San Diego boxing fans packed a sold-out Oak Ballroom at the Viejas Casino & Resort undaunted by the rain outside to enjoy the rare opportunity to see world-class professional boxing ringside on Thursday evening.
In the main event of the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions six-fight card “Mighty” Aston Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs) of the Philippines scored a decisive victory over rival Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (20-1-2, 13 KOs) of Puerto Rico with a dominating second round TKO win.
To the delight of a crowd of partisan supporters, many from San Diego’s large Filipino community, Palicte had little trouble with the previously undefeated Martinez. He landed a solid left hook to the body which forced Martinez to take a knee early in the second round. Palicte moved in and continued to connect with power punches, forcing a second knockdown. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. gave Martinez a final chance to continue out of respect for his undefeated record, but at 2:18 of the round he called a stop to the contest.
Palicte now becomes the World Boxing Organization mandatory challenger for reigning WBO junior bantamweight (118 pound) champion and four-division world champion Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 24 KOs). It will be a rematch between Palicte and fellow countryman Nietes. In September 2018, Palicte and Nietes fought to a surprising split draw at The Forum in Los Angeles.
“I can’t describe this emotion, thank you so much” said Palicte to his fans after the bout. “It’s a big fight, it’s my dream to get the next fight, a title fight” with Nietes. Palicte said he will go back to the gym before his championship opportunity. “I still think I have some things to work on for the next fight.”
Three fighters from Chula Vista’s Bound Boxing Academy had the opportunity to participate in the event in front of their home town supporters.
Super featherweight Jessica Juarez of San Diego (2-0, 1 KO) remained undefeated in her second professional fight, winning a four-round majority decision over Kailyn Hansen (1-3) of Whittier. Scores were 40-36 X 2 and 38-38. Juarez enjoyed her appearance on a national broadcast in her second fight. “I was trying to go for the knockout, but everyone does,” said Juarez. “As long as my record stays clean. My opponent ate a lot of my hot punches.” Just 19 years old, Juarez shows promise with solid skills and a calm, determined manner in the ring.
In the co-main event, San Diego featherweight division prospect Brandon “2 Smooth” Cruz (6-1, 4 KOs) against Dallas, Texas based Edward “Kid” Vasquez (6-0) in a rare pairing of two undefeated prospects. Two of the three judges scored the fight for Vasquez in a split decision, to the disappointment of Cruz’s many fans. The 20-year-old Cruz can apply lessons from this experience early in his career to his benefit.
The opening bout pitted San Diego’s Dilan “El Rey” Miranda (5-1, 3 KOs) against Daniel Constantino (2-3-1, 1 KO) of Compton. Miranda, age 24, won a majority decision after six rough, action-packed rounds in the junior featherweight division. Judges’ scores were 59-55 X 2, and 57-57. It was Miranda’s first pro fight in his hometown.
RJJ Boxing Promotions plans to stage additional boxing events in San Diego County as part of its three year live streaming broadcast deal with UFC FIGHT PASS. The next event at Viejas Casino is tentatively scheduled in June, and promoters hope to score a second sellout.
Promoter Roy Jones Jr. thanked the Viejas Casino and the fans, saying “One thing we promise: to have the best fight the best.”