RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA — Despite the close final tallies of the ringside scorers, Ana Julaton was impressive in a mostly one-sided ten-round unanimous decision over game veteran Franchesa Alcanter in defense of her WBO Super Bantamweight title on Friday night at the Craneway Pavilion.
Julaton (8-2-1, 1 KO) of Daly City, California was both the aggressor and the superior boxer over the course of the ten-round affair. To her credit, Alcanter (18-10-1, 9 KOs) of Kansas City, Missouri did not come to lie down and fought hard until the ring of the final bell.
Julaton, 116 ½, applied pressure from round one, and had Alcanter, 118 ½, backing up as the opening round closed. Julaton settled into a boxer-mover style for rounds two and three, before upping her output in the fourth. Late in the round, Julaton let loose on Alcanter in a corner. The Kansas City resident showed some bravado as she smiled at Julaton after the ring of the bell.
In the fifth, Julaton continued to beat an apprehensive Alcanter to the punch. Despite her natural size advantage, Alcanter did not fight like the larger woman in the bout. Just as was the case in the round before, Julaton pressured Alcanter near the ropes to close the fifth.
Alcanter landed perhaps her best shot in the sixth, a straight right that snapped Julaton’s head back. Alcanter had some success in the round, but Julaton made have stole it with a lead left hook that landed flush late. After a letdown in the action in the seventh, Julaton came right out at Alcanter in the eighth. Landing punches in combination, Julaton forced Alcanter into retreat and drew blood from the veteran’s nose.
Perhaps looking for the opportunity to do what several other top flight females have been unable to, stop Alcanter, Julaton continued to force the fight in the ninth. Alcanter bravely fought back and did not appear to be in any serious trouble, but she did absorb a good amount of punishment in the round. Julaton closed the fight well in the tenth and appeared to be headed for a wide decision victory.
In the end, all three official scorers had it for Julaton by the scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92. “I thought that is was at least eight to two,” said Julaton advisor and lead cornerman for the night Angelo Reyes. “It was an extremely dominant performance. I mean six to four? That is just silly.” Julaton’s promoter Allan Tremblay was in agreement with Reyes. “If you watch the tape, you will find out that [Ana] forced the action,” said Tremblay of Orion Sports Management. “She was the aggressor.”
Due to a scheduling conflict, Julaton’s famed trainer Freddie Roach was unable to work the corner Friday night in Richmond. After the clear-cut decision win, it was obvious that the missing person in her corner had little effect on the outcome, but still the press was curious about the situation at the post-fight presser. “He was definitely with us in spirit,” said Reyes, who has worked with Julaton since her amateur days. “I did what I am sure Freddie would have told me to do, ‘Hold the water, and let Ana do her thing.’ Freddie Roach is the best trainer in the world. He has I believe three world champions right now: Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Ana Julaton. We completely understand.”
Though most of what fight observers notice is the action in the corner, the work of a trainer is most valuable in camp. “All the work had been done and I have a strong corner,” explained Julaton, who had worked with Roach through Wednesday. “We all have the same focus and game plan, and we just go out and deliver.”
As for what comes next, Julaton’s promoter is already close to finalizing her next date. “We are going to fight in the Philippines, probably on April 9th,” said Tremblay. “I can’t announce it just yet, but I have already secured the opponent. I am assured from the doctor here that she could fight next week, so I think we are good for the ninth.”
Taking into account the four main sanctioning bodies, there is one other world champion at 122-pounds, WBA title-holder Lisa Brown, who holds a win over Julaton. The other two titles are currently vacant, but those positions will soon be filled. The vacancy of the IBF title is about to be filled by the winner of the upcoming Melinda Cooper-Ada Velez bout, while the WBC kingpin will be decided by the Yesica Marcos-Fredee Gonzalez fight.
After a series of rigorous distance wins against formidable opposition, Julaton’s promoter does not have designs on throwing her at one of the other title-holders just yet. “We’ve fought champions and number one contenders, and every fight is a tough one, but you don’t have to go to the extreme every time,” explained Tremblay. “So I think it is time for us to step back and fight a voluntary defense if you will, and not one of the killers.”
In the other boxing match on the card, exciting Filipino prospect Bruno Escalante Jr. (2-0-1, 1 KO) of San Carlos, California by way of Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines rolled over Martin “Tarzan” Sandoval (0-1) of Oakdale, California in under two rounds.
Escalante, 122 ½, was a ball of energy and Sandoval, 124 ½, did not have an answer for his attack. Sandoval, an accomplished professional mixed martial artist, was downed in the first by a straight left hand he probably did not see coming. Escalante, a former National PAL Champion as an amateur, came out at Sandoval in the second and eventually landed the same straight left to score a second knockdown. This time Sandoval got up much slower and referee Ray Balewicz waved off the fight at the 1:05 mark.
Gaston Bolanos of Dublin, California scored a second-round stoppage of Ike Spears of Fresno, California in a light welterweight bout scheduled for three. Bolanos, who fights out of the Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, forced a standing eight count with a barrage of kicks in the second round. Referee Dan Stell allowed the fight to continue, but urged Spears to “show him something.” Spears, who trains out of the Fresno Kickboxing Academy, looked to be fatigued and not on steady legs. Bolanos proceeded to score a knockdown, which is not what Stell was looking for and the fight was stopped at the 1:30 mark of the second.
In a competitive and action-packed bout, Dee Alhadi of San Jose, California scored a three-round unanimous decision over Marc Talledo of Milpitas, California. Talledo, who trains out of the Unlimited Training Center in Milpitas and Alhadi, who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, each had their moments over the course of the three rounds.
In the second round, Talledo, 134 ½, and Alhadi, 130, stood in the center of the ring and exchanged power shots, pleasing the fight crowd on hand. In the end, all three judges scored the fight a shutout for Alhadi, 30-27. The final tallies are a bit misleading, as Talledo traded on even ground with Alhadi for much of the contest.
Xavier Vigney of Pleasant Hill, California prevailed by first-round stoppage over Gary Grant of Antioch, California in the final fight of the evening. The much taller Vigney, who trains out of Team Black in Pleasant Hill, forced a standing eight count early in the bout, as Grant, who trains out of Guila Hawaiian Kajukenbo-Kickboxing in Antioch, covered up against a series of unanswered blows.
Vigney, 206, landed a swift kick that downed Grant, 222 ½, soon after the rendering of the standing eight. With Grant up, but wobbly and potentially injured, referee Ray Balewicz called the fight. Grant, either angry with his performance or the stoppage, kicked the stool in his corner as the ringside doctor attempted to observe him.
Mario Ortega Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.