Andy “El Tiburon” Vences (17-0, 10 KOs) took on fellow Top Rank prospect Casey Ramos (23-1, 6 KOs).
In the opening round, both fighters pedaled around the ring, studying each other while taking as little risk as possible. No clear favorite emerged out of the first, but it was Vences who landed a flush uppercut–the only real solid blow of the round.
The next two rounds would show Ramos settling into his punches while attempting to stalk Vences around the ring. By the end of the third, Vences tried to throw off his opponent and switched to southpaw, where he seemed to find his mark more often.
Cheers for both camps began to echo throughout the venue as both fighters closed out the third with a bang.
As the fight progressed into the middle rounds, Ramos would find a home for his straight right hand, despite his right eye beginning to show signs of swelling.
Vences landed his left jab more often than not, but failed to throw follow-up combinations that could have caused more damage to his rival. The Vences corner, led by head trainer Gabe Flores Sr., pleaded with their fighter to throw the jab and couple it with combination punches.
Across the ring, Ramos’ father Ricardo would begin to work on the nose of his son, as he began to spew blood from a cut running down his left cheek.
Entering the ninth round, the fight seemed to be up for grabs, but a bloodied Ramos caught the attention of ringside doctors who would stop the fight 72 seconds into the round. Per the rules of the commission, the fight went to the scorecards.
All three judges agreed on a unanimous decision, with scores of 87-84, 86-85 and 88-83 in favor for the new WBC Continental Americas champion, Andy Vences.
The decision was met with boos from members of the crowd who believed Ramos had edged out the win.
“It is what it is. I take nothing away from Andy. I shouldn’t have left it up to the judges,” said a disappointed Ramos.
Both fighters came into the bout hoping to go home the victor, but it was El Tiburon who did enough in the judges eyes to take home the belt and an unblemished record home to San Jose.
Vences can now boast title fight experience on his resume and will look to continue on his winning path, as he moves on to bigger and better fights.
All photos by Laura Ming Wong