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Boxing: A solid night for Duke City fighters

It was a good night for the local professional fighters Saturday as three from the Albuquerque metro area took care of business.

Super flyweight Matthew Griego of Albuquerque took a unanimous decision, welterweight Brian Mendoza of Rio Rancho barely broke a sweat with a second-round knockout, and junior lightweight Alex Holguin of Albuquerque survived a knockdown to win a unanimous decision in front of a partisan crowd at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Griego (7-0, 6 KOs) traded punches throughout his bout with David Martino (2-2, two KOs) of San Felipe, Mexico, failing for the first time to knock out his opponent.

“I’m actually happy about that,” Griego said. “I’ve got to get the ring experience. I got to show off a little bit more of my skills. My opponent was worthy. He was a hell of a fighter.”

The strategy was to work inside, he said, and wear Martino down.

“I know I wanted to go to the body a lot because I knew he was going to come at me,” Griego said. “He was going to come forward, he wasn’t going to stop. He’s a Mexican fighter, and they come forward. They can take some shots. I thought I had him hurt in the fourth round. I thought I had him done. But he’s tough.”

Mendoza (15-0, 10 KOs) won his bout with Tyler Pogline (6-14-1) of Colorado Springs, stopping him at 2:34 of the second round.

“He relies solely on his right hand for the most part like a lot of fighters do,” Mendoza said. “Five of his six wins are by knockout, so his right hand must have something, so I was trying to neutralize it and he actually caught me once and I didn’t feel anything and that gave me even more confidence.”

Stuck in the gym training for eight months since his last fight, Mendoza said he utilized a new weapon that he added to his arsenal during the layoff.

“I usually don’t have a good overhand, but I’ve been practicing it and you saw two big ones land in this one,” he said.

The first one in the first round dropped Pogline. The second shot did the same in the second round and caused Pogline’s trainer to wave the towel.

“I’ve been very focused, eight months with no time off,” Mendoza said. “And it showed, because I felt like I had a new level of calmness. I felt like I was in a gym sparring.”

By contrast, Holguin (10-1, 6 KOs) faced a significant challenge from Jeremy Longoria (9-8, three KOs) of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Holguin was staggered and in real trouble in the fourth round after absorbing numerous head shots before going down.

“We knew he was a durable guy, but I wasn’t expecting the knockdown, but it happened,” Holguin said, later adding, “I’m not going to lie. He hit me. I was buzzed. That’s what we do, we survive and come back and get the W.”

Holguin quickly regained his composure for the final two rounds.

“My coaches, they were just telling me, ‘Use that jab, use that jab,'” he said.

In other bouts, junior welterweight Christian Camarena (1-0) of Pasadena, Calif., defeated El Paso’s Rene Cedillo (0-1) by unanimous four-round decision.

Heavyweight Pano Tiatia (2-0) of St. George, Utah, took care of Corey Barlow (0-3-1) of Austin, Texas, by unanimous decision over four rounds.

NOTES: Preceding the professional bouts, the 12th Rumble in Rio featured six amateur fights with primarily law enforcement and firefighters. Brian Salazar of the Santa Fe Detention Center beat George Valdez of the Bernalillo County Fire Department in a unanimous decision; Taylor Caulder of Bosque Farms Police won a split decision over Daniel Barkhoff of Presbyterian Hospital; Americk Padilla of Las Vegas, N.M., Fire won a unanimous decision over Jacob Montez of Questa Police; Kenny Martinez of Los Alamos Fire beat Thomas Zaleski of Albuquerque Police by a second-round technical knockout; and Jason Warlow-Herrera of Los Alamos Police won a unanimous decision over Manny Gallegos of Santa Fe County Fire.