Oscar Duarte. Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan/ HoganPhotos/ Golden Boy Promotions
INDIO, CA – Lightweight Oscar Duarte is bidding to be listed among the top 135-pound fighters.
Duarte knocked out D’Angelo Keyes twice en route to a seventh-round knockout win on Saturday night in front of a near-sold out crowd at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
Duarte, 27, who lives in Parral, Mexico, improved his record to 26-1-1, 21 knockouts.
From the first bell, Duarte, a much larger fighter, imposed his power and accuracy on Keyes, who was in the game for most of the fight, but none of his punches had any real effect on Duarte.
Midway through the third round, a straight right hand to the head dropped Keyes to the canvas. Keyes was not visibly injured from the impact but fought his back to the ropes for the rest of the round.
Keyes did well initiating trades and trying to fight in the pocket, but Duarte continued to throw harder punches. Duarte again scored a knockdown late in the seventh round, dropping Keyes with a left hook to the head.
After the round ended, the ring doctor recommended that referee Jerry Cantu stop the fight, saving Keyes from further punishment.
Duarte last fought on March 18, defeating Alex Martin in the eighth round. He has won his last 11 fights since losing via split decision to Adrian Estrella in February 2019.
Keyes, who lives in Houston, Texas, drops to 17-3, 11 KOs. The 26-year-old has shared his last four fights.
In the first DAZN match, L.A.’s junior bantamweight John Ramirez remained undefeated, winning by split decision over Fernando Diaz.
One judge scored the fight 96-94 for Diaz while the other two judges scored the fight 96-94 for Ramirez, who finished 12-0, 8 KOs.
Diaz was able to score with the lead and counter in the first half of the fight, putting Ramirez on the defensive at times. Ramirez began looking for a home for Diaz’s carry and counter left hooks to the head in the second half of the fight.
During the seventh round, there were solid trades between the two as both stood in the pocket and traded in the center of the ring. Diaz had his best round in the ninth round, landing a barrage of punches twice as he pinned Ramirez to the ropes.
The two had their moments again in the final round, exchanging combinations until the final bell.
Diaz, who lives in nearby Riverside, drops to 12-4-1, 4 KOs.
Eric Priest of Los Angeles defeated Argentinian Ricardo Villalba (20-9-1, 9 KOs) via unanimous decision. The scores are 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73 for Priest who goes to 10-0.7 KOs.
In the junior welterweight category, Santa Ana’s Johnny Canas was successful in his professional debut, defeating Mexico’s Jose Alvarado (1-8) by unanimous decision. The scores are 39-37, 39-37 and 40-36 for Canas.
Priest and Canas recently signed promotional deals with Golden Boy.
In the opening match of the Golden Boy Promotions card, junior lightweight Leonard Sanchez of nearby Cathedral City defeated Uhlices Reyes (1-1, 1 KO) Omaha three times en route to a 1-01 knockout win in the second round. Sanchez goes 5-0, 4 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has been writing for The Ring since October 2013 and has been boxing in Southern California and internationally since 2000. Francisco also writes about boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. You can reach it at (email protected)