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An in-depth look at Saturday's entire televised Premier Boxing Champions card, headlined by two-division champ Danny Garcia making his 154-pound debut against the hungry Jose Benavidez, live on SHOWTIME.

It's fight week on The PBC Podcast as former two-division world champion Danny Garcia faces the determined Jose Benavidez Jr. this Saturday, July 30, at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Along with a break down of the entire televised card, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal also list their five favorite Danny Garcia bouts on Toe to Toe. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

Abner Mares Opens Up

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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The former three-division champ tells all in this candid conversation ahead of his showdown against Miguel Flores Saturday, September 4 on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.

Former three-division champion and modern boxing legend Abner Mares joins The PBC Podcast this week to discuss his bout versus Miguel Flores Sunday, September 4, at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, live on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). Mares lays it all out, from the status of his eye to what's driven him to return to the ring following a four-year layoff.

Plus, a recap of last weekend's action and hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal list their top five fighters today from 135-140 pounds. 

For a closer look at Abner Mares, check out his fighter page.

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast

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A look back at the two-division champ's biggest and best moments at the famed Brooklyn venue as he prepares to face Jose Benavidez Jr. in that same arena Saturday, July 30 on PBC on SHOWTIME.

If Danny “Swift” Garcia were to retire today, he would’ve already enjoyed a successful Hall Of Fame-caliber career. However, Garcia is not content with what he has accomplished. On Saturday, July 30th, the two-division world champion makes his 154-pound debut against Jose Benavidez Jr. in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Garcia has been trained by his father, former amateur boxer Angel Garcia, since he was 10. An aggressive boxer-puncher, Garcia is one of the most popular boxers in the sport, possessing one of boxing’s most lethal left hooks.

A list of Garcia’s accomplishments reads like a who’s who of the top welterweights and junior welterweights in this era. Now, after winning championships at 140 and 147, he’s leveling up to 154 to expand his legacy with the goal of becoming a three-division world champion.

“It’s not about size. It’s about skills, heart, and determination, and how bad you want it. I believe in myself, and that’s all it takes,” Garcia said. “You could be the biggest guy in the world, but if I’m smart and I believe in myself more and I want it more, I can take it from you. That’s all it’s about, believe in yourself.”

Although Garcia was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Barclays Center is like a second home for him. As he prepares for his ninth ring appearance at Barclays on July 30th, here is a look back at his five greatest performances there.

5 KEITH THURMAN

Date: March 4, 2017

At stake: Thurman’s WBA Welterweight Championship and Garcia’s WBC Welterweight Championship

Records at the time: Garcia 33-0 (19 KOs), Thurman 27-0 (22 KOs)

Result: Thurman SD 12 (112-116, 115-113, 113-115)

Significance: Some might wonder how a loss ends up on this list but the significance of this bout isn’t solely about the final result. A crowd of 16,533 packed Barclays Center for this welterweight unification, then a record for the venue. Plus, average viewership on the CBS telecast was 3.74 million and peaked at 5.1 million, the second highest peak for boxing on broadcast television since 1998. Even though Thurman earned a split decision victory, a lot of solid punches were exchanged by both of these champions. Garcia had many moments, landing a higher percentage of his total punches (30% to 26% for Thurman). Thurman controlled the early rounds with his power and jabs, which gave him the momentum heading into the middle rounds. Garcia’s poise and technique allowed him to work his way back in the fight. Several of his counter hooks to Thurman’s midsection were effective, including a brutal one late in the 10th round. Overall, the 12-round fight was a close one, and the judges had Thurman edging it over Garcia.

4 Paulie Malignavi

Date: Aug 1, 2015

At stake: No title

Records at the time: Garcia 30-0 (17 KOs), Malignaggi 33-6 (7 KOs)

Result: Garcia TKO 9 (2:22)

Significance: After dominating the 140-pound division, Garcia sought to conquer new land, moving up to the welterweight class. Against Malignaggi, it was evident his power had gone up with him. Malignaggi was cut above his right eye in the third round which became an issue by the sixth, adding to what was already looking like a problematic night for him. Garcia executed his gameplan by punishing Malignaggi the majority of the fight and outworking him with explosive shots. In the ninth, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. rescued the stumbling and hurt Malignaggi, giving Garcia the victory.

3 ROD SALKA

Date: Aug 9, 2014

At stake: No title

Records at the time: Garcia 28-0 (17 KOs), Salka 19-3 (2 KOs)

Result: Garcia KO 2 (2:31)

Significance: This was a candidate for KO of the Year. As soon as the first bell rang, Garcia was already in his element, looking to end the fight as early as possible. In round two, he did just that, dropping Salka twice by bullying him with a series of hooks and body shots. Salka had no chance of recovering, struggling to rise after the first knockdown. When he did, he wasn’t upright for long as a right hook on Salka’s wide open chin sent him crashing to the canvas. No count was needed.

2 ZAB JUDAH

Date: Apr 27, 2013

At stake: Garcia’s WBA Super Lightweight and WBC Light Welterweight titles

Records at the time: Garcia 25-0 (17 KOs), Judah 42-7 (29 KOs)

Result: Garcia UD 12 (116-111, 114-112, 115-112)

Significance: From a lot of talking leading up to their clash to a lot more talking with their fists in the ring, this fight had a little bit of everything. Garcia built an early lead behind his jabs and counterpunches. During an exchange in the eighth round, Judah was introduced to the mat courtesy of a straight right hand. The proud Brooklyn native wouldn’t go quietly, rising from the knockdown to have some of his best moments. Garcia weathered the storm to win a unanimous decision.

1 ERIK MORALES II

Date: Oct 20, 2012

At stake: Garcia’s WBA, WBC, and the Ring Magazine Super Lightweight Championship

Records at the time: Garcia 24-0 (15 KOs), Morales 52-8 (36 KOs)

Result: Garcia KO 4 (1:23)

Significance: In March 2012, Garcia captured the vacant WBC Super Lightweight title with a unanimous decision win over boxing legend Erik Morales. It was a terrific battle as the cagey veteran gave Garcia fits until the latter came on strong down the stretch. The two would meet again in this rematch, with a more confident Garcia dominating the action. In round four, Garcia uncorked his famous left hook, causing Morales to do a near 360 before he hit the floor. The win signaled Garcia’s arrival on boxing’s big stage, a platform he returns to on July 30.

For a closer look at Danny Garcia, check out his fighter page. 

Andy Ruiz Jr., Magsayo-Vargas & The Return of Adrien Broner

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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The former unified heavyweight champ is rejuvenated as he prepares to face Luis Ortiz Saturday, September 4, on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.

Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. joins The PBC Podcast to discuss changes he's made, his thoughts on the hoopla regarding his weight and what the future holds as he prepares to face Luis Ortiz in a big-time heavyweight clash Saturday, September 4 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, live on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

Also, a look back at last week's entire PBC on SHOWTIME card, including the changing of the guard at featherweight as Rey Vargas dethroned Mark Magsayo. Plus, the return of Adrien Brother and hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal go Toe to Toe over three mythical matchups. 

For a closer look at Andy Ruiz Jr., check out his fighter page. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast

Fight Night: Sat, Aug 20, 2022 - Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL

Gutierrez vs Garcia

Hector Garcia dethrones Roger Gutierrez by way unanimous decision to become the WBA Super Featherweight World Champion after 12 exciting back-and-forth rounds.
Gutierrez vs Garcia Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Gutierrez No data available No data available No data available No data available
Garcia No data available No data available No data available No data available

Hector Garcia proved that his dominant win against Chris Colbert in February wasn’t a fluke.

Recap Image

Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

Garcia, a former Olympian from the Dominican Republic, dictated the action and survived a late rally to wrest the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship from Roger Gutierrez via a unanimous decision by scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110 from Alexander Levin, Michael Ross and Fred Fluty to remain undefeated at 16-0 with 10 KOs.

“It means a lot to me to win this title,” Garcia said. “I dedicate it to my people, the entire Dominican Republic and my town, San Juan de la Maguana. In the pros, nobody knew me. But in the amateurs, people knew my name. I went to the Olympics – it was my dream. I had a good run. [Gutierrez] was looking for the right punch to take me down, but I was able to dominate, dictate the pace of the fight and get the win.”

After beating the previously undefeated Colbert as a late replacement on two-weeks-notice on February 26 when Gutierrez withdrew because of COVID, a focused and strategic Garcia kept Gutierrez on his back foot for most of the fight as he fed the titleholder a steady diet of up-jabs and hard lefts to rack up the first nine rounds on all three scorecards.

But Gutierrez, his hair tinted green and his left ear cut and bloody, stormed back in the later rounds, winning the final three frames on two of the judges’ scorecards as the southpaw Garcia appeared to tire and was squaring himself up. Gutierrez (26-4-1, 20 KOs) pushed Garcia back with right hands, his energy and punch-output surging. He appeared to hurt Garcia in the 11th round with a right as Garcia sagged against the ropes, but Garcia answered with lefts and rights of his own to blunt the rally.

Garcia out-landed Gutierrez 156-116 in total punches and landed 35% of his power punches.

“I never felt like I was hurt badly during the fight, but it was a fair decision,” Gutierrez said. “I started too late in the fight. In the middle of the eighth round, I started to connect on my punches. He moved around my left hand. He’s not an easy fighter, for sure. It's a bad moment for me right now, but it’s just one loss. I’m still young, only 26 years old. I'll wait a little bit to know what I’ll do next, but I’ll rise again. For now, I want to rest and be with my family."

Fight Night: Sat, Aug 20, 2022 - Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL

Puello vs Akhmedov

After 12 rounds of nonstop action, Alberto Puello ekes out a split decision win over Batyr Akhmedov to become the NEW WBA Super Lightweight World Champion.
Puello vs Akhmedov Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Puello No data available No data available No data available No data available
Akhmedov No data available No data available No data available No data available

In an all-action affair, Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov produced one of the better and compelling fights of 2022, but it was Puello who made history for his country, becoming the first Dominican fighter to ever win a title at 140 pounds by claiming the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event by split decision.

Recap Image

Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

The judges Benoit Roussel and Mark Streisand both scored the bout 117-111 for Puello, while Lisa Giampa awarded Akhmedov’s aggression with a scorecard of 115-113. 

Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) was able to handle the constant pressure of Akhmedov, who came up short for the second title fight of his career after he lost a decision to Mario Barrios in 2019. Puello was able to fight well off the ropes and answer the advances of Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) with stinging combinations. Puello joined his countrymen Hector Garcia, who dethroned Roger Gutierrez for a 130-pound championship earlier in the evening, to produce arguably the greatest day in the history of Dominican boxing with two title winners. The two are good friends, both sharing the hometown of San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic.

Puello was the busier fighter, out-throwing his opponent by a margin of 825 to 764, but Akhmedov out-landed him 207-191 and had a 198-168 edge in power punches landed.

“This was the hardest fight of my life, but the one I prepared the most for,” Puello said in the ring. “I do feel a lot of emotions, and two Dominicans were crowned champions on the same night. This win means a lot to me. This is a big thing for us Dominicans because my friend Hector Garcia and I are bringing two titles back home. My hometown, San Juan de la Maguana, has already started the party and they are waiting for Garcia and I to come back and join them.”

With the word “shark” stitched onto his shorts, Akhmedov marched forward round after round, attacking Puello’s body and raining down punches. Puello, for his part, was content to counter with uppercuts and winging shots as the two fell into a frenetic rhythm for 12 punishing rounds. Akhmedov had Puello retreating in the sixth as he dug body shots, but Puello landed perhaps his signature punch of the night, a bruising uppercut in the eighth that snapped Akhmedov’s head back as Puello seemed to sit down more on his punches in the second half of the fight. Fittingly, the bout ended with both fighters standing toe-to-toe, exchanging violent combinations as the bell ended the entertaining slugfest. 

“I mixed it up, sometimes counterpunching and some other times coming forward,” Puello said. “What I studied from the gym and from the videos, I knew he would apply pressure. But I was actually surprised with the amount of pressure he started with and in the end I was able to figure him out. I knew it was a close fight, and I just kept the distance and kept the pressure on the jab tonight and that helped me get the victory.”

Fight Night: Sat, Aug 20, 2022 - Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL

Sergey Lipinets put on a dominating performance over Omar Figueroa Jr. in their WBC super lightweight title eliminator, battering him for eight rounds before Figueroa's corner called off the fight, earning Lipinets the TKO victory.
Figueroa Jr vs Lipinets Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Figueroa Jr No data available No data available No data available No data available
Lipinets No data available No data available No data available No data available

Former world champion Sergey Lipinets didn’t fight like a late replacement.

Recap Image

Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

Lipinets dropped and punished former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. for eight rounds, causing Figueroa’s father Omar Sr. to stop the fight before the start of the ninth round in a scheduled 12-round WBC Super Lightweight title eliminator headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions Event.

Lipinets, who took the fight on five days notice, floored Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs) with a short, compact counter right hand with a minute left in the second round. Figueroa rose on shaky legs and Lipinets (17-2-1, 13 KOs) moved in and inflicted more punishment, round after round until the bout was stopped. Lipinets was initially penciled in to perform on the non-televised portion of the undercard, but was shifted to the main event when former four-time champion Adrien Broner withdrew from the matchup with Figueroa, citing mental health issues.  

“I had a good fighter in front of me,” Lipinets said in the ring afterward. “My hat's off to Omar for being a warrior. The punch that rocked Omar is the punch that my trainer and I have been working on for a long time. He came at me and it was the perfect time to use it. I was too focused on protecting myself. I was concerned about him answering my punches, but it was not my job to stop the fight. 140 is my weight. I came back. I’m back.”

Lipinets held Figueroa to just 44 landed punches over eight rounds while landing 172 shots. Lipinets landed 46.7% of his power punches on his way to the 8th round TKO.

Once an aggressive, punishing fighter who overwhelmed his opponents with constant pressure, Figueroa suffered his third straight loss after also dropping a decision to Yordenis Ugas in 2019 and suffering a KO loss to Abel Ramos in May 2021 after his corner stopped the bout after the sixth round. Figueroa fought valiantly, even stunning Lipinets with a right hand midway through the sixth, but it was otherwise a resounding performance from Lipinets, who stamped his name as a player in the suddenly crowded super lightweight division. Lipinets hadn’t fought in 16 months since a sixth-round knockout loss to uber-talented welterweight Jaron Ennis, but the change in weight and opponent served him well.

“I’m very disappointed about the outcome,” Figueroa said. “My team and I worked so hard during this training camp. My body has reached its limit. I’ve been doing this for 27 years and my body has finally said enough. I’m just sorry I’ve disappointed the fans. The change of opponents didn’t affect me. I think I’ve reached the end of the line here in boxing. It occupied my life for 27 years. My body just gave up. It didn’t respond.”

In the run-up to Saturday’s fight, Figueroa emerged as an eloquent spokesperson for people struggling with mental health issues after he was diagnosed with his own set of mental health concerns. In the ring afterward, Figueroa reflected on his career, on the limitations of his athletic abilities and on the birth of his daughter earlier in the day.

“I’m happy that I got to enjoy this last camp. I had a great time,” he went on. “For everyone out there going through a tough time or in a dark place, I want to say, don’t you ever give up. Keep up the fight.”

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Vargas rises from a knockdown and overcomes a spirited effort from Mark Magsayo to become the new WBC World Featherweight Champion in the main event of an action-packed Premier Boxing Champions event Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

Rey Vargas is now a two-division world champion. Vargas earned the WBC World Featherweight Champion following a 12-round split decision win over incumbent Mark Magsayo in a spirited battle on SHOWTIME from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Judges Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland each had Vargas winning 115-112 on their scorecards, overriding Jesse Reyes’ 114-113 score for Magsayo.

All three judges gave the last two rounds to Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs).

Using impeccable timing, his gangly height, an accurate jab and body shots, Vargas survived a ninth-round knockdown and kept Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) at bay much of the fight.

“I’m at a loss of words. I worked hard for this,” Vargas said. “I want to thank God, my family, [trainer] Nacho [Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it greatly but this one is special. This win is for me. It was a great fight; my dad was full of emotion when he spoke to me today.”

Just 26 seconds into the fight, Magsayo caught Vargas with a big right, and Vargas came right back at the defending champion with rights of his own. In the second, Vargas began establishing his jab, and mixed that with an occasional counter left hook.

The height difference seemed to be a problem for Magsayo. Vargas put his 5-foot-10½ frame to great use, fighting on the outside, a distance beneficial to him against the 5-foot-6 Magsayo, who at times lunged forward trying to land a big shot.

Each time Magsayo neared, Vargas timed him coming in. Through four rounds, Vargas had landed 18 body shots to Magsayo’s eight. Magsayo had his moments, like when he landed a counter left hook on the side of Vargas’ head. But the round—and the fight—appeared to be controlled by Vargas’ range.

Magsayo’s energy level appeared to be zapped in the sixth, which was a very effective round for Vargas. He chopped at the Filipino’s body with punishing left hooks, forcing Magsayo’s right arm to drop.   

In the seventh, blood began to trickle down the left side of Vargas’ face from a cut above his left eyebrow. It was determined that the cut came from a clash of heads.

As the eighth was winding down, Magsayo popped Vargas with a blunt, straight right with 1:09 left in the round. After the eighth, Magsayo’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach urged him to let his hands go.

In the ninth, Magsayo closed the distance for the first time in the fight. With 1:14 left in the round, Magsayo landed a left to the body. Then, with :42 remaining, Magsayo caught Vargas in the chin as he was coming forward with a crunching short right, which put Vargas down for the fourth time in his career.

“It wasn’t that effective but it counts, he did get me there,” Vargas admitted about the knockdown.

Overflowing with confidence, Magsayo attacked Vargas in the final seconds of the ninth. Vargas got up from the knockdown but was forced to clinch and move in order to make it out of the frame. Between rounds, Beristain warned him about Magsayo getting inside.

Yet, in the 10th, Vargas did not appear as if he was on steady legs. Magsayo failed to finish. By the championship rounds, Vargas had recovered and Magsayo looked like he needed a knockout to win. Vargas went back to using his height, keeping Magsayo at a comfortable distance with his jab and catching Magsayo coming in with whistling counter left hooks.

“It’s this today, no matter what I’ll come back stronger, I’m disappointed but I did my best,” Magsayo said. “When I had him down, the punch was straight, he did his job in the ring, running. I applied the pressure what we trained in the gym, but he was taller and he’s the man today.

“I will rest and watch the fight and I’m going to train to fight again and will correct my mistakes for the next time. Thanks to all my fans in the Philippines. I did my best and will come back stronger.”

As for Vargas, he’s ready for the next big challenge. “I was in control of the entire fight, except for the ninth when I lost a little control. Now I want the unification bout. I want to fight Leo Santa Cruz. We’ve already talked about it with my team.”

Brandon Figueroa blasts Carlos Castro in his featherweight debut

Brandon Figueroa wanted to make an early statement in his featherweight debut against Carlos Castro. Mission accomplished. 

Coming off his first career loss last November to Stephen Fulton in losing the WBC 122-pound title, Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) blasted out Castro at 2:11 of the sixth in the WBC Featherweight Title Eliminator.

“I know Carlos Castro is a crafty fighter, I had to be patient, I knew how to put the pressure on him, after the barrage of punches,” Figueroa said. “I got tired had to step back a little bit. I knew that he was hurt and I had him on the ropes and I had to put more pressure on him.”

Castro had pockets of success in the early rounds. Figueroa started the second round as a southpaw and switched to a conventional stance as the round progressed. With 1:27 left in the third, Figueroa blasted Castro’s head back with a straight right to the head, then followed by an onslaught of left uppercuts to the head and the body.

With 1:19 remaining in the third, Castro (27-2, 12 KOs) crumbled to the canvas for the second time of his career under a torrent of shots. Castro barely beat the count, but Figueroa would not let Castro breathe.

When Castro sat between rounds, he was immediately admonished by his corner for staying against the ropes. He responded with more solid moments in the fourth and fifth.

It was a very interesting juxtaposition in the sixth. With 1:18 left in the round, Castro had Figueroa pinned against the ropes landing tight shots. Then, with exactly 1:00 left, Figueroa opened with a double right hook to Castro’s head. Within seconds, “The Heartbreaker” had Castro against the ropes plowing Castro straight rights and lefts.

Referee Mark Nelson shouldered his way between the fighters and waved it over at 2:11 of the sixth. Nelson told Showtime’s Jim Gray that Castro did not answer when in trouble and after getting hit twice, that was enough.

“I caught him clean with a good looping left hand and I had him, I just put punches together and I dropped him,” Figueroa said. “Carlos Castro has a lot of heart, he’s a proven fighter in the ring and I knew it would be hard to get him out of here. I hurt him. I was waiting for that shot to the body. Once I caught him clean, I knew he was hurt. I put my punches together again.

“I’m pretty proud of myself. I know there’s a lot of work ahead of me, especially if I fight the winner of the main event. I have to study my fight and get back to the gym.”

Castro nor his corner complained about the finish.

Frank Martin is impressive stopping Jackson Marinez

Lightweight southpaw contender Frank “The Ghost” Martin knows he’s going to have to be placed in uncomfortable spots to develop. He’ll certainly be able to look back on his 10-round stoppage victory over late-replacement Jackson Marinez as a good step in his growth.

Martin’s goal this year is to be considered among the world’s best lightweights, in the discussion with Tank Davis and unified lightweight champion Devin Haney.

Marinez had a good opening round, using his jab and length in the pocket, though with 1:53 left in the second, Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) briefly stunned Marinez with a right hook, catching Marinez as he tried to avoid a straight left. Martin began banging away at the body in the third.

Considering he took the fight on nine days’ notice, with a career-long 17-month layoff, Marinez (19-3, 7 KOs) fought well. He just had trouble catching the counter-punching southpaw Martin.

After six, it was a tight fight. That changed as Martin’s body shots took its toll on Marinez, paving the way for Martin to close the show. A right hook wobbled Marinez in the ninth. The follow-up onslaught deposited him on the canvas.

“The knockdown in the ninth changed the tone of the fight,” Marinez said. “Maybe I could have been more careful. Bring on anyone, anytime. People know I still have to make things right with somebody in particular [Rolando Romero].

“These things happen in boxing, and you just gotta be ready to roll with the punches. He had power, and so did I. I felt great and very comfortable inside the ring. It would absolutely have been a different result had I had more than eight days to prepare.”

With 2:38 left in the 10th, Martin staggered Marinez into the ropes with a right hook. Martin, who is trained by Derrick James, jumped on Marinez and closed the show landing a barrage of shots. Referee Rafael Ramos quickly interceded and waved it over at :30 into the 10th.

“We had to really stay on the outside of the hook, I was doubling the two and trying to come inside with the hook,” Martin said. “I was on him once I had him hurt, I was hungry, he was in deep waters so I had to get him out of there.”

“I’m right there with those [top guys at lightweight], sit me at the table with them, whenever, I’m ready,” Martin said. “I’m going to sit down with my team and hopefully get something big. At the end of the day, we want them all.”

For complete coverage on Magsayo vs Vargas, check out our fight night page.

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