Quiles scores upset, Kamau retains title at Caesars
Welterweight challenger Ricky Quiles proved Saturday night that late September is not too early for sudden flurries in the Sierra Nevada.
Quiles entered Saturday’s North American Boxing Organization junior welterweight title bout at Caesars Tahoe as a challenger, and counterattacked his way to the belt. Quiles’s hard counterpunching forced a majority decision with champ Cosme “Chino” Rivera as Quiles won 115-113 and 117-111 after one judge scored the round 114-114. The upset set the stage for David Kamau’s NABO welterweight title defense in the second half of the title doubleheader, and delayed it, too, as Quiles and Rivera awaited a decision.
“I felt that they were taking such a long time, they were going to take the fight away from me,” Quiles said.
That wasn’t the case. Quiles, nicknamed “Showtime,” backpedaled and danced around the ring, testing Rivera’s patience in the 12-round bout. When Rivera launched an attack, Quiles countered with hard combinations. The young challenger from Ohio seemed to feed off crowd support, raising his arms after the early rounds. Maybe Quiles just knew he was dominating the scorecards in the early going, as two out of the three judges gave him rounds two through six. Rivera seemed to be finding his groove in the eighth and ninth rounds, and Quiles looked tired.
“He was a strong fighter, and he caught me with some good shots,” Quiles said. “I just stuck it out.”
Quiles continued to battle, muscling Rivera to the ropes, and countering the champion’s combinations. Quiles made his move in the 11th round, winning all three cards, and stayed on his feet in the 12th. Quiles, now 29-4-1 with eight knockouts, credited his trainer, Nelson Lopez, with the preparation that allowed him to go the distance.
“He pushed me a lot and gave me a lot of motivation,” Quiles said.
Rivera dropped to 18-5-1.
Only one belt would change hands at Caesars on Saturday, though. NABO welterweight champ Kamau held onto his belt with a unanimous 119-108 decision over challenger Marco Antonio “Chino” Lizarraga.
“I did what I did, and I won the fight,” Kamau said.
Kamau, a native of Kenya who fights out of Los Angeles, relied on his quickness against Lizarraga, a veteran from Mexico. Kamau appeared to pick his opportunities, and opened up Lizarraga’s nose in the seventh round. Lizarraga continued to battle, though, and referee Victor Drakulich kept the fight going. All three judges gave Kamau the last round. The champion sounded ready for his next title defense.
“I’ll fight whoever’s there,” said Kamau, who defended his belt for the first time since winning it July 24. “That’s why I’m in this business.”
Kamau improved to 30-3, but couldn’t pull off his 23rd knockout. Lizarraga dropped to 49-8-1.
In the first undercard bout of the day, Samuel Lopez of Mexico raised his record to 2-0, winning a unanimous 40-34 decision over Alfonso Billy Morales of Los Angeles in their four-round bantamweight bout. Morales dropped to 2-2-1. The other bout of the day pitted Alvaro Padilla against Daniel Reynoso. Two judges scored the bout a draw, allowing Padilla to remain undefeated at 6-0-1. Reynoso is 12-6-1.
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