The Lukie Report San Francisco: Gesta Closer To Title Shot


 Taishan Hits Hard

At seven feet, a mammoth of a man, Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (1-0 1KO) made an impressive debut to open the Fox Sports 1 portion of the card as he stopped Alex Rozman (2-6 1KO) in the second round. Taishan, who asked the promoters Golden Boy and Paco Presents Boxing/Don Chargin Promotions, to be on the San Francisco card, started a bit slow and showed a bit of his plodding style. At seven feet he has in strength what he gives up in speed. On the other hand, Taishan showed that his power is very real as he dropped Rozman with what looked like a slapping jab that jarred Rozman in the first round.

The second round wasn’t much better for Rozman, who did land one overhand right that seemed to be very unpleasant to Taishan. But Rozman couldn’t withstand the Chinese heavyweights pure power. Taishan sent him to the canvas two more times. The second of which allowed the fight to be waived off. For Taishan, who is trained by former heavyweight John Bray, the eager eyes of the general public will be on him for every fight he takes will be of note in some way or another. The seven foot heavyweight ,who recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions, should be a staple on the Fox Sports 1 cards for the next few years. He is still very green and needs time to develop, but in a shallow division like heavyweight, he brings in some much needed excitement.

Robles Just Barely Edges Chicas

In what was the most enjoyable fight of the night, Emmanuel Robles (11-0-1) picked up a split decision win over Jonathan Chicas (13-2 6KOs) in Chicas’hometown of San Francisco, CA. Robles, who started the bout strong trying to close the four inch reach advantage of Chicas, began to smoother Chicas, who seemed a bit nervous or jittery fighting in the first round. In the second round, Chicas began to show off his power punching. Chicas started to land his trademark jab-cross to the body that typically sets up a powerful left hook. Robles, who has had high quality sparring, in fact he sparred recently with Tim Bradley, would move away from the left after each combination as if he knew the punch was looking to land.

The third and fourth rounds were split as neither man could fully take control of the fight. In the third, Robles appeared to wrangle the fight back a bit as he fought in close quarters, making it an uncomfortable fight for Chicas. Robles was crafty and fought like Carlos Molina (the junior middleweight one), as he proved hard to hit and apt at getting in close and smothering his foes punches. The fourth saw Chicas come on strong and begin to loosen up. Chicas worked from both stances and began to throw punches in combination a bit more freely.

The fifth round came and it seemed like the fight was tipping for the hometown favorite, Jonathan Chicas. Chicas landed a stinging right to the body that shocked Robles and moved him backwards. Robles was simply fighting off instincts and trying to survive. The problem for Chicas was he had Robles hurt badly, but was unable to capitalize. Also, the ol’southpaw vs. orthodox foot placement routine came up as Chicas and Robles appeared to trip over each others’feet as the fight progressed. It appeared more noticeable for Chicas who looked as though he may have gotten hit harder than he did due to the foot position.

It appeared all but a given that Chicas would pull off a gutty and gritty performance at home on national television, but it was not to be as Robles had more tricks in store. Robles in the sixth round began to throw a left uppercut as opposed to the left straight. At the time it baffled some people why, as the straight appeared to be what was keeping Chicas honest. In the seventh, the logic was explained as the left uppercut landed flush and floored Chicas, who got up on eight but appeared badly dazed.

Chicas fights with power and heart and he wanted to finish Robles, but what he has in power, he gave up in defense, as he allowed a flush shot to slip through the guard and land.

The final round was flat out hard to score. It appeared that Chicas landed the harder punches, but Robles appeared busier, but most of the work was done at such close proximity that it was hard to get a grasp on what exactly was happening. According to my scoring of the fight, it was dead even heading into the last round, and the last round had no definitive winner. I favored Chicas and hoped he would receive the split decision victory.

In the end, I was wrong. Jonathan Chicas picked up his second loss via a split decision to Emmanuel Robles, but one can no longer question whether Chicas has heart or can comeback in a fight. Both Robles and Chicas put on a tremendous fight, something that should be congratulated, two young fighters who fought tough guys earlier on in their career. Afterwards, a smiling Robles simply explained “…we decided to take the hard route so this is the way we are going to do it.”The hard route Robles is talking about is being the b-side, the guy fighting on the road and winning fights. This is the second time in a row Robles has come in and defeated the promoters fighter and potentially could put him on the map. For Chicas, the loss will move him away from the title shot that he was hoping for, but will also grow his fans nationally, as boxing fan/celebrity Rosie Perez even congratulated Chicas on his effort, meaning that even in a loss, he at least earned one high profile fan.

Gesta Close to Title Shot

Mercito “No Mercy”Gesta (28-1-1 15KOs) showed off every bit of the superstar ability observers saw in him in 2012 when he was challenging for the Miguel Vasquez title as he stopped Luis “El Vampiro”Arceo (28-13-4 18KOs). Gesta displayed accurate punching and variety of uppercuts to the body and to the face of Arceo, who appeared to potentially live up his nickname as he might not be human, with the amount of damage he withstood. In between the seventh and eighth round, the corner stopped the fight out of concern for the health of Arceo.

Arceo, who walked forward the whole fight, embodied a strategy of taking four punches to give a single shot. Arceo, who tried every trick in the book from trying to step on Arceo’s shoes to roughhouse antics in the ring , but nothing could stop the movement of Gesta, who simply was too fast and skilled for Arceo, who was game, but couldn’t sit down on any punches to get proper torque. An old boxing adage is that class shows overtime and after the fourth round, the fight began to show that Gesta is very close to the championship level as he did what he was supposed to do against the competition that he faced. Arceo never stopped pressuring Gesta, but ate violent combinations.

In the seventh, Gesta floored Arceo who barely made it out of the round and thus caused the fight to be ended. Gesta, who made it clear that his next fight is completely up to his promoter, has no problems with getting a title shot in his next fight. Looking at the landscape at lightweight, especially on the Golden Boy Promotions side, you really only have Omar Figueroa as well as the man he just lost to two years ago, Miguel Vazquez, both of whom need opposition, since the division is simply not that deep.

Pinell Picks Up Win in Hometown

Ricardo Pinell (8-1-1 6KOs) of B St. Boxing, who works under the tutelage of Eddie Croft, picked up a one sided unanimous decision over Jamal Harris (5-10-4 3KOs). Harris used a high guard for most of the fight, making it hard for Pinell to look for his signature knockout that his fans wait to see. “He was a [veteran], he knew how to survive,”Pinell said after the fight. The one thing that was absent was Pinell’s left uppercut which didn’t seem to land as well in this fight.

For Pinell, it was a fight he dominated yet, it was not the result he was looking for. In the latter half, it appeared as though Pinell wanted to get Harris out of there, but one of the best aspects of Pinell’s personality as fighter is his cerebral quality which allows him to look for his shot. Pinell should return to action on the next Paco Presents Boxing/Don Chargin Promotions card in September, barring medical clearance issues. It is rumored that event will be held at the SF Armory in September.

Vences Makes a Statement

Andy Vences (8-0 4KOs) changed camps in the middle of his training and many questioned the decision. However, if Vences’ recent performance is anything of what is to come, then his opponents in the 130 lbs. division need to take notice. Vences, who explained that he has more than a left hand, had expressed his desire to show fans his right hand in this fight and he did so and in a hurry. Vences wasted little time establishing his jab and putting together solid combination punching, working from the cranium to the bread basket, finishing with both hands and making it hard for Adolfo Landeros (22-35-2 10KOs) to figure out what was happening.

In the second round, the same thing happened only with a slightly difference result. After a brief exchange, Landeros laid on the canvas unable to get in the ring. A passionate Vences expressed his pleasure as leading up to the fight he had explained that it would be his right hand that you would see in this fight, and it was the right hand that was the table setter for the victory. “This is why I changed my trainer!”Vences said loudly near press row as he looked over to his new head coach Gabriel Flores Sr of Los Gallos Boxing Club in Stockton, CA. “[I’m] different…this is just the beginning!”Vences said as he has been expressing his goal of landing with one of the big promoters by the end of the year which seems very realistic.


Fabian Melendez Records First Pro Victory

Fabian Melendez (1-0 1KO) has long been known as one of the behind the scenes guys at the Undisputed Boxing Gym, but on Friday night Melendez made his professional debut at cruiserweight. Melendez, who seemed to be getting used to the moment, as well as the perimeters of the professional square circle as well as fighting in front of a large crowd, found his groove in the second round. Melendez stung Payton Boyea (0-5) with what appeared to be an overhand right. Nonetheless, when the punch landed, Boyea fell as the crowd erupted for Melendez’s debut victory.

Quintero, Santibanes, Sanchez and Roman Pick Up Victories

Arturo Quintero (16-4-1 9KOs) defeated Mario Hermosilio (12-14-4 2KOs) in a competitive affair. Quintero, who last fought three years ago against Omar Figueroa, showed a bit of rust in the early parts of the fight as he sustained a head butt in the early rounds that forced a visible cut over his eye. Quintero, the head honcho over at the San Jose based Relentless Boxing Gym, picked up the decision by weathering the storm and outlasting Hermosillio, who began to fade in the later part of the fight.

Walter Melchor Santibanes (5-2 2KOs) pulled an upset as he won a razor close decision over Benjamin Briceno (3-2) from the Kennel Boxing Gym in San Leandro. The fight was close and hard to score and should have been recorded for television. Santibanes and Briceno fought so close together that they seemed to get offended if one didn’t hit the other. Briceno appeared to be getting the better of the action early on, but would get blasted up the middle with hard shots that would alter the eb and flow of the action. Santibanes, who had trouble making weight the day before, appeared the bigger of the two in the ring and seemed to use his size advantage as the fight kicked in. In the end, Santibanes pulled off a close decision. It appeared that on this night, no such thing as a hometown decision existed.

Jesus Sanchez (1-0) ruined Joel Siapno’s (0-1) professional debut as he caught Siapno early in the first round and proceeded to drop him in the second of the four. Siapno would rally back and win the last two rounds, but it appeared the talented, young Filipino fighter suffered some anxiety fighting on a larger scene. The opening bout of a sold-out card in San Francisco that would air worldwide, may have caused him a slow start. Nonetheless, Sanchez came in and pulled an upset that not many would have expected, as onlookers were shocked that Siapno lost the fight.

Celene Roman (4-1-2) won a fairly one sided decision over San Francisco, CA’s Laura Deanovic (1-6), who despite being limited in ability, gave it her all and won the first round, but was unable to sustain her pace of applying pressure on Roman who was able to move and pick her shots.

The attendance was 1,500 with mumblings of it reaching 1,782 as the Fire Marshall actually came to warn the promoter about the overcrowded room. Rumors are that the promotion will be back in September and that it could be in SF Armory in the mission district of San Francisco, CA where this event was originally scheduled to take place. It is also rumored that Paul Mendez would be a co-main event on that fight card if it manifests, but nothing is set in stone as of the time of this article being published.