Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 18 News List

Mexicans grab up titles after series of weekend bouts

AP , SAHUARITA, ARIZONA

Jhonny Gonzalez led a parade of Mexican champions on Saturday, taking the WBO bantamweight title from Thailand's Ratanachai Sor Vorapin with a seventh-round knockout.

In other WBO championship bouts at the event touted as the "Boxing World Cup" because every fight was between a Thai and a Mexican, Hugo Cazares defended his junior flyweight title with a sixth-round knockout of Kaichon Sor Vorapin; Fernando Montiel kept his junior bantamweight crown by outpointing Pramuansak Phosawan; and Daniel Ponce De Leon stopped Sod Looknongyangtoy for for the vacant junior featherweight title.

Ratanachai Vorapin went in as the only Thai champion of the Golden Boy Promotions card at Desert Diamond Casino, and it quickly became apparent that Gonzalez (30-4) had the tools to take the title from him.

The challenger knocked Vorapin (64-9) down twice in the second round and opened a cut over his eye in the fourth. From that point, the right side of the 28-year-old Thai boxer's face was masked in blood, affecting his vision.

Vorapin was warned for a low blow after Gonzalez sank to his knees early in the sixth round, but Gonzalez got up angry and floored Vorapin at the bell. He pummeled Vorapin from the bell for the seventh, and referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight 22 seconds in.

"I knew he would get up, because he was a great champion," the 24-year-old Gonzalez said after getting his 26th knockout. "But sooner or later I knew I'd knock him out with my combinations."

Vorapin was not available for comment.

Cazares (22-3-1), the lightest of the title-holders at 48kg, showed the most impressive power with a one-punch knockout, his 16th, when he hit Vorapin's jaw with a compact, straight left hand. The challenger fell backward, and collapsed again in his corner at 2:14 of the sixth round.

The end came less than two minutes after Vorapin (17-7) put Cazares on the canvas with a right.

"I dropped my left, and I got popped," Cazares said.

De Leon (27-1) earned a unanimous decision in 12 rounds, handing Looknongyangtoy (25-1) his first defeat with aggressive boxing in the late rounds after being knocked down in the second.

"It feels like no other," De Leon said about his title.

He has 25 knockouts, but said he never counted on stopping an unbeaten opponent.

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