Featherweight Ruben Villa wins in dominant fashion in fourth ShoBox bout, and Welterweight Taras Shelestyuk remains undefeated after sustaining severe cut
SHREVEPORT, LA. – January 31, 2020 – Undefeated Featherweight prospect Ruben Villa is a well-rounded fighter with some impressive amateur wins. The lingering question about the 22-year old is whether he has enough wrinkles to his game to offset the lack of difference-making power. He stepped in against a formidable opponent in Alexei Collado to headline a ShoBox: The New Generation with an opportunity to graduate from the proving grounds, and to move on to new challenges.
The tripleheader also featured a Welterweight bout between Taras Shelestyuk and Argentine Luis Alberto Veron. In the opener Zhora Hamazaryan returned to ShoBox to face late replacement Sulaiman Segawa in an 8-round Lightweight bout.
Ruben Villa vs Alexei Collado
Like fellow Californian, and new IBF Super Featherweight champion, Joseph Diaz last night in Miami, Ruben Villa walked to the ring in a Kobe Bryant No. 8 purple and gold Lakers jersey to pay homage to the late legend. Once the jersey was removed Villa went to work against Alexei Collado.
Villa, a southpaw from Salinas, circled around the ring easily evading Collado’s power punches in the first round. Once he got on his offense he started lacing Collado (26-2, 23 KOs) with his entire arsenal. Collado became more physical in the third round, scoring with a big right hand as the payoff for increasing his aggression.
Villa maintained his movement in round four, as he constantly turned Collado and made him work to find him with anything cleanly. He stop and popped Collado with a left hand that rocked Collado.
Collado pressured Villa in the fifth round, and he swung freely from mid- and close-range. However, Villa’s quickness and anticipation allowed him to remain elusive while also turning his defense to offense. In the subsequent round Villa touched Collado to the body with his right hook. He stood in the pocket with Collado and landed several effective punches.
In the seventh round Villa’s use of angles resulted in a battered and vexed Collado. He received a stern warning from referee Mark Nelson in the first minute of round eight. Villa continued to punish Collado’s body in the night round – most standing in the center of the ring.
Villa’s corner instructed him to stick and move to close out the 10th and final round, sensing Collado’s desperation would be at its peak. The California moved laterally the first minute, but the action shifted back to the center of the ring for the final 120 seconds. Collado could only lunge forward and throw shots off-balance. The judges respected the craft and tallied scores of 99-91 and 98-92 on two cards.
The win marks Collado’s 18th, and he retained his WBO International Featherweight title.
Villa – the WBO’s current No. 5-ranked and the WBC’s No. 13-ranked 126-pounder – fully understood the importance of looking impressive versus the hard-punching Cuban.
“He was challenging throughout the fight,” said Villa. “I feel like I put on a good show. He was a big knockout puncher and he’s no pushover. He brought out the best in me.”
Taras Shelestyuk (17-0, 10 KOs) vs Luis Alberto Veron (18-1-2, 9 KOs)
Undefeated Ukrainian Taras Shelestyuk, a 34-year old 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist, faced 27-year old Luis Alberto Veron in the co-main event of the card. Both men stood 5-foot 11-inches.
Shelestyuk controlled the action for most of the first 3-4 rounds with his sharp right jab. Veron got his offense on track in both the fourth and fifth rounds, where a clash of heads left the Ukrainian with a bad cut in the middle of his forehead. Once the bleeding was controlled, Shelestyuk outclassed Veron the rest of the way, earning his 18th win via wide scores of 97-93 and 98-92 twice.
Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-2, 6 KOs) vs Sulaiman Segawa (12-2-1, 3 KOs)
Sulaiman Segawa, a 5-foot 8-inch southpaw Ugandan prospect, started quickly versus ShoBox veteran Zhora Hamazaryan. Hamazaryan was returning from a 16-month layoff.
The 23-year old Armenian opted to attack from outside, initiating his offense with power punches as opposed to working behind a jab. When Segawa fought assertively it was behind his right jab which set up long straight lefts.
Hamazaryan rarely added a second and third punch to complete his flurries. Segawa, and his 2-inch reach advantage, was consistently the busier fighter who punched in combinations. Hamazaryan rarely changed his angle of entry into close range, and gave little effort to setting up outside of Segawa’s lead foot to clear the way for his right hand. The judges scored the fight in favor of each fighter once 78-74 and 77-75 for Segawa and Hamazaryan, respectively. The last card, 76-76, made the fight a stalemate – a familiar conclusion for Hamazaryan.
Header photo by Dave Mandel/Showtime