California Fight Syndicate "Vendetta" 

Fight Recap 9/21/13

BY EDDIE HARBOUR, NEWS-PRESS SPORTS EDITOR

In a night filled with rematches and grudges, Santa Barbara's Julio Becerra had his say.

In just his second sanctioned fight, Becerra (2-0) affirmed his first win by knocking out Santa Maria's Tony Topas in the third round of their 155-lbs. contest at Earl Warren Showgounds as part of the California Fight Syndicate's Vendetta card on Saturday.

For two rounds, however, Topas (2-8) controlled the fight, giving Becerra all he could handle. The end of the end second round, Topas had Becerra in a precarious position, seated against the cage after he connected with a right hand, as he pummeled Becerra's head and arms only to be cut off by the proverbial bell.

Once the third kicked off, Becerra was charged to go.

"He caught me with a wild right," Becerra said. "But the bell rang, they made sure I was OK, and I cam back with it in the third 

round.

"I gave him a leg kick, threw a couple punches ... and caught him with a left hook and dropped him."

From there, Becerra "went to town," and ended the fight.

Fighting out of Primo Boxing and Paragon Academy in Santa Barbara, Becerra also got to see two of his training partners also find success on the night.

Making his debut after more than a three-year layoff, Santa Barbara's Mike Tupper (1-0) needed just 34 seconds to finish off Fresno's Leon Akin (0-2) with a standing guillotine.

Tupper - an obvious crowd favorite - worked Akin into opening up his neck to the guillotine.

"I knew he was going to stand with me," Tupper said. "I caught him with a good right hand and he came in to shoot on me and connected with a few shots on the side of his head.

"When he tried to stand up he left his neck completely open."

Nearly four years ago, Tupper suffered a herniated disc, which derailed his training. Saturday was resounding reintroduction to the fight game. Before the fight, Tupper had 80 T-Shirts with his name and sponsors -Arch Rock Fish restaurant and Blue Star Parking - made up and sold and sold off 150 tickets on his own as well.

"The crowd really fired me up," Tupper said. "I knew I had a big following and having that support, after not having fought in so long, motivated me to finish off the fight fast.

"I didn't want to disappoint."

During the title portion of the card, Santa Maria's Keith Cutrone (7-1) made quick work of Eric Huggins (2-2) to retain his middleweight title at 189. After the two exchanged blows, Cutrone grabbed hold of Huggins' left arm and didn't let go until he tapped out midway through the first.

In the lightweight title fight, Jorge "Froggy" Estrada (5-0) took a unanimous decision over Santa Barbara's Bren O'Neal (4-4) in dominating fashion to take O'Neal's belt.

After controlling the first round, Estrada sent O'Neal down with a big left hand early in the second, but the Santa Barbaran tied him up on the ground and with Estrada on his back, connected several times to even up the match.

In the third, though, Estrada reasserted his early dominance to cinch the decision.

At light heavyweight (205), Angelo Henry claimed the vacant belt with an easy decision over Shane Mervau in a plodding match that featured plenty of grappling and few real punches.

In the main event, Mike Perez (7-4) used a rear naked choke to claim Justin McClain's (6-4) middleweight title. The fight ended just past the midway point of the first round in favor of the Santa Paula fighter.

In the second fight of the night, Santa Maria's Josh Passmore upped his record to 3-6 with a first round, first minute TKO of Oxnard's Justin Rodriguez (3-2). Passmore knocked Rodriguez down with back-to-back big left hooks and immediately pounced on him, leveling a bevy of shots to the back of Rodriguez's head before the referee quickly stepped in to stop the fight.

"My record isn't that great, but I've had a great camp," Passmore said. "I had Central Coast Elite out of Santa Maria ... my coach Dan Berrera and Al Lopez, working with my game plans."

The night opened with an equally early technical knockout by David Acosta of Fresno's Mike Martinez.

The third fight saw Oxnard Jesus Garcia (4-3) take a split decision from Marcos Bonilla of Van Nuys. After two rounds, the fight appeared even, and Bonilla looked to have the upper hand early in the third. But a takedown midway through the third by Garcia and his subsequent dominance in the back half of the round, gave him the fight. The News-Press scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Garcia.

Julio Becerra's cousin Robbie, garnered a first-round win over Robert Cathurers.

In the first fight of the night, David Acosta (3-0) topped Mike Martinez (0-1) in the first round.

email: eharbour@newspress.com

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