Joet Gonzalez (20-0, 11 KOs) from Glendora, California captured the vacant NABO Featherweight title with a 10-round split-decision victory over Rafael Rivera (25-2-2, 16 KOs) in the main event of the latest edition of Golden Boy Promotions on ESPN Friday at The Novo at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California.
The 24-year-old U.S. Olympian received scores of 96-94 and 97-93, while the third judge scored it 96-94 for Rivera who gave Gonzalez all he could handle with hard punches upstairs and to the body.
“I thought I won unanimous and I won seven to eight rounds,” said Gonzalez after the fight. “I landed the cleaner shots and the harder shots. I just took my time and stayed patient. I knew he was going to start off quick.”
Rivera looked to establish the jab in the early rounds while attacking the body. Gonzalez became more active in the second round, landing a one-two combination midway through the round.
The action picked up in the fourth round with Gonzalez landing a hard uppercut, but Rivera answered with a four-punch combo. Both fighters exchanged heavy shots in the middle of the ring.
In the sixth round, Gonzalez began to throw more effective punches, landing multiple power shots but Rivera kept countering with power shots of his own. As the fight went on, Gonzalez seemed to be getting stronger while Rivera continued to exchange and work the body.
Rivera was more active in the ninth round as he attacked Gonzalez with hooks and body punches.
After the victory, Gonzalez stated that he wants to fight anybody in his way of a world title and that he wants the champions at 126–whoever they may be.
“I’m ready for any contender and I proved it tonight,” said Gonzalez.