, 79-72, and 78-73 in favor of Macias, who resides in Tehachapi, California.
“He was a veteran and we didn’t take him lightly,” said Macias after the fight.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing