CORPUS CHRISTI–It was a night to showcase the talent of South Texas boxing in Corpus Christi at the American Bank Center. No star shined brighter than Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s own Lil’ Oscar Cantu.
On Aug. 7, Golden Boy promotions and Leija-Battah promotions presented Fight Night Live on Fox Sports 1 in front of a national televised audience and a nearly sold out American Bank Center.
Cantu (8-0) entered the fight with an unblemished record and left the ring with his undefeated streak intact, as he defeated veteran boxer Joseph Rios (13-10-2) from San Antonio in a unanimous decision. The three judges scored the six-round bantamweight fight (60-54, 59-55 and 59-55).
Cantu said despite being on TV he felt calm in the ring, noting he had to use his boxing skill to out muscle the gritty veteran in Rios.
“He has game, he is a veteran of the sport. It’s definitely great to get over that obstacle,” Cantu said. “The nerves weren’t there, being on TV, nothing affected me. I just went out and performed to the best of my ability.”
It was a typical, tactically dominating fight for Cantu to open up the televised portion of the card. Cantu established his right jab early and often against Rios, hurting him on several occasions throughout the duration of the fight.
Cantu used his speed and ability in the ring to counter the shots of the aggressive Rios and used his defensive counter punching style to gain critical points from the judges.
Head trainer of 12th Street Gym and Oscar Cantu’s father Jaime Cantu said the game plan in the fight worked exactly how they wanted to in Oscar’s favor.
“Exactly what we thought, it’s one thing to train for what he is going to do and he does it but adds a little bit to it. It was difficult, it wasn’t easy. We made our adjustments and did alright.”
Jamie Cantu added that Oscar will defend his title on Sept. 13 and hinted at something bigger between Golden Boy promotions and Team Cantu.
“We are talking to Golden Boy for big news in November,” Jaime Cantu said. “We can’t say anything yet, but we believe it will be big news for Team Cantu and Team Solid Knockout.”
Round three saw both fighters exchange heavy combinations, much to the delight of the boxing frenzied crowd. Both fighters showed signs early that they could win the fight before Cantu took control in the fifth round with his conditioning and ring generalship.
The last two rounds Cantu showed his pin point accuracy with heavy right hooks connected flush to the face of Rios as well as timely body shots that caused Rios to fall away from his aggressive game plan.
Cantu ended the sixth and final round looking for the knock out shot but Rios held his ground despite the crowd feverishly chanting Oscar’s name.
Cantu said he is ready to fight again when the time comes and wants to stay sharp for when the opportunities do come his way.
“Monday we will get back in the gym and go at it again, this fight was a great fight. Of course I’m ready for the next one, who knows, next month two months from now, we are just trying to stay ready.”