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Sunday Night Fights at The NOVO!

Josesito Lopez Featured in Main EventIt was a scintillating night of action at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles as Premier Boxing Champions and Ringstar Sports presented this live boxing show featuring Josesito Lopez vs. Saul Corral in the main event airing on Fox Sports 1.

This April 9 event showcased nine bouts including five highly-anticipated pro debuts on the bill along with a female matchup also featured on the card. The crowd got their money’s worth as they got to see local warrior Josesito Lopez back in the ring along with rising stars and new young talent entering the scene.

The NOVO (formerly known as Club Nokia) at L.A. Live offers a theater setting right across the street from the Staples Center. As I arrived at the venue, the ticket holders were already lining up early–eager to see some live boxing in the City of Angels.

In the main event was SoCal’s Josesito Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) taking on Saul “Navajo” Corral (23-9, 14 KOs) in a ten-round clash in the welterweight division. Known as the “Riverside Rocky,” Lopez has been training with Robert Garcia since 2015. Josesito earned the attention from the boxing world when he broke the jaw of Victor Ortiz in 2012 at the Staples Center. After that big upset, the 32-year-old has fought the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana, Andre Berto and more. His ring nemesis Corral has fought Sadam Ali, Mike Alvarado, Dierry Jean, etc.

The “Riverside Rocky” showed the crowd his determination in his fight against Corral. Lopez was dominant against the journeyman hailing from Mexico as the two traded shots in the ring. Josesito unloaded powerful combinations that thwarted Saul’s own offensive tactics. The six frame was potent for Lopez as he continued on the attack against Corral. Lopez continued to unleash a barrage of punches that connected to the face and body of his foe. In the tenth and final frame, Josesito aimed a flurry of shots at Corral, who was in big trouble and against the ropes. Referee Jack Reiss gave Corral the ten count as the game opponent got back on his feet to finish the fight. But the damage was done and the three judges all had it 100-89 for Lopez. With this unanimous decision, the fan favorite Lopez adds another W to his win column and hopes to get back in contention against name opponents in the future.
Lopez stated: “I’m coming along. This is my second fight coming back in two years. It’s a little process. I feel like for my next fight I’ll be that much better. I’m just focused on continuing to get better. I want to step it up for the next fight.”

The former champ wants to continue to prove his mettle inside the ropes.
“I’m the Riverside Rocky and I want to be in exciting fights that friends and family members will remember for years,” he says. “I definitely have the grit and the (guts) to get in there with the best of them. I’m a lot smarter inside the ring now.”

Bellflower’s Alejandro Luna (22-0, 15 KOs) thrilled the crowd with a lightweight battle versus Andrey Klimov (19-4, 9 KOs) in the co-main attraction. Luna’s left hooks and body shots stunned Klimov but the tough Russian came back and gave it his all. The ten-round fight went the distance as the two warriors left everything in the ring. When the scores were tallied, it was a unanimous decision for Luna, who remains unbeaten. Two judges had it 98-92 with the third official scoring it 97-93 all for Alex Luna.

And in the opening TV bout, Olympian Karlos Balderas also nabbed his very first win as a brand new pro. The Santa Maria hero won by TKO when his opponent Thomas Smith’s corner stopped the contest at the beginning of Round 2. The young lion already has a huge group of supporters who’s cheering echoed in The NOVO.

In the sole female battle on the bill, Maricela Cornejo and Sydney LeBlanc faced off in a crowd-pleasing scrap that had the audience cheering for more. For six rounds, Cornejo showed her strength while trading shots and going toe to toe in this middleweight bout. Cornejo (“La Diva”) had the famed Chiquis Rivera in her walkout and is now under under the tutelage of noted coach Joel Diaz. Los Angeles’ Cornejo gave it her all in this match against Gretna, Louisiana’s LeBlanc. Cornejo and LeBlanc dug in going head to head while exchanging blows. Cornejo’s game plan was the effective one with the judges scoring it 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55 for Cornejo. With this victory, Mari notches her ninth win as a pro and continues to broaden her large fan base. While women’s boxing often takes a back seat in the sport, Cornejo is continuing to gain momentum as mainstream boxing fans are taking notice of this brunette gladiator with star quality.

The bout of Misael Rodriguez vs. Brian True went the distance with Chihuahua’s Rodriguez winning a unanimous decision in his debut as a professional prizefighter. Official scores were a shutout with all three judges scoring it 40-36 all for Rodriguez.

Eimantas Stanionis stopped Rasheed Lawal in a scheduled four rounder. Stanionis came out swinging and won his pro debut in the very first round when the ref was forced to halt the bout to save Lawal from further punishment at the time of 2:35.

Mexico’s Lindolfo Delgado also made his pro debut. And it was a successful one as the Nuevo Leon slugger outclassed Tijuana’s Luis Silva by using his jab and speed to stop Silva in round three when the corner of Silva threw in the towel.

Money Powell IV made a splash in his pro debut with a quick win over Todd Templeton (also making his pro debut). Powell scored two knockdowns in the opening round; when Money blasted his foe for the third time, referee Raul Caiz Jr. stepped in to halt the bout at 2:55 in the first stanza. Also on the undercard, Dallas, Texas’ Alejandro Guerrero earned his third victory as a pro with a stoppage of his opponent Isaac Avalos in round two.

The arena was filled with spirited fight fans cheering for their favorite gladiators. Last night’s fights attracted a packed audience and a star-studded one as well with boxing champs and familiar faces like Erik Morales, Mikey Garcia, Israel Vazquez, Abner Mares, Ivan Redkach, Ricardo Rodriguez, Sergio Mora, Seniesa Estrada, Marvin Cabrera, Sindy Amador, comedian Gabriel Iglesias and more spotted in the crowd.

Photos by Andy Samuelson / Premier Boxing Champions

Michele Chong

Michele Chong

Feature Writer at MyBoxingFans
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more. Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.
Michele Chong
Michele Chong

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